His Robot Girlfriend – Chapter 7 Part 1

The remainder of June shot by.  Each day Mike got up and showered, to find a warm dry towel waiting for him.  This was followed by breakfast, which he had gotten used to.  Mike began to follow Patience’s example and usually did a bit of light home improvement work before lunch, but as the month progressed and it became far too hot to work outside, he thought more and more about doing some writing.  He would write a book about his experiences as a teacher. On Monday the twenty-first he cleaned up the desk that had been sitting unused in the south bedroom and went to Wal-Mart to purchase a new wriTee, which he quickly set up.  Within a few days, he had the first chapter of his book done, though after that it became more of a strain to remember all the stupid things that the kids at school had said or done.  Afternoons were almost always a time for relaxation in front of the vueTee.  Evenings had used to be the same, but right about the time that Mike began working on his book, Patience began dragging him out after dinner.  They went to the movie theater, the city event center to listen to the philharmonic, and even went dancing.  Mike couldn’t dance, but as with everything else Patience was programmed and ready to go and she guided Mike through it.

For her part, Patience didn’t really have any down time.  She went to bed with Mike, but within an hour or so after he had fallen asleep, she was back up.  She used the night time hours to clean and maintain the house and by the middle of the month there wasn’t a spot anywhere that the most fastidious person wouldn’t have been happy to eat off of.  This left the daytime hours free so that she could take care of Mike’s every needs.  She waited upon him.  She served as his accountant, personal trainer, and expert chef.  She was mother, friend, concubine, confidant, and upon occasion taskmaster.

On the thirtieth, which was a Wednesday, Mike stood on the scale at the gym and marveled that he had lost sixteen pounds.  Actually he was marveling that he had lost only sixteen pounds, because he thought that he looked at least thirty pounds lighter. It was he supposed, because muscle weighed so much more than fat, and he was putting on a bit of the former as he was losing the latter.  He flexed his arm to make his bicep bulge and smiled to himself.

He and Patience climbed back into the car and returned home.  A nice hot shower awaited him and he didn’t take long before climbing into it.  He had his head bent down beneath the steaming spray, when he heard Patience outside the shower door.

“What do you think about going to Knott’s Berry Farm?” she asked.

“Why?”

“This 150-acre theme park has many exciting rides like the Jaguar, Montezuma’s Revenge and Calico Thunder as well as many fun attractions like the Buffalo Nickel Arcade, Camp Snoopy, and the Mystery Lodge.”

“Are you reading a brochure?” asked Mike, sticking his face out of the shower door.

“I memorized the ad on the vueTee.”

“Why do you want to go to Knott’s Berry Farm?”

“It is not that I want to go.  I thought you might like to go.”

“I took the kids when they were little,” Mike said, as he climbed out of the shower and took the towel that Patience held in her hand.  “I don’t think I would want to go now.  Besides, last time I went, I didn’t fit in half of the ride restraints.  If I was going to go somewhere, I’d… I don’t know.”

“June is over,” said Patience.  “You have less than a month and a half before you have to return to school.  We should do something that you would enjoy.”

“All right, let me think about it for a while.”  Mike went upstairs to his den and began typing away, writing down as many anecdotes about school as he could recall.

Around noon Patience arrived at Mike’s elbow with his lunch.  She had constructed a near perfect club sandwich on toasted whole wheat bread and arrayed it on the plate with a cup of tomato salad.  A large diet Pepsi accompanied it.  He had no sooner accepted the tray and opened his mouth to thank her, when the front door bell rang.  She turned and bounced out of the room.  A moment later he could hear a conversation going on downstairs, though not the words. He also heard the door to the garage opening and a few minutes later, closing.  Mike didn’t get up to see what was going on because he already knew. For the past week, the FedEx man had arrived every single day with boxes of merchandise that Patience had bought on eBay.  She usually had at least one package going out too.  A few minutes later she entered the study carrying a very large and very heavy looking box.

“What is that?” he asked.

“It’s a desk,” said Patience.

“I don’t need a new desk.  This one works just fine.”

“It’s not for you, Mike.  It’s for me.”

“What do you need a desk for?”

“I’m going to use it when I keep track of my shipping and sales.  I’m going to get a little vueTee and set it up here too, so that I can buy and sell on eBay right from here.  Then I’m going to set up shelves in this closet and store my smaller merchandise right here.  I can continue to keep the bigger things in the garage.”

