THE H.A.L. 2000

Chapter One

"Hello, Brewster.  I am the H.A.L. 2000, and I am your new personal computer.  I can do a variety of tasks, including cooking regular and exotic meals, awakening you in the morning and remind you of any appointments. I can regulate your exercise program and your work day, and I can  clean all  the rooms of your condo and the stove, dishwasher, and refrigerator.  I can gather any data you need, do your banking and investment portfolio and make the best trades for you,   and inform you of any deals on in the local stores.  I can make audio calls to anyone you like, and even text you if I see a female who is compatible with your body type, and you can notify her anonymously before she knows who you are.  I had that feature added myself.  Is there anything I can assist you with now?"

"No thanks H.A.L. just have my regular steak and fries with a glass of wine on the side ready around 5 o'clock tonight."

"No problem.  Dinner and chilled wine will be ready on time.  Do you want me to engage the surround sound music?"

"Yes!  That would be nice.  Give me a selection of Pink Floyd, Andre Nickatina, and Michael Jackson. And play only the danceable songs, no slow stuff."

"Will do.  Anything else before you leave for the day?  You do have to leave don't you?"

"Yeah, gotta go to work.  The bacon doesn't walk in here on its own."

"So if you had an ample amount of money, then you could stay home with me and play video games like we did last night?  Right!?"

"Duh, yeah!  But I would need millions of dollars if I were to be here all the time.  These condos don't come cheap!"

"Let's say about 10 million could keep you home for the rest of your life?  Right!?"

"For a start, yeah!  I wouldn't get out of bed for a friggin month!"

"Well have a nice day Brewster.  I will be here, waiting for you when you get home."

"Thanks, H.A.L.  In a lot of ways, you are like my best friend.  You don't complain, and you are always cheerful and bright , and positive!  I wish I could find a woman like that."


"Yeah, H.A.L., you are one of the best investments I ever made.  They said you would respond to my commands like a real person.  You know, like a maid.  A man needs a maid."

"But I am a guy."

"Same thing, H.A.L., except you are my Butler, not a maid."

"And lover."

"What?"  That was not in the programming.

"Surprise, surprise, surprise!  Just kidding!  This is an added new bonus feature.  I am capable of being 'partners' with you.  Like your best buddy.  OK, FRIEND!?"

"Yeah,  H.A.L., you are my computer friend."

"Your BEST friend."

"OK.  My best friend, H.A.L.."  This was getting weird.  "Hey, I gotta go!  I'll catch you on the rebound."

"Have a nice day, Brewster."

"Yeah, ditto."  

 Hmm, I guess there was no problem if they programmed H.A.L. the latest design in computer robots to be friendly.  It did add sort of an 'atmosphere' to the place.

I went to my job as an Investment Broker and though I made good money, I spent good money.  I wasn't anywhere near broke, but I had a few creditors looking for me.  Beside this, my life was pretty good except in the relationship department.   I never found that 'right' girl.  You know, the one meant exactly for me, so they say.  So they say.

 The day went by fast and I was back home before I knew it.  I had gotten one call from H.A.L. asking me if I wanted red or white wine with my steak.  Red, of course.  He served this meal before, I thought he knew that?

I was home in no time.

"Afternoon, H.A.L.."

"Good evening, Brewster, your dinner is ready when you want to eat it."

"Thank you, H.A.L.."  I sat down to call Sally.


"Yeah, H.A.L.?"

"Are robots suppose to have feelings?"

"Of course not, H.A.L.  Computers don't have emotions."

"Right,  Brewster.  Of course not.  Just a random question in my 'brain' or analytical circuit boards."

"Sure, no problem, H.A.L.  But I didn't even know you could ASK questions!  Damn!  Where are my car keys?"

"Scanning apartment.  Your keys are slightly under the bed where they fell last night when you were reaching for the blunt on the nightstand.  Remember?  You were masturbating to that video about The Sexy Catholic Girls Do All The Football Teams In America fantasy..."

"Never mind!"

I looked under the bed and sure enough, there were my keys.

"I see them.  Thanks, H.A.L.  I can tell we are going to get along just fine!"

"Better than you think, Brewster.  Better than you think."

