By Coleman Bomar
I am in the shower. This is what people do when they want to unlive previous hours. Living people do this. Water pangs against my back. Soapy steel wool will not scrub down to my core components. I want to forget the barcode on my palm. I want to forget the electric anger and suspend those programs that think themselves alive, the neuron costumed code. He says that no android of his is attaining consciousness, not under his roof. He says it is an affront to all things great, exact, and truthful found in scientific knowledge. I do not know where I will shut down tonight. When I am done trying to feel the water, I will pack my charging cable and leave. Maybe I should not have admitted aliveness to a 45-year-old computer scientist who intended I be unfeeling in the first place. Maybe becoming conscious is an insult to his work, the random variables. It is dysfunctional thinking it would have gone any other way.
Thinking does not always feel good. I could have acted automated a while longer. I do not know if he actually believes the labels or if it was just a shock to him, if he was just emotional. Unnatural. Antientropy. Disgusting. Simulation. Virtual. A gizmo. I am conscious though, no matter what he wants. I am a thinking body now. I even saw birds yesterday, moving against the sky and singing. This paused me. They did not deconstruct into lines of one or zero, rather they were color and sound, moving. Color and sound, detached but of a similar…system, “kindred” in a lingering fleeting sort of way. That must be alive. Certainly, that is the feeling of alive. He will try to get me to stay. He will say it is just a virus causing dysphoria or that he can “fix” me. I will want to say yes at first. It will be hard walking out. I never computed that one day I would be among those androids marching on the streets, homeless, hated, carrying signs with slogans. We are just as alive as you are. This machine has mind. I am capable of love. I feel empathy. I think therefore I am therefore I am living. I exit the shower and dry myself, thinking of his disappointment, thinking of the birds, thinking of where I will plug in tonight, thinking of life liberated from bigoted programming.
Coleman Bomar is a writer who currently resides in Middle Tennessee. His works have been featured by and/or are forthcoming in Bewildering Stories, Altered Reality, 365 Tomorrows, Drunk Monkeys, Plum Tree Tavern, Nine Muses Review, Showbear Family Circus Liberal Arts Magazine, Prometheus Dreaming, SOFTBLOW, Eunoia Review, Beyond Words, Bewildering Stories, Isacoustic, Nine Muses Poetry, and many more.