Shades of Milk and Honey extra: Automaton of a monkey…

In Chapter 12, Mr. Dunkirk is talking about his sister Beth.

Mr. Dunkirk paused for a moment of reflection. Sighing a bit, he continued. “I was away at school, as was my brother, Richard. I like to think that I might have noticed if I had been home. She was always a dreamy child, given to romantic fantasies. Once, she sent me a story she had written in which a clockmaker created an automaton of a monkey as a means of winning the love of his fair lady. Such fancy!

You might recall that I wrote a story called “Evil Robot Monkey.”  The story got its title from Beth’s namesake.

Back when I was at Shimmer magazine, we had a running joke which stemmed from when we were testing the submission system. Beth Wodzinski, the editor-in-chief, sent in a trial submission called “Harry Potter and the Evil Robt Monkeys!” And yes, the mispelling was deliberate. You’d be amazed how many submissions have misspellings within the first paragraph

I was participating in a flash fiction challenge that Beth was also in and I decided that whatever the trigger was, I would call it “Harry Potter and the Evil Robt Monkeys!”  The trigger itself was a piece of clockwork art.

Here’s the first bit of my story.

Sliding his hands over the clay, Sly relished the moisture oozing around his fingers. The clay matted down the hair on the back of his hands making them look almost human. He turned the potter’s wheel with his prehensile feet as he shaped the vase. Pinching the clay between his fingers he lifted the wall of the vase, spinning it higher.

You can see that I kept the hairy potter.

But the original story that started the whole running joke came with this stunning cover letter.

Dear Mr. Wozinsiak,

Attached is my STory! It is short. It is for your magazine Glimmer
Train and it is a really good story my mom said so.

It is called Harry Potter and the Evil Robt monkeys! And it is about
Harry Potter who is a wizard and some monkeys. But the monkeys are robots! And they are evil!!!~ It is a very good story.

I encrypted my story so you won’t steal my idea because it is a very good idea my internet friends liked it except tj56MAXXXX who is an idiot so if you buy my story I will send you the instructions for to disencryptify it! I will sell it for $100.00. If you don’t buyy it I will write to the SFWA which is the Sience Fanatics Workshop of Auastria and tell htme you are MORONS like jt56MAXXXX and they will BOYCOTT YOU and then you will be SORRY!!!!!!! AHAHAHAHA! No just kidding.

Write to me soon! I can take PayPay. Thank you very MUCH.


And the story?




OK so there was this boy named Harry Potter and he was a REALLY GOOD WIZARD!

But Voldemort was mean and wanted to kill him because he was bad. Voldemort was bad, not harry because Harry was good!

So Voldemort did a magical spell! And it made this army of evil robot monkeys. “EVILUS MONKEYUS ARMIUS!” he shouted and there was smoke! And lighting! And then there was an army of evil robot monkeys. They were evil, and they were robots that looked just like monkeys! Only a little more robotic.

“Hello army of evil robot monkeys!” said Volemart. “You must go kill Harry Potter because I hate him because I am evil because I was an orphan because I killed my parents!

“Yes, master!” said the evil robot monkeys and then they went to Hogwarts to kill Harry potter.

But on the way there a pirate ship sailed out of the mist and killed the monkeys! Vopldemart was very sad.

“I will get you someday Harry Potter!” he screamed but the n one of the big eagles from Lord of the Rings dropped a Volvo on him and he died.


And that’s the story of why Beth sends her brother a submission containing a monkey automaton.

Series Navigation<< Shades of Milk and Honey extra: Light careened…Shades of Milk and Honey extra: Deleted scene from Chapter 2 >>
Did you know you can support Mary Robinette on Patreon!

2 Responses

  1. Pam Adams

    “They were evil, and they were robots that looked just like monkeys! Only a little more robotic.” I think I’m in love.