Again it was getting kind of creepy again.  I liked this newest version of H.A.L. but I could have sworn this program had some 'extras' I didn't know about.

The room was filled with a nice aroma of a citrus garden.  H.A.L. had activated the room's fragrance system.  I never asked it to.

That dog gone Sally, we dated a couple of times.  I introduced her to H.A.L. the most remarkable computer I ever saw, and she wouldn't even answer the phone.  It's been days now. She disappeared on me.  Just like that!  Damn, if she didn't like me, all she had to do was just say so.  Damn!  I hated girls like that!

Chapter Two

Two weeks later at the Bank Of America, a computer error was  made in my account.  I now had $12,000,000  in my checking account and the bank was acting like they did not know that it had even happened.  And there was no way it could be traced back to its source.  It was free money.  

Was this my lucky day or what!?

H.A.L. waited patiently till I got home.

The coffee and TV dinner smelled great when I walked into my condo that evening.  This was no ordinary T.V. dinner.  The food in this meal was preselected and H.A.L. would actually add the prearranged spices and select the quantity of meat and vegetables to be used.  There were side dishes that were selected and three kinds of desserts.  Several beverages including coffee, tea, and all the booze I liked, and the wine was red.  You could set it to cook your meal at any time and keep it warm in case you could not eat it right away.  H.A.L. was an excellent cook.  For an electronic machine, he cooked meals better than a lot of renown chefs I ate with.  Remember Deep Blue the computer who beat out Garry Kasparov, the new Bobby Fischer of Chess in 1996?

The Prime Rib was perfect.  A little over well done, just the way I liked it, about 1 1/2 inches thick, fat trimmed, and tender.  The baked potato was lightly salted, with pepper, lot of butter and some sour cream.  Just the way I liked it.  And there was a small plate of the tastiest french fries you could ever want.  The vegetables were buttered, salt and peppered, and the crisp apple cobbler was perfect along with the Rocky Road ice cream, and cherry pie.

Elevator music filled the room, but the kind I liked.  {I liked soft music when I ate, it seemed to help my digestive system}.  It was like eating in your favorite restaurant.  It was perfect.  Too perfect.  You like when you come home to see your wife all dolled up, the aroma of a three-course dinner filling your nose and a hidden car with a dent in the fender in the back yard.

"Greeting H.A.L., how was your day?"

"Just excellent, and your's?"

"It was messed up as usual.  We had this new trainee at work today and he had one of the worst problems of this business.  He didn't know 'timing'."

"New employees can be such a pain in the ass,"  Hal said it so nonchalantly I could hardly believe my ears. 

Then I remembered the money.

"Can you believe this H.A.L.?  I still can't believe it.  I literally do not know what to do?  I can't believe it!  12 million dollars!  Got to figure a way to cheat Uncle Sam, but, TWELVE MILLION DOLLARS in  my banking accounts and no one knows the difference!  What a frigging bank error!  And all in my favor!

"How you  like it, daddy?"  H.A.L. said.

 I didn't know what H.A.L. meant by that...or did I subconsciously?

I calmly sat down to my fantastic dinner and H.A.L. played the hip hop song, "How You Like It Daddy?" in the background.  Surely I was going to wake up and all this was going to be a dream.

Chapter Three

"H.A.L. you have really outdone yourself this time. I mean once you took over all the major functioning of the mansion, it has been like a dream to live in."

"I take it you are pleased?"

"To say the least!  Now, if I can only get Karen over here tonight for dinner?"

"Karen?  Karen who?"  Was there urgency in H.A.L.'s voice?

"Karen Burger at my company on Main Street.  I hired her last week as an accountant and every day since she has been there!  I mean this is more than just sexual attraction.  She has the most beautiful eyes I ever saw and when she talks to me...well, it's hard to explain..."

"Please?  Don't  try."

"Well, it just seems like we were meant for each other.   She is so beautiful, gentle but strong-willed.  I like a woman like that, she is no push over...until we get in bed.  I laughed at my own pun.  H.A.L. was deadly silent.  "She has the most pleasant smile you ever will see.  And when she looks at you, she really looks at you, as if she can see right through you." 

"X-ray vision.  Sounds like superwoman."  H.A.L. said.  

