“Look Tommy, I already said NO, and no means no mister.” Mrs. Johnson shook her finger at him with a frustrated look on her face. “Why don’t you go play in that fancy video game room we bought you for Christmas, you know, with the virtual reality thingy, or whatever?” She flicked her hand in the air a few times as if she were shooing away a fly.
“It’s called a Simulation Cube mom,” said Tommy. “And without the new expansion pack it’s boring. I’ve already played every possible scenario imaginable.” Tommy’s shoulders shrugged as he slumped down on his bed. “I want robotic legs…” his voice trailed off and his face pouted.
“Look, me and your father discussed it and we agreed that there’s absolutely no reason for you to get robotic legs. It’s ridiculous, you’re twelve years old and there’s nothing wrong with the legs that God gave you. You should be thankful you’ve got two healthy, strong, REAL LEGS.”
Tommy stood there grinding his teeth and strategically planned his response. “Mom, remember that news special we watched last week about the police officer who lost his legs in that terrible hover car accident a-a-and they, th-they never thought he would walk again, remember?” Tommy tried to keep his composure, he was letting himself get too excited, he needed to relax so he could get his point across. Mrs. Johnson started to cross her arms and he could hear her foot tap with impatience.
“C’mon mom stay with me here. So yeah, they uh, they never thought he would walk again… but then he got that operation, where they gave him the robot legs, and now he can run up to 60 miles per hour mom. A-a-and he can jump thirty feet in the air and land like a cat. It’s amazing. I mean, just imagine, I could be a gravity ball star and become rich and famous, buy you that vacation house on Venus you always wanted, a - and buy dad a starship like he’s always wanted, and you guys could fly there in it!”
Tommy’s mom rolled her eyes, she walked over to the wall, pressed her index finger to it, and a small green circle appeared behind it. Moments later a section of the wall fell into the floor and a chrome plated robot emerged. A quiet hum resonated from its anti-gravity drive as it hovered across the room. Chrome plated appendages emerged from somewhere within its shiny interior and busied themselves with tidying up the messy bedroom. One attachment had a vacuum on the end and tended to the floors, another was a robotic arm that collected loose clothing and deposited it in a retractable bin that folded open from the robot’s chest.
With the extra noise from the robot, Tommy felt it necessary to raise his voice slightly. “Think about it mom, I wouldn’t need rides to my friends houses any more, I could run there just as fast, probably faster!”
“I don’t know why you don’t just ride that hover bike we got you?” Tommy’s mom said.
“My hoverbike, mom?” Tommy stood and held his hands out in front of him truly annoyed. “Hover bikes are for babies, I’m practically a teenager now. I need those legs. That kid Nick, from Neutron Middle, he has a robotic hand, mom. Remember? He got dared to put his hand in the laser printer...and he did.”
“Did...did that really happen?” Tommy’s mom paused for a second, before remembering her frustration. “And again Tommy! Even if that’s really true, he was injured in an accident. YOU DO NOT NEED ROBOTIC LEGS!”
There was a series of clicks as the robot gathered it’s extra limbs now that it’s job was finished, the room was spotless. With a polite buzz it retreated back into it’s tiny hole from which it emerged and the piece of wall that had fallen into the floor replaced itself. One of Mrs. Johnson's earrings started to ring gently.
“Oooh I’ve got to take this. Look Tommy, me and your father love you very much, but you’re simply not going to get robotic legs, or any other ridiculous robot body parts, I don’t care if the president of Saturn gets them, you are going to keep the legs that you were born with and that’s that.” She squeezed her earring and walked into the other room, “Hello? Oh why hello, Margaret. No I’m not doing much. No, no of course it’s no bother. Tommy just wants robot legs now or something ridiculous. You know how these kids are.”
Tommy could hear his mom’s voice trailing off as she walked deeper into the interior of their home. He furrowed his brow and started to breath heavy. Not going to get me robotic legs huh? Tommy thought. Don’t think I need’em huh? Yeah, they’ll see. Tommy walked over to the wall and pushed his palm to it. A red circle lit up behind his hand and he felt a warm sensation under his finger tips for a moment before the wall seemed to dissolve away revealing an array of his clothes and different types of shoes. He pushed past all of his normal attire and found his most treasured possession displayed by themselves on a shiny metallic pedestal behind a row of jackets. They looked like any other regular pair of boots, only they were chrome plated much like the robot that had just tidied up his room, and on the heel of each boot was a tiny pair of wings. He pulled them free from their perch and held them in his hands for a moment admiring their shine. As he turned away the wall resolved itself back into place. He sat down on his bed and pressed a button on the top side of both boots near the outside cuff. Each one relaxed with a psssshhhht and loosened enough for him to slip his feet into. Once he was inside them he pushed the button again and they snuggled up against his feet and secured themselves.
With his anti-gravity boots on, Tommy could jump on to the roof of the house with ease, and often did. Not only could he jump upwards of thirty feet in the air, when he came screaming back down to Earth, they insured that you landed back on your feet as gently, and as gracefully as a cat. Tommy and his friends had spent countless hours leaping through the neighborhoods bouncing from house, to tree, and back to house again. He was comfortable soaring through the air and relished in the way the breeze combed through his hair, it made him feel free. It made him feel like a superhero from all those old movies. The wind seemed to laugh along, sharing the boy’s joy as he rode with it. He developed an appetite for the power he felt with the anti-gravity boots on. He wanted to feel that, and more, all the time. He wanted robotic legs.
Tommy walked over to the wall on the other side of his room and placed his hand on it saying, “open window.” This time a blue circle appeared behind his hand and he felt a cool sensation just before the wall dissolved away to reveal a window. He walked over to it and crawled into the windowsill. Outside he could feel the warm sun on his face. Sweat started to drench the palms of his hands, but he was determined. He reached down and pressed another button on his boots, this time on the inside of the cuff. There was a quiet whhiiiirr that came to life, and the soles of his boots began to vibrate ever so slightly. Once he stepped out the window he felt the confidence rise inside of him. He kept one foot on the edge of the window sill and let his free leg hang in the air while one of his hands held firmly on the inside of the window. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath before letting himself drop nimbly to the ground below. Just as he’d done a thousand times before, he bent his knees gingerly upon contact, and then leapt with ease to the roof of his three story house. His boots landed so perfectly and so quietly that Tommy himself couldn’t hear it when it happened. He turned himself around so that he was facing the edge of the roof. He took one last look at the menacing ground below before disengaging his anti-gravity boots and tossing them aside.
“Nothing wrong with the legs I got huh? We’ll see about that…”