Posted by: Abe's Blog | October 6, 2010

Jackson’s Friend

This post is in response to a blog challenge offered by Hippie Cahier.

Jackson was a machine. When he chose–if a metallic and unfeeling being could actually “choose”–he could become a sphere, rolling across the prairie grass at near the speed of sound. This was his usual mode of transportation. When Jackson was not rolling like a sphere, he was hovering just over the surface of the plains on fourteen gyroscopic rocket boosters. When he did this, the grass would ignite and hundreds or thousands of acres would burn in drifting sheets of flame and smoke. While the rolling grasslands burned to blackness, Jackson would switch to heat-sensing mode and scan the heat signatures. He enjoyed–if such a word could be applied to a heartless, unfeeling being–to scan for anomalies.

Jackson was alone. There was a time, he could calculate it precisely, when Jackson had a human companion. The companion had a been a man. His name had been Morely. Morely had been with Jackson since his programming had been initiated. In fact, Morely could be considered to be Jackson’s creator. But Morely walked the plains no more. On a sweltering day last summer, Morely had inexplicably vanished. One second he had been standing in front of Jackson, hand to his brow, looking off at the distant black mountains, and the next second there was a popping sound and Morely was gone. And Jackson was alone. He had stood, unmoving for days upon end, but Morely did not reappear. Then Jackson had curled into his sphere shape and begun to bound across the plains, leaving a furrow of crushed grass and scattering prairie dogs in his wake.

Jackson scanned for anomalies while the prairie burned beneath him. He scanned from north in a clockwise fashion. He beeped. The he scanned in reverse. Then he stopped and reversed again. A display lit up on his chest. ANOMALY FOUND AT 189 AZIMUTH. He beeped again. He focused his optical sensors to 9 degrees east of south and enhanced. He enhanced again. His heat sensors picked up a wavering movement. He switched to infrared. He enhanced again. He zoomed in, a slight whirring sound emitting from his optical scanners as they extended like telescopes from his metallic face. There was…an anomaly.

There was an object in the distance that had not been there before. Jackson was 97.8% certain within a 95% confidence interval that the object had not been there a few moments before. The object was moving. Jackson retracted his rockets, landing on the charred ground and, extending wheels fore and aft, began to roll forward slowly. The object was moving and appeared to be… Jackson rolled forward, increasing his speed.

As he rolled, he continued to scan, record, and analyze the object. He posed a query to his Wikibanks, “Identify anomalous creature, exclusionary of plant, insect, or geological references”. The answer was nearly instantaneous, “Anomalous creature identified as Canis Lupus Familiars. Alternative and common name: Dog.”

Slowing to a rate of 3 feet per second, Jackson approached the dog. It appeared to be digging, dirt flying furiously between its hind legs, high into the air. It had not noticed Jackson’s quiet approach. It was making whining sounds as it dug and it’s ears were flopping about. Jackson stopped. He watched for 23 seconds. Then he made a sound similar to that a human would make when clearing their throat, “Uh Huh.”

The dog stopped digging and froze in place, his face buried in the hole. He held his pose for a few seconds, then looked up at Jackson. His snout was covered with dirt. His tongue protruded from the front of his mouth. He leaned his head to side and viewed Jackson crookedly and his tongue shifted to the side of his mouth and a long line of saliva hung from it.

Jackson made the sound again, “Uh Huh.” The dog sat on his haunches and began to pat the ground with his front paws, excited. “I am Jackson,” Jackson said. The dog wiggled, and scooted forward on his belly, then sat back on his haunches. “You need a name,” Jackson said, while the dog looked at him with a quizzical expression, “Your name shall be ‘Anomaly 234’.” The dog leaped forward and began licking Jackson’s body. Jackson retracted his wheels, lowered his frame, and let out a sound very much like a human sigh.

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Responses

  1. A sci-fi dude! Your stories are going down in history!

    • Thank you, Mike! That’s better than going down the toilet 🙂

  2. That was cute. It reminded me a bit of Wally — this was adorable. Love the name: “Anomaly 234″…ha!

  3. I actually see Christopher Robin in Morely, but it makes me sad to think of the 100 Acre Wood burning. 😉

    Thank you for playing along. I like this story.

    • The challenge was fun. Thank YOU for offering it!

  4. HC’s challenge sure has provided us all with some interesting WTP fiction. I’m loving it…great story!

    • Thank you! I will check out your post. Thanks for reading 🙂

      • Well…I didn’t write one unfortunately…I haven’t been very inspired lately. But I won’t stop you from visiting!

        • Visited and enjoyed 🙂

  5. Aw man. I’m sorry I haven’t visited here sooner. That was a wicked good tale.

    • Thank you, sir. I enjoy your writing style.

  6. As my former wife used to complain about my steak barbequing technique:

    THIS WAS WELL DONE

    (uh, she wanted rare)
    (Did I mention we’re now divorced?)

    Still – it was a great read. I’m getting ideas for the name of my next cat too. 🙂

    • Anomaly is a great name for a cat! So much better than Chairman Meow. Thanks, Wolf.


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