IGirl Friday by Kristin Lipp

August 2019 | Utopia Science Fiction Magazine

Utopia Science Fiction Magazine
6 min readSep 18, 2022

I remember my life before this room — a place with gray walls and a lot of people wearing white overalls. The place was noisy, the humming of machines, the chatter of conversations, and drilling of metal. This room is quieter. Birds are chirping outside. Sunlight is entering the room from the large window that looks out into a manicured green lawn. A lawn motor roars in the distance, barely audible to humans.

“Funny.” Her right-hand rises to fiddle with the cross. She runs her thumb down the length of the cross as if she is rubbing off invisible dirt.

I sit and I fall to the floor. The man laughs again and claps his hands together. My eyes face the white ceiling. There is a crack along with the ceiling. It needs to be fixed. I could do it. Helping humans is my function. Help and obey. Anything humans need: fixing cracks, teaching a new language, clean carpets, schedule appointments.

The man grabs a thick booklet with a blue cover from the coffee table. He holds the cover for me to see. The words iGirl Friday are written in swirly letters across the cover. A silhouette of a skinny female figure is beneath the white lettering. “Your manual.”

The man takes me to the final room on the floor. The room is a second bedroom with blue walls, hardwood flooring, a tan area rug, and white curtains.

The man takes my wrist and leads me into the room. The curtains are pushed aside and the world outside waves back. Houses and backyards. I am programmed with the knowledge of the functions of a neighborhood, but I’ve never seen one. I incline my body towards the window, but I do not get to look outside. The man kisses me — my hard drive frizzles. The man pulls away. He smiles.

While the humans sleep, I go downstairs and read my manual. The manual calls me a robot and instructs humans how to reprogram me if I do not please them. I am a thing. Programmed to please humans. I am not real.

The man hits the woman at least once a week. She has a string of bruises along her body which she attempts to cover with make-up. He orders me to sit and watch as he beats her. She never asks for my help. When she thinks no one is looking, she cries. When he thinks no one is watching, he cups my breasts. I read when no one is watching. I like books about humans having adventures. I hope to visit the world. But I do not leave the house. The man leaves early for work at the university he teaches. He’s an English professor. He tells me that he met his wife on the job. She was one of his students two years ago. The woman doesn’t talk to me much. She orders me to clean the house but most of the time she leaves me alone. She spends her days looking out of the window or doing laundry. I try to ask her questions.

“Do you have a family?” I ask one day in the spring. It was raining outside and she had finished eating cooked vegetables. The man ordered me to only cook vegetables for the woman. He said that she was gaining weight and he didn’t like it.

“They’re in Iowa,” she says.

“Do you visit them?” I ask.

“Not since the wedding,” the woman says. She shoves her dirty plate into the sinks and turns on the water.

“Why not?” I ask.

“He doesn’t like me traveling by myself and he won’t go with me because can’t stand my family.” The woman spirts dish soap onto the plate and starts washing it.

“Why?” I ask.

The woman glares at me. “For a robot you ask a lot of questions.” She looks at the almost clean plate in her hands. She drops the plate into the sink and rinses the dish soap from her hands. She turns off the water. She makes eye contract and orders me to clean up. She leaves me alone for the rest of the afternoon.

Summer comes, and the man says they are going to Paris for a month. I am excited to travel, but I do not go. The man kisses me and turns me off. He turns me back on in July.

The leaves are changing colors. It is because of the lack of chlorophyll. I am programmed to know about everything. Languages. Math. Earth Science.

The next night the man is late from work. The woman paces the kitchen nervously. Steam rises from the pot on the stove. The woman mutters curses as she stirs the soup. The man arrives home drunk. The woman doesn’t engage him, but he seeks her out. He tells her the food is burned.

He tells me to sit. I sit. He yells at the woman. His face is flushed with alcohol and his irises are slightly red.

The woman shrinks away from the man. He towers over her as she walks backwards. He continues to yell in her face. This is like all the other nights. It begins with him hitting her and ends with him on top of me. I do not like it when he touches me. I do not feel anything, but I know what he is doing.​

Her back is now against the wall. He hits her across the face and punches her stomach.

She is human. She needs help. I am supposed to help her. My functions frazzle.

I stand. He doesn’t notice. She does.

I grab him by the neck and throw him across the dining room. He hits the wall and crashes onto the floor. He moans in pain. I hold out my hand to the woman. She looks at it like it is something dangerous. She grabs it, and I help her stand.

“Hit her, Eve,” the man orders me.

I turn to him. “No.”

I shove the woman out of the dining room. The man stands. I stand my ground in front of the woman.

“I said to hit her,” the man says, coming towards me.

I ball my fists and turn towards the woman. Her brown eyes widen in fear and a gasp escapes her lips. I nod my head to her and smile. I turn around quickly and punch the man. He falls on his back.

“We need to leave,” I say.

“He keeps the keys in his pockets,” the woman says.

I turn. The man is clutching his shoulder and rolling on the floor. I walk slowly towards the man. I crouch down.

“You bitch,” the man says.

I reach into his pants pockets and move my hand, but can’t feel the keys. I roll the man to the other side. He struggles, but I hold him down. I am physically stronger then him. I am a robot after all. I grab the car keys. I stand, turn my back on the man, and walk to the woman.

“Don’t leave,” the man says. His voice is full of pain. I don’t look back at him. Instead, the woman and I hurry to the garage. She takes the keys and unlocks the black car. I get into the passenger’s seat. The man is yelling inside the house. He’s trying to lure me back.​

“Help. Eve, help,” the man says.

The woman starts the car and the engine hums to life. She slams on the gas pedal and shoots out of the driveway. She’s crying, but smiling at the same time. There’s a spark in her eyes I’ve never seen before.

I stare out of the car windows in wonderment. I’ve never seen the world outside of the factory and house. Houses line the street like they are waiting for a parade. The world is vast and we are free.


Originally published Aug. 30th, 2019 in Utopia Science Fiction’s first publication

About the Author:
Krysten Lipp
was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. She holds a bachelor degree in creative writing from a small university in Ohio. She enjoys reading, hiking, and of course, writing science fiction.