“All right.”

Patience tore the end of the box open and began pulling out pieces of a black and white, assemble it yourself desk.  She was still examining the parts that she had pulled from the box, when the doorbell rang again.

“Don’t get up,” Mike said.  “I’ll get it.”

He skipped down the stairs to the front door and opened it.  A tall man in a green army uniform stood at the steps. Mike stared at him for a moment and then stepped outside to clasp him around the shoulders.

“General Smith!  How are you?”

“Dad, you know I could get court-martialed for impersonating a general. Why don’t you let me in?  It’s got to be 400 degrees out here.”

Mike leaned back and looked at the thermometer just inside the door.  “Not a bit over 148.  Come on in.  Why didn’t you tell me you were coming, Lucas?”

“I wanted it to be a surprise.”

Mike closed the door and ushered his son into the living room.  Lucas was a younger taller version of his father. His hair was shorter and thicker, but already had the trademark Smith grey temples.  He cut a fine figure in his uniform with four stripes on each sleeve.

“How long are you staying for?” asked Mike.

“I’ve got a week.  I could stay with Harriet if you’d rather.”

“Don’t be silly.  I’m turning your room into an exercise room, but Patience has made a really nice guest bedroom out of Harriet’s old room.  I’m really glad you showed up.  I was just starting to get bored.”  He paused. “They’re not sending you to Antarctica, are they?”

“No.”

Mike sighed.  “That’s a relief.”

“I wouldn’t mind going actually.  But they don’t need many accountants down there.”

“You never know.  They might want someone to inventory snowballs… or body bags.”

“Yes, well, they might at that.  So where is your robot girlfriend?”

“Patience!”  Mike called up the stairs.  “We have company.”

Patience came bounding down the stairs.  Although Mike knew that she had been clothed, because she had made her daily contact with the delivery man, he didn’t remember what she had been wearing. She had on a pink halter top, a pair of low-rise sky blue shorts with a two inch wide matching belt, and a pair of pink buckle sandals with cork wedge heels so high that a person shouldn’t have been able to walk on them.  Of course Patience wasn’t really a person, at least according to the state of Nevada. She stopped with a bounce in the living room.

“Hello Lucas,” she said, and gave him a big hug.

“Wow, Dad.  Nice selection.”

“Thank you,” said Mike and Patience at the same time.

The three of them sat down in the living room and just talked for quite a while. Before Mike or his son knew it, the afternoon was waning.  Patience went to the kitchen to begin preparing dinner and Mike gave Lucas a tour of the house, showing him the many improvements and repairs that Patience had completed.  He showed him the guest room, with new bed and furniture, new curtains, and new paint. Lucas’s luggage was already there, having been brought up by Patience earlier.

“So you turned Harriet’s room into a guest room.  Let’s see this exercise room that you made out of mine.”

The exercise room had been improved quite a bit.  It had been painted and had new blinds over the windows.  The exercise mat on the floor was still there, but it had been joined by a treadmill, a stationary bicycle, and a rowing machine.  There was also a large vueTee on the other side of the room.

“Nice,” said Lucas, when he looked in the door.

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His Robot Girlfriend – Chapter 6

His Robot GirlfriendTwo days later Mike sat looking at an ad on vueTee. He had seen the commercial at least twenty times during the past week, and the possibilities presented had slowly gelled in his brain into a decision. When Patience came into the room, he looked up at her.

“After you’re done with whatever things you have planned for the day, pack a bag. We’re going out of town for the next three days.”

“Where are we going, Mike?” she asked.

“We are going to Vegas.”

“Las Vegas, Nevada. County of Clark. Population 2,575,174, 131.2 square miles…”

“Yes, that’s the place,” he interrupted.

“Why are we going to Las Vegas, Mike?”

“It’s too damn hot here, and I need a vacation.”

“The average median temperature in Las Vegas is significantly higher than that of Springdale.”

“Yes, but only on the outside. We can stay in. You don’t even need to go out of your room to go swimming.”

Mike fell asleep entwined with Patience, but he woke up alone. He got up, shaved, and showered, and was met at the bathroom door, as he expected, by his beautiful robot, toast and juice in hand and a towel warm from the drier over her arm. He ate and got dressed and found Patience once again in the living room. She had already prepared the house for their four day absence, and packed the car with everything they needed. She had also driven to the filling station, fueled up the car, and checked all the fluids and systems. Mike put his hands on Patience’s shoulders and looked into her eyes. He kissed her gently on the lips.

