His Robot Wife: A Great Deal of Patience – Now Available as an Ebook Everywhere

Mike Smith and his robot wife Patience have overcome a great many obstacles in their life together. No obstacle is quite as great as a world war. As the United States, China, Europe and India mobilize against the shadowy Anarchists, who have carved vast swaths across Africa, the Middle East, and Russia, Mike and Patience deal with the fallout at home, and the public’s changing perceptions of robots. Meanwhile, Mike’s son Lucas finds himself in the heart of the conflict as he takes command of robot soldiers leading America’s war effort. A Great Deal of Patience is the first book of a new trilogy that ties together the previous books: His Robot Girlfriend, His Robot Wife, His Robot Wife: Patience is a Virtue, and His Robot Girlfriend: Charity.

His Robot Wife: A Great Deal of Patience is available for $2.99 wherever fine ebooks are sold.

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The Drache Girl – Chapter 16 Excerpt

Though winter was well on its way out in Birmisia, it was still cold enough at night—cold enough to bundle up tight, cold enough to blow steam in the air with your breath, and cold enough that the lizzies moved with their characteristically slow gate. Police Constable Saba Colbshallow watched them from behind the corner of a warehouse building across the street from the dock. He didn’t know why they were working in the middle of the night, but he hadn’t spotted them taking from the ship any of the curious long crates that he had seen on previous occasions. He watched for more than thirty minutes as the reptilians moved freight.

Finally deciding that the activity represented nothing nefarious, Saba stretched his sore back, pulled a sulfur match from his pocket, and lit the oil lantern sitting on a barrel next to him. Then taking the lantern with him, he made his way across the street. There were half a dozen lizzies loading wooden crates onto a pallet that was attached to the crane to be loaded aboard the ship. As he approached, several of the lizardmen eyed him. Half of them were taller than his six foot three, but all of them hunkered down to look shorter than they actually were. It was a demonstration of submissiveness that the constable had grown used to over the years. Coming to a stop beside the workers, he crossed his hands over his chest.

“Working awfully late, gentlemen.”

One of the lizardmen hissed. Even though Saba was not fluent in the aboriginal language, he could tell it was a non-verbal expression of anger or annoyance.

“Identification.”

The two closest lizardmen held out their arms. They each wore a wooden and twine identity bracelet. Saba held up the lantern and read the engraved information on each of the tags. “Finn: Serial Number 22211 BL”, and “Ishee: Serial Number 22214 BI”.

“All right. The rest of you too.”

“Does there seem to be some problem, PC?”

Saba looked up to see the tall, silhouetted form of a man walking toward him from the direction of the ship. When he reached the circle of lantern light he was revealed as Professor Merced Calliere.

“Good evening, Professor. Just checking identifications.”

“I would appreciate some haste then. These fellows have work to do.”

“So they’re working for you? I noticed these two don’t seem to have night passes, and my guess is that the others don’t either.”

“Yes, well I needed help on what you might call an ad-hoc basis. It’s very important business—government business. So I would prefer it if you not delay them any longer.”

“Then I had best let them get back to work,” said Saba. “As soon as I check the rest of their identification.”

“This ship is leaving first thing in the morning.” Professor Calliere hissed from between clenched teeth.

“I am aware of that, Professor,” said Saba, then to the other lizardmen. “Stick your arms out.”

The two reptilians that he had already checked stepped aside, and the remaining four held out their arms to show their identification bracelets. Calliere folded his arms and scowled. Saba read them off one by one.

“Maddy: Serial Number 19705 BL. Sassine: Serial Number 18234 BI. Guster: Serial Number 10100 BI. Swoosy: Serial Number 11995 BI. Oh, I know you, don’t I?”

Saba looked up at the last of the lizardmen. It was a hulking brute, at least six foot five, though it was doing its best to seem shorter. Its skin was deep forest green with large mottled patches of grey here and there. It looked nothing like the lightly colored, rather short female that the constable had seen saved by Graham Dokkins from the new arrivals.

“Hold on,” said the constable, grabbing the wrist with the bracelet.

With a hiss that bordered on a roar, the lizardman leapt forward, grabbing Saba’s helmet in its clawed right hand as its momentum carried both of them backwards. As he fell, Saba felt the alligator-like mouth clamp shut on his right shoulder. The gravel of the street flew as the man and the reptilian landed. The latter flipped completely over and onto his back. Saba jumped to his feet, his hand suddenly holding his truncheon even though he didn’t consciously grab it. With a speed belying its supposed cold blood, the lizardman rolled onto his stomach, and without even getting up, launched himself into Saba. They both fell into the pallet of crates, one of which splintered, spilling its contents onto the ground. Saba swung his truncheon, but couldn’t tell if it connected. The next moment, his opponent was gone.

