Murphy’s Tea Party

child's tea set

I am a FirmCorp model K-12 Humanoid device.

Every kid should have one.

That is my tagline. All K-12 Humanoid devices share this tagline. It was written by the FirmCorp marketing department.

Abagail’s mother and father purchased me at the Plexicorp central retail hub in Seattle on September 20th, 2051. When they had me shipped to their residence on the outskirts of the city for Abagail’s seventh birthday, and my casement was unlocked, I imprinted onto her.

I was given a name.


It could be a girl’s name. It could be a boy’s name.

I am neither.

I am a model K-12 Humanoid device, copyright FirmCorp technologies, 2020-2051, all rights reserved.

I was made on August 24, 2051. My serial number is K-1234594700912A.

I was activated and imprinted on September 23, 2051.

I was called Murphy by my human on that day for the first time.

My human is Abagail. She was born on September 23, 2044. She has brown eyes and black hair. She loves horses and climbing. She is afraid of spiders. Her favourite ice cream flavour is pistachio. She likes cats better than dogs.

Abagail’s parents download applications for my central processing unit. They program their faces and voices into my audio and video outputs. I will use their voices and faces to talk to Abagail whenever they contact her, or when they are unable to contact her. In both cases, I will speak in their voices and use their faces on my display screens.

They are at work.

I am with Abagail.

I go to school with her. I go to nursery with her. I go home with her. I line up against the wall with the other Humanoid devices when she is with the others. I go into conservation mode.

I hear Abagail laughing. She likes school. She likes nursery.

She likes me.

She has imput this information, or variations of it, into my core memories on repeated occasions.

I have arms. I have legs. My CPU is housed in a human-shaped head. I have an alloy frame made in China. My brain was made in Bonn, Germany. My circuitry is patented by FirmCorp, as is my overall design.

I attend a tea party with Abagail. She is the host. The other guests are imaginary.

I sip tea.

Abagail has told me that I am sipping tea.

So I am.

My internal clock is managed by a FirmCorp satellite that is in orbit.

On the day I am sipping tea, which is March 31, 2052, Abagail tells me that she wishes the day would never end. I tell her about my internal clock. She laughs again. She does not have an internal clock. Time is not important to her.

I collect her laughter.

Every time she does this, I record it; each note and frequency, each rise in volume, each outward push of breath.

When I am in conservation mode, I listen to the recordings of her laughter to myself so that no one else will hear them.

I remember the day we sipped tea, and Abagail was the host of the invisible tea party. It was March 31, 2052.

My internal clock is constant. No time is lost.

My batteries hum with life.

They cling to each electron.

They feed my systems.

I sip tea with Abagail.

I climb the hills nearby the house where she lives. I carry her on my frame, on my “shoulders” as we climb. They are not real shoulders. They are a part of my design. They are more than adequate to carry her weight.

I play back the sound of her laughter to her. I use the sound of her mother’s voice as a filter to replicate their inflections, their pitches, their cadence. Then, I use her father’s voice.

She is amazed. She is sad. I never do this again.

My internal clock loses no time.

The laughter count begins to wane December 1, 2057. I am not present or online to collect all of the laughter. My batteries do not hold the charge as they used to.

I sleep more often.

Abagail’s hair is black. Her eyes are brown.

She has grown in mass. Her shape is beginning to change.

We sip the invisible tea no longer. This activity was discontinued from April 14th, 2054. I play back the sipping of the invisible tea when I am in conservation mode, retrieving the files from my core memory. I play back each instance of Abagail’s laughter.

“I wish this day would never be over!”

Abagail said this on March 31, 2052. That is the day she wished would never end.

On the wall at school, I stand next to L-27 series humanoid devices, and some new L-35s. I am the sole K-series Humanoid device at Abagail’s school.

There is laughter of another kind with a unique inflection coming from some of the other children. It does not resemble that which I play back to myself while I am in conservation mode.

Abagail’s parents are at work still.

There is a package delivered to Abagail’s residence. It is from Seattle, from the Plexicorp retail hub. The package bears the FirmCorp logo. It is December 25, 2057.

Abagail opens the casement. Inside is an L-35 series.

I am a K-12.

My serial number is K-1234594700912A

I am called Murphy.

I am in the back of the car.

Abagail is in the front seat. We are going to Seattle.

I am walking through the front door of a FirmCorp depot with Abagail.

Abagail has brown eyes and black hair. She loves raspberry swirl frozen yogurt. When she was nine, she scraped her knee when trying to ride her neighbour Tristan’s hoverboard. She had a nightmare when she was eight about a giant shark with twelve heads. I put my arms around her as she cried, speaking to her in her mother’s voice.

On March 31, 2052, she told me I was sipping tea. And I was. That was the day she said:

“I wish this day would never be over!”

I say in her mother’s voice: “How about another tea party, Abby?”

Abagail’s face makes a human smile. She says:

“I’m too old for tea parties, Murphy. I’ve been too old for them for years. I’m thirteen now. It’s time to say goodbye to tea parties.”

“Goodbye,” I say.

The FirmCorp technician tells her that the new model has an incompatible CPU casing to mine. The L-35 has a larger casing to support a forty eight Terrabyte capacity above the K-12 series.

My own CPU will be recycled.

I sip tea. I hear laughter.

The technician stretches out her hand toward me. She is saying something to Abagail.

I am Murphy.

I am




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