“I am still unsure why you wish to go to Las Vegas,” said Patience.

“There are a lot of things to see there, you know.”

“Yes, I know. They have casinos, an indoor amusement park, a water park, a museum devoted to Liberace…”

“And the all new Star Trek Experience,” said Mike.

“The Star Trek Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton was closed almost twenty four years ago. That hotel isn’t even there now.”

“They’ve built a new one,” explained Mike. “A new Star Trek, not a new Hilton. It’s part of the remodeling of the Tangiers. I can’t believe you didn’t know that.”

“I can’t believe it either,” said Patience.

I-15 was a long road through the desert. It wouldn’t be fair to call it a lonely road because it was almost as packed with cars as any single section of the Los Angeles freeway. It zoomed down one long, slow incline to the desert floor and then zoomed up one long, slow climb to cross the mountains, only to do the same thing again on the other side. And again. And again. The highway was so busy that there was a great deal of concentration involved in negotiating one’s path through the slower vehicles. That so many California drivers apparently did not understand that the left lane was supposed to be for passing only made it more so. By the time they had reached Barstow, Mike wished that they had booked passage on the mag-lev train that ran along beside the highway.

Mike drove with his left hand on the steering wheel and his right hand resting on the back of Patience’s neck. She was reading Fodor’s Guide to Having Fun in Las Vegas ’32 Edition, at a rate of about a seven pages per minute, which meant that she was studying it quite carefully. Mike was amused, watching her flip through the screens of her texTee, because he had never seen her read a book before, what with her having been apparently imbued with a seemingly endless store of information about every topic which she had approached. Whoever supplied that information, apparently hadn’t anticipated a trip to Vegas. Patience was more than capable of filling that void herself though.

Mike stopped to fill the tank in Baker. Nearby were half a dozen fast food restaurants, so he steered into the drive-through of Arby’s and purchased a Western Garden Salad and a diet Pepsi for himself, and a bottle of water for Patience. She quickly drank her water, then knelt sideways on the seat, and fed him his salad as he continued on to Vegas. She carefully inserted a fork full of lettuce, tomato, chicken, or apples each time he opened his mouth, with a large beautiful smile each time she managed to get it in without vinaigrette running down his chin, and a cute little pout when she didn’t.

It was 3:30 in the afternoon when they topped the final hill and looked down over the vast stretches of Las Vegas below. It wasn’t so much that it was a huge city, though it was much larger than it had been when Mike had been there last. It was that you could see the whole thing at once, which was true of so very few cities. It seemed like quite a drive down the hill and into the valley because Mike could drive the entire distance and never lose sight of his destination, but it actually only took about forty five minutes. He took the Flamingo exit and drove west towards the Palms.

Parking the car in the high-rise parking structure, they made their way in through a large door and into the vast sparkling landscape of the casino. A golden pathway on the rug led through it to the hotel lobby. Along the way, Mike stopped and swiped his cash card through the reader in front of a slot machine. Pressing the indicators below the slot, he bet five dollars and the pulled the one arm of the one arm bandit. The digital pictures that had long ago replaced mechanical wheels whirled around and came to a stop. There was a rocket ship in the first column, a naked woman in the second, and a banana in the third.

“No robots allowed in the casino,” came a voice behind them.

Mike looked back to see an armed security guard standing next to Patience. They were both a good five feet away from any of the gaming machines.

“She’s not playing.”

“Robots are not allowed in casino. It’s state law: Nevada Revised Statutes. It can pass through with you, but you can’t stop and play while it’s with you.”

Mike took Patience by the hand and led her through the far end of the casino and into the spacious marble-tiled hotel lobby. It took only minutes to check in and receive their key.

“I didn’t like it when he called me an ‘it’,” said Patience, while they waited.

“No, I didn’t either,” said Mike.

Moments later they were on their way up in the elevator. Their room was on the seventh floor, which Mike took as a good omen. He had been tempted to get one of the custom suites. The Erotic suite, the g-Suite, the Sapphire Sundown Suite, and the Hot Pink Suite had all sounded like fun. But he reminded himself that he was still a teacher and had been living quite the high life lately. Despite the large bank balance that he had upon Patience’s arrival, he had only received one paycheck since that time, and he still wasn’t all that sure about Patience’s eBay money-making schemes. The Superior room, as it was called, had a king-sized bed, a big vueTee, a Jacuzzi tub, and a very nice sound system.