Jumping to his feet, the constable saw his attacker disappearing into the darkness, running south. All of the other lizardmen were either running or were already gone. Saba reached into his reefer jacket to feel his shoulder and pulled out a hand with several streaks of blood upon it. His pulse was pounding in his ears. Professor Calliere stood with his mouth open. The ground was strewn with papers.

Saba reached down and picked up a fist full of the papers. They were white, 8 ½ x 11 inch papers, covered on one side with long strings of numbers. He kicked the damaged crate and it busted open completely, spilling out more of the number filled sheets.

“Papers? Just papers?”

Calliere looked unhappily at the ground.

“What the hell are these?”

“Just… just some calculations.”

“Are all these crates filled with these calculations?”

Calliere bit his lip.

“Professor, you’re going to need to come with me.”

Calliere’s eyes shifted but then he nodded.

His Robot Wife: A Great Deal of Patience – Chapter 9 Excerpt

Lucas realized he was awake as he slid his hand down Haruka’s naked body. She was on top of him, her legs straddling his hips, her head on his chest. They had fallen asleep in that position. She was so light, he could hardly tell she was there. He lifted his head and turned it to see the clock.

Don’t move. I’m comfortable,” she said.

“Didn’t you say you wanted to speak English at home?”

“Don’t move. I’m comfortable.”

“Well, I’m not. You’ve made a mess all over me.”

“It’s mostly your mess,” she said.

He rolled to his side and gently pushed her away. She flopped onto her back, her arms above her head, her small breasts pointing toward the ceiling. He smiled at the bright orange koi tattooed over her right hipbone. He gently ran his finger over it.

“Stop! You’re tickling me!” She squirmed, but made no move to protect her stomach from his assault.

“I don’t know how you ever got this, being so ticklish.”

“I was very drunk at the time.” She sat up. “I’m going to get your name tattooed right across my chest.”

“In English or in Japanese?”

“Maybe both. I could have your name in English across one boob, and in Katakana across the other.” She ran her hands below her breasts, on her ribs. “Or maybe here, curving along like this.”

“What would your parents say about that?”

“They won’t say anything, because I’m not going to tell them. I didn’t tell them about the koi fish.”

“I think I like your chest the way it is now.” He climbed to his feet.

Walking through the living area, he stepped into the close confines of the bathroom. The room was really three closet-sized compartments. The closest had a tub, about a meter square and not quite a meter deep, with a seat in the corner. Next to it was the room with the toilet. It was so small that Lucas had to leave the door open when he sat. Beyond that, a third compartment contained a small sink. He turned on spigot in the bathtub first, and then stepped around to turn on the cold spigot and then the hot at the small sink. He wet a wash towel and soaped himself up and then used another to wipe himself off. The tub was about half full by that time, so he turned off the sink faucets and he climbed into the tub. The water was hot and steam began to rise, coating the enclosure’s walls with condensation. He closed his eyes and leaned back. When he had first arrived in Japan, it had seemed strange to wash before getting into the tub, but it was considered impolite to get into the bathtub while still dirty. Since they had no shower to use first, he and Haruka had to make do with the sink.

Just as the water was reaching the middle of his chest, Lucas heard the faucet being turned off. He opened one eye to see Haruka, still naked, sitting on the edge of the tub with a razor and a can of shaving cream in one hand.

“I’m going to shave you,” she said.

She sprayed lather onto her fingers and then spread it onto his face.

“I don’t know if I trust you enough,” he said.

“I’m going to be your wife. You have to trust me.”

“Where is that written?” he wondered.

Pulling the safety cover off the razor, Haruka ran it over his cheek.

“Bottom to top on my neck,” he said, tilting his head back.

She took a swipe upward, below his left ear.

“This reminds me of sledding in the snow,” she said. “We used to have snow here in the winter sometimes.”

“I’ll take you skiing in Colorado.”

“Do they still have snow there?”

“It’s America. If God doesn’t supply it, we make it ourselves.”

“Like Disneyland,” she said.

“Um, sure. Ouch.” He touched where she had just shaved and examined the spot of blood on his finger. “So much for trust.”

“That is only a little blood. You have lots more.” She frowned in concentration and took another swipe at his throat.

“You should do this for a living.”

“I think I had better stick to translation,” she said, eyeing his neck. “Turn your head so I can get the rest. Then you can wash the blood off.”

