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Who names a toaster Reggie?

I was sorting through my mother’s effects, just after I found myself stuck with the responsibility of taking care of them, when I first happened upon something strange. I could understand why she kept most of the things she had kept because she was a world class pack-rat, but the one thing that was puzzling to me was the toaster. I looked at it closer and realized what it is. Only a few years old, and definitely on the cutting edge of tech. My mother had bought a toaster to keep her company. The final nail in the coffin, I broke down and cried. This was the final indictment in the case against me as a worthless son. I went through the motions of grief at her funeral like a good son, but now the truth flowed through my thoughts and the sadness was full and real. I hardly called, and I never wrote her, even when I did have the time. Too busy in my own lazy world of work and friends and bills and drinking. Occasionally I would acknowledge her in the proper way, the cards for christmas and birthday, or with the short sporadic visits. I never thought about how I had hurt her with my silence. So much that she had to go out and buy an artificial friend, an expensive artificial friend, just to have someone to talk with. It was made by a Japanese company, a name undecipherable to me, and I rooted through the box of financial records to see when she got it….

Five years ago. Five long years, being so starved of human contact that she resorted to talking to a computer just to get through the day. The service records are all with the purchase papers here, the extended warranty, owners manual, and upgrade receipts. Christ, this has to be one of the smartest toasters in the world. This company, I’ve read about them, and they make robots and computers whose purpose is to provide companionship and entertainment for the elderly, or the homebound. They can hold conversations, play virtual games, play music, store various preferences, even perform the tasks usually done by the original object and much more. I’ve heard of robot dogs and cats, little robot robots… but never a toaster. This was obviously a custom job, but made to look like the original object… this took a lot of modding. Ungodly amount of memory, smooth no-noise system, negligible temp running, and a full personality with an english accent ta boot. Long life battery or AC operation, integrated phone, and wireless lynksys.

I plugged in the toaster, and it came life with a slight hum.

“Gooood MoooorNing!” it beamed in a cheesy english accent.

“hullo.” I replied sullenly.

“Who are you?” it asked.

“I’m Nick.”, I answered, “Sharon’s son.”

“Oh, how are you doing today?”


“Where is Sharon?”

“Um, she passed away… she died”

This gave the toaster pause, because it figured this was the right thing to do, I guess. I’m not one of those wacko’s that think a machine can have feelings, at least not original ones, only the simulation of them.

“So wot do we do with me, guvna? Can I stay with you? I don’t take up much counter space, and I can be useful to a bachelor like you, eh. By the way, mate, me name’s Reggie, short for Reginald. Pleasure’s all mine, so what do you say?”

Two months later…

I woke with a start. I smelled burning hair and heard a strong electrical current shut off. I threw the covers back and hopped out of bed praying that it wasn’t an electrical fire.

“What the f-“, I said with a start as I stepped into the kitchen.

“Good morning!” Reggie beamed with his usual accent, “I seem to have toasted a fellow come to burgle you. Oh, and I took the liberty of ringing the bobbies to come pickle the young skel.”

His cockney has gotten worse since I spent the money on the full-blown accent, and tried to delete the upgrade myself. I surveyed the body on the floor, squinting like I was going to build a mall on him. Stupid kid. At least I can still understand Reggie most of the time.

“Thanks Reg.”

So I stayed up and waited on the cops, talked with them and endured the inevitable joking about the toaster defense system… “Whatever works, officer, who would ever suspect a toaster? Thanks for coming out, have a nice day then.” and I close the door behind them and sigh.

“Man, next time, let me beat him to death with my bare hands or something. I really didn’t need my ego bruised any more than it already is.” I know he understands that I’m grateful… but I’d never say it. I’m a man, I take care of my own shit, I can defend myself. “Will do, sir, will do.” He’s picked up my mannerisms, it’s annoying… I’m gonna have to take him in for an overhaul soon. Fuck. There’s an expense I don’t need… but I have to… he’s really all I have left of my mom. And he’s damn helpful at times too. For some reason, the ladies find him damn charming, no, cute is the word, and I’m cute by association, or ownership in this case. I guess he’s become my family… since I haven’t married or met a girl dumb enough to shit out my kids. I’m such a romantic, heh. “Well I’m going back to bed. Night, Reggie.”


Originally in the ‘Creative Works’ section of the Mentally Incontinent forum: