Author: Bart Williams

Jeremy awoke to see Karen hovering over him. She covered him with kisses until he was aroused and then they made vigorous love.

“Good morning, birthday boy,” she said. Jeremy looked up at Karen’s perfect face, hair and skin. He never tired of her. He started to get out of bed, but she pulled him back for a second round.

“Early installment on your birthday present,” she said.

“You mean there’s more?”

“Oh yes,” she said. “Hurry up and get dressed.”

Jeremy appreciated himself in the bathroom mirror. Lean, taut and toned. Not bad he thought. As a freighter pilot cruising near light speed most of his life, he didn’t age much. But in earth years he just turned three hundred. All his natural family were gone, but he had Karen. She was his fourth wife. He barely remembered the others.

Karen said she had a surprise for him. She called the mobileer and they drove to Galactic Pet.

There were aisles and aisles of glass cages, some room size, filled with the latest designs. Jeremy found it fascinating, though he’d never had a pet before. He liked the mini hippos, which were household practical and could fit in your bathroom tub. There were exotica like the rat-snake hybrid with two heads on a cylindrical body that tried to eat itself. They moved on to the legacy models and saw a Labrador retriever by ModiPet ™ that had all the standard features, including a remote.

“I like this one,” said Karen. “Of course, it’s your gift, honey, you decide.”

Jeremy chuckled knowing it was really Karen’s gift to herself, but he didn’t care. He actually liked the dog. He named him Bowser.

They decided to celebrate by taking Bowser to MetroPark. They took Bowser off the leash, set the remote to “play” and off he went into the dog park. Other models were there playing and they watched like proud parents.

“Do you think he’s playing a little hard?” Karen asked. Jeremy looked over to see Bowser humping a cockatiel Dalmatian mix. The cock-a-dal’s big wings were in an agitated flutter. Jeremy adjusted the remote and Bowser hopped off to face them expectantly.

“Hey, watch this,” he said and pressed a second button.

Bowser dashed to the fake fire hydrant and lifted his leg to pee. Jeremy hit “repeat fast” and the dog did a hundred pee lifts in the next minute before Jeremy hit “stop.” Bowser looked up, panting and tail wagging.

“Jeremy, that’s so cute,” Karen said.

The sun had now come out and Karen wrapped her arms around her husband. She balanced herself against him as she leaned her body back to catch the warmth.

Suddenly she froze, then fell and began to twitch violently.

“Karen! Karen!” Jeremy said, as he knelt beside her on the grass. Her eyes stared out blankly, their deep blue color beginning to fade.

“You’re OK, you’re OK, don’t worry,” Jeremy said. He sharply twisted her head to the left and her shaking stopped. He inserted his index finger deep into her ear until he felt a click, then lifted up her side panel.

“Ah, Karen you are an old model but I love you. Lucky for you I brought the first aid kit.” Jeremy pulled something out of a small bag on his belt and placed it into Karen’s head.

“I should get you replaced,” Jeremy said, trying to make a joke.

Karen’s eyes twitched just so slightly.

“I am sorry, honey. I didn’t mean that. I really didn’t.”