She guided him to a chair that she had apparently brought in from the dining room and set along the west wall of the living room, in front of the window. Once he had sat down, she stepped behind him and began rubbing his shoulders.
“How did you pay for them… the shoes, I mean?” he asked.
“I took the cash card out of your wallet this morning before you left for school.”
“They’re not supposed to let you use that unless it’s yours. And besides, you should have asked first.”
“The stores never check, and I did ask. You said that I should select and purchase my own wardrobe.”
“Yes, but I’m not sure I can afford that right now. I don’t get paid until the tenth. I’m not sure how much money I have in my accounts right now.”
“We have $2261.43 in account 116211130782-2 checking, $31021.69 in account 116211130782-1 savings, and $422.11 in the payNEtime account.”
“Wow. That’s more than I thought I had… I mean we had.”
She turned him back around and began rubbing his shoulders again. “I have ordered my own cash card, in any case.”
“You did? Wait. How did you know all that?”
“Last night I accessed all your financial data.”
“You what?” He turned back around to look at her.
“It is part of the secondary setup procedure.”
“What else did you do?” he wondered.
“I accessed your vueTee and browser files, read all of the books and magazines on your texTee, and all of your paper books too. I looked through your photo albums, ran your credit report, and googled you.”
“Is that all part of the secondary setup procedure?” he frowned.
She nodded with an innocent look on her face and turned him back around to continue with the shoulder rub. When she was done, he moved to his recliner and flipped on the vueTee, while Patience brought him a diet Pepsi. Although he usually drank them from the can, she had poured it into a tall glass over ice.
“Did you buy ice at the store too?”
“No, Mike. I made it in the freezer.”
“You can do that?”
She nodded. “Did you want to talk about your day at work, Mike?”
“Not really,” he said. “If you don’t mind, I’d just like to watch vueTee for a while.”
“That’s fine, Mike. The Star Trek episode ‘Let That Be Your Last Battlefield’ is on channel twenty-seven.”
“Is that the one where Frank Gorshin is black on the left side and white on the right side?”
“He is black on the right side,” said Patience. “All of his people are black on the right side.”
Mike smiled as he flipped to channel twenty-seven. He watched the last forty minutes of the science fiction classic. Then he watched part of Seaquest DSV, which wasn’t so much of a classic. Mercifully, he fell asleep in his chair somewhere near the middle. He often fell asleep in the afternoon in his recliner to wake up to a dark and lonely room. This time when he woke up, both lamps were on. Patience passed by, walking through the room from the kitchen, continuing through the living room and on to the foyer. As she did so, she switched the vueTee to the evening news.