Oct 16, 2009, 12:05:41 PM10/16/09
to Flash Fiction Fridays
So she's sitting there again when I come in. On the floor, cross-
legged, facing away from me. At first I think she's doing one of those
exercise things, whatever you call them. Pilot-eez or Yoda or
something. I know she's not, but I try to pretend.
"Hello, dear, I'm home..." I say.
I put down by bag and take off my coat before I glance back at her.
Sure enough, she's still in the same position. If I had some fraction-
measuring ruler, I doubt it would have registered even the smallest
change. I hate how she just sits there. She does this now. I come
home, and she doesn't react. She robot-ifies. It's a thing.
"Did you make anything for dinner?" I ask.
Again, no answer. Last night I had to eat emergency rations. I tried
to give her one but she didn't even blink at me. When I got up in the
morning, she was still sitting there, the un-opened rations bar same
as where I'd placed it. If it keeps up this way, I'll probably starve.
A man can't survive on emergency rations forever. He'd die of culinary
boredom. It happened to a friend of mine. He wrecked his shuttle on
some human-forsaken planetoid and when rescue found him, he was dead
as the 'toid. There were still plenty of Emerations so it's not like
he ran out of supplies. They did an autopsy but afterwards, all they
could say was he should be alive today. I knew the guy: he lived for
food, and Emerations just couldn't cut it. Don't want to end up like
him, but with her sitting there like that, I think I might be on the
same damn 'toid, emergency-rationing myself to death.
When we first got married, things were different, things were simple.
I got home, she was there, dinner was made, love was made, sleep was
slept. That was before my promotion. We were young and in love and all
that. Things were different afterwards. She couldn't support my work,
she said. It's wrong to de-ecologize a planet for our own use, she
argued, there are other beings to consider. Well, excuse me for trying
to provide for her, for the family we were supposed to have. And those
beings? Not even sentient. She wants to sacrifice our livelihood, our
futures, for insects and rodents and plant life! Ridiculous.
"Okay, dear, I'm going to bed then. You coming?" I say, grabbing an
Emerations shake for variety. Same awful substance, in liquid form. I
can't decide which is worse, so I alternate.
She doesn't say anything. She's probably waiting for me to go into the
other room before she moves. She's probably sitting there wishing I
would just leave. These days, even though I know she hates my job as
much as ever, she probably wants me to stay there all the time, not
come home at all. She's probably glad she couldn't have children now.
"That's it," I say, "The final push of my abort-mission button!"
So I get back into the room where she's sitting and tap her on the
shoulder. I'm not going to stop until she reacts. Took a couple of
minutes, but then she turns her head and opens her mouth, and her eyes
lock onto mine.
"Three days, five hours, twelve seconds since I left this robot in my
place," a strange electronic version of my wife's voice says, "and you
have failed to notice the difference. Should have done this long ago.
Have a nice life."
I stand there, this robot wife of mine still sitting cross-legged,
staring up at me and all I can think is how amazing technology is,
that it can look like real anger in those computerized eyes.