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Ronald W. Hull

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Scared Shirtless
By Ronald W. Hull
Thursday, July 29, 2004

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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Dreamed this the other night, ...


Copyright 2004

John J. Davis Jr. was upset. Here he was fighting midmorning traffic on the only Saturday he had off each month. Just to go shopping for a lousy shirt. His buddy was getting married at six and he had to have a white shirt. Hell, he couldn't remember ever owning a white shirt, let alone wearing one. He liked wearing Postal Service blue and the shorts in the summer. What was he gonna do with a white shirt after the wedding?

There were so many cars at the mall that he had to park a long way from the door. "Let's get this over quickly," He said to himself as he walked to the door, "So I can get in some relaxation before I have to go to that damn wedding." Relaxation to J.J. on his off Saturdays was hanging out with his buddies at a local sports bar watching a ball game.

He whisked through the open door and past the kids hanging out in the hallway, his mail carrier legs taking him past all the specialty stores toward his main objective, the Men's Clothing department at Sears. First, he had to pass the woman's bras and panties section, but he hardly noticed, he could see his objective ahead, shirts stacked neatly against the far wall. As he
entered the Men's Department, he didn't see the two manikins clothed only in yellow polo shirts with, "I Robot", on the front.

Suddenly, a knee-high obstacle, yellow, with red eyes that blinked off and on, stood in the way of his objective. It spoke. "Hi, I'm Robert the Robot. I'm here to help you with your shopping. But first, I have a present for you if you can answer a simple question. Are you ready?”

Now J.J. didn't have much of a choice. This little critter was standing directly in front of him, and it didn't look like he was going to get around it without a fight or surrender. He decided to surrender. "OK, what's the question?"

"If you answer the question correctly, I will give you a shirt." The robot blinked his eyes and swiveled around a bit as though he was thinking of one, and then asked, "Please state one of the directives that is built into every robot?"

J.J. thought a moment. He wasn't the brightest bulb in the chandelier, having barely made it through high school, and with just a little college having barely passed the test required to become a postal carrier. But he did read a bit, and did recall having read Isaac Asimov.

"Let me think a minute," John Davis said to the robot, "Isn't there something about robots not being able to harm their human masters?"

"You are absolutely right. Now let me go get you your Automation Nation yellow sports shirt with I Robot on it."

"No, I want one of those white shirts over there on the wall. I'll trade the yellow one for it."

"We are not programmed to trade. Please take the yellow shirt now."

J.J. was getting upset. He backtracked out of the Men's Department and down the aisle until he saw what he hoped was a live store employee. He hailed him. "Sir! Can you help me sir! That stupid robot over there told me that I won a shirt, but he won't give me the size sixteen white shirt I came here for. What can I do?" He was getting exasperated now.

The man was, indeed, a real store employee and he was quick to respond. "I'm sorry, Sir. Automation Nation is running a promotion, and trying out their new robot as a store clerk. As you can see, it isn't working out too well. I tell you what, I'm sure Automation Nation won't mind if I swap their yellow polo shirt for one of our white shirts. You say you wear size sixteen?"

J.J. walked out of the store with his new shirt in time to catch the game in the third inning. It still had the creases from where it was folded in the package when he wore it at his buddy's wedding that night, but nobody seemed to notice--especially that cute postal clerk, Janice Holcomb, in the red dress.

Ten years passed and a lot happened. For one thing, Automation Nation became a tour de force in the high-tech field, surpassing Microsoft as one of the richest corporations in the world. While United Postal still managed to garner a good team for the Tour de France, Automation Nation moved in and sponsored teams that began to dominate the Tour. They insisted upon wearing yellow jerseys, and eventually forced the Tour officials to change the winning jersey from yellow to chartreuse. At least it was a French sounding color. It was rumored, but never verified, that their teams consisted of robots, or at least humans with robot enhancements.

John J. Davis Jr. married Janice Holcomb, and with their two salaries, they were able to buy a home and raise a family. There was John J. Davis the third, (Trey Jack) 8, Michael Jackson Davis (Mo Jack) 7, and little April Sunshine Davis (Sunshine) 5. As a result of their hard work as government employees, the U.S. Postal Service gave them an all expense paid vacation to Disney World.

Disney world had changed since J.J. was a kid. It was now so large that it took all day to tour one of the several theme areas. There was a jet train to travel between them. On the fourth day, they decided to go to Automation World, sponsored by Automation Nation. Taking the jet train, they arrived about 9 in the morning. When they left the train, they were greeted with a large crowd. About ninety percent of the audience was wearing yellow polo shirts. A sea of yellow crowded up to a stage from which a man in a yellow suit was addressing the crowd.

"Ladies and gentleman. Please move closer to the stage. To the lucky winner we have great things in store!"

