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Turn about is fair play?


Everlasting Life


J.T. Hamel

     Tehla was one of the many "Grade A “certified organic robots built by Lemah industries and as of right now she was owned by Hershel Null.  Tehla was a fully functional near human robot with the ability to express human emotions.  No one knew how the company had developed this technology and many other companies had tried to duplicate it and failed miserably.  Tehla had come to care deeply for her master, and in the moments before he died, he asked her, “to take care of everything” an undefined, open order.

     She fulfilled the order by rebuilding her master; and in her mind, repairing him was taking care of everything.  She ordered the specialized parts used in creating her and thereby alerted the company.  If she had a sense of fear she would run, but her main focus was her duty to Hershel – her master.  Her hand carefully placed the specialized energy chip into the receptacle in Hershel’s back.  She initiated the start program by pressing in on Hershel’s third vertebrae and waited for him to awaken.  When Hershel moved, Tehla smiled.

     Hershel slowly, painfully awakened to see his faithful servant, “God, I feel like I have been run over by a truck...  was I”


     “Forget it,” Hershel said, he sat up and stretched his arms, “Where is my coffee and more importantly the paper?”

     “I will get them”, Tehla turned and left the bedchamber, and Hershel watched her.  She was a fine figure, perfect in everyway – if he was not so old, he could enjoy her fully, Hershel smiled at his playful thought.

     Hershel got up and walked over to his bathroom.  He was about to shave, but his face was smooth.  He did not remember shaving, maybe he thought, Tehla shaved him while he slept.  He ran the water and washed his face.  Toweled off and headed for the living room to sit in his favorite chair to watch morning news.

     “T.V. on” he said, and the television turned on.  Hershel sank into his chair and placed his feet on the ottoman, “Today is Friday, June 16 2042”

     Hershel scratched his head.  He thought it was Sunday, because he definitely remembered falling asleep on Saturday.  Hershel smiled and shook his head, “Maybe old age is hitting me faster, then I thought”

     “Please repeat”, asked Tehla, she was holding his coffee and paper.

     “Oh, I was just confused about what day it was today”

     “Today is Friday...,” replied Tehla

     “Yes, yes I know,” snapped Hershel, he sank deeper into his chair and pointed at the small table“, Put it there and get outta my face”

     “As you wish” Tehla placed the coffee and paper down on the table.

     Hershel gently grabbed her arm, “I’m sorry Tehla”


     “You know,” Hershel, said, he could feel his blood rush as he stared into her angelic face, “By God you look so much like Vera...  if only I”

     “I am glad that I please you”, Tehla stood up and looked down on her master, “I was fabricated as you wished”

     “Yes, yes of course” flustered Hershel snapped the paper open and started to read it, “I need my medication Tehla”


     Hershel read the paper and was shocked that he did not have to wear his glasses.  At first, he did not notice, but it was when his eyes seemed to scan the page and it felt as though his mind absorbed each word – more so, he remembered every single detail.  Hershel placed his paper down and drank his coffee.  The coffee was bland and it was a full two degrees less then he liked it.  Hershel jumped up off his chair and his head struck the ceiling.  Bits of plaster fell on top of his head, and he landed deftly on his feet.


     Tehla walked into the living room and surveyed the damage, “Yes Hershel?”

     “What’s going on?”

     “What do you mean?” asked Tehla.

     “My head hit the ceiling,” Hershel didn’t know what he meant“, and I suddenly realize my coffee is two degrees cooler then I like it – which is weird”

     Tehla walked over to the coffee and placed a finger in it, “You are correct, it is a full two degrees below your optimal temperature requirement”

     “Yeah see, I never” Hershel stood up and crossed his arms, “I, maybe it got cold when I was reading the paper”


     “My meds”

     “Here they are” Tehla thrust out her hand and Hershel snatched his pills.

     There it was the blue pill, which helped to eliminate all his aches and pains.  Dr. Kilken said he was becoming addicted to them.  Hershel smiled and placed the pill under his tongue.  He waited for the wave of euphoria that normally followed and when nothing happened, he slumped back into his favorite chair defeated - confused.  He began to think that maybe the doctor was right and he taken so many that he was immune to their effect.  Hershel looked at a picture of his wife, Vera and sighed.  Her smile warmed his heart, and his mind drifted.

     “What would you wish for, if you had only one wish?”  Vera asked, she leaned forward and focused her pretty green eyes on him.

     Hershel blushed and stared up towards the moon, “I would want to be immortal like a God.”


     “So I could see everything and be a part of History – live forever,” said Hershel excitedly.

     Vera’s nose crinkled, “What if your friends die or me?  Wouldn’t you be lonely?”

     “Of course, but its only a silly wish Vera” Hershel always loved the way she crinkled her nose, “No one lives forever Vera”

     “Be careful what you wish for”

     “Yeah because I just might get it” Hershel leaned forward and gently kissed her,  “See already I could live forever – with you”

     “Hershel” replied Vera

     “What Vera” asked Hershel staring into her eyes, “what do you want?”

