Author : Steve Smith, Staff Writer
They’d bought it together as a wedding present. Not your traditional newlywed purchase, but they loved each other with such intensity, they wanted a guarantee that nothing could take one away from the other.
They made love on their wedding night, then backed themselves up completely. Gene-code, memories, the entirety of themselves in a pair of imprints they updated incrementally every night before they slept.
Twenty two years of marriage, and Wendy surprised Victor at lunch to find him fawning over a woman she recognized from an office party. “It was nothing, don’t be silly,” Victor laughed at her indignation, “Teresa was feeling down, I was cheering her up. That’s all.”
Wendy swallowed the moment, but not her suspicions. She followed them home to Teresa’s quaint little bungalow a few days later, watched them through the open bedroom window.
At home that evening, puttering in the kitchen behind him as he ate dinner, she asked him about his day. He rambled about the usual; meetings, lunch was a hot meat sandwich. Pretty good.
He was oblivious as the cast iron frying pan collided with the back of his skull, driving him face first into his pork chops and mashed potatoes.
She dragged him into the bedroom, his head wrapped in a bloody towel, and wrestled his limp body into the machine.
“Restore,” she intoned into the microphone, clutching it’s flexible chrome neck a little too tightly, “minus two weeks.”
She returned to the kitchen and poured a glass of wine, leaving the machine to repair the damage, and revert her Victor to a time before he’d cheated on her.
In the morning, she caught herself flinching as Victor kissed her on the cheek, then stood shaking in the window as his sedan rolled off towards the city.
It only took two days for Teresa to have him in her bed again. She thought it funny that he’d forgotten the earlier day, and they did it twice to make up for it.
Wendy caught him full in the face with the iron as he closed the garage door. By morning, for Victor, the last three months were erased.
His boss insisted he take a few weeks leave, and see a doctor. He’d missed meetings and was completely unable to engage in any of his current projects. He was scared he was losing his mind, but Teresa reassured him everything would be alright, so much so that he arrived home three hours late.
Wendy avoided him as he skulked quietly upstairs, stripped and stepped into the shower. His eyes were closed to keep the soap out when she pulled the plastic bag over his head, drawing the ties tight. He struggled, slipped and knocked himself senseless against the tile. Wendy sat on the floor and watched the plastic suck in and out of his mouth, his body otherwise motionless until even the breathing stopped.
She rolled him all the way back to the beginning; the Victor who had just married her, made love to her and lay down for the first time to preserve that moment.
When he woke, he’d remember nothing of the last twenty two years. He’d find a new job, love her again, never knowing any of this had ever happened.
She sat on the floor, listening to the machine scrubbing the failed years away from her husband, her marriage. He’d have forgotten the boredom, the restlessness. Not known forbidden desire, and the thrill of opportunity. He’d have no memory of the frying pan, the iron or the bag.
She, on the other hand, couldn’t let herself forget.