The Robot Translator (Flash Fiction Part 3)

Image by kiquebg from Pixaba

This is the 3rd part of the story. The previous parts are here: 1, 2.

“I am not going to help you sabotage the robot. I am an engineer.” Tram says to Ayun at the dinner table.

“I think an engineer is an expert in sabotaging a robot.” Ayun says.

“I won’t do it. No way. I have a professional reputation to uphold. I want the world to be populated with more robots and better robots.” Tram says.

Tram is a very good husband and very responsible too. However he is not very good at being sweet, establishing rapport, or just being sensitive towards his wife’s feelings or aspirations. Still Ayun feels lucky that Tram fell out of the sky and landed on her doorsteps many years ago.

They met in college. At the time, Ayun was an awkward, traumatized, sulky, and diffident figure. Growing up with very little parental support or emotional connection, she never had enough pocket money to go out with her friends, never had a ready smile for boys who wanted to talk with her, never had the young people’s idleness in hanging out. She worked part time at the university’s cafeteria for some pocket money. That was where she met Tram, who had a pretty, vivacious, and talkative girlfriend Pandi from the same university. Pandi was exactly the opposite of Ayun. When Pandi and Tram broke up, Ayun comforted Tram whenever he was alone at the cafeteria. Tram was completely out of Ayun’s league, but Ayun’s traumatized brain urged her to torture herself to seek unattainable goal all the time. Ayun tried to chase after Tram, but she was out of luck. Many girls were interested in Tram, and Ayun, being a sad girl to begin with, had no chance. Then Pandi and Tram reconciled, and the two got married when they graduated from college.

Tram and Pandi went to live in New York where Pandi’s aunt and uncle ran an import-export business while, on the other side of the Pacific, Ayun worked in a local consulting firm as a translator for foreign businesses. Although Ayun had language skills, her personality and demeanor was hardly ideal for the job. She didn’t even have enough money to buy expensive suits, shoes or accessories. Consequently she couldn’t get those good assignments and couldn’t get into a good project team. She labored for years in quiet desperation and couldn’t find a way for advancement. Her parents, without having any intention of giving her support, pressed her to get married since an unmarried girl was a family embarrassment in their conservative circle.

Her sulkiness and her trauma made relationship difficult and emotional connection impossible. Her mother went half mad in getting her to meet one guy after another. “Just choose one, will you?” Her mother said to her as if life was a grocery store and young people were pieces of fruits on display. Her mother was “blessed” with aggressiveness and bluntness, which served her very well in life and in business. But being a mother, she had made Ayun’s life a misery. Still Ayun was determined to fit in the miserable life her mother subscribed for her since she saw no alternative.

And just when Ayun was thinking of throwing herself away and marrying whoever under whatever circumstances, Tram appeared right on her doorsteps. Tram’s wife Pandi had just run away with Adam, a Jewish businessman, in New York. Tram didn’t know anything about it until one night his wife didn’t come back. They had a seven year marriage, and for the last year of their marriage, his wife had been carrying on an affair with Adam. Tram had always thought Jewish people are as traditional and conservative as Asians, and although Adam had regular business dealings with Pandi, Tram didn’t think there were anything to be worried about. Tram worked as an engineer, not in the import-export office of Pandi’s relatives. He had no idea that Adam and Pandi had a secret relationship, and Adam’s wife divorced him. After the initial shock, Tram was completely depressed. He couldn’t work and couldn’t even think. Soon he was fired from his job. He stayed home and gained 60 pounds.

Tram’s relatives persuaded Tram to come back home to recuperate. And this was how Ayun finally met Tram again and married him. Tram was determined to find a girl completely different from his first wife–and Ayun was this girl.

Ayun looks at Tram across the dinner table, “are you sure you don’t want to help me get rid of the robot?”

“Of course not.” Tram says in the affirmative.

Ayun says to herself, “well, I will find a way.”

(To Be Continued Here)

12 thoughts on “The Robot Translator (Flash Fiction Part 3)

  1. > “Many girls were interested in Pandi, and Ayun, being a sad girl to begin with, had no chance.”
    Was it “Tram” the girls were interested in? Perhaps many girls were interested in Pandi, but I didn’t get Ayun to be one of them.

    Generally an interesting style: Robotic yet fleshed out and alive when the past or others are involved.
    Every piece one writes has a part of oneself in it by default, but how much of yourself is in this story I wonder?


    1. Oh, of course. Please do. Thank you I have thought about Asimov since you mentioned it a while ago, but I’ve never got around to read his work. LOL. Reading science fiction is not my habit and that’s why it is hard for me to change.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Yes, I am looking forward to it, but no rush. Take your time. Yes, I would be very interested in Asimov and his work. Wish I am a science fiction fan. I used to have a friend who loves Star Trek and he tried very hard to get me to watch it, but I just couldn’t get into it.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your sweet encouragement. I have the material and the ending actually. I just want to make it more interesting, which is probably beyond my capabilities. LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

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