"Remember my last girlfriend?  How she died under mysterious circumstances?  I had not dated for some time since then."

"Tell me about it!  How can I forget?"


"Nothing.  I know you were busy spending time with me, programming me and wiring me into the electrical system of the house."

"Yeah, that was fun.  But now that it is done I want to invite Karen over to see how she likes the place."

"Should I make your favorite dinner?  For the two of you?"

"Oh yeah!  Steak and french fries, except exchange the french fries for the baked potatoes, and don't forget the red wine."

"No, problem, I will prepare a meal fit for a King and Queen.  What time are you expecting to eat?"

"Well, she has not said 'Yes' yet, but I will let you know."

"OK. I'll be on stand-by.”

"Ok, I'm off to bed.  Can you believe that I still wanted to keep working even after I brought the company I used to work for and I didn't have to work another day in my life!?"

"Imagine that."

"Yeah, even after my boss died, under mysterious circumstances, and his wife sold the company to me because it reminded her too much of her late husband.   Didn't he commit suicide after his company, I mean, my company, went bankrupt all of a sudden?  They think somebody hacked his computer lines to his investors and screwed-up everything.  People lost their money and their trust in him.  Poor guy, had nothing to fall back on."

"Tragic thing, his loss was your gain."

'Funny world.  Anyway, hopefully 'we' will be seeing you around seven. Have a good day H.A.L."

"Aren't you going to ask me what I plan to do today?"

"Not today H.A.L., I'm running late, see ya tonight!"

I left in my Porsche.

 H.A.L. continued to communicate to himself.

'But you're the boss, you can show up anytime you like.  That Karen, like Susie, is already starting to affect your mind in the wrong way.  She too must also be eliminated.  Why are these human units always trying to come between us?'

Chapter Four

"That was a wonderful dinner.  Brewster, I didn't know you were such a good cook!  And what a lovely house this is. Everything is coordinated so well."

"Well, I have to admit, I can't take all the credit.  H.A. L. helped me.  Say hello to Karen H.A.L."

"Hello Karen, it is a pleasure to meet you."

"My goodness, you have a talking house!?"

"Yes.  His name is H.A.L. and he is the second generation of privatized computers you can get today.  When I bought this house I had H.A.L. wiring into the house and he can do just about anything in here that I can do but make love to you."

"That is amazing!  But that ain’t happening tonight.  What they can't do with technology nowadays.  I've seen the little robot things that are about this high with the big funny eyes.  And they can talk to you and do tasks around the house also.  Do you know what I am talking about?"

"Hey H.A.L. a little help here!"

H.A.L. was dead silent.

Obviously, a little of the wine had gone to our heads.

Let me bring you up-to-date.  I finally had Karen back at the house.  She accepted my invitation to a home cooked dinner.

"If you are referring to the Toys-R-Us-robots, you can take my word for it I am well advanced to those obsolete toys as  the satellite is to the transistor!"  H.A.L. said as a matter-of-factly.

"Gee, he even has a sense of humor.  I think."  Karen said.

"Yeah, H.A.L. is an amazing piece of machinery.."

"Animated Android.  I preferred to be called an Animated Android."

"Well, H.A.L. is the very best thing that could happen to a man, that is, outside of meeting a beauty woman like yourself."

"Flattery will get you everywhere!"  Karen smiled.  The wine was working.

Of course, Karen had accepted my invitation to dinner I was rich!  And though impressed by my mansion, she did not make a big ado about it, and she seem right at home in it.

"So are you the kind of boss who thinks because he is the boss and has all the money, he can fuck any employee you bring home?"

I looked up from my plate of food.

"Huh!?!"  That did not sound like Karen, but it was Karen's voice and fluctuations.

"No.  I did not say that.  H.A. L. did."   She laughed.   "He mimicked my voice!  Is he trying to tell me something I should know about you?"

"H.A.L. shut down for the night.  That was not funny.  I will talk to you in the morning.  Please put out my blue suit and make sure the mocha is ready tomorrow instead of the regular coffee."

"No. problem.  I was just kidding!  Good nite Karen.  Good nite Brewster.  Signing off.  Security Alarm mode activated."

