Despite company protocol that prohibits interoffice dating, I’ve fallen in love with my new assistant. I make a lot of money drawing zigzags on graphs with lots of numbers. Sometimes I add a Greek letter to make it look important. My assistant has to be able to zigzag and alpha-theta-omega with the best of them. I also need lots of charts, a steady supply of lattes, and wasabi snacks. I fired ten of HR’s fuckups this year alone. But not this one.
At first, R2 – that’s right – the real R2D2, not some phony set double or Happy Meal reject – and I kept it professional. He’d spit out a number with a decimal point in just the right spot from his central processor and I’d run my forefinger in soft circles around his big blue light. That went on for a few weeks and it was fine. We stayed in my cubicle. He’d give me a zig or a zag or a wasabi snack and a latte, and I’d rub a light and feel tingly. He’d coo but no one thought anything of it because R2 units are known to coo when they’re happy and who wouldn’t be happy working with me. In three days, we made it to third base in my cubicle: the red sensor. That one made him flash rainbow lights and scream like he did when he careened across the Death Star. Sheila, next cubicle over, peeked at us that day. We had to stop.
The next week was all business. I stayed on my side of the cubicle, he stayed on his. He gave me numbers when I needed them and fetched me snacks. He cooed a lot to throw off any suspicion. I made a lot of graphs. We put a rune on one to see if anyone would notice. I thought it was over.
Then, one day last week I felt nostalgic. I wore my hair in Princess Leia buns, walked into the cubicle, and sat, as I often do, on the floor with my legs in a V so I could lay out my work. R2 was charging in his corner. Out of nowhere, he rolled into my V and adjusted a loose strand from my bun with his tweezer feature. Then he hologrammed the quadratic formula, thrust out his bionic manipulator with a latte and a foamed Elvis-shape puff, and I creamed my pants.
I stood up, nearly knocked him over, and shouted “Conference Room!” as I have so many times before to no one’s notice. R2 purred behind me as we hurried down the hall.
I had his control panel off before he could bleep.
What do I do? If HR finds out, they’ll send me to indexing like they did to Sheila’s ex-husband and the they’ll have R2 re-programmed and sent to the outer rim.
Forcefully in Love
Alyssa Walker lives and writes in New Hampshire. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Engadget, Huffpost and a bunch of other places. She’s currently working on her first novel. Check out her website, alyssamwalker.com, and follow her on Twitter at @lysmank.