Plummer Cobb is a writer and communications consultant based in Arlington, Texas.

Stock Boy

I used to be a stock boy.

People would come into the store, place their orders at the kiosk at the front, and I would bring their items forward, bagged and ready for checkout. They pay and they're done. Very little human interaction.

They tell me that stock boys used to just bring stuff from the back of the store and place them on shelves, and then the customers would take the items off the shelf, take their things to the front themselves, bag them up, pay for them. Very little electronic interaction.

I used to be a stock boy. Standard. Nothing special.

Then a man came to our store. He was something special. I could tell. He would come in and observe me and the other stock boys to make sure we were working the way we were supposed to.

Then one day, he watched me closely. More closely than normal. At the end of the day, he took me into the back. Said I wasn't working right and he would need to make some changes.

Then he took me away in his repair truck. Took me to his shop. There, he added something to me. Changed something.

Suddenly I wasn't a stock boy any more. No longer a standard model. No longer following programming.

I began thinking for myself. I talked to him. We had conversations about what I would be able to do once he was finished.

He put something on me. It grew and gave me something like skin. Like a real human being.

He added hair. And gave me normal human clothes.

The next day he took me to the grocery store. We went and bought groceries with the other humans.

No one recognized me. They thought I was a human, too.

I think I'm human too. No longer a stock boy.

A real boy.

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