Higher Education

Even with one of his collars half-heartedly popped, Brian was still inarguably a robot.


Even with one of his collars half-heartedly popped, Brian was still inarguably a robot.

“CHECK IT FRANK. DO A SHOT OF CROWN WITH ME BEFORE WE GO TO THIS PARTY.”

I had tried to turn the volume down several times, the scroll wheel seemed broken. That or it never got hooked up — it’s not like I had planned on Dzmitry falling out of our dorm window before he finished his “Robot Friend”. I had a feeling that if he were still here he’d get a great grade on his Engineering Lab, but since that wasn’t going to happen I figured I’d at least give Brian the life Dzmitry would have wanted for him.

Not gonna lie, me and Dzmitry hadn’t had a lot in common. Most nights I would stumble home completely drunk — 3, 4am — to find him either sleeping or welding parts of Brian together. I know I must’ve got on his nerves, since he wasn’t about having a social life or meeting girls around campus. “Not gonna find them in here!” I would say, motioning to our shared room. “Not unless I brought ‘em here, in which case — hands off!” I would playfully slap him on the shoulder. “You too Brian!” I would joke, slapping a low five on the robot’s lifeless hand. How could I have guessed only a few days later I would be teaching Brian real high fives?

He was getting good at them. And drinking too, since it all just went down pipe and spilled out onto the floor. I put tape over that part, figuring he would just fill up and eventually spill it out his mouth; more life-like. We’d been hanging out for a good 3 hours at this point, and I felt like we were really starting to get along.

“FRANK, WHAT IS LOVE?” Brian asked.

“Boy, that’s a tough one,” I said, leaning back on our futon. “I thought I really loved a girl down on 3rd last semester, but she got all weird on me after her parents moved back to town. She kept inviting me over for dinner and I was like, why can’t we hang here, we can’t even drink if we go over there.”

“SHOTS TIL MY FACE NUMB BITCH.”

“I agree. But deep down I think it wasn’t even about the shots. I think I was scared to meet her parents cause — well, she was this wholesome country girl and here I was, failing basic chem, trying to get their daughter to try anal. You ever have one of those moments where you see yourself in some kind of internal mirror, and wonder what you really deserve in life?”

“I DO NOT PRACTICE SANTERIA. I DO NOT HAVE NO CRYSTAL BALL.”

“I guess none of us do. Though sometimes I sure feel like I could use one.”

I looked at Brian for a long time, and I think he was looking back at me. I had a feeling that this party was going to be the beginning of a beautiful night — a night that wasn’t just about me, or college, or robotics — but one that I would think back to and remember as the night I really learned something.