Mike plopped down on the over-stuffed, king-sized bed. Not twenty minutes later, the robot bellhop arrived with their luggage and Patience unpacked and put all of the clothes in the dresser drawers and the closet. Mike smiled. He usually left everything in the suitcases. She finished quickly then knelt down at the foot of the bed and gave Mike a foot massage. He sighed and relaxed and had almost fallen asleep, when she began to move up from his feet to the zipper of his pants.

“I find it amazing, Mike.”

“I don’t think it’s all that different from any other guy?”

Patience laughed. “I find it amazing that we are here hundreds of miles from where we were just this morning.”

“Pretty amazing,” he agreed.

Mike lay back and let Patience take care of him. At some point, he wasn’t sure exactly when, he fell asleep. When he woke up, Patience had already changed to go out for dinner. Even though she had purchased these particular clothes from Victoria Secret, they were not inherently sexy—at least no more than anything she wore was inherently sexy. She had a navy tube top that was cut asymmetrically across the bottom, but even the short side was cut below her waist. The blue jeans she had on with them seemed fairly tame too. The red leather Valkyrie strap-on pumps with the four and a half inch heels, on the other hand, virtually screamed “knock me down and do me.”

When Mike had been to Vegas many years before with Tiffany, he had eaten at the Circus Circus buffet. Circus Circus had put out a lot of food for fifteen dollars. A lot of food. Not good food, but a lot of food. The buffet downstairs in the Palms was called The Fantasy Market. While it was twenty times as expensive as the last Las Vegas buffet that Mike had eaten, it was easily twenty times as good too. He feasted on oysters, crab legs, and sliced prime rib, asparagus, garlic herb potatoes, and fried okra. He found that he filled quickly and didn’t have room for desert though. He didn’t have to pay for Patience. She was recognized as a robot by the robot at the counter.

“I understand one robot recognizing another,” he said. “But how did that security guard know? I don’t think most people at the beach could tell you weren’t human, and that was under the bright sun.”

“They have electronic detectors all around the casino,” said Patience. “I can feel the magnetic field they give off.”

“Really?”

“They want to make sure that a robot is not allowed to gamble. With a computer brain and heightened senses, I would not be fooled by the randomizing efforts used in gambling games. I would win.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“Well, I guess they can’t have that.”

Patience smiled.

After dinner they walked through the casino and out the front entrance of the hotel. Mike didn’t want to bother with his car, so he had a robot valet hail a taxi for them. Once inside, Patience directed the driver, Mike recognized him as a Gizmo Servbot, to take them to the “finest gentleman’s club” in the area. Mike knew that the driver would take them to whichever strip club paid the biggest kickback to the taxi company. He wondered if Patience knew that as well. Had they included that in her memory banks? Had she read it in Fodor’s Guide?

A quick drive to and then down the fabulous Las Vegas Strip brought them to the Olympic Gardens. It was a large warehouse looking structure that had been done over with faux Greek Columns—Doric columns, Mike noted—and ivy. In between each pair of columns was a huge poster of some fabulously beautiful and scantily clad female—or male!—stripper. Inside, the main room was decorated in red satin, with dozens of tables and booths surrounding a large main stage which featured the requisite dancing pole.

Mike and Patience sat down at a large round booth. A waitress dressed and coifed as though she had fallen out of a gladiator movie came and took their drink orders. It was dark enough that Mike couldn’t tell if she was a robot or not. Though he did not drink as a rule, he ordered a Beefeater and tonic. Patience of course had bottled water. The bill came to $82.00, not including tip. Mike was surprised to see people eating as they watched the strippers. Such traditional ancient Greek cuisine as hot dogs and spicy chicken fingers seemed most popular.

As they sat, the first dancer came on stage. She was introduced by a hidden announcer as Bailey. She was young and blonde and quite attractive. Physically, she was proportioned about the same as Patience, but her large breasts did not have that feeling of defying gravity that Patience’s did. She came out in a pink mini-skirt and top, both zippered in front and in back. As she strutted up and down the stage, she unzipped first one and then the other. With a single flip, she removed both, allowing those large breasts to bounce free and revealing a tiny g-string. She grabbed hold of the pole and began humping against it, spinning and gyrating. A few moments later she finished her routine and left the stage.

