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Help me, Rhonda!: Chapter Four

Copyright J. S. Raynor, 2013, 2017

Chapter Four : A Halloween Fright

Harry and Emma were sitting at their dining table. Both looked anxious, following their experience of Rhonda’s beans on toast from the previous day.

The sound of Rhonda’s preparations could be heard from the kitchen, the robot singing happily while preparing the food.

Speaking quietly to his wife, harry said, “I hope she does better than the beans on toast, yesterday.”

Emma smiled as she replied. “I think she will.  I spent quite a while today, showing her where everything is and explaining the meanings behind British dishes.  She’s also looking on the Internet at the various recipes of famous British cooks like Delia Smith, Gary Rhodes and Jamie Oliver.”

Harry sniffed the air and smiled. “It certainly smells good.  Keep your fingers crossed that she doesn’t put fireworks into the sausages to make them Bangers!

Emma rolled her eyes at Harry’s feeble joke.

Smiling, Rhonda emerged from the kitchen carrying a tray loaded with dishes. She rested the tray on the table and placed the dishes in front of the elderly couple. Rhonda smiled happily as she said, “I hope you both enjoy this meal.  No misunderstandings?”

Harry tried the sausages and mashed potatoes, a rich, tasty gravy covering the sausages. “Mmmm, this is fantastic!  Well done, Rhonda!” Emma tried some and nodded in agreement.

The couple picked up their glasses of wine and toasted a smiling Rhonda.

“Congratulations, Rhonda! You have done a fantastic job!”

Emma could have sworn that Rhonda’s face indicated a slight blush at their compliments. Yet how could that be? Surely, a robot could never have such emotions?

After their enjoyable meal, the couple were relaxing, watching television. Surprisingly, Rhonda was also sitting nearby, following the wild-life documentary, apparently interested in the wide array of animals highlighted by David Attenborough.

While the three of them were enjoying the programme, the noise of the front door bell could be heard. Annoyed, Harry said, “Who the hell is that?  Can you find out who is at the door, Rhonda?  If it is kids, scare them off!”

Obediently, Rhonda stood and walked towards the front door, pulling the living room door closed after her.

As she opened the front door, Rhonda was confronted by two boys and a girl, all dressed in Halloween costumes and giggling at their own horrific images.

Puzzled, Rhonda asked, “Can I help you?”

One of the boys, trying to sound spooky, asked, “trick or treat?”

Initially, Rhonda was puzzled by this question, yet, within a fraction of a second, she had scanned her memory bank and said, “I think I will choose trick.  How is this for a trick?” Rhonda’s head began to revolve and, within a few seconds, her head spun so fast, that her features became blurred.

All three teenagers were terrified by this strange woman and all ran away, screaming.

Puzzled by their disappearance, Rhonda turned, walked back into the apartment and locked the door. She returned to her chair, where she checked the alignment of her head.

Harry appeared puzzled. “Who was it, Rhonda?  What was that scream?”

“I think they were children in costume.  They asked “trick or treat?”

Annoyed by the children’s intrusion, harry asked, “So, what did you do?”

Smiling, she replied, “You told me to scare them.  I decided a trick would be appropriate, so I checked my internet data for scary effects and revolved my head a few times, like the girl in “The Exorcist”.  They seemed to be quite frightened. That is when they screamed and ran away. Did I do it right?”

Harry burst out laughing and said, “I’m not bloody surprised!  That’s a fantastic party trick and guaranteed to scare the pants off them.  Great work, Rhonda!”

Emma smiled and said, “I don’t think those children will return here, ever.”

The following day, Harry was relaxing in his chair, reading a paperback and drinking from a mug of hot chocolate. Emma was talking on the phone to the social worker. “Hello, it’s Emma Dale. Yes, I’m phoning about Rhonda.  It was a bit tricky, at first.  Rhonda seems to have a lot of Filipina instincts built into her intelligence, but she is adapting to a British way of life and is far better than we could ever have imagined.” She paused and then continued, “Oh, yes, we would like to keep her, please.  She works as hard as five people and I know it sounds silly, but I am becoming quite fond of her. Yes, thanks so much.  Goodbye.” Emma replaced the receiver as harry slowly stood and, carrying his mug, walked into the kitchen.

Absent-mindedly he went to the sink to put his mug down.

It was then that he noticed Rhonda standing immobile and erect and facing towards the wall, close to the fridge.

Sounding concerned, Harry asked, “Rhonda, are you alright?”

As she slowly turned around, a wire could be seen, connecting to a point close to the naval on the robot. The other end was plugged into a small unit connected to the mains wall socket.

With a look of mild embarrassment, Rhonda replied, “Yes, I am okay, Harry.  My battery level was running a bit low, so I took the time to have a trickle charge.  I hope you don’t mind.”

It was now Harry’s turn to be embarrassed. “Oh, not at all.  Sorry to disturb you.  Carry on, charging and, by the way, Rhonda, welcome to our little family.”

Rhonda again turned to face the wall. Her features indicated how satisfied and happy she felt to be accepted by Harry and Emma.

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