     “Hershel its time for your bath” said Tehla

     Hershel snapped opened his eyes and stared into Tehla’s, “Oh, um I want to go for a walk first” his face reddened with embarrassment.

    “As you wish sir”

     Hershel downed the rest of his coffee and returned to his room.  He opened his closet door and stared at his clothes.  He grabbed the first uni-suit he saw and stared at himself in the full-length mirror.

     Hershel was a tall man and he liked to keep his grey hair neatly cropped to his head.  His dark uni-suit was tailor made and Vera always loved this one.  Hershel licked his fingers and brushed down his thick grey eyebrows.  Looking at himself in the mirror, he felt he looked better then he ever did.  He smiled and left the house for his daily walk.


     Stepping out his tiny bungalow into the bright sun cheered him up.  He could hear the birds sing and Mr. Brenner’s dog bark.  The smell from Mrs. Fitzsimmons garden assaulted his nose, because it reminded him of the gardening he had to do when Vera was alive.  Hershel stepped off and headed towards the park.

     Following Hershel at a discreet distance was a black hover car.  Inside two men were monitoring electronic equipment.  One of the men pointed a scanning device towards Hershel,” Yah, that’s him”

     “How do you know?” asked the driver.

     “The signal from the Enerjon chip is how can tell” replied the man, and he clicked on the monitor, “and the chip lets us see what makes this, Hershel Null tick”

     The screen displayed all the organic robotic parts Tehla had installed.  The other man whistled, “Well one more part to go and he will be just another robot”

     “Yah, that’s what the boss said “don’t kill him” just bring him back – to get fixed”

     “George what do you think you are a mafia hit man?”

     “There is no mafia” George laughed and watched Hershel walk, “Hey Mike, lets just wait for him by his house – there is no need to spook him”

     “What about Tehla?” asked Mike, the young driver pulled over to the other side of the road, “How does a robot like her do this?”

     “She used to be a surgeon, and her real name was Rebecca Simms” George flipped down the vanity mirror and checked his teeth, “She was in bad car accident and her husband pulled the plug”

    “Man cold, was there insurance?”

     “Big bucks, bud, big bucks” said George, rubbing his thumb and forefinger together“, Anyways Rebecca had signed the organ donor card on the back of her license – so Lemah took her body for medical research”

     “So all the robots were once real people, with family and friends?”


     “How do they avoid, you know, having a family member discover them?”

     “Thorough planning and big wallets” laughed George.

     “Did you sign your card?”

     “Organ donor?”


     “Nope and I won’t, you”

     Mike looked despondently out the window, “Yeah”

     “Too bad”, said George, he opened the glove compartment and took out the EM gun, “Well, all we have to do now is wait”

     Mike pushed the button on the side of his seat and leaned back, “Wake me if anything happens”

     “You bet,” George watched as Mike closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.  George yawned and watched Hershel’s house.

     Hershel walked over to the park and sat in the bench facing the man-made lake.  He watched a family of ducks swim and leaned back.  He used to come here with Vera and they would feed the ducks.  They would talk for hours and sometimes they would just hold hands.  Hershel’s eyes moistened and he leaned forward onto his knees.  He held his head in his hands and closed his eyes.

     “Hello Hershel” said Vera; she was younger – beautiful like how he remembered.

“Vera, how did you...,” asked Hershel

     “Shh, Hershel quiet and listen”, Vera asked, she was wearing the dress Hershel bought for her first birthday.  She would wear it even though it was ugly, it was red with black polka dots, and its collar was frilly.  It was the neckline that sold it to Hershel and she never actually got to wear it for long.

     Hershel stared and listened, “I love you Hershel,” she gently kissed him and Hershel felt a slight stirring“, But I am afraid that...”

     “Afraid of what?”

     “Your love is fading Hershel – do you remember your wish?”

     “Of course”, answered Hershel, he was confused and he felt panicky.

    “You are supposed to be dead, Hershel”

    “This has to be a dream”, Hershel shook his head in disbelief, “Maybe I fell asleep at the bench, and I had better wake up before I burn”

    “You are in danger Hershel – in danger of losing your soul and me”

     “What the hell are you talking about!” snapped Hershel.

     “Hey sir, you ok?”

     “Wha-what?” when Hershel sat up Vera was gone and his heart sank.  In front of him stood a young police officer waiting patiently for an answer, “I must have fallen asleep – sorry”

    “S’ok sir just that this is a public park and you were quite animated” said the police officer“, a concerned citizen asked for some help – could I suggest sleeping at home, or the next time you get a citation.”

    “Yes officer...  officer”

     “Campbell, Officer Campbell”

     “Yes, sir” Hershel stood up and shook the young officer’s hand, “Officer Campbell”

     Officer Campbell winced and pulled his hand away, “Go now before I arrest you - old man!”

