Sidney Crosby’s motor hums moodily as he stares out his hotel window at the downtown street in Montreal. Or was it Toronto. Or maybe Minnesota. Crosby couldn’t keep the cities straight any longer. Did it even matter? The sensors in his heart like region ping painfully as he strides morosely over to the mirror. He stares at his reflection. He picks up the hockey stick resting against the wall next to the mirror, redoing the tape on the blade in perfectly straight strips, without needing to blink. The minutes tick on, ever so slowly. His gears ache.
Crosby’s phone pings. A text from Geno: I found puppy to pet come now. He stares back into the mirror, mulling over whether or not he should follow through on Geno’s request. Crosby runs a comb through his hair. It’s a habit he picked up from the other players on the Penguins. His hair doesn’t need it because it always perfectly coiffed, but he does it anyways. He decides to go. Maybe it will make this evening go by quicker. Crosby manages to turn the corner of his lip up in a semblance of a smile as he heads out the door towards Geno’s room.
He walks down past three doors, and an abstract painting that seems to be found on the walls in every hotel in the world. The door for Geno’s room is open a crack, the dead bolt holding it ajar. Crosby slides in, with a tiny wave. Geno is splayed out on the bed making funny faces at the puppy. He smiles widely and tosses the puppy gently towards Crosby across the bed.
“You pet PUPPY! Is fun for anyone!” Geno said.
Crosby rubs his hand back and forth over the puppy’s ears. What was that sensation? His control unit clicks and whirs. Soft. That was it. The puppy felt soft. It was the first time in months Crosby had felt something other than vague despair. The puppy was soft. It bounces up on the bed and licks his cheek, and Crosby’s control unit clicks and whirrs a little faster this time. He hums, a lighter hum than before. He feels light, and something else. Maybe…it was excitement.
“Thanks Geno.” he said. “I have to go. Good night.”
Crosby walks back to his room, much faster than on the way there. He slides his key card into his room door, and turns the handle. He grabs his lap top from the desk and sits on the bed. He opens it and types “dating site for farmers/robots”, pausing for a long moment before pressing return. Crosbot isn’t sure what he is hoping to get out of this search result, but he is ready to find out.