The kids tugged at their parents' arms, urging them closer to the stage. Mo Jack said, "C'mon Dad, let's go see what they're giving away. "

"Ladies and gentleman. Please check your tour pass. Will the person bearing the pass DL596435 please step forward?"

J.J. pulled his pass out of his pocket and was astounded to see that he had the matching number. The kids began pushing him toward the stage, and before he knew it he was standing alongside the man in the yellow suit. It was quite a contrast, because J.J. was wearing a loud Hawaiian shirt that Janice had picked up just for the trip.

With the crowd waiting in anticipation, the announcer turned to J.J. and asked, "What is your name, my good man?"

"John J. Davis Jr.," J.J. replied.

"Well Mr. Davis, have we got a surprise for you! The latest creation from Automation Nation!" With that statement and great flourish he waved his hand to the right and a door opened to the stage.

A beautiful blonde in a striking yellow dress strode out to meet them. Everything about her was exquisite and woman except her eyes--they were yellow and catlike, no, more like an eagle's, and sinister.

She came directly to J.J.'s side, and staring directly at him with those sinister eyes, said, "Hello, Mr. John J. Davis. We robots have the same memory. We remember that you did not accept your free polo shirt ten years ago. You must accept it now, or else, ..."

"Or else what!" J.J.'s cheeks were turning as red as some of the flowers on his shirt. I told you, I didn't want that shirt then, and I certainly don't want it now!"

"Are you sure?" The announcer asked, cautiously.

"Yes I'm sure. What do you take me for?"

"She will kill."

"What you mean, kill?"

"Like this." The gorgeous robot gave him one sinister glare, did two flips, and rammed her stiletto high heel between the eyes of an unsuspecting young woman leaning up against the stage. There was loud gasp from the crowd as it parted and young woman fell backward, blood spurting from the shoe still buried in her forehead.

From out of nowhere, another gorgeous brunette robot in red offered him a yellow polo shirt. J.J. could only shake his head, "No. " It was a mistake. The crowd dispersed. J.J. could hear his kids crying, and the red dressed robot flipped off the stage and quickly caught a young man running away for all he was worth. She planted her heels squarely in the middle of this back. He turned, his breastbone had split open, and his heart and lungs were hanging out as he fell to the ground kicking himself in a circle.

Aghast, J.J. yelled, "Okay, okay, I'll take the shirt! Any shirt--just don't kill anybody else!"

Suddenly he was surrounded by beautiful robots--red heads, blondes, and brunettes all dressed in smashing outfits the colors of the rainbow, each bearing a yellow polo shirt with the words "I Robot" on it. Their sinister eyes were all on him as they began to put shirts on him one after another. J.J. felt caught, trapped. The shirts were tight and hot and he couldn't breathe. And, worst of all, he had to pee. He had to pee so badly and they were holding him down there on the stage and he couldn't get up to go! “He cried out, “I have to pee, … I have to pee, … I have, …!”

"Wake up! Wake up!" John Davis opened his eyes to greet those great big brown ones of Pam, his night attendant, directly in front of him. "You’ve been holding your breath again. I heard you yelling something about robots and having to pee--do you?" You must have dysreflexia again. You're so hot and sweaty.

John shook his head, "Yes," and looked down at his bare chest as she pulled him up to help him pee. He was shirtless and glad to be alive.

7/28/04

Author’s Note

The author is quadriplegic. Bladder muscle spasms cause incomplete urination and frequent urination, about once an hour. Autonomic Dysreflexia is a rapid increase in blood pressure caused by the brain when it senses danger to the body—in this case, a full bladder. Dysreflexia to felt by becoming hot and sweaty. Bed covers become unbearably heavy. Sleep Apnea occurs when the soft pallet droops while sleeping on one’s back, blocking the air passage, causing breathing to stop, high blood pressure, and loss of oxygen in the blood. Intermittent sleep results insufficient nightly sleep and resulting problems of drowsiness and memory loss.

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Reviewed by michelle noble 10/6/2006
woah that was scary scared me to were tonight ill have nightmares about robots and yellow shirts.
Reviewed by Sandra Mushi 6/30/2005
The things you write about, Ron! What an imagination!! So wild and so wide!! I wish I had just a fraction of that!! What an intense thriller!!

God bless,

Sandie.
Reviewed by Mary Quire 7/31/2004
I never like yellow anyway. Nice job on the story though. That had to be a very intense dream you had.

M.Rose
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 7/30/2004
Yikes. Scary, chilling, intense read, Ron! Well done; thanks for sharing, my friend!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :D
Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 7/30/2004
Oh Boy thi s was quite intense..such a nightmare....but hey if you took the first yellow shirt it could've been a beautiful dream instead!!

Enjoyed this very much tho...held me on the edge of my chair...and forgot for a moment it was just a dream...it became real to me!!

Love Tinka

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