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Julio Hearth, hazelnut-skinned, ventured upward to the 62nd floor in a skyscraper in Wilmington, Delaware, where he joined with his partners at Fennel, Tyre, and Hearth. Their ages ranged from 58, 46, and 31, respectively. Fennel’s skin color was that of an almond and Tyre’s peanut.
“Julio, what a good morning it is,” Tom Fennel said, a golf club in his right hand hanging over his shoulders.
“Good morning. What’s the big news?”
Decker Tyre came from out of his office with an object on wheels standing slightly taller than Hearth’s six-foot-two inch frame.
“This is GUS: General Usage Service. The name needs work, but those are American tax dollars that go to nomenclature. He’s here to replace all of us. Isn’t that great,” Tyre said, an electronic cigar sitting at the tip of his mouth.
“You mean this? This is not a joke?”
“Well, the people are getting antsy. They’re saying that bankers are the cause for all that ails the world. We financiers are to blame for the downfall of the economy, panics, recessions, depressions. The whole lot. So, Washington––”
“Washington?! But they’re the ones who cause ALL of the messes that the economy experiences. The intervention of the Federal Reserve and other governmental agencies are the only culprits involved in any downturn because of regulations and controls.”
“Julio, Julio. Don’t you see? We’re going to make a killing off of GUS. We’ll just have to input numbers and he’ll crunch them and spit out the solution like a calculator with wheels!”
The gleaming metal of GUS appeared like quicksilver. It was anthropomorphic in the regard that it had arms, a torso, and a head, but of course rolled around.
“Son of a bitch,” Hearth said.
“Yes, well we better get used to it,” Tyre said.
“No, I won’t stand for it. I demand that this thing be shipped back to DC.”
Fennel sighed. “Son, you’re just going to have to face reality. We’re an endangered species that’s been targeted by a giant thermometer with a processor that could do all of week’s work in a few hours. Times have changed.”
Hearth saw Tyre take another puff of his e-cigar and asked his secretary to file some digital documents.
“This is an abomination. There’s one thing that this silver thing can’t do.”
“Oh, yes, what’s that?” Fennel asked.
“It can’t fight.”
“What do you want a robot fighter?”
“I’m talking about a fight against the United States Federal Government for implementing this program. This thing can’t peer into the soul of another human being and understand their fiscal situation. It can’t determine the inner workings of the human mind during a trade. The best it can do is go fix me breakfast. I’m hungry. GUS, can you do that? Two eggs over hard, a grapefruit, and a coffee. Black.”
GUS stood there in complete helplessness. It then ambled over to the bay of computers and typed in a sequence of data. Next, it returned to Hearth with the ingredients that go into the food items that he mentioned.
“Do you see this? I mean, c’mon.” Hearth whirled around to his office and retrieved a baseball bat.
“That’s not such a good idea, there, Julio. GUS has the compression strength of a tank.”
“I just wanted to test out it’s capabilities. To see if it could differentiate a person from an inanimate object.”
Hearth waved the bat and GUS followed it. The robot just spat out information on the maker of the bat and how old it was.
“We’re financiers we make the world possible. This firm has been in operation for almost three decades. You both started with your wits and we’re going to finish with them. This GUS thing is a slap in the face to all of us and should be dismantled.”
“We’re with you, Julio,” Tyre said.
“You’ve made us realize what is true but hardly ever spoken about: The value of a financier.”
The three men ordered GUS back into the box and shipped him back to Washington with a note. It read: “Never send a 'bot to do a banker’s work.”