Red Robot

When the elevator broke down they took the stairs and climbed step-after-step to the roof. The metal of their feet clunked but carried them to a quiet place so high as to be heaven, and there they would come as close to an escape from lights and sounds as they could anywhere.

Never did they approach the edge. The sight down below, the view of the billboards and polluted sky, would ground everything that made this spot different. The bad that would come of looking back at it all in reverse of the way they would look up would connect the two wires, and their energy would flow together like toxic waste pouring in to a fresh stream.

Also, they were afraid of heights.

The little Robot stood in the center of the rooftop without a companion or co-worker. Their Red surface was illuminated with the distorted colours and images of the giant screen perched like a totalitarian vulture on the adjacent rooftop. Through its harsh light radiating with a matching message, the Robot turned a face upwards and scanned for an orange topaz dot in the sky. It had once taken time to find but after the hundreds of repetitions that ended. What had brought them to the rooftop and the one glint of Mars through the heavy filter of the hazy sky was lost in undocumented memory, but every night it returned for this rooftop, the planet, smoggy space between them, and the unknown so far above.

After stationary hours it would leave down the building until the following dusk. It read of rockets and space explorers like a child without an imagination, but it could still see the city shrink below it as it traveled up like a star bounding for the glittering fields of endless possibilities: a tiny electric dream to sweeten the never ending sleep.



***Photo credit Alena Aenami***

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