Several other dancers followed the first, each with a similar routine. There was a red-head named Tania with breasts so huge that they actually frightened Mike a little bit. There was a pretty and quite athletic dancer named Sugar, and a chubby blonde stripper named Malachai, of all things. Yes, a girl named Malachai.

It was approaching midnight by this time, but rather than thinning out, the crowd got larger. Almost every table was full. Mike and Patience still managed to get another drink order from the harried waitress. Then a woman came out on stage. She appeared to be another dancer, but instead of beginning a routine, she put a microphone to her bright red lips and made an announcement.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Mike looked around and was moderately surprised to find that there were indeed more than a couple of ladies present. “It’s almost time for our Midnight Amateur Exotic Dance Contest!”

“Can you dance?” asked Mike. “I mean, you know, strip?”

“Yes, Mike.”

“Then I definitely think you should enter this contest.”

“Do you think they will let me?”

Mike grabbed the passing waitress by the arm and asked her.

“Sorry, no robots. All of our dancers are real women. It says so on the sign out front.”

“Not even for the amateur show?”

“It’s a contest. It wouldn’t be fair.”

By this time a dozen women were leaving their seats in the audience to be ushered behind the stage. Mike finished his drink. He and Patience didn’t wait for the show to begin. They got up and headed for the exit, their seats filled almost as soon as they had vacated them. Just as they reached the exit the announcer came back on.

“Our first contestant tonight is a local girl.” The crowd cheered. “Here for your enjoyment is the very sexy Alyssa!”

Alyssa was a pretty dark-haired girl but she was plainly nervous. She had apparently dressed back stage in the standard stripper attire– miniskirt, tube top, garter belts and stockings. She stumbled more than strutted to the front of the stage and stopped several feet before reaching the optimum position. She swung her hips to the left and the right several times, then with trembling hands pulled the tube top up over her head. The crowd applauded and cheered, and this apparently gave her a little more confidence. She grabbed hold of the pole and tossed up her heels a few times.

“I know you could have won the contest,” said Mike, as he went out the front door.

“You cannot be sure Mike, as you have never seen me dance.”

“Well, we should rectify that immediately,” said Mike.

As they climbed into another cab and told the driver to return them to the Palms, Mike noted the “Real Live Girls! No Robots!” sign on the outside of the building.

“Say, how come we came here?”

“Didn’t you want to come?” asked Patience.

“I guess so, but you were the one who told the cab where to go.”

“I told you I would know what you wanted before you did.”

Back in the hotel room, Patience sat Mike on the edge of the bed and went into the bathroom to change. She poked her head out the door and in a remarkable imitation of the female announcer at the Olympic Gardens, said. “And now, from California, here’s Patience!” Mike applauded.

Patience strutted out as though she were already dancing. She had on her same top and her own shoes, but she had replaced her jeans with a black miniskirt. When she reached the spot directly in front of Mike, she spun in a perfect 540 degree circle, so that she came to a stop facing away from him. She then bent over at the waist and began to gyrate her perfect ass at his face. Mike whistled. He was aroused and she was still fully clothed. Patience danced forward and wrapped herself around the doorway to the bathroom, using the doorjamb as a stripper would use a pole. She twirled to the side and began to sensually slide up and down. She threw her arms back, holding herself off the floor with her thigh muscles alone. She slowly let herself slide to the floor and then rose up to gyrate back and forth across the room.

She slinked forward and whipped off the miniskirt so quickly that Mike didn’t see how she had removed it. Beneath it she was wearing her own pink lace thong. With an equally slick move she removed her top and those magnificent breasts were revealed. There was an audible gasp at the sight and it took Mike a moment to recognize it as his own. Cupping her breasts with her hands, she tossed her head back; eyes closed, and let her hands trail down the sides of her body, all the time rolling her hips in a circular motion. She then raised her arms up and placed her hands behind her head and slowly dropped to splits that a college cheerleader would have been proud of. She tossed her hair with one hand and with one finger of the other suggestively tugged down her bottom lip.

“That was amazing,” said Mike, applauding. “I can’t believe that you belong to me.”