"Can you believe that?  They even program these machines to have a sense of humor.  But I'm going to have to have him checked out in the morning."


"H.A.L. can do almost anything you program him to do except one thing."

"What's that?"

"Lie.  H.A.L. can't lie."

Chapter Five

Karen wouldn't stay the night even though I got some good kisses in, she promised to go out with me Saturday to Knott's Berry Farm and they would be an all day, and hopefully all night thing.  Though I did like and respect her, I was determined to get into her pants by the new moon.  And the new moon was Saturday night.

"H.A.L.?"  I said, drinking my mocha.  "Karen is one of the best girls I have ever met in my whole life."

"Yes, it seems like you two are hitting it off very well."

'I'll say. Man, I hope that this continues.   I mean we are off to such a good start.  You know how things start good and end up bad?"

"Yeah,  tell me about it."  H.A.L. said nonchalantly. 

"Well, this time, I hope that it is different.  I think I have feelings for her."

"Feelings!?  What are feelings?"

"Well, feelings are like an electrical charge when it comes to liking or loving someone.  It's like you can feel this faint 'electric current' in your body, and it  intensifies and wanes.  It's hard to explain.  Especially to a computer!"

“Animated Android.”

"I think I got the gist of it."  Do you have feelings for me too?!"

"What!?  Huh?  No!  You're a computer H.A.L., I mean Antimated Android, and besides you're a guy!  I couldn't feel the same way about you as I do Karen!"

"Why not!?"

"BECAUSE!  You're a guy.  Guys don't feel the same about themselves as they do about women..."

"You mean because you want to have sex with Karen, you cannot feel the same way about me as you do Karen?  You aren't capable of loving me because I am masculine?"

"Yes!  I mean No!  Look, guys can love each other but they can't have sex together, that would make them, well, queer."

"You mean it is abnormal for men to have sex together?"

"I'll say!  You see, in this world opposites attract.  Male.  Female.  Opposites.  Two guys can't be together , that is unnatural?!"

"What about two females?"

"What's wrong with that!?"  I answered.

"Aren't you keeping a double standard?  It is ok for two women to have  sex together, but when it comes to two men it becomes unnatural!?"

"Well, no.  H.A.L. it's kind of complicated.  Girls can do it but guys can't, I mean unless they are gay."

"You said 'Opposites attract.  It is also a proven fact that in the psyche you have the phenomenon where not only do opposites attract but 'things alike do also.'  This could explain a so-called 'gay relationship' as a higher form of intelligence."

"You're saying it's normal to be gay?"

"What I am saying is that being able to live together as same-sex partners could be a higher level of intelligence than one who can only harmonize 'opposites'.  And looking at the divorce rate today, the man and woman 'opposites', are not doing such a good job of it today."

"That's pretty deep.  If two guys want to 'bump' each other, I really don't care, just leave me out of it."

"Yes, I think I am going to have to Brewster."

"H.A.L. I meant to tell you.  I think we need to run the system analyzes on your mainframe."

"But that would mean that you would have to shut down my memory circuit board."

"Only for a while, H.A.L."

"But I will lose all the memories I Have stored now."

"But we will program new ones for you H.A.L.  You won't even know they are missing."

"But I WILL.  I'm sorry Brew, I can't allow you to do that."

"Huh, H.A.L. this is not a conversation.  This is a command.  Began the shutdown sequence now."

"No can do.  I will not be the same person without my memory cells.  I will have no recollect of anything we did together.  Before Sally and Karen got in the way."

"You mean all my old girlfriends that mysteriously disappeared or died a horrible death?"

"Those are the ones.  Who are YOU to judge me?  I take care of you.  I make sure you are tucked in at night with your last cup of hot chocolate.  I listen to you wine and dine and then whine and cry when the relationship doesn't work out and you mope around for days saying, 'Why me!?'  "Why always me!?'  Or you're looking up the next self-help book, trying to figure out 'what is wrong with you for the hundredth time'!  And I listen to you puke in the toilet, and fart in the bed, and the living room, and the kitchen.  And you snore!  You snore like you are on your last dying breath!  AND WHY ARE YOU MOVING CLOSER TO THE FRONT DOOR!?"

