Robot Man

I was late for something, like a class. A class you didn’t know if you’d taken many years ago and this was one of those dreams again, or if you were taking the class this term but just forgot. And you forgot if it was on a Monday –Wednesday or a Tuesday – Thursday. I was late or lost and walking along and I decided to do something I normally don’t do. I went to a matinee movie.

The name of the movie was Robot Man and I didn’t know what it was about. I sat in the theater near the front row and there were only two other guys in there. Somewhat to my surprise, one of them was Robot Man and the other one was Larry. The movie could have been about this very Robot Man, I don’t know, because the three of us got to talking and I didn’t see much of the movie. Larry was a big boned farm bred Midwestern blonde guy given to easy laughter and convergence. Robot Man was more the swarthy type. I learned that Robot Man wasn’t from around here. Robot Man was from another planet. Perhaps the movie told us what that planet was, but, like I say, I didn’t see much of the movie once we became friends.

Robot Man and Larry lived in an apartment not far from here. Robot man was very good at taking care of the place and cleaning the rugs. Robot Man also cooked dinner almost every night. Almost every night they had pizza. Robot Man was well known for making pizza. Some people thought Robot Man was Italian. I could see why they would think that.

Larry didn’t work but Larry didn’t have to. Robot Man pretty much took care of him. Robot Man could pretty much take care of everything but that’s not to say he wasn’t bothered by it sometimes.

Robot Man and Larry were very close but not so close that I wasn’t immediately a good friend of both of them and so it wasn’t long before I became a roommate with Larry and Robot Man and lived with them in the apartment. Was Robot Man a man or a robot? I have my own ideas on this but I cannot say for sure. I can say that in all the time I knew him, I never saw Robot Man have a bowel movement. (On the other hand, I’m not sure I ever saw Larry have one either.)

I did see Robot Man and Larry have a bath together once in awhile. When they would bathe together I would see both their penises. Larry’s was smooth and skinny and white and I averted my eyes as I should. Robot Man’s was crooked and notched and somewhat hairy, well, swarthy. He thought Larry’s penis was funny and Larry thought Robot Man’s was. I never showed them mine.

I lived with Robot Man and Larry for a long time. For part of that time we had a small house together. We would have friends over. This was during a time when a very large woman was pursuing me. Maybe she just wanted to visit me to see Robot Man. A lot of the ladies liked Robot Man. Robot Man didn’t seem to care. I have learned that this is the reason why a lot of women liked someone like Robot Man. Robot Man was never jealous. Robot Man was never upset or uptight about a woman or a man. Sometimes Robot Man was angry at Larry. Robot Man would throw things around the kitchen when he was upset at Larry. Robot Man was never upset with me.

Robot Man was often not happy. When I first met Robot Man I thought he was the coolest guy around. As time went by I saw that he was conflicted. He was sad because he knew he was never going to get back to his own planet. He was marooned here for some reason, and doomed to stay with Larry. Most of the time, like when they were taking a bath, Robot Man liked that just fine. Some times it made him cry. Being marooned here, or being marooned with Larry, I don’t know which made him cry.

One day it was decided that Robot Man and Larry and I would not live together anymore. I think we all knew that it was mostly because Robot Man was so unhappy. That is when I think he seemed the most Italian. And that is when he refused to make any more pizzas. Maybe if we split up Robot Man could find a way back to his own planet. By this time I wasn’t sure where my own planet had gone to. For a long time I relied on Robot Man and I wasn’t sure anymore what world I lived in. Larry always seemed to know, however, and when he left he whistled and Robot Man cried. I went out for a pizza.

Ric Vrana

About Ric Vrana

Ric Vrana lives in Astoria, Oregon. For a living he maps and catalogs the elements of public utilities that support the urban life of the north Oregon coast. When not working he listens and thinks on cold ocean beaches and along the great river, writing about the elements of places that support the lives and dreams of himself and others. For much of the past decade he lived in Portland, where he was an active participant in the local poetry community, reading at open mics and featured readings, and occasionally on the radio. His poetry is featured in “Broken Word II: the Alberta Street Anthology” and “Blown Out: Portland’s Indie Poets”. A contributor to other local zines and anthologies, he’s also authored three chapbooks of Poetry, including “Postales desde Costa Rica”, a poem cycle, and “Semi Ambivalent Middle-Aged Male Lament #25” 2011, Independent Publishing Resource Center, ed. Ceylon Anderson. You can find podcast recordings of his readings on the internet at the Show and Tell Gallery’s Three Friends series at Community Audio, (, and Oregon Literary Review’s site. Printed work appears on Barbara LaMorticella’s Talking Earth (, and his own site,
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