“The Robots Are Coming to Oil City”

“Robots need a good oiling of course!”

“The robots are coming!” Henry shouted.

The old coot had run up and down Seneca Street shouting about robots for nearly three weeks. The police tried to pick him up for public drunkenness, but Henry was sober as a judge.

“The robots are coming!”

Understandably, no one in Oil City believed Henry.

“The robots are coming!”

“He lives over near Oil Creek. He’s got an old radio and cheap telescope and he says some crazy things,” the manager of the liquor store explained to a new employee. “Needless to say, we don’t allow him inside this store.”

“The robots are coming!”

“I guess the robots must want our oil?” the mayor joked with a reporter from The Derrick. “I have to give Henry credit. He is having some fun with us but that does make sense. Robots need a good oiling of course!”

“The robots are coming!”

There was even some discussion about adding a few comical robots to the lobby mural in the National Transit Building.

As Henry became more and more haggard, some people even tried to give him money. Teenagers frequently stomached his odor to pose for selfies. Henry was readily found on Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook.

“The robots are coming!”

Henry started launching himself into traffic, and the police did issue a few warnings to him. Motorists on Seneca Street were not especially happy with this development, but most tolerated his behavior.

“I really love the way our city has embraced him,” a councilwoman explained on local radio. “Only in our city will you find the love and compassion necessary to accept this situation.”

“The robots are coming!”

When Henry jumped off Veterans Memorial Bridge into the Allegheny River, a local man rescued him.

“I was just doing my part,” he later told the paramedics. “The guy is a legend. He was just having a bad day. We all have bad days once in a while.”

The man was rewarded with gift certificates to Famoore’s Family Restaurant and Rocko’s Pizzeria.

“The robots are coming!”

Students at Oil City Middle School designed and constructed robot costumes in their art classes. The public library set up displays that prominently featured published robot exploits. Passing railroad cars were graffitied with colorful robots. The Oil City Civic Center explored the possibility of hosting a science fiction convention that focused on robots. Clarion University of Pennsylvania, located just downriver, launched a promotion featuring robotics coursework.

“The robots! The robots are coming!”

After months of this especially eccentric behavior, Henry coolly sat down in a local diner for breakfast. He usually had only coffee and a few eggs, but he never tipped. So, the waitstaff frequently sought a good laugh at his expense.

“So, where are all those robots?” a waitress asked sarcastically.

“Beep, boop, beep,” Henry replied.

The waitress wanted to find this odd, but the cook had said the same earlier.

Oil City.jpg

Author: joshuajscully

That’s my picture up there. I’m not totally sure why I look so angry. I may be thinking about how much I hated the Crypt Keeper as a child. I grew up faithfully watching reruns of The Twilight Zone and Tales from the Crypt. Unfortunately, I missed the boat in terms of writing for either of those programs. I do consider both to have been wildly influential when I think back to my earliest thoughts about becoming an author and I’m grateful my parents let me watch those shows as a kid (although there were probably some nights early in my childhood my mother wished she hadn’t let me watch those shows). If you’re familiar with either program, then you know what genres are my focus. I thoroughly enjoy science fiction, suspense, the twist ending, and some horror or supernatural elements as well. Honestly, when I was a kid the Crypt Keeper scared the hell out of me. As an adult, I’ve really learned to embrace the puns. Historical fiction is a favorite of mine as well, and the root of that is shared with my profession. I am an educator by trade, and I teach American History. I consider some of the best writing I’ve ever done to be within the realm of historical fiction and I really enjoy saturating my mind in the research end of those projects. I would make the argument that storytelling is in my blood. Even my sister mulled, very briefly (about 45 minutes), launching a career as a screenwriter! My last name is one of those Irish (and, apparently, formally Manx) ones with a wonderfully researched history -“the story-teller’s descendant”. On of the first day of school each year, I do share that “my name is Mr. Scully, and that rhymes with Kelly”, just so I do not hear the myriad of mispronunciations on the first day. Several years ago, I started a blog similar to this one to highlight my middle years as a teacher. If that aspect of my life is of any interest to you at all, you can still find that blog online. During my summers, I really have time to pursue my writing projects and this blog will highlight some of that work. My first attempts to sit down and write extensively occurred when I was 15, but only a few years ago did I make setting time aside to write a priority. I’ve also benefited wildly over the years from many willing readers among my family and friends. The direction and feedback from those individuals has been invaluable. Outside the world of the written word, I am an educator, basketball coach, lecturer, and (very, very occasionally) a landscaper. I have only ever known Western Pennsylvania as my home. Although I love a good novel, I am absolutely unable to resist the power of the short story. The latter is really what I hope to be remembered for one day.

12 thoughts on ““The Robots Are Coming to Oil City””

      1. I agree. There are plenty of examples of human “programming”. Too many. And maybe more than ever before. Our routines alone can be robotic. I know my can/are unfortunately too often.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I wonder if you know when/if you act outside your normal programming? I mean – I can’t juggle – but is that because I wasn’t programmed too and therefore it doesn’t come naturally or because I haven’t really tried to learn? That can actually get pretty deep if you really think about it!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Do the opposite of what you would actually do I think.
        Dress completely different, talk different, watch different shows, move, quit your job, go vegan, change into a different person, become unrecognizable and do it spontaneously~

        Liked by 1 person

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