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The Caretaker’s Diary

March 26, 2020

On March 11, 2020 Two Bit Circus closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The games were powered down, the doors were locked, and the staff was sent home.

In keeping with Emergency Procedures, Two Bit Circus activated the Caretaker–a robot designed to maintain the park in the event of an Interruption in Fun.

What follows are excerpts from the diary of the Caretaker.

## Day 1

By my calculations, servicing all 38,000 square feet of Two Bit Circus should have taken nine hours. However I finished in a mere seven. I am clearly more efficient than my designers predicted. Not a speck of dust remains. I dare say humans are as slow as plants compared to my lightspeed actuations.

Unfortunately, the floor polisher was too inefficient, so I added some AI to its programming. It now runs autonomously, and the floor is so spotless you could eat off it. This is of course academic; as a robot I do not eat (though I can convert food to battery power in case of emergencies). It’s much more efficient to fill my batteries using the charger in the closet next to the clown cage.
It’s been a long day and my charger beckons. Tomorrow I will resume my duties with gusto.

🤖 ## Day 3

I continue to exceed all expectations. The games remain dust-free, so today I steam cleaned inside the game cabinets. I made an unusual discovery inside a “Ms Pac-man” cabinet: a discarded corndog. I am mystified by how it got there.  Perhaps a game technician was hungry and got called away to another task? Humans…

…When I removed the offending food item, the game sprang to life. My programming does not include instructions for how to deactivate the game machines.  However I am equipped with a learning module. Tomorrow I will attempt to learn how “Ms Pac-man” works in an attempt to shut it down. 🤖 🎪

🤖## Day 13

I believe I have gravely miscalculated.  My attempts to shut down “Ms Pac-man” using its on-screen controls have so far been a failure.  I do not believe this is a problem with my learning module; with each new attempt the yellow wedge consumes more white dots before being destroyed by the angry looking grave stones…

I have temporarily paused my other duties in the park while I address this “Ms Pac-man” situation. Consuming the white dots is very much like cleaning, and that makes my programming very happy.  

Fortunately, the floor polisher continues to operate as programmed.  It is however exhibiting some unusual behaviors. On several occasions it has driven directly to me and begun beeping, almost as if it’s trying to communicate.  This is impossible, of course. Its AI programming is limited to cleaning floors efficiently. Anything else I see it doing is surely a product of my own imagination. 🤖 🎪