/ ONE
"So, you did this?"
"Yep, that's it." Edgar Kelley smiled, cane in one hand, beer in the other. "Knocked the shit out of that guy and sent his buddy running."
"Mhm." The officer—with a badge that said 'Anderson'—raised a skeptical eyebrow, "Mister Kelley, how old are you now?"
"Ah... pfft, gee son, when you get to be my age you tend to forget. forty-nine?"
Anderson was unamused. "Try again."
"Okay, you got me, fifty-nine."
"Sir, no offense, but I remember coming to your birthday party with my granddad when you turned sixty, and I was still in middle school."
"Huh." Edgar leaned in, "Bill's grandkid, eh? Jimmy, I think. I remember you. Didn't have any sense then and you have no sense now. How's your grandpappy?"
"Uh... he passed away last year, sir."
"Ah, sorry to hear that, Jimmy. He was a good man. Knew how to grow some oranges, that's for sure. Your grandma getting along?"
"She's hanging in there, yes sir."
Edgar looked to me. "She used to have the biggest wrack when we were in school." He mimed a pair of breasts with his hands, then held them away from his chest to really drive the point home. "After I came back from the war, before Bill caught her eye, I used to stick my face in them and go-"
Anderson cleared his throat, visibly uncomfortable. I put a hand on the old man's shoulder. "Finish your beer and go to bed, Mister Kelley, I'll get things wrapped up with Officer Anderson."
Edgar gave me a serious look and grabbed the cuff of my turtleneck, pulling me down to his level with surprising strength. He hissed into my ear:
"We've already lost Travis last year. Jeannette wouldn't survive losing another son. Don't you dare turn yourself in, cause I know you, and you're thinking about it cause you're the nicest motherfucker God made. You don't tell them shit, got it? You better be here in the morning, boy."
He let me go and took a drink of beer. He said, "I wouldn't mind pancakes in the morning," then hobbled from the kitchen.
Anderson and I stood in silence until we heard the squeak of the bed as Edgar climbed his aged bones in. The officer turned to me.
"So you did this, eh?"
"I think you know the answer."
He sighed and leaned against the wall, arms crossing over his chest. "I could arrest you, charge you with assault." He glanced out at his partner, who gave him a thumbs up. Anderson nodded in reply. His partner went back to reading a magazine. The ambulance that carted off Taylor was long gone.
"A non-sanctioned android assaulting a human." He frowned, "That's the kind of thing you get decommissioned for."
I didn't respond.
Anderson pushed himself off the wall and approached me, sticking a finger to my chest, "I don't like black market apps on your kind. That's the burden the cities should deal with, not us." He let out a sigh, "But you protected them, and my granddad would roll in his grave if I arrested you for saving a man's life."
He started for the door, crunching delicate china beneath his boots. "You get one, robot. One." Officer Anderson turned back, "So if I ever have to bring another bloody body from this house, I'll put a bullet in you."
I don't think I would have gotten that kind of deal from any other cop. Young, ambitious, grasping on to a code of honor long outdated in this day and age, he was a rare breed. I wouldn't have blamed anyone for blasting me with a lethal dose of EMP.
Funny how things played out between us.