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. 

Want to get regular updates? Sign up for My newsletter.