wash, dry and de-crease, but should also be able to embroider monograms, sing, composesonnets, hold conversations, dance or do lots of other sales promoting gimmicks. Before longthere were highly intelligent machines that could make economic predictions and psychoanalyse dreams. Many of these machines had formed clubs and societies of their own.Others had become involved in crime.For several moments Billy and I stood watching each other. While working in thelaundry Billy had been getting into computer bank accounts and transferring money into his
own. What he wanted with the money was anybody’s guess. May be he was goi
ng to retire toCuba and surround himself with cute microwaves.
“Give yourself up Billy. You don’t stand a chance.” I yelled.
“Go to hell copper!” shouted the appliance.
He opened up with a brace of pistols so I dived behind a pile of trash and began toreturn fire. After about five rounds I realized the slugs were bouncing off him. He wasarmoured. This was the least of my worries. His loading door swung open and I glimpsed thesix barrels of an electric gatling gun, rate of fire 6000 rounds per minute.It was then a I realised that Billy was a Shootomatic:
originally designed to play
cowboys and Indians with children they’d been modified by mobs to destroy anything byrapid fire. “Anything” meant me.
I flattened myself against the wall a second before Billy started filling the trash heap
with lead. A hundred rounds a second. If he got me in his sights just once I’d be at least
crippled. The bullets had nearly reached me when Billy stopped firing and disappearedthrough a door and into a warehouse.I waited a second and then followed, running close to the wall. Gun ready I slippedthrough the door and into the dark gloom.
I couldn’t see Billy, which was half good. If I couldn’t see him, he couldn’t see me andif he couldn’t see he couldn’t shoot. To tell the truth I was a bit worried. I’d never fought aShootomatic before and didn’t have a weapon that could even scratch him.
There was a pistol shot and I dived to the ground. There was another shot and I
realised the bullets weren’t meant for me, but for so
me target on the other side of the room. I began to move forward, carefully. The creep still had his gatling gun. There was the loudcrack of a high powered rifle and the familiar crunch of a washing machine pushing a door open.I ran forward. Again I was too late. Billy had shot the lock off the back door and washalfway down the street.I brought up my gun and started blasting shell into his rear workings. He spun roundwith surprising speed and a panel on his left side swung open. Before I could move twomagnum rifles began blasting at me and bullets hit me in the arm and flank.My automatic slipped from my fingers and I fell to the ground. My right side was wet
and numb and all I could hear was Billy’s mocking laughter.
“Not so tough now, are you Mister
Policeman? You better watch out. The kitchencreatures are taking over!
Then I blacked out.************It was two days before I was fixed up ready to go back on the streets. And when I was Ihad only one thought. Find Billy!************The tip off had come from Theobald-
X, a food mixer I’d once busted for a spare partmugging. “Go to the Goitery” he’d said “You’ll find Billy there”.