• The lighting in the conference room is impeccable – a subtle illumination, just shy of intimacy. It reaches down from the ceiling to bathe visitors in a warm, non-threatening glow that is entirely appropriate for work force meetings.

    “So,” the machine speaks in perfectly measured tones, adapting the left and right corners of its simulated face into an applicable smile, “how was your weekend?”

    “Fine, thank you.” you reply. “ And yours?”

    There is a slight pause, a brief click and whir as it searches the database. Seconds pass as it weighs the relevance of its short list of probable answers.

    The data indicates your wife is pregnant.

    “Saw a movie with the spousal unit and child.”

    “And how was that?”

    “Quite satisfactory, thank you.”

    You wait, though good etiquette mandates a timely reply.

    The machine sits patiently for three minutes and forty-five seconds. It hums and buzzes, processing your variation from the normal script of daily interactions. Something flickers behind its eye holes.

    A fractional adjustment of the lower mandible takes place.

    You smile, leaning further back into the thoughtful ergonomics of your chair.

    “Mr. Smith,” the machine twists the knob at its voice box, adjusting the dial from friend to authority. “Do you know why I have disrupted your primary function this morning?”


    If the machine were capable, at this moment, it would call you a liar.

    Your hair is pink.

    You know your hair is pink.

    You know it is not just any shade of pink, but a neon cotton candy violent explosion of unorthodoxy.

    The machine adjusts its mandible again, drumming mechanical fingers against the conference table.

    The conference table, like all office furniture, does a remarkable job of maintaining aesthetic sensibilities while still being environmentally friendly.

    Quite admirable, really.

    The drumming reaches a crescendo.

    You yawn.

    Those shiny fingers pause, resembling hairless spider legs.

    Eyeless sockets blink.

    The dial turns to friend again.

    You're trying not to laugh.

    ...Because there are no rules on pink in the database.