Robotic Dreams


Cruising through another post-pandemic day.  I stopped counting.  Another 24 marked with measured caution.  Resembles life on another planet.  Or inhabiting an ever-evolving cosmos.

Sorry for my trove of scrambled memories.  I retrieved them from a bygone era. Along with a bundle of pent-up energy that champions the past.

I’ve studied history.  But never relived it.  Don’t revisit.  Yet, I remain equally uncertain for those of us who lunged so blindly into the future.  Yes, a hi-sci moment for both.


“Swab!” I issue the command and wait, my left hand extended. Ready to carry out a self-administered Covid-27B test.

Within seconds, a holographic flash shows results.  “Negative!” beeps a computerized announcement without a source.

I flash a thumbs up.  And follow with a micro-nod to my neighbor.  Neighbor, protected by an etched glass barrier, acknowledges back.


I step out onto my open-air balcony, where a jetpack capsule awaits – 87% charged.

“Hey!  I know that hum.”  A clean-machine, delivery drone approaches.  Metallic tentacles gripping an innocuous package.

“Damn!” My memory clicks in.  “I forgot to cancel… Better act fast!”


I utter a rapid sequence of commands. My store account appears. I void the delivery. All the while, the drone hovers above me.  Its engines whir.  Then momentary silence. Success!  Descent aborted.

The spider-like drone reverses directions and shoots straight back into the sky.  Package in place, firmly embraced.


My transport capsule takes off, headed for its designated sky lane.

No!  Five-minutes late for my hair appointment.  Overdue for a trim.  I advise voice command.  It promptly factors in the details.  The capsule accelerates accordingly.

A bubble compartment sealed within the salon. Suddenly I’m surrounded by mirrors to capture every point of view.   April’s image illusively sails across the glass and spins my chair. Without warning, she begins to snip and shape to magically create a fresh look. Her real self, nowhere near.

I offer another thumbs up with a pleased grin before she vanishes.


Time for a synthesis of pictures and words to order a new desk.  I watch a structure spew forth from my 3-D printer.  It chugs along energetically, an inspired design instantly taking shape.

Fits perfectly with my existing chair.  A matched set.  Made for each other.  My eyes closed in satisfaction.

Ever so briefly I can see myself as I am.

Now, I appear before me.  First, ten years younger and then ten years older before I see myself as I am.

Three new virtual jackets. The one I settle on instantly makes its way onto a sculpted hanger.  A pair of shoes settle beneath.


My younger sister, Melissa’s image ages as I watch.  Suddenly, she’s there as a child.  I then see her as she is, her boyfriend beside her.  Each stands silently.  Unflinchingly so.

Three children, their future offspring laugh joyously and wave as they play until outgrowing the joy.  Humor screams out eager to be reborn.


Multi-screen fatigue, a new illness, now threatens.  Images tend to blur.  The sounds commingle.   Sharing an investment pitch with a marketer.  Marketing a discontinued line.  Refresh.  Refresh.

Where is understanding?  We need it now.  We don’t need to touch it, smell it, see it or hear it.  Just feel it.  Feel a cool breeze of understanding wafting softly through the air.

Be great if it were contagious.  The right kind of a contagion.  Whatever that might be.


Reaching out to the next virtual mirage.  Instilling within it the powers we need to succeed.  Click on the next, on yet another.  Keep trying.  Perhaps it’s in the next batch.

Is Barbara G a real someone, who can think, understand, respond and execute on her own?  Or is she strictly A.I.?  Will she help or will she take over?

She verbally beckons.  Do I take a chance? What are the odds if I step into her digital web?

I mustn’t blame it on the fatigue.  A shower, some exercise, drink three glasses of cold water fresh from the stream.


I need to express my latest ideas.  If they are appropriate and still matter.  First analyze the situation.  Consider the variables.  Any alternatives?  Factor in the implications.  Project the impact of possible results.

Beware who you don’t know!  Evaluate – a listener or a talker.  The listener gets you to sing your heart out and reveal all.  The talker wants to fill your head with his or her ideas, experiences or just plain gossip.

Neither a listener nor a chatterer be.  Employ a balance.  Deploy your instincts – your better judgement.  Your sense of discretion and understanding.


Melissa, my sister, reappears.  Her image and voice.

“Jeremy, you have to trust yourself!  Please.  You’re always there to help me.  I want to return the favor.”

Her image suddenly is in the center of my computer screen.  Playing Tik-Tac-Toe, Melissa forms the axis I need to win.  The buzzer sounds.  Boxes flash.  They blink.


But Melissa has vanished.  Barbara G is there in her place.  Human or A.I. no way to tell.  She beckons and winks.  I mustn’t give in.  Or should I?  “Melissa, where are you when I need you?”

Besides, I’m not Jeremy.  That’s just a pseudonym Melissa likes to use.  Melissa is too.  Her real name is Naomi.

Her three future kids, now teenagers, nod in unison.


A rotating whir above the balcony.  A delivery drone hovers.  Another package.  My authentic dreamcatcher from India.  My nieces and nephew are gone.  Their father’s image has replaced theirs.  The Covid alarm sounds.

“Corin, sorry, you’re contagious,” I say firmly.  “You have to go.”

“That’s a false positive!”

“Can you prove it?”


“Hey Corin,” I yelled. “What the heck are you doing?”

“Gosh, that sure is a cool dreamcatcher…” he said admiringly.  “Trust it.”

But too late.  His image was gone.  Barbara G’s too.

About the Article

Peering out at robotic dreams and post-pandemic life from 2032.  This is part 1 of a cerebral journey through time that continues with Shattered Lens, East To The Sun, Sleight of Mind and Firwood Crossing.

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