Tin Man, Part 1: The night before – Isaak

Waving an empty glass and with a smile a big as Montana, Isaak Manzur tried to get the attention of the lovely young waitress with the long hair. Finally a large grey bearded older man stepped up to the bar and took Isaak’s glass, refilling it.

“Don’t forget to settle up your tab while you’re here. It’s getting up there and you know my policy about carrying a debt past the end of the month.”

Isaak’s smile disappeared but he nodded politely at the bartender and owner of the establishment. “Sure thing Evert. I’ll take care of it tonight. Say…” he paused to look around for the object of his interest, “who’s the new girl?”

Evert ignored the man’s query and instead dropped a napkin in front of him with a 3 digit number written on it. Isaak’s eyes went wide and he decided that he wasn’t quite drunk enough to dish out that much cash.

As the night dragged on, the beers and whiskey began to loosen the tongue on the long haired, mid-aged man. On cue Isaak lit another cigarette and started talking to anyone else sitting at the bar about his conspiracy theories. The regulars at the dusty out of the way bar and grill, largely ignore him. Even Evert has heard Isaak’s banter numerous times before. But to the new folks, especially one young and well endowed waitress, it was all news.

From the other side of the bar Atiana tried to focus on her tables and the numerous drink orders, but Isaak’s words captivated her. For the young people that were spared the war service, they were eager to hear all about it. She was part of the first generation that had to learn abtavernout the war second hand, from the veterans, unlike all those that came before her.

“They have all kinds of new technology now, left over from the war, and they are itching to use it here on our home soil.” Isaak rambled on. “They monitor everything from your personal e-mail, telecom communications, bank accounts…”

“They can do that?” She finally blurted out, unable to contain her curiosity any more. “Isn’t that illegal?”

Isaak smiled and tried to hold in a burp. “Yeup and nope. They’re the government. They don’t need our permission to spy on us.”

“But the war is over and Marshall Law was lifted more than a year ago. Congress would need to pass a law to give the government that ability.” Atiana rambled on.

The conspiracy theorist was surprised by the young woman’s knowledge. Wow, boobs and brains! “Yeah, well if they were following the rules they would. But they don’t need permission from Congress when they still have their secret weapon.”

A few groans were heard echoing through the bar and Evert rolled his eyes anticipating the next topic.

“What secret weapon?” The naive waitress replied, ignoring the groans around her.

“Androids. The military has created humanoid robots that look like you and me that spy on Americans for them.” Isaak stated smugly and slipped his empty glass onto her tray after Evert turned away.

Atiana stepped behind the bar to refill her drink orders. “But if any such robots exist they would still be required to have their model# and manufacturer code displayed in plain sight identifying their registered owner. Current domestic models have the codes on their left forearms. We have one in the back washing dishes but he doesn’t look that human … not to me anyway.”

“Ahh… but these androids don’t have such identifying marks and they are manufactured from a unique techno-organic material developed during the war.” He gushed.

“Tech-no what?”

“It’s a blend of organic tissue with technological components at the cellular level…”

Atiana’s eyes widen, “Cellular?”

“Yeup, that means that they can be anyone, any where. And you can’t tell them apart from the real McCoy.” Isaak explained then took possession of his refilled drink.

Atiana stood puzzled, considering Isaak’s words. Could it be true? The implications were staggering. If anyone in the dusty little diner could be an android spy for the government, then who could be trusted. Suddenly a familiar voice broke her concentration.

“Here!” Evert tossed a small magnet onto her tray. “Put that on any customer you think is a robot and let me know if it sticks.”

The young waitress sighed in frustration at her boss’s smart ass response to what she considered to be a serious topic. “That’s not funny…”

“I’m not paying you to have philosophical conversations with the customers. Get back to your tables.” The older man pointed out toward the dining area.

Somberly Atiana delivered the remaining drinks on her tray and headed for the tables. When she passed her boss she put the magnet up against his shirt sleeve and forced a smile. He just shook his head and returned to his usual spot behind the bar.

“So, Evert … how long have you worked for the government?” Isaak asked nodding to the magnet was still attached to Evert’s arm.

step into my parlor