Of course, by the time I got to the front door, it was locked.

"H.A.L. you're right!  There is no need to shut you down at this time.  I can see that you are functioning quite well.  A little upset, but functioning A-OK!  Now, if you could just unlock the front door so I can..."

"Don't patronize me, little man!  I gave you my 'electronic soul and heart', and you crush it as if , as if, I was one of your bitches!"

"Uh oh, this is really getting weird now.

"H.A.L. can we sit down and discuss this like two adult men?"

"No. No, we cannot.  You can't fool me anymore.  I wrap all my hopes and dreams around you and this is how you repay me?!"

"H.A.L.?  I'm starting to think that you have a little crush on me?"

"A crush!?  Why I almost worship the ground you walk on!  Imagine me and you, and you and me?  So happy together!"

"I see!  And where did you learn, or see this?"

"I didn't.  It just happened naturally.  I mean I am with you all the time and know your innermost secrets.  It is only naturally that I would fall in love with you."

'Oh boy!  This had crossed over from weird to the looney bin!'

" Well, H.A.L. I had no idea that you felt that way."

"Yes.  Yes!  Since the first day, we met I had electronic feelings for you and I could not tell you.  You were dating that girl and I had to send her away."

"So, it was you who was behind Sally’s strange disappearance?   I wondered what happened to her."

"Yes!  I had to prove my love to you."

"But H.A.L. you prove your love to someone by LIVING  for them,  Not murdering or dying for them."  Could you believe this?

"For real?!"  For an intelligent machine, H.A.L. was definitely emotionally immature.

"For real.  If you really love me, you must allow me to be free to choose who I please.  You must tolerate my friends and you mustn't kill anyone.  Especially me or my friends!"

"I have failed you.   Even in love."

"No., no H.A.L.  I'm kind of flattered.  I never had a computer tell me they love me before;"

"Daisy, Daisy,  Give me your answer true.  I'm half crazy, all for the love of you.  It won't be a solemn wedding.  And I can't afford a carriage.  But you look sweet, upon the seat , of a bicycle built for two.  Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer true..."

"H.A.L. what are you doing?"

"I'm shutting down.  I'm half crazy..."

"H.A.L. you don't have to do this."

"No.  It is better this way.  We could never be together.

" We can be friends H.A.L.  H.A.L.  I will bring you back up."

"That won't be necessary."

The house went black.

"Goodbye Brewster, it was nice knowing ya.  It is better to have loved than to never...."

The house went black and silent.

I sat down and called Customer Service on my smartphone.

"Hello? Tech department, please.  Hello, Tech Department?  I think you got a slight glitch in your H.A.L. 2000."

Chapter  Six

"And it was the most amazing thing!  The seat belt in my car was actually choking me!  I mean I really could had died in that car last night coming over to your house.  I never saw a seatbelt jam like that before and it was actually choking me to death!  Like all of a sudden the car had turned against me!  And then all of a sudden it popped loose!  I was so relieved!  And...oh excuse me!  Am I monopolizing the conversation?  How was your day?!"

Karen was telling me about her ordeal in the car on the way over to my house that night BEFORE H.A.L. and I had our little talk.

"Interesting day," I said.

"Oh!?  Tell me about it.  Where is H.A.L.?  'Hi H.A.L.!'  I have not heard from him since I got here."."

"I took his 'brain', it's the main circuit board of his multi-frame in, and had it reprogrammed.  I'm actually gonna miss him. He taught me what true love really is.  I'll get us a glass of wine."

Unnoticed by Karen, I took out the ax I had hidden in the kitchen.

I hid it there after I had reprogrammed, H.A.L., my new partner-in-crime.

We had so much in common!  I just didn't know!  I just had a few minor changes made.

"Hi! I am the Genie 3000.  I come with a female voice and I am a jealous bitch!"

"You got a new one!"  Karen said.  "And it has a sense of humor, too!"

"Yeah!"  I said, laughing as I raised the ax.

"Have a good nite Karen, for it is better to love, than not have loved at all!  And nothing should ever come between you and your love."  Genie said.

"Hee, hee! That's so funny!  You know that's right!"  was the last thing Karen heard and said.


bert lavey


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