Spacey Stacey

Drawing: a robot doll in a box labelled: "Spacey Stacey. The bot with the lot." Caption reads: "Christmas '23, it was the toy to have."

Spacey Stacey short story by Iris Carden

Marcus leaned forward from the couch to pick up a slice of pizza from the coffee table. “You can forget Chucky or Annabelle, or any other movie dolls. Spacey Stacey was real and it was the most evil doll of all.”

Claire sipped her drink, “I sort of remember that. It was when we were little kids wasn’t it?”

“I think my sister wanted one of those, but my parents said it was too expensive,” Jack said.

“I don’t remember it at all,” Sharon said.

“Well let me tell you a story,” Marcus said, as cheese stretched and then fell into his lap. “It was late in 2023. I had just got the training wheels off my kiddie bike, and wanted my parents to get me a ‘big boy bike’ for Christmas. My big sister wanted something else. The toy to have for bratty girls in Christmas ’23 was the Spacey Stacey robot. This thing moved, talked, learned, and developed a personality in response to the owner. It was this big, revolutionary, AI advance, and they’d put it in a doll.”

“I think I want one now,”Sharon said.

“So Christmas day comes and we get our presents. I got this “educational” hand-held game console, because that’s what boys of my age were supposed to want according to the ads my parents had seen. I don’t think they ever gave me anything I actually asked for. Kimmy got the Spacey Stacey because, she almost always got what she asked for, and because it was the toy girls were supposed to want. My parents were big on how things looked, and they always wanted it to look like we had the right things to fit in. I never did fit in the mould they had for me.”

“That’s why you used to sneak through the loose board in the fence to spend so much time at my place,” Jack said.

“That, and Kimmy was a bully, which wasn’t a great personality trait to imprint on an AI. I’d go into my room and all my drawings were ripped up and Kimmy would say Stacey’d done it. She’d actually make Stacey walk across the dinner table and step in my food. Mum would tell her off, and she’d just scale it up. It didn’t bother me much when she smashed the game console, because I wasn’t interested in it anyway. But it did make my parents mad. They decided to take Kimmy to the toyshop and make her use her Christmas money, from Grandma, to buy me a new one.”

“A new console you didn’t want anyway? Not just pay them back and they could put it towards what you wanted? Seriously? That’s nuts,” Claire said.

“Well, they decided to leave me at Grandma’s. That was a part of her punishment, I got to go to Grandma’s and she didn’t. Actually that bit I did like. Grandma’s cool. She always did let me be myself and encouraged me to do the things I loved doing, like my drawing, and riding the bike, and playing with her old dog Snoopy.”

“I remember Snoopy,” Jack said. “It was a beagle-cross thing wasn’t it? Your Grandma named it after the one in the comic books. I remember hanging out with you one day at her place, and you said you wanted to draw comics, and she told us all about the Snoopy comics.”

“Yeah, I remember that day. That was a great day. Most days at Grandma’s were. But back to the day they went to the shop. Kimmy took her Stacey robot with her, and was sulking and yelling and all that, the way she always did if she was punished for anything. The robot, of course was agreeing with her, and suddenly, out of nowhere, the robot was in Dad’s lap and pulling the steering wheel. The next thing Dad knew, the car was crossing the road, right into the path of an oncoming truck. That’s how Mum and Kimmy died.”

“Oh God! I didn’t know,” Claire said. “I’m so sorry that happened when you were so little.”

“No, I don’t talk about it much. Anyway Dad kept that bloody robot, as a reminder of his dear, sweet, Kimmy. I never measured up. I was never as good as Kimmy, and he kept trying to make me into his idea of what a boy should be. He would talk to that robot all the time, tell it about his day, tell it how much he missed Mum and Kimmy. He never talked to me about anything. It was like the robot was his real child and I was nothing. Sometimes, my drawings would get ripped up, or my stuff would be broken or go missing, and Dad never knew what caused it. I always thought it was that terrible robot but Dad never believed it.”

“Lucky you had your Grandma,” Jack said.

“Very lucky. Especially when he was stabbed fifty times that night when I was on a sleepover at your place. Police never found out who did it, no fingerprints, no sign of break-in. No nothing. I think it was the robot, too, but I never said that to the police, because that would sound insane. Grandma moved in here and rented her house out so I wouldn’t have to move.”

“Where’s the robot now?” Sharon asked.

“Up in the attic. It been turned off and hasn’t been recharged since Dad died. Grandma didn’t throw it away, because she thought I wanted to keep it as a memento of Kimmy. I didn’t throw it away because someone might find it and recharge it. That thing’s psychotic.”

The subject changed and the conversation continued. Eventually, they put on a movie to watch.

Sharon excused herself to go to the toilet. She found her way to the attic, which she was pleased to find neatly arranged. A couple of years older than the others, Sharon really had remembered Spacey Stacey dolls. She had remembered this specific one. Her family hadn’t had the money for expensive electronic toys, and she’d been jealous when Kimmy, who had been in her class, had constantly brought this one to school to show off.

Sharon put the doll in her backpack, which she’d taken with her to the bathroom, a thing the others hadn’t questioned at all. She recalled what a vicious bully Kimmy had been, and rationalised the theft to herself as compensation.

Marcus had told a great story, and it was sad about his family, but the robot was just a toy. There was no way the it really could be evil, even if it had developed its personality under Kimmy’s influence.

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By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.


  1. Would love to find out what happens next…does Stacey get recharged? Does she go on a killing spree? Was she an innocent bystander to everything? Inquiring minds want to know!


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