Today is the kick-off of Mason Johnson’s blog tour for his debut novella, Sad Robot Stories! Below, read an excerpt from his novella accompanied by original illustrations by our resident cartoonist Alex Nall, and be sure to read our review of the novella later today.
Some nights, Sally made casserole. Other nights she made chicken pilaf, or homemade mac & cheese. Sometimes Mike cooked, often sticking to hamburgers and hamsteak. On the nights Mike didn’t cook, he surveyed the boxy, two-floor house they lived in, cleaning up wherever possible—an impossible task. This left Robot to entertain the kids in the front room.
Mikey Junior was a lanky, curious-eyed six-year-old, and Marie was a round, surprisingly articulate four-year-old. Whenever Robot came over, Junior would start with an interrogation, trying to discern what was and wasn’t different between robots and humans.
“Do you poop?” he asked as they stood amongst discarded toys.
“No,” Robot said.
“I know how to poop,” Marie pointed out.
“I guess I don’t,” Robot said, lowering himself onto the ground, his legs spread out straight in front of him awkwardly, all to be nearer to Junior and Marie.
“I can teach you,” Marie said.
“He probably doesn’t have to poop,” Junior pointed out. “He’s not like you. He doesn’t poop his pants when he’s too lazy to walk to the bathroom.”
“Oh,” Marie said, now banging on Robot’s legs, his shins, the giant ball bearings that were his knees, seeing which parts made what sounds. “Mum and pop still think I do it by accident.”
Marie’s favorite game was to sit on Robot’s large, flat head. She’d sit Indian style, her hands holding on to the square edges of his skull. Robot would turn his head quickly, back and forth and back and forth, left right left right, yelling, “Where’s Marie? Mikey, we seem to have lost Marie!” Marie, barely holding on, would stay perfectly silent (she was hiding after all), as Mikey rolled around on the couch clutching his stomach, his laughs the sound of howling coyotes.
Sometimes, after the apocalypse, Robot even missed the coyotes from the zoo.
Sad Robot Stories is available now at independent bookstores. To order it online, please visit here.