Author : Page LePage
My wife is angry. I have no idea what I’ve done.
“DESTRUCTION SEQUENCE INITIATED.”
It’s at times like these that I know my brother Shen was right when he told me I should have married something with more sophisticated logic calibration — or at least a better emotional processor.
“SELF-DETONATION IN 10, 9, 8–”
I grit my teeth together. “Abort auto-destruct.”
Her eyes twinkle at my concession, a miniature light show in progress in her sockets. “REQUEST GRANTED.”
“You know, Delta, I really wish you wouldn’t initiate your emergency protocols at the first sign of conflict.”
She stands there mutely.
I sigh. She’s never been much of a conversationalist. I’d skimped on those features, too, on the initial install, not wanting a companion who’d talk my ear off. I’ve had enough experience hanging out with Shen and his model Gamma with her incessant “did you know” followed by interjections of factoids only tangentially related to the situation at hand. “Boy, honey your skin looks lovely today.” “Did you know that the skin is the largest organ of the human body, while the liver is the largest organ in the human body?” No thank you.
But sometimes, the silence gets to you. If you can call it that. There’s a subtle humming when she’s operative. I thought I’d learn to block it out after a while but no dice. I often ponder switching her off.
“YOU WERE THINKING ABOUT GAMMA AGAIN.”
“No, Honey, I wasn’t,” I say.
“THAT IS A LIE.”
Technically she’s right of course. I was thinking about my Shen’s wife but not in the way she’s implying. “Delta, it’s not like that.”
“YOU WISH YOU HAD PURCHASED THE GAMMA MODEL. YOU CONSIDER ME AN INFERIOR UNIT.”
Again, what she’s saying is true, though taken out of context, blown out of proportion. I wonder what aberrant biorhythms she’s picking up, how she detects my deception. She either has a specialized chip or was initialized to be insecure and skeptical. Either way, it’s highly irritating. I sigh. “It’s late, Delta. Are you coming to bed?”
I hear her internal fan kick on, and the whirring grows louder. She is apparently working through complex processes, working out an algorithm to weigh pros and cons. I turn from her, change quickly into my pajamas, crawl beneath the covers.
“REQUEST GRANTED,” she finally replies, switching off the light and climbing in beside me.
Touch is the one sensation the designers got absolutely correct. She backs into me so I’m holding her. Her skin is soft and warm. I smooth her stray hairs from her face. “Good night, Delta,” I say. As her gentle hum lulls me to sleep, I let my mind wander, make a quick mental note to call Shen tomorrow and see if he and Gamma would like to have dinner.
“YOU’RE THINKING OF HER, AREN’T YOU?”
It’s going to be a long night.
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