An awkward noise came out of the instrument. He looked up at his instructor, Karled Elder-Wiser, who just tuttered.

Charlie Brown didn’t respond.

“Do it again,” the robot thrashed him.

Do it again.

It was always like this with the Tutors. Practice this. Memorize that. You memorize it, you damned robot. That’s what we invented you for.

The robot thrashed him again.


“I give up. I can’t play this thing. The fingering makes no sense for a human.”

Karled Elder-Wiser grabbed the instrument, but not before thrashing the Young Prince again. With his free hands, he proceeded to play a lightning blur of notes in perpetual sequence that Charlie Brown was sure he would never be able to reproduce.

It was supposed to be a cryptographic sequence, but it made for what — to human ears — sounded like a horrible atonal mess.

“This thing is a turd. Find someone else to play it. It’s not inspiring. It lacks soul and purpose.”

The robot was not afraid to thrash him again, twattering:

“There is no one else. Sit down and practice. Please.”

Charlie Brown looked at the rusted and in some places dented armature of Karled Elder-Wiser, and had to smile in spite of himself.

Stupid robots.