This is a repost from a Tumblr series that I called “My perfect dad.” I’m preserving these older stories and continuing to write new ones available on this site first.

The end credits rolled. I removed my VR glasses and looked at my best friend Paul, who was sitting next to me on the sofa. “I actually liked the sequel better,” I said, referring to the actifilm we’d just played together. “The characters were more interesting.” 

Paul half-nodded. “I guess. What’s taking your dad so long with our snacks?” 

I leaned back and looked into the kitchen. It was empty. I pressed the call button on the coffee table, but there was no response. 

“Jeez, Tom,” Paul said with a smirk, “he didn’t try to escape again, did he?” 

I laughed to mask my frustration. When I turned 30 six months ago, I was excited to get to move out of the dormitories and into my own place, but I was even more excited about getting issued a dad. The one I got, however, had turned out to be so much more trouble than he was worth, constantly malfunctioning and insisting that he was a person. Unless I kept a strict eye on him, he would run off. 

“I hope not,” I said. “dadNet tech support closed at 2100.” 

“And Monday’s a holiday,” Paul smirked, clearly enjoying this. “Face it, Tom, your dad’s a dud.” 

“I guess we’ll just have to track him down ourselves,” I said wearily. “Couldn’t have gotten far. Someone will see him and tag him UWA.” 

I trusted that the other Sons in my neighborhood would report my dad as Unaccompanied Without Authorization if they noticed him out and about at this hour. A properly functioning dad would do the same. 

“Don’t be so sure,” Paul said. “I heard those dads’ Rights nutjobs have started smuggling dads across the border into the territories.” 

I rolled my eyes and opened up dadNet on my phone. “Of course he’s at the train station,” I said, and pressed the control to deactivate his motor functions. My dad wouldn’t be going anywhere now. “Let’s go pick him up.” 

We arrived on the empty platform a few minutes later. There he was in Ready State, the position a dad assumes when he is first activated. 

“What the hell, dad?” I said as we approached him. Placing my hand on the end of his mask, I pulled upward and exposed his face. My dad might have been a malfunctioning wreck, but he was handsome. “Third time this week you’ve run off.” 

He was breathing heavily. “You’ll understand when you turn 50,” he said. 

I tapped the Hard Reset control on my phone, and my dad closed his eyes. He looked so peaceful, almost like a real person. A moment later, he reactivated. 

“Greetings, Son. Please input next command,” he said, and then lowered the mask back over his face. 

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