Pearson looked around. "Hey… where's the traffic lights?"
Harris looked at a dual-sided sign that was posted above them, announcing dentistry and similar services. He extended his hand to move the sign and saw a traffic light sandwitched between the boards. "Dude, seriously?"
"Oh fuck me. Come on, Harris, give me a hand, I have to tear down this sign."
Harris prepared his leg.
"There, okay… almost got it… aaalmost got it..."
The sign – along with the traffic light altogether – didn't resist Pearson's weight and broke, making him fall.
"Ah, shit! FUCKING SHIT!"
"PEARSON LOOK OUT!" Harris pulled Pearson to the sidewalk before a minibus going way over the speed limit almost rolled over them. The bus horn started playing La Cucaracha. A latino driver made an obscene sign at Pearson and reminded him of his mother, to say the least.
"Okay, fuck this!" shouted Pearson, kicking what was left of the traffic light. "How the hell are we supposed to cross the street every fucking time we want to move from and to the hotel!"
"So what do you suggest, Pearson?"
"I'm going to my old apartment. It's in Mexicantown, but it's only got one bed. And there's a cheap hotel nearby. What do you say?
"Wait, aren't we supposed to be together? Like you know, partners?"
"It's across the street, Harris, don't worry. Any problem and I'll call you."
"Okay, tell you what - I pay half the hotel."
"Okay deal." They hammered fists. "But are you sure your place is clean? I mean, it's been how many years?"
"Six, but don't worry, I got an Octovac there."
"An octovac? Word?"
"Octovac 7000. Completely automated. 384 gigabytes of neuromorphic memory tuned specifically for housecleaning, with capacity to handle over 18 million edge cases; battery lasts ten years and knows to recharge itself and even call for maintenance in case of an emergency. And I didn't get the plugins, but in theory it's capable of doing the dishes. You'll see, when I get home, it will be as if I had never left. Was my last purchase before I left for the States."
A few minutes later
Pearson opened the door to his one-bedroom aparment and immediately began to cough. "What the…"
The Octovac was lying on a dust-covered floor, its hose tentacles lifeless. Pearson gave it a soft kick. It beeped and Pearson received a text broadcast.
[676-07-12 14:55:36.002] [ERROR] POWER CELL MALFUNCTION. PLUGGING TO EXTERNAL POWER.
[676-07-12 14:63:42.823] [ERROR] POWER SURGE DETECTED. DISCONNECTING EXTERNAL POWER.
[676-07-12 14:63:44.100] [WARNING] POWER CELL FAILURE IMMINENT.
[676-07-12 14:64:02.085] [WARNING] CORROSIVE GAS DETECTED. PLEASE EVACUATE AREA.
[676-07-12 14:64:14.229] [FATAL] MAIN CIRCUITS MALFUNCTION.
[676-07-12 14:64:14.820] [FATAL] MEMORY HASH CHECK FAILURE. REBOOTING IN SAFE MODE...
[000-00-00 00:00:00.000] [F!T!L] Uó!BLE T# C#óT!CT M!IóTEó!óCE PERS#óóEL. M!óU!L M!IóTEó!óCE REQUIRED.
"Oh for fuck's sake…"
Two hours later, Pearson managed to get rid of most of the dust in his apartment. The garbage can was filled with bags full of dusty paper towels, an insecticide-reeking bag of cobwebs, and the remains of a broken Octovac 7000.