It was one of those days when magic and static filled the air and the veil between worlds was thin. Mr. Bot, a good sensible worker was suddenly struck with the urge to do something different. He couldn’t quite explain what he was feeling, but he wanted to explore. Portals were opening up all over the place, connecting the land of Digitalica with the land of Earth, and Mr. Bot found himself standing in front of one. There was nothing else to do, but to go through.
Mr. Bot emerged on the side of a busy street, but it was unlike anything he had ever seen. This world was loud, chaotic, and so much slower. And, the humans spoke a different language. But Mr. Bot was intelligent and a quick learner, so with a few computations, he learned the tongue and attempted to make sense of the chaos. He realised that this world was too unpredictable to make complete sense of, but he could learn along the way.
As he strolled down the street he came to a café and decided to imbibe a bit of human culture. He observed the humans and sat himself down at an empty table. The waitress came up and asked if he would like some coffee. “Yes, please,” said Mr. Bot in a digital-sounding voice. He thanked the waitress for the cup of coffee and started to drink. Finishing his cup of beverage, he asked for another one, and another, and another. 506 cups of coffee later, Mr. Bot wasn’t feeling too good. In fact, he was emitting a buzzing sound and had gone fuzzy around the edges.
“I think you’ve had enough coffee for a lifetime,” said the waitress as she placed his bill on the table. Poor Mr. Bot, he soon realised that he had to pay for the coffee, but he had no money. The waitress called the owner who came charging to the table, ready to get his payment one way or another. But when he saw Mr. Bot he stopped. He was a kind man and noticing Mr. Bot’s sorry state, he understood that Mr. Bot was new to this dimension. Taking pity on him, he offered him a job to wash the dishes. A job! Yes. This was something Mr. Bot was familiar with and readily accepted.
A few hours later he was well enough to get started. There was a big pile of dishes because business had been good that day. But Mr. Bot was a bot, so he had them sparkling clean in just a few minutes. Then his bot instincts kicked in and he went in search of more dishes to wash. He went around to all the empty tables and collected the dishes, took them back to the kitchen, and cleaned them up well. The owner was really thrilled, Mr. Bot was going to be his best employee yet. Maybe he could bring in a few more bots and they could do all the work.
The owner was not prepared for what happened next. Having run out of dishes to wash, Mr. Bot started going to the tables where patrons were still enjoying their meals and started taking away their plates, cups, and wine glasses. He had to keep washing, that was his job! As the unhappy customers protested and walked out without paying, the owner realised that this wasn’t going to work. But he figured he would give Mr. Bot one more chance. He moved him to floor-mopping duty. Ten minutes later the café floor was sparkling but there was no sign of Mr. Bot.
A waitress thought she saw him leave so they went outside to look for him. There, in the distance, they saw Mr. Bot diligently cleaning the pavement leaving a trail of shimmery asphalt behind him. For the second time that day, the owner took pity on the hapless bot. He raced after him and stopped his cleaning spree. “This world is not for you,” he told him kindly. “There are some jobs we humans just have to do for ourselves.” The waitress who had brought Mr. Bot his coffee accompanied him back to the portal. He thanked her and made his way back home. He returned to his regular job in customer service. Now, this he could do all day, and night, and tomorrow as well.