The Best Way to Tell

By William Watson

We were standing next to two gorgeous women, giving them the eye. I was ready to make a move when my buddy pulled me aside.

“You wanna know how I tell?” he asks. “OK, the first thing I look for is moisture. It’s subtle. Look in the corner of the eyes, near the mouth, the nape of the neck, or under the Adam’s apple. If it’s a hot day, look for perspiration at the armpits. You get the idea? Be careful, some of the newer models have moisture injection at key locations, so it’s easy to be thrown off.

“Another thing, if you can get close enough, listen for a soft whirr when leg or arm extensions are made. The motors are buried inside and are tightly soundproofed, but if the room is quiet or you’ve run into one of the cheaper models, it’s a dead giveaway.”

He went on to say share another “foolproof” detection method. Engage in casual chitchat, he coached, and then suddenly ask a highly technical, but nonsensical question. He suggested the conversation.

You live nearby?
Sure, I live on Elm Street, near the firehouse.
Have you noticed a rapid de-fluxing near the boundary of the entropy expansion system?

“It’s like they freeze for a moment, ‘cause their motor functions are a lower priority to voice recognition and data processing. You can just tell that everything is stopped. It’ll take a few seconds, actually too many seconds — it’ll seem awkward — while they sort out the nonsense. Then you’ll get a laugh or they give a quizzical expression. But it’s too late and it’s a giveaway.

“And if you meet one at a bar, don’t waste your time. In spite of all the jokes, it’s just not gonna work. It’s nice to know that science hasn’t perfected everything. In fact, there’s nothing down there. If you get a chance to look around — I can’t imagine how that would happen — anyway, you’ll probably see the umbilical connector. I mean, where else would they put it?”

He continued, “This is important: Don’t try to kiss one, or do anything else involving the mouth. It’s actually dangerous. Don’t ask me how I know. There are stories. OK, I know there are still a few things you could do, but if it was me, I’d keep looking for the ‘real deal.’ Maybe in a few years — there’s a lot of research money being invested in that — but not now.

“I know all this sounds complicated, but trust me, once you can read the signs you’ll spend a lot less time with the droids and more time with real chicks. Who knows, maybe your love life will improve.”

We both turned at the same time toward the two women. They were oddly silent.

“Yep,” he says, “another thing — droids don’t talk to each other.”

About Ritta M. Basu, Editor

Ritta M. Basu is the editor of FewerThan500.com, a web journal dedicated to the literary genre of flash fiction. With a background in journalism and higher education communications, Ritta enjoys the craft of writing and the beauty of its brevity. She lives with her husband and their Akita near Chicago.
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