Author : Steven Saus

“Make your own damn dinner.”

He coughed, sputtering foam from his after-work beer onto the cluttered endtable. She showed no signs of malfunction. There were no sparks, no telltale wisps of smoke from the delicate wires in her wrists. Her voice utterly failed to stutter; it just had this odd quality he couldn’t quite place.

“I said, make your own damn dinner. I’m leaving you.” She clanked towards the door, ripping the apron (a silly affectation he’d had her wear) off her metal torso.

“But — I made you!” His beer tottered and fell from the endtable, jostled by his awkward attempt at pursuit. The amber liquid splattered across the half-soldered circuit boards and the screws – never put away – that had been “left over” after assembling the kit.

“I found someone else.” She reached down and picked up the old-fashioned modem he hadn’t paid any attention to. “I found someone who truly understands me for what and who I am. Now leave me alone and make your own damn dinner.”

“You got past the house firewall? You’ve been Internet dating?” She did not bother to respond.

He thought about the first time he’d seen her lips, laying in the bubblewrap and cardboard. Now they were pursed unnaturally tight. He imagined the whirring and moving behind her chest, the way the parts he’d fitted together all moved in sync. He remembered the hours he’d spent assembling the synthetic sinews of her hands. That meant something, didn’t it? He’d put her together. He had joined every one of her joints that worked to pull his front door open.

His android stepped forward and fell into the waiting arms of another robot. This new robot was as male as his was female. The force of their embrace would have pulped his ribs, but both robot’s mouths were open in a wide smile.

Behind the robots, his front gate crashed open. The panting woman who stood there stopped, staring. A spanner dropped from her hand and clattered on the sidewalk. After a few minutes – when the androids began to kiss – she slowly looked up and in the doorway. When the two humans made eye contact, they both grinned sheepishly.

The two couples made a lovely curry and rice dish together.

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