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The Companion

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“What’s for dinner?” asked Isaac.

“I was thinking of doing some jollof rice and chicken with some vegetables,” said Hal. “You can eat while we watch the match.”

“Watch the match?” said Isaac. “After the tragedies of the last few matches, I don’t now if my heart can take it.”

“You can take it,” said Hal “Your heart is stronger than any of those young boys in the pitch.”

Isaac laughed and showed off some of his fancy footwork, “Yes, I could give them a run for their money.”

For his seventy-fifth birthday, Isaac’s daughters had decided to buy him a companion. Hal was a robot, to put it in simple terms. In more complicated terms, Hal was an artificially intelligent automaton. Hal could help with the physical work needed to maintain the home, but he could also wax lyrical on the match strategy of the manager of Isaac’s favourite football team. At first Isaac had been skeptical, resistant to the presence of the strange creature in his home. Hal had been patient, possessing the colossal levels of empathy and kindness needed to befriend a grumpy old man. Eventually the two became firm friends.

Isaac was a quiet man. He liked nothing more than to sit and watch the world go by. At his age, it did seem to be going by so much more quickly, and he had seen his fair share of comings and goings. Three quarters of a century had already passed him by, and time was still marching on . He had worked as a bus-driver for many decades. The job had supported him in raising his children with his dear wife, and seeing the few bits of the world that were of interest to him. His beloved had passed a few years back. Her time had come and gone, and now he had to somehow go on without her. However, he was not alone. He had Hal.

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