     Hershel saw the imprint of his hand on the young officers and stared at his own, “Sorry, sorry - I don’t what the hell is going on”

     Hershel left the park and headed for home.  He pondered the changes he noticed and his strange dreams regarding Vera.  Thoroughly confused he ran home, something he has not been able to do for the last ten years.  Hershel did not seem to notice as his feet pound the concrete, in fact, he was not even breathing hard, – and the run was effortless.

     “There he is”, said Mike, he lightly touched George on his shoulder.

     George snapped awake, “Where?”

     “There he is going into his house”, Mike pointed to the house, and Hershel just stepped in.

     George checked the EM gun to make sure it was loaded, and handed it to Mike, “Well Mike, time to pop your cherry”

     Mike stared at George, “Shouldn’t there be two of us?  There are two of them”

     “Do you want me to do this thing?” said George and he reached for the gun angrily.

     “Forget I asked”, Mike placed the gun under his suit jacket and walked over to Hershel’s door.

     Hershel burst into his living room and slammed the door shut.  He shouted Tehla’s name as he stormed around the house.  Tehla stepped out from her small room and stood patiently, almost serenely.

     “What the hell have you done to me Tehla?” shouted Hershel, “Explain”

     “I fixed you master,” said Tehla.

     “Fixed?  Fixed, was I broken like some damn toaster Tehla?” asked Hershel

     “You were dead”, Hershel swore he could see moisture build-up around her eyes, “you ordered me to take care of everything”

     “I didn’t mean turn me into a damn robot”, cursed Hershel, “I am sure that means everything to do with my death – you know burial, the will”

     “I rebuilt your body and I have my master back”

     “Oh my God, you mean to tell me – I am a damned machine, like you!”

     “Yes, now I can serve you for as long as you like”

     “I can’t die?”

     “No, you can “die” if someone shuts you off, and become revived, when someone turns you on” said Tehla reassuringly.

     “Damn, Tehla” Hershel leaned on the wall“, Why?”

     “Why sir?”  Tehla repeated the question, “you asked me to take care of everything”

     “Yes, yes I know that part – why did you “fix” me?”

     Tehla’s face looked blank as she tried to formulate an answer.  There was a knock at the door and Hershel walked over to answer it.  Hershel opened the door, “Yes can I help you?”

     “I can help you”, said Mike as he whipped out the EM gun and fired a shot.  The dart struck Hershel’s chest and sent painful shockwaves throughout his body.  Hershel collapsed loudly on the floor and was still.

     Hershel saw Vera standing over top of him wearing her funeral black clothes, as if she was the widow, “What the hell is going on Vera?”

    Vera dabbed her green eyes and placed a rose on Hershel’s chest, “Where are you going Vera!”

     Vera turned her back on Hershel, and she kept walking until a bright light blurred Hershel’s vision; she turned around and waved good-bye.  Hershel knew it would be the last time he saw her and the surrounding image grew black as his consciousness faded.

     Mike stepped over Hershel and called for Tehla, “Tehla, my name is Mike Denton, and I am with Lemah industries...”

     Mike walked to Hershel’s room and looked around for Tehla.  George told him that the robots were harmless, and they all were programmed to preserve life not take it.  Mike did not feel comfortable, and when he returned to the living room, he saw Tehla.  She was squatting beside Hershel and caressing his face.

     “I had to do it”, said Mike, he shrugged his shoulders, “Orders is orders”, and he pointed the gun at Tehla.

     Tehla stood up and here eyes dared Mike to fire.  When Mike pulled the trigger nothing happened, Tehla smiled and she looked down at Hershel, “I will take care of everything”

     With unnatural speed, she ran across the room and grabbed Mike by his head.  Tehla twisted his head until a sickening snap made his body limp.  Tehla fished through his jacket and retrieved the radio, “It’s done George”,

     “Good, everything is coming together as planned”, George smiled as he sat in the car, “take care of Mike – the same way you took care of Hershel, ok babe”

     “Yes, George”

     George smiled, “like always, you make me proud, Tehla”

     Tehla picked up Mike’s body and walked over to her room.  She carefully placed his lifeless body on her bed and went back to Hershel.  She flipped Hershel on to his stomach to turn him on.

     Hershel woke up with a start, “what the hell is going on Tehla?”

     “Nothing to worry about sir, I am taking care of everything”

A cat and her sorcerer, a beautiful dream weaver, an evil voodoo priest, a bunch of man-sized rats, an army of really big bugs, a crazed randy rabbit, some dwarves, dragons and angry three-toed sloths, New York City, the woods of Maine, the sands of Arabia and the mythic lands of Avalon all come together for the wildest most epic adventure you’ve ever read!!!!

The Sorcerer's Song and The Cat's Meow is an author's triumph and a reader's delight... What a wonderful, free-falling storytelling ride to get to the end of a fantasy that's about as close to purrfect as you can get.

M. Wayne Cunningham - ForeWord CLARION Reviews

A well-plotted story with vivid and riveting description of characters and settings, as well as an intense page turning battle, the book is a delight to read.

Tracy Roberts - Write Field Services

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