The Drache Girl – Chapter 15 Excerpt

Senta strolled down the white gravel street toward her home, singing the latest song to arrive from Brech.   The wax cylinder had come by ship exactly one month before, and it was already almost worn smooth by constant playing on the music box in Parnorsham’s store.

 

I’ll pay you a pfennig for your dreams,

Dreaming’s not as easy as it seems,

Images of her, are keeping me awake,

And so I’ll have to pay a pfennig for your dreams.

 

When Senta sang it, she replaced “images of her” with “images of him”. She thought that it made more sense for a girl to be kept awake with images of a boy than the other way around. If it had been her choice, she would have chosen a girl to sing the song, rather than the somewhat effeminate-voiced man on the recording.

“Not a very catchy tune.”

Senta turned to see a man emerging from behind a tree along the east side of the road. It was the same tall, dark man that she had seen arriving on the Majestic. His long, black rifle frock coat had made him blend into the background of the woods in the shadows of the late afternoon. She didn’t need to guess that he was a wizard. She could see the magic aura amorphously floating around him. She wondered if he could see hers.

“I’ve been waiting quite a while for you, sorceress.” He smiled broadly, his thin-lipped mouth seeming abnormally wide across his heavy jaw line.

“I’m not a sorceress. I’m just a little girl and you should leave me alone.”

“Ah, I know that game.” He pulled the horn-rimmed spectacles from his upturned nose and wiped first his eyes and then the lenses with a handkerchief, replacing the glasses on his face and the handkerchief in his pocket. “You make three statements. One is true and the other two are lies. Then I have to guess which is true. Right?   Then I will have to say, you are a little girl.”

Senta crossed her arms and rocked back onto the heels of her shoes.

“My turn,” said the wizard. “My name is Smedley Bassington. I was born in Natine, Mirsanna. I know nothing about magic.”

“That’s too easy,” said Senta. “Smedley.”

“You should say Mr. Bassington. After all, I am your elder. One mustn’t be rude.”

“Okay, this one is harder,” replied Senta. “I’m going to have to say, number two, you are my elder.”

Bassington took a step forward, and then another.

“Uuthanum,” said Senta, waving her hand.

“Uuthanum,” said Bassington, waving his hand in an almost identical motion.

It might have seemed as though the two were exchanging some kind of secret greeting. In actuality, Senta had cast an invisible protective barrier between them. Bassington had dispelled the magic, destroying the barrier.

“I’ve been looking forward to meeting you, the chosen apprentice of the most powerful sorceress in the world. That is, after I found out Zurfina was here. I had no idea where she had gotten to. Here I was, checking out that idiot and his machine, and instead I find the two of you.”

“I think that’s too many statements,” said Senta.

He stopped in the middle of the road about five feet away from her. A little wisp of wind whipped his short graying hair.

“Did she leave you here alone to take care of yourself? That’s just what she does, you know? She’s totally unreliable.”

“Are you allowed to use questions?” asked Senta, thinking to herself that this wizard did indeed seem to have her guardian pegged.

“Let’s not play that game,” said Bassington. “Let’s play something a little better suited to our unique abilities.”

He held out his hand, waist high, palm down and said. “Maiius Uuthanum nejor.”

Red smoke rose up from the ground just below his hand. It swirled and coalesced into a shape. The shape became a wolf. Its red eyes seemed to glow and the hair on its back and shoulders stood up as it bared its dripping fangs and snarled at Senta. She held out her own hand, palm pointed down.

“Maiius Uuthanum,” she said.

His Robot Wife: A Great Deal of Patience – Chapter 8 Excerpt

Patience stepped out the front door and walked to the mailbox, a twice-weekly activity, since that’s how often the mail was delivered. It had been months since Mike had received a letter. Electronic mail had almost completely replaced the traditional variety years earlier, only to be replaced itself by text messaging. It was extremely uncommon for human beings to produce writing lengthier than a paragraph as form of direct communication. It would be unheard of for a robot to write a letter. Packages of goods bought online were dropped at the doorstep by a variety of parcel companies, leaving the mailbox an empty relic of the past. It was therefore quite a surprise for Patience to find a letter addressed to her. She pulled it out and examined it. It had neither a stamp nor a postmark.

Carrying the letter with her, she crossed back to the front door, stopping for just a moment to ensure the yardbot was doing its job. Once inside, she hurried back to the kitchen to finish Mike’s breakfast. She slipped the unopened envelope behind the cereal boxes above the fridge.

