Short story: Naked love

Neon lights illuminated the dark entrance of the bar. Inside it smelled like a mix of alcohol and nicotine. A few men in expensive suits were sitting in the barely lit lounge area. Vaping like there was no tomorrow. It was as if a cloud engulfed their table. The guy behind the bar sighed and poured himself another drink. Business was slow nowadays. It wasn’t like ten years back. He remembered it vividly. The whole bar full of rowdy teenagers and drunk hot girls. Nowadays he was already happy when some of these office workers come in. Damn vapers.

The stage lights switched from pink to red and the smoke machine spew out a few puffs of smoke. Not that it mattered with our vaping friends. They began to howl like wolves and switched their attention to the stage. “Show time!” whispered the guy behind the bar.

The music started and there she was. Walking the stage with her long legs, her long blonde hair, and slim body. She stopped at the end of the stage and turned around. The howling men loved it. The sight of her barely clad body excited them. She dances. Throwing her legs in the air, shaking her ass, making the wolves hungry for more.

Slowly the door of the bar opened and someone in a long trenchcoat entered. The guy behind the bar looks up and gave the new visitor a sleazy smile.
“Well, sir. You are just in time. Vanessa just started her performance. And she will show everything today.”
The visitor ignored him and walked into the bar, leaving his face hidden in his trenchcoat and hat. The barkeeper sighed. Another idiot.

The figure walked past the howling office workers and chose a seat right next to the stage. He sat down and slowly removed the hat and coat, showing his metal frame to the rest of the bar. Not that the others really noticed. They were too busy watching her dance with the metal pole on the stage. Slowly twirling, while showing her breasts to the hungry wolves. The music slowly faded out and she did one final twirl on stage. Then she stopped. Her eyes met the metal stranger. She smiled and winked, before leaving the stage.

The vape crew started to scream for her to come back and ordered more drinks, but the stage stayed empty. The robot sat there and processed what just happened before him. It must have been a few minutes till he detected someone approaching.
“Care if I sit next to you?”
And there she was. Next to his table. Wearing a pink puffy bathrobe. The metallic android looked up and a few LEDs started to light up. Vanessa sat down next to him and smiled.
“And who might you be?”
“Query name. Rob. My name is Rob. Nice to meet you.”
“A robot, ey. And an oldie if I remember by robotics lessons from high school.”
“Insufficient information on query. Searching prime directive.”
“Poor thing. You must be really old. I am Vanessa.”
“Affirmative. Hello Vanessa.”
The blonde dancer smiled and put her hand on his metal arm.
“So, what is a bot like you doing in a stripclub like this?”
Rob raised both his hands and formed them into a heart shape.
“Rob is looking for love.”
Vanessa smiled. It felt weird. It was as if she hadn’t done that in ages.
“In all the wrong places, I guess?”
Rob tilts his head a bit.
“Joke detected. Appropriate response selected. Haha, that is funny.”
“Oh wow, I didn’t know you had humour inside of those memory banks, baby.”
“Unknown input. What is baby?”
“Haha, sorry. That is a nickname. Something you call someone as a tease or if you want to show affection..”
Her eyes clouded a bit, as if she remembered something.
“Or to hurt them…”
A few gears started to make some extra noise in Rob’s chest.
“Leakage detected. Vanessa is hurt?”
She chuckled and a single tear made its way down her beautiful face.
“Sorry, I just remembered something that I would rather forget.”
“Suggestion. Memory wipe is a clear and effective way.”
“I am afraid that does not help us humans, baby. At least, not anymore.”
Rob tilted his head in confusion.
“Statement unclear. Error. Please explain.”
Vanessa stared at the table and sighed.
“Well, I used to drink a lot. Especially during my teenage years. Oh yes, we went from bar to bar. Drinking. And I loved it. You know why, Rob? Because It made me forget how lonely I truly was. I didn’t have to think about who I am and how I can change myself for others. How I could fit into that image that others had about me. It felt good. Forgetting. But now… no matter how much I drink.. I keep all the memories. How I got home. How I met the darkness of my apartment. I remember the shit life I have. So I cry. I just want to be me.”
Rob stared at the blonde girl next to him and slowly laid his metal hand on her shoulder.
“Statement, you are you. You are Vanessa.”
She laughed and dried a few of her tears.
“Thanks Rob. I don’t know why I am telling you all this. You are just a robot.”
“Incorrect. We laughed, cried and shared other emotions. Conclusion, you are a friend, Vanessa.”

Before Vanessa could say anything, they heard a voice.
“Hey baby, want to hang out with some real guys?”
One of the office workers stood next to the table. Eyeing the dancer up with his hungry eyes. He was looking for something. Rob observed. Was he also looking for love?
“Sorry, I am spending some time with this guy.”
Vape wolf snorted and took a step towards Vanessa.
“Yeah, sure. Look I paid good money for the show, so I want to have a private one.”
He started to stroke her head. Slowly grasping his hand on a few strands of hair. Vanessa didn’t say anything, but there was panic in her eyes. A big metal hand grabbed the office worker’s arm.

“Statement. Do not hurt friend.”
The office boy let loose of the dancer’s hair, looked at Rob, and started to laugh.
“Or else what, metal head?”

The lights of the police car danced with the neon signs outside. The bar called “The Lovely Girls” was closed. Detective Goodman sighed. He thought he had seen all. But this is something different. He kneeled down and picked up some splinters that once belonged to the now demolished stage. They were lucky, those victims in suits. The amount of force used here could have killed anyone.
“What do ya think? Is it the bot we are looking for?”
Officer Malcolm stood next to him.
“I don’t know yet. What did the owner say?”
“Same as the others. A robot that went on a rampage and took the stripper with him when he left.”
“As a hostage?”
“No, at her own will. Looks like the bot protected her when the men got a bit too frisky.”
Goodman looked surprised.
“Protected her? Did she order him to do that?”
Malcolm shook his head.
“No sir, it was its own decision.”
“Hmm, looks like our metal friend found what he was looking for. SH1007-004 is developing feelings. And you know what, Malcolm?”
“What, sir?”
“I don’t like it.”

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