Despite his exuberance, Theo quickly found the day intolerable. Fantasizing about his car had soon given way to clock watching. Clock watching in turn descended into annoyance and irritability. Theo flumped about the apartment, not knowing what to do to pass the time usefully, so he decided to re-personalise the decor in the hopes that his adulthood had unlocked some new wallpapers.
Theo flicked his hand at the nearest wall with a limp wrist and watched his various colour options appear like swatches. 'Blue, Red, Red with Polka Dot, Grass, Pink,' he muttered to himself, 'Black, Cats, Woodland...' None of them particularly appealed so he asked the wall to randomize itself instead. The wall plumped for a rich dark wine colour with bright orange stars.
Bored again, Theo decided to use some time teasing his Autotutum. 'Auto?' he said, swivelling his hind about on his bean bag. The robot had followed him into the room and was standing to his, awaiting orders. On hearing it's 'name', the Autotutum twitched to attention. 'Yes, Theo. How may I be of service?' the machine intoned,
without moving its pixellated smile, like a ventriloquist and a puppet combined. Theo twiddled his fingers, thinking of a question. The Autotutum waited in silence. 'Do you know what colour car I'm going to get?' 'Yes.' said the Robot, impassively. 'Suppose I've told you before,'
said Theo. He closed his eyes and imagined it - racing green! Just like the cars before the War, and it was called racing green for a reason too, he had seen films of little box-like rally cars dashing about and throwing dust everywhere in his passenger-lessons. Of course, they were instructional films in how unsafe cars were before the P.S.A. stepped in and took control of the motor industry, but in the twenty-five
year old's mind, there was no colour quite as perfect for his very own car. 'Green with white stripes and red seats,' He murmured to himself. 'I am sure your personal opinions have been taken into account.' Said the Autotutum, breaking his day-dream. Theo threw a pillow at it, which the robot neatly caught and plumped. 'Wish you'd be a bit
more...romantic sometimes, you know. How about that,' Theo pointed to the wall, 'Do you like it?' 'Do I like what?' 'The red and the orange. The wall choose it.' The Automaton blinked a hundred little cameras at the wall and said, ''I understand. Theo, I can neither dislike, nor
like, to me, the change of the colours of the wall merely indicate that the wall was changed. That is all.' Theo slumped back into the bean bag. It was always the same answer - no liking, no disliking. How was he supposed to have a conversation with something that was utterly devoid of interests. The Autotutm was a gift from the P.S.A. for being such a good
citizen (being a good citizen seemed to involve being born without mutation), and Theo was very grateful for their benevolence - how easy life was with a constant helper - but it wasn't a friend. Sensing Theo's disappointment, the Autotutum said, 'If I was human with fully functioning thought capacity and perfect colour vision, I do not think I would like the wall.'
'Hmm, and why's that?' asked Theo distractedly, still thinking about his lack of friends. 'Because orange and red, which is a purple red, do not compliment each other as per the laws of the colour-wheel in that -' 'Yes, yes I know,' said Theo, realising that if he didn't stop it, the Autotutum would launch into a lecture into why humans
did not appreciate what the wall had chosen for itself. 'It was just a joke.' 'Ha.' replied the robot, 'Would you like to hear a joke in return, Theo?' 'Not really,' said Theo, pushing himself up off the bean bag to find something slightly more constructive to do. 'It's not as if you'd find it funny, anyway.'
'Perhaps that is the joke, Theo. A funny robot. Ha. Ha.' The Autotutum smiled its ventriloquist smile, and followed Theo out of the room.