Expiration Date

Jonah sat on the barstool, his back ruler straight, and his hands on his lap. On the island in front of him lay an owner’s manual that appeared more encyclopaedia than manual. 

‘Jonah, you’ve been with me a while now,’ Mr Roberts began, as he leant on the kitchen island and flicked through the manual. 

‘Five years now, Sir,’ Jonah said proudly as he noticed a small cluster of crumbs and started to rise from the barstool to retrieve a dustpan and brush.

Mr Roberts raised his hand, ‘no, please Jonah. Just sit down while we talk about this.’ 

Jonah looked at him and sat back down, making a note to clean up as soon as the conversation had ended. 

Mr Roberts walked around to him and took out his phone. ‘Now Jonah, I know I should have done this a long time ago, so this would make sense, but well – better late than never.’ 

He unlocked the phone and opened the calendar. ‘This is the date today,’ he said pointing to today’s date, then he swiped back by five years and pointed. ‘This is when you were booted up,’ he swiped forwards five years and six months, ‘this is when your licence expires.’

Jonah looked at him with a blank expression, ‘I don’t understand, Sir.’ 

‘I’m sorry Jonah, I can’t afford to renew you, you’ll just expire.’ He reached over the island and placed the manual in front of him. ‘Have a read through, it explains what will happen, but remember this is the date,’ he said pointing again to the calendar. 

Mr Roberts walked away, leaving Jonah open mouthed. The details in front of him outlined that there would be a transition period after the licence expiration in which he would have limited functionality, giving the owner a chance to renew. If that renewal was not made, Jonah would cease to function.

For the rest of the day Jonah couldn’t concentrate on his work. He missed cleaning half of the silver and made Mr Roberts coffee using salt and not sugar, only realising when Mr Roberts spat it out on the floor. 

At night-time he liked to mimic Mr Roberts and close his eyes to rest, but as he stood there charging, he just stared out of the window at the rain. He thought carefully about what he’d been told. He had an expiration date, and that definitive date was on Mr Roberts calendar on his phone. 

As the rain abated, and the sun rose above the treeline, Jonah smiled. That day he blitzed the house with a grin. ‘Has something happened Jonah?’ Mr Roberts asked at dinner that evening. 

‘Everything will be fine,’ he proclaimed, as he took the empty plate from Mr Roberts and headed into the kitchen. 

When he returned, Mr Roberts had left to work in his study, leaving his phone behind on the table. Johan quickly unlocked the phone, went into the settings and moved todays date back five years. He put the phone back on the table and carried on cleaning, confident in the knowledge he was safe for a few more years.  

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