2021 Writing Prompts

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February Prompt   "You must

February Prompt
 
"You must be joking."
 
"No. This is serious. It's money. It's really a big advertising thihg. For their wonderful robots. I've seen her. It. It really does look like a dancer. Sort of."
 
"A robot ballet dancer! A big, hulking heavy thing. How am I supposed to lift her. It. I'll wreck my back forever."
 
"No, no. We've been assured she is very light. Well, for a robot. And very finely made. Here's a picture."
 
Richard, rising young dancer with a rising young ballet conpany in Philadelphia, glanced, scowling, at the slender, slivery figure shown. It did not, in fact, look massive as he had expected. But still . . . 
 
"She ... it is still metal and other heavy stuff. Weighs a ton, no doubt."
 
"Could you at least try it? They're offering a fortune."
 
Richard couldn't keep his mouth from dropping open at the amount.
 
"And they'll give the company much more. Think of the cheorographers we can bring on board."
 
Richard had a little trouble hangihg oh to his scowl, "And what if I get crippled for life."
 
"You won't be. You're strong. AND there is a clause that you get a lot of money for any damage." He named the amout. Richard had to choke beck a whistle."
 
"Not that we expect it to be needed. But if. . .  by some remote, impossible chance . . .  You could buy an estate and start your own ballet school with that."
 
"Hmnm . . ."
 
"But you are strong. And she . . . it isn't that heavy. You'll be ok."
 
All Richard could think of to say was, "Umpf.
 
Two days later he met the group bringing the robot who was to be his partner for the demonstration and video. There were photographers and camera people present, although this was just a rehersal, a trial run, as one of the non-dancers put it. And Richard met his partner. Aside from being a silvery metal, she did look more or less like a dancer, slender and graceful. That was a surprise, despite what he'd been told, he'd expected a clunky, powerful thing, maybe bigger than he was. Even her so-to-speak face was graceful, though not at all humman. No one would ever mistake her for a living person. But the face, though on a head with no hair, was a well shaped oval, with large, slightly slanted eyes which were made of some green, glassy material. Something seemed to flicker within them. That upset him a little so he tried not to look at them. A nose and mouth were . . . sketched in some manner, just suggested on the slivery surface. Again, not at all human, but not monstrous. It was going to be weird, being at the close quarters that a pas de deux required. He took a deep breathe and continued with his warm up. The robot spoke with her . . . it's . . . oh, hell, her entourage for a bit. He could hear a voice. Not bad, sounded a bit silvery, didn't have all the emotion a human would.
 
He finished his warm-up. Someone stuck something at the end of a wire into her shoulder for a few seconds. Then the people he assumed were technicians, there to tend this thing, seemed to be finished. The pianist sat down, played a riff, and paused, looking expectant. The camera people looked very expectant. A man in a suit nodded and the pianist started. It was the Tchaikovsky bit he had been told to expect.
 
The two dancers paced gracefully towards each other. The robot moved smoothly into his hands for a supported pirouette ending in an arabesque. It went well, but he was still worried. The robot moved very nicely and seemed to have a good line, but he did have the impression that she was heavier than his human partners.
 
They paused while the man in charge could have a discussion with the pianist.
 
The robot turned to him. "It seems to go well."
 
Richard wasn't quite willing to admit this yet, but had an insane feeling that he should be polite so he just said, "I guess so."
 
Apparently it . . she . . it was more perceptive then he had realized. "You seem tense."
 
And he couldn't help blurting out, "I think you are much heavier than my  ... other partners."
 
The beautiful bits of green glass stared at him. "I am programned not to injure you." He blinked, not able to process this. But the people in charge indicated they were ready to begin begin again.
 
They did and it seemed to go well. At least nobody yelled at them to stop. They came to the first big lift, when he must lift her over his head, and Richard took a deep breath, steeling himself.
 
He felt metal hands around his waist. Felt himself being lifted into the air. Over the robot's head.  At least he remembered to point his toes.