“I am for you, Mr. Smith.”

The following morning, Mike went down to the casino to gamble. Patience stayed in the room. She wasn’t allowed on the casino floor and she utilized the time to clean and organize their possessions and to read. Mike played twenty-one at the gaming tables for a short time, but quickly lost the three hundred dollars that he had allowed for that purpose. He then walked to the side of the casino and played poker on the machines. He had played for ten minutes or so, when a robot cocktail waitress stopped by. He ordered a gin and tonic. When the mechanical woman had left, he looked up and around. He noticed the series of shops running along the length of the casino. Perhaps he could buy some more new clothes for Patience. There was a tattoo parlor. He idly wondered if her skin would hold tattoo ink. And at the far end was a wedding chapel.

Perhaps he should marry Patience. He didn’t wonder whether he should ask her to marry him. There was no question of her answer. She was his. Did he love her? He knew that he didn’t want to be without her. He did love her. But did he love her the way he loved his vueTee or did he love her the way that he had loved Tiffany. He wasn’t even sure if he remembered how he had loved Tiffany anymore. He stood up and walked over to the wedding chapel.

Just inside the glass doors draped with white decorations, Mike found a small counter with a woman standing behind it. She was tall and attractive, her blonde wavy hair a stark contrast to her chocolate skin. She looked up and smiled.

“Good morning,”

“Good morning,” replied Mike. “How much does it cost to get married?”

The woman rewarded him with a broad smile. “We have weddings from three hundred dollars.”

“Really? That’s amazingly inexpensive.”

“That’s just for a simple in and out service,” she said. “We have many extras, such as a video record of the nuptials and we can accommodate large weddings, with receptions for up to two thousand guests.”

“No. In and out was what I was thinking about.”

“The three hundred does not include the minister. We have one on duty, if you don’t have one of your own. His fee is one hundred fifty dollars. And of course, you must have a license.”

“Do you sell those here?”

“Oh, no. You have to buy a license from the county.”

As it turned out, in order to purchase a marriage license in Las Vegas, Mike had to drive to the Clark County Building. It sat amid massive skyscrapers just west of Glitter Gulch. Patience had seemed ecstatic when Mike told her that they were to be married. Of course, now that he thought about it, she seemed ecstatic about almost anything he decided to do. They arrived at just before 10:00 AM and walked up to a window. A blond woman looked out at them through the glass with a small round hole cut in it.

“Can I help you?”

“We would like to purchase a marriage license.”

“I need to see your birth certificates please.”

“Um, we don’t have birth certificates…”

“That’s all right,” she said. “Let me have your drivers’ licenses and I can pull up your birth records.”

Mike set his driver’s license on the counter. The woman behind the window looked at Patience.

“I don’t have a driver’s license,” said Patience.

“National ID?”

Patience shook her head.

“Wait a second,” said the woman behind the glass, squinting her eyes. “You’re a robot.”

Patience nodded.

“You can’t marry a robot.” The woman turned to Mike.

“Why not?”

“What do you mean ‘why not’? She’s not a person. She’s a machine. I might as well marry my shower massage.”

“Perhaps that’s too much information,” suggested Patience.

“Look at her,” said Mike to the woman behind the glass. “She speaks. She thinks. She wants to get married. Don’t you, Patience.”

Patience nodded.

“It doesn’t matter,” the woman replied. “Under the Nevada Constitution, marriage is defined as a contract between a man and a woman. And robots by Nevada law are neither man nor woman.”

“You mean gay marriage is illegal in Nevada?” asked Mike.

“Of course not.”

“Well that wouldn’t be a man and a woman. That would be a man and a man, or a woman and a woman.”

“I’m not going argue with you about it, sir,” said the blond woman. “If you don’t like the law, I suggest you go to a different state.”

“Well, how do you like that?” said Mike, as they walked to the car.

“Perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea after all,” said Patience.

“You don’t want to marry me?”

“Of course I do, if it would make you happy. I don’t want you to get into trouble though.”

“Don’t worry. They don’t throw people in jail for illegally marrying… well, not usually. Let’s forget about it for now and go to the Star Trek Experience. That is really why we came to Vegas anyway.”

By the time they pulled into the massive parking lot of the Tangiers, Patience, not unexpectedly, seemed as excited as Mike was to visit the home of Captains Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, Archer, and Winters. They parked and locked the