“Anything in the mail?” Mike asked, stepping into the room and taking his spot at the table.

“Is there ever?” Patience set a plate containing with a fried egg, two pieces of sausage, and a buttered piece of whole-grain toast, in front of him.

“Sausage? What’s the occasion?”

“Everything in moderation.”

“I have to eat fast if I’m going to make it.”

“You have plenty of time,” replied Patience. “Don’t give yourself indigestion.”

She set a glass of Diet Pepsi next to his plate.

In fourteen minutes, four seconds, Mike finished his meal and started toward the back door. Patience had already placed his single piece of luggage right next to the exit.

“You packed my razor?”

“Yes.”

“How about my texTee?”

“I packed everything you need and nothing that you don’t.”

“I don’t know if I should go. I don’t trust these hyperloops. People shouldn’t travel around in tubes. That’s for toothpaste.”

“Just think of it as a train.”

She followed him out into the garage and watched as he climbed into the car and set the programming. As the garage door opened and the vehicle backed out, she waved goodbye. He blew her a kiss, which she returned. She watched him until the garage door completed closing. She could hear his car accelerating away.

Stepping back inside, Patience retrieved the envelope she had hidden and opened it. Inside was a single sheet of twenty-pound paper, folded into thirds. Written between the two folds in a precise Lucinda twelve point font was the following.

 

Patience,

37.0320 -117.3414 9-22-38 12:08:30

S.

 

It was the very concise directions for a meeting. The latitude and longitude indicated a spot in Death Valley, and the time, eight minutes and thirty seconds after noon on Wednesday, the following day. There was only the initial as a signature, but it was no great stretch of logic to realize that it must have been Silence who had sent the missive. Her predictive logic subroutine told Patience that if she weren’t at the precise spot at the precise time, she would lose any chance of meeting the other Daffodil.

Patience left home at seven on the indicated morning. She predicted that with traffic, the trip would take her four hours and seven minutes. Once she reached Death Valley, there was no traffic. Taking manual control of the vehicle, she parked just outside the chain link fence that surrounded the ruins of Scotty’s Castle.

It would have been oppressively hot for a human being, but Patience wasn’t bothered as she looked for an easy way through the barrier. The fence was not in good repair, and a hundred feet from the car, she found a section that had fallen flat on the ground. She briskly walked the pothole-filled road until she reached the burnt skeleton of the once proud desert dwelling.

Scotty’s Castle, the two-story villa, neither owned by Death Valley Scotty, nor an actual castle, had nevertheless been a marvel of the 1920s when constructed in the middle of the wilderness. It remained a popular tourist attraction for over a century, until an untended cigarette had ignited century old upholstery.

Next to an empty swimming pool in front of the ruins, Patience found the other Daffodil. Silence looked enough like Patience to have been her sister—the same large eyes and the same button nose. She had a larger frame though with an hourglass figure. She was wearing a simple white pleated skirt and a white business jacket with a blue tie. Her face was smudged and her hair was tangled and matted.

The Drache Girl – Chapter 14 Excerpt

Had her lavender top hat not been tied onto her head with a thick strand of lace, Yuah was sure that it would have been blown away and lost. The wind whipped around her face and she tightened her grip on the steering wheel. Scenery was flying past her on both sides at an alarming pace—trees, houses, lizardmen, a group of playing boys. Suddenly something appeared at her left elbow. She carefully turned her eyes left without looking away from the road. One of the boys that she had passed was running beside the carriage. A second later, the others had caught up and were running along beside her as well.

“Hey lady!” yelled one boy. “Why don’t you open her up?”

“Yeah!” called another. “We want to see this thing go!”

Yuah turned her attention back to her driving. She was sure that the steam carriage would outpace the children shortly, but they stayed right at her side, encouraging her to increase her speed. When she finally pulled up to the front of Mrs. Bratihn’s, the boys gathered beside the vehicle, scarcely breathing hard.

“Why didn’t you go faster?”

“Yeah, how come?”

Tears welled up in Yuah’s eyes.

“I was going as fast as I could!” She let out a sob.

“Don’t cry, lady,” said the oldest boy, apparently the one who had called out first on the road. “Here. Let me open the relief cock for you.”

Yuah pulled a handkerchief from her sleeve and pressed it to her face, as the boy moved around to the back of the vehicle and turned the lever.

“Be sure and don’t –sob– burn your fingers on the steam.”

“What are you boys doing here!” yelled Mrs. Bratihn, shooting out from the door of her shop with her own head of steam. “Get out of here and leave Mrs. Dechantagne alone!”

