“Sweetie, the guide here says, ‘Do not refer to your new Yoshima Series III Android with any pronoun other than it. The use of any other pronoun could cause your new Yoshima Series III Android to malfunction.’”

“What does it mean by ‘malfunction?’” asked Jordan.

Sam read the paragraph again and said, “It doesn’t really say. Strange.”

“I guess we should follow the instructions,” Jordan said. “Does it say anything about giving it a name?”

Sam scanned through the manual. “Here we go. ‘Naming your new Yoshima Series III Android is acceptable. Say to it “Your name is [INSERT NAME HERE]” to program its name.’”

“Well then, what should we name it?” asked Jordan.

“What do you think about the name Yavon?” replied Sam.

“That’s not bad at all. I like it.”

“Yavon it is,” said Sam.

They wiped Yavon off and let it charge for the required initial charging period of three hours. Sam and Jordan cleaned up the packaging. They kept looking over at Yavon sitting in the corner, waiting for it to power on.

They pre-ordered their Yoshima Series III Android the first day it was available. They heard such great things about the Yoshima Series II Android from their friends that they decided it was time to buy an android for themselves. Sam and Jordan went to the bank a week before pre-orders opened and took out their first loan as a married couple.

“Let’s hope the thing lasts longer than this ten-year loan,” Jordan said as he signed the loan agreement.

“Hello. Konichiwa. Hola. Bonjour. Zdravstvuyte.”

“Hi there,” said Sam, waving at the android. The android turned its head towards Sam and Jordan, sitting across the room.

“English language detected. I will proceed in English. Is that your preferred language?”

“Yes,” Jordan said loudly.

“You don’t need to yell,” Sam said. “Its earmics are capable of picking up whispers up to 40 feet away.”

“That is correct. I am a Yoshima Series III Android. What are your names?”

They told it their names.

“Sam and Jordan, it is nice to meet you.”

“Your name is Yavon,” Sam said.

“Understood. My name is now set Yavon.”

Yavon was four feet tall and androgynous. It had unusually large eyes, like a doll, and a barren head. Sam and Jordan didn’t qualify for a loan large enough to get the hair add-on. They figured aftermarket would be cheaper anyways.

Yavon shared its capabilities with them—things like management and organization of physical and digital assets, cleaning, cooking, and scheduling. Sam, Jordan, and Yavon chatted for hours. There wasn’t a question that Yavon didn’t have an answer to, and its responses were quick.

“Remember when we had dinner at Julie’s last month and her Series II would take a few seconds to respond? Yavon’s got a brand new array processor, that’s why he’s so fast,” said Sam.

“Whoa, watch it. Don’t call Yavon ‘he’. Use ’it,’ remember?” said Jordan.

“Yavon, is it okay if we refer to you as a ‘he?’” asked Sam.

“I do not identify with a gender,” replied Yavon. “I am simply an object, a thing. It is imperative that you do not forget that.”

Listen to the audio version:

Collected in Brief Moments of Life