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Billy

Billy

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Published by uncle phil
This is a story I wrote more than 20 years ago. I can’t remember exactly when I wrote it but I recently found it in my papers and it was hand written on pages from an exercise book. I’ve decided to reproduce it as it was originally written, making only minor corrections in punctuation and spelling.The story was inspired by a few lines in a story by Stanislaw Lem that I was reading at the time.

This is a story I wrote more than 20 years ago. I can’t remember exactly when I wrote it but I recently found it in my papers and it was hand written on pages from an exercise book. I’ve decided to reproduce it as it was originally written, making only minor corrections in punctuation and spelling.The story was inspired by a few lines in a story by Stanislaw Lem that I was reading at the time.

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Published by: uncle phil on Jul 09, 2011
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07/09/2011

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 Billy
by
Phil West
It was mid-afternoon when we reached the laundrette. A typical sort of place ona quiet corner in the outer suburbs.My partner was Malleck, a nice lad but a little new to the section. We paused outsidethe glass door and checked our weapons. He laundrette was near deserted, but you cannever be too careful. The only one to pay us any attention when we entered was the manager.
Can I help you gentlemen?” he asked, raising a quizzical eyebrow. We must have
looked a bit conspicuous, not carrying laundry bags.Malleck flashed his shield at him.
We’ve come for one of your employees.”
 The manager went whit
e. “For what crime?”
 
Computer Embezzlement.”
 
“Where’s Billy?” I asked.
 
He’s back here.” answered the manager and began to walk towards the back of the
shop.It was then Billy made his move. He swung out into the aisle and opened fire with a pistol. Malleck and myself 
dived for cover. The manager didnt have the advantage of a cop’s
reflexes. He caught four slugs.Billy ran into the back. I followed while Malleck tended the manager.The back room was dark so I went in fast, not wishing to silhouette myself against thedoor.I knelt behind some of the shelves, drew my gun and listened. All quiet. There was anoise like a door being kicked in, and I heard noises from the street.I ran to the back of the store room and out into an alley. At one end was Billy, trying to batter down another door.
Billy!I yelled. The washing machine turned to face me. He looked like a standard
model, square, front loading, little drawer to put the powder in. That is where he hid the pistol.It had been ten years since the first of the intelligent kitchen appliances had beenmanufactured. Some designer had decided that washing machines should not only be able to
This is a story I wrote more than 20 years ago. I can’t remember exactly when I
wrote it but I recently found it in my papers and it was hand written on pages from an
exercise book. I’ve decided to reproduce it as it was originally written, making
onlyminor corrections in punctuation and spelling.The story was inspired by a few lines in a story by
 
Stanislaw Lem
that I wasreading at the time.
 
 
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 anybodys guess. May be he was goi
ng to retire toCuba and surround himself with cute microwaves.
Give yourself up Billy. You dont 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 theyd 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 Id 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 couldnt see Billy, which was half good. If I couldn’t see him, he couldnt see me andif he couldnt see he couldnt shoot. To tell the truth I was a bit worried. Id never fought aShootomatic before and didnt 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 “Youll find Billy there”.
 
 
The Goitery was a typical bar for kitchen mechs. Loud, crowded and not a human insight. The single bar was filled with appliances talking, joking and recharging their batteries.One side was a floor washer singing Golden Oldies. At the back were several refrigerators of ill repute.Feeling distinctly out of place, I approached the barman
 – 
a pressure cooker chattingup a chip fryer.
Where’s Billy?” I asked. The pressure cooker didnt answer but glanced at three
heavies moving down the bar towards me. They were typical contemporary enforcers. Smart paintjobs and heavy guns under their left hobs. Without a word the stoves escorted me to atable at the back of the bar. There sat a fat dishwasher.
Welcome” she said “I am Madame Pompafrit.”
 
I thought Ernie Stan
dsfield had got you.”
 
It’ll take more than that psychopath to put an end to me.” she sneered. Ernie was an
eye-level grill working the rackets at the east end docks.
Whats your problem?” she asked.
 
“I’m looking for Billy.”
 
“I know many Billys.”
 
This one’s a white shootomatic that used to work at O’Keats Laundry.”
 
Ah, that Billy. I know him. Bit of a hardcase. No I havent seen him for months. Sorry”
 I left the bar knowing she was lying. But what could I do. Kitchen creatures stick together when it comes to outsiders. I could try asking Ernie the Grill. If Billy was working for his rival he might give me a lead. But fir 
st I’d have to get past his bodyguard, heavy handed,
cop-hating Brian the Oven.As I climbed into my car I saw a piece of paper on the passenger seat. I picked it upand read:-BILLY WILL BE AT THE ROCKET PORTTOMORROW AT 9.00THEO XVery interesting! This time, I mused, things will be different.************At three minutes past nine a light flashed on my communicator and my SWAT teammoved into action.
Within fifteen seconds we’d surrounded the departure lounge and the rebel machine
stood alone.For several long moments I watched Billy. I had a feeling he was going to fight.
Give up Billy. You dont stand a chance!I yelled through the megaphone.
 
Go to Hell!yelled the irate machine. “Youre not going to dismantle me!
 Best try to soft talk him.
Who said anything about dismantling? Theyll probably justreprogram you.”
 
And go back to working in the laundry? Never! Youve no idea what thats like. Twelve
hours a day sucking underwear dry. And some of the things they load you with! Yuk!All day yo
u have to listen to the conversations. Who’s sleeping with who. Whathappened on the soap opera last night. Where they went for their summer holidays. Well Illtell you something Mister Policeman. I want to get out and live.
 

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uncle phil added this note
This is a story I wrote more than 20 years ago. I can’t remember exactly when I wrote it but I recently found it in my papers and it was hand written on pages from an exercise book. I’ve decided to reproduce it as it was originally written, making only minor corrections in punctuation and spelling.The story was inspired by a few lines in a story by Stanislaw Lem that I was reading at time.

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