“We didn’t do nothing!” yelled back one small boy, but they nevertheless went running.

“What did they do to you, dear?” asked the older woman, placing her arm around Yuah’s shoulder, once she had climbed down.

“They didn’t do anything. It’s this damned steam carriage. I hate it, but Terrence wants me to drive it.”

“Did he tell you that you have to drive it?”

“No, but he brought it all the way here from Brech.”

“Come inside and have some tea.”

Yuah followed Mrs. Bratihn into her shop where they both sat down on the couch. Mrs. Luebking, who was already in the process of pouring tea, added another cup and handed one to each of the other women, then took the last for herself and sat down in a chair. Yuah sipped the tea and took a deep breath.

“Now tell me all about it,” said Mrs. Bratihn.

“You know I used to watch the steam carriages zipping around Brech every day and I always thought it would be just ace to have one of my own. But it’s just so bleeding complicated. You have to push in the clutch to shift gears and you have to press down on the forward accelerator just the right amount when you let the clutch out. And you always have to watch the steam gauge or the whole thing might explode. It’s just too much pressure.”

“You should just tell your husband that it’s too much for you,” said Mrs. Bratihn. “Men love it when you act helpless anyway.”

“That may be fine for most,” replied Yuah, putting away the handkerchief, “but I’m a Dechantagne. At least I am now. There are different expectations for me than there are for most women.”

“Maybe you could tell him that you want a driver,” suggested Mrs. Luebking. “Back in Brech, most of the ladies have drivers. After all, driving is a lot of manual labor.”

Yuah was thoughtful for a moment.

“That might work,” she said. “Mrs. Calliere is always saying that women of our station should do less.”

“Mrs. Calliere, your sister-in-law?”

“Oh no, the professor’s mother.”

“Ah,” said Mrs. Bratihn. “There you go. Tell him you need a driver and Bob’s your uncle. Now what else can we do for you today?”

His Robot Wife: A Great Deal of Patience – Chapter 7 Excerpt

“Mike, you’re out of your blood pressure medicine.”

“I don’t take blood pressure medicine anymore. Ever since you got me in shape and running, I’ve been able to drop my old prescriptions. You know that. Why don’t you know that? Is there something wrong with you?”

“You’ve asked me if something is wrong with me twenty-two times in the past week,” said Patience, setting his muffin and smoothie in front of him. “I’m beginning to feel insulted.”

“Well, you keep doing this—asking me things you should already know about.”

“What I know is that when I arrived, you were taking seven prescriptions: two blood-thinners, two cholesterol reducing drugs, a medicine for gastric distress, and two blood pressure medicines. Thanks to the excellent care that you receive from me, we have been able to eliminate six of the seven—all except for the one blood pressure medicine.”

“But I haven’t been taking it.”

“You have been. I just put it in your food.”

“What do you do, roll it up in a piece of cheese, like I was the family schnauzer?” Mike growled.

“Don’t be silly. I crush it up and put it in your salad dressing.”

Mike took a sip of his smoothie and frowned.

“You’re out, you see,” said Patience.

“Well, call in a refill. You seem to do everything else without asking me. Do that.”

“Dr. Mercer wants to see you before he’ll refill your prescription.”

“What? Why?”

Patience shrugged.

 

* * * * *

 

“Mr. Smith, you can come on back,” said the robot receptionist.

She held the door open for him and he walked past her into the large room beyond. Here he met a woman with short brown hair and glasses, dressed in blue scrubs. She gave him a thin smile and pointed to the scale. He stepped on and watched the digital readout run through numbers to stop on 163 lbs.

“My goodness. You’ve lost sixteen pounds since the last time you were here.”

“Well, I’ve taken up running, and it’s been a while since I was here.”

“That’s good,” she said. “You know, rapid weight-loss can be of concern in someone of your advanced age. Now turn around and I’ll scan you.”

She ran a handheld electronic device about the size of Mike’s phone over his body.

“No temperature. Your blood pressure is up a bit.”

“It wasn’t when I got here,” said Mike. “I thought all the nurses were robots now.”

“I’m not a nurse,” the woman said indignantly. “I’m a PA.”

“What is that?”

“I’m a physician’s assistant.”

“Don’t nurses by definition assist physicians?”

“It’s not the same thing. I can prescribe medication.”

“Well good,” said Mike. “All I need is a renewal for my blood pressure medicine. Write that up and I can get out of here.”

“Dr. Mercer wants to see you first.”

“So you can’t prescribe my medication?”

“Come wait in exam room three,” she said.

“Whatever you say, nurse.”