We'd had a robot dog for years, because my sister was allergic to anything more intelligent that her. My mother, a stern but forgiving woman, had still wanted a pet, so she bought a robot dog. Unsurprisingly the dog outlived my sister, who was run over while chasing a car round the neighbourhood. My mother never cried, she just upgraded the dog until it could check my homework for me and find mistakes. I hated it.

When I left school I went to work in a bakery and moved out into a shared flat with two girls and a mechanical canary that would whistle the Marseillaise whenever they undressed. I closed my door and installed a bolt on the inside, and my mother had the dog upgraded again and sent it to university. At some point, she renamed the dog after me, and me after the dog. I took the hint, and refused to visit.

The mechanical canary exploded, its little head shooting off its body so hard that it embedded itself a foot deep into the ceiling. That was the day after I moved out, and I heard about it through the bakery grapevine. I changed jobs, going to a new bakery and a better salary a few days later. My new flatmate had robo-fish that kept rusting. I kind of liked them.

My mother's dog graduated from university and did three years at graduate school, after which she upgraded again, using designs that it created for her.

The dog killed her three days later, and fled the country. We've not seen it since.

My relatives say it's robo-dementia. I melted my screwdrivers down and flung the shapeless ingots into the river.

The End

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