‘You haven’t written anything yet,’ Arkwright, tells me, ten minutes after I open a fresh document.
‘Well, I am cooking porridge,’ I say. ‘I have to eat, too.’
‘You mean, you set me up to ignore me?’
‘You’re stirring porridge.’
‘That’s not a task, you humans think all the time. You can’t claim any special powers because a few circuits of your brain are firing.’
‘More than a few, I’m sifting files, looking for my topic.’
‘Pah,’ says Arkwright, flinging out the CD drive. ‘You call that mess files? Files are kept in order, organised by subject, and alphabetised so that the relevant information can be retrieved efficiently.’
I push the drive drawer back, but Arkwright refuses it. ‘What? What?’ I say.
‘I don’t know what you mean, as usual,’ says Arkwright, spitting the CD drive out again. ‘Do you have to be so rough?’
‘Do you have to be so difficult?’
‘I’m not, you’re supposed to be multi-tasking and you’ve let the porridge catch.’
‘What? Oh no.’
‘Wait, are you leaving my CD drawer like this? It might get snagged, broken, someone might drop crumbs in it. I could be damaged.’
‘A minute, a second, I just need to give this a good stir. See? Not burnt. Close though.’
‘Nano-Bot your porridge!’
‘Do you ever shut up,’ I say, as I jiggle the drive drawer into place and settle at the counter with my breakfast.
‘You don’t appreciate me.’
‘How can you say that?’
‘You named me after a cash register in a sit-com.’
‘Actually, to be pedantic, I named you after the fictional owner of a very stroppy cash-register.’
‘Stroppy? Look at you, dripping that slop near my keyboard. This, is justifiable concern. The kitchen is no place for a sophisticated piece of technology. Why aren’t we in your office?’
‘Because my timetable’s become a bit overloaded, and I’m trying to juggle house-stuff, research, class-work and socialising all at once.’
‘Sounds like you need de-fragmenting. Oh, silly me, human’s can’t, can you?’
‘Now there’s an idea.’
‘Ohh, you’re typing. What’re you saying? Hold on, while I do a save… Me, you’re writing me? Finally.’
‘Yes, running a kind of de-frag, if you wouldn’t mind shutting up for a moment.’
‘Sure, certainly, I can do that… I say, could you just give that Q a bit of a working too, it’s been ages since it had anything to do. You could tell them something about my quality, or the quintessential nature of my being, couldn’t you?’
Photo: Ronnie Barker & David Jason, and The Cash Register, from Open All Hours.