Peter II worked his way through the labyrinthine house, finally managing to come to the entrance of the shop. He braced himself, then crossed the doorless threshold; Alex Reed was tinkering on the workbench. The Jon was sitting up on the bench beside him, one arm missing, humming and swinging his feet above the ground as he watched Mr. Reed fiddle with his appendage. He clapped his blue receptors on Peter II as he entered, his faceplates splitting into The Jon's version of a smile.
"Well hey, Mr. Pappy the Two!" said The Jon, the arm that was still intact jerking up, hand swiveling to and fro in a wave.
"Hey Pete," said Mr. Reed, not looking up from his work.
"Hey guys," Peter II replied, attempting a smile, "Pardon me, The Jon, but do you think I could borrow Alex?"
The Jon, for a moment, looked very distressed.
"It'll only be for a moment," assured Peter II, smiling softly at the childlike automaton.
"Hmph," The Jon said, looking up quizzically, "Alright, but JUST for a moment, EH? You already owe me one watermelon, but I'LL MAKE IT TWO!"
"You have my word," said Peter II, and with that Mr. Reed straightened up from his work and walked over to the son of his employer.
"What's up, Pete?" asked Alex, wiping his blackened hands on a rag.
Peter II didn't hesitate
"The Colonel is dead."
Alex paused in his efforts to remove the oil from his hands. His clear blue eyes widened as he stared at his young friend. The mechanic cleared his throat and looked away, working the rag on his fingers more vigorously than ever.
"I'm sorry, Pete," he said, sounding bewildered. Peter II could only nod. Alex went on, "What are you going to do about -" and he jerked his thumb over his shoulder to The Jon, .
Peter II stared at The Jon, who was using his dismembered arm to draw butterflies in the oil pooled on the workbench.
"Could you give me a few with him?" he asked, and Alex nodded.
"I'll be back in a sec, The Jon," Alex called back as he walked to the doorway.
"Bring ice-cream!" The Jon called as Mr. Reed disappeared into the hallway. Peter II was glad The Jon had made the request; maybe it would help. He approached the lighthearted, golden automaton, dreading the conversation to come.