“I thought you were Valerie,” said Penelope. “I’ve been calling you Valerie for years now.”
“I am Valerie. I meant Robot Valerie.”
“Oh yes,” said Penelope. “I still can’t believe your robot, Astrid. It looks so realistic.”
“She’s not exactly my robot,” said Astrid.
“And I’m not an ‘it’,” said Robot Valerie.
“Sorry,” said Penelope. “What is the problem that Valerie… I mean the other Valerie was talking about?”
“Let’s go back to my room, and I’ll show you,” said Astrid.
Penelope and the two Valeries followed the girl inventor inside and down the hallway to her bedroom. Denise trailed them, carrying her plate of crepes. Once in her room, Astrid pulled out a dome-shaped shiny steel object.
“Here is your scalp,” she told Robot Valerie. “We’ll attach it after we remove your hair unit.”
“I’ll be bald!” gasped Valerie.
“That’s not what Valerie wanted at all, Astrid,” said Regular Valerie.
“No, don’t worry,” said Astrid. “We’ll put hair on it once we have it installed. I just haven’t decided what to make the hair out of yet. We could use wire or fiber-optic cable, I suppose.”
“Why don’t you just wear a wig?” Penelope asked the robot girl.
“We tried a few wigs,” replied Valerie’s flesh and blood twin. “They just didn’t look right with her metallic skin.”
“Wait right here,” said the young woman, stepping out of the room.
Astrid, the two Valeries, and Denise looked back and forth at one another. A moment later Astrid’s aunt was back, carrying a metallic blue wig.
“Here you go.”
“How come you have a blue wig?” wondered Astrid, cocking an eyebrow.
“I like to wear it when I go out dancing. It’s a good one—real synthetic hair.”
“Can you fix it for me now, Astrid?” asked Valerie.
The young inventor retrieved her pocket toolkit from her suitcase and removed a dozen tiny screws that held the solid hair-shaped molded scalp to Valerie’s head, replacing them once she had fitted on the new scalp piece. Then she used Maxxim Wonder Glue to fasten the wig to the metal. Penelope and Valerie carefully styled the new wig once it was in place, and minutes later, Robot Valerie was smiling at her image in the mirror.
“I look like Katy Perry!” she exclaimed happily.
“At least you look like you stole Katy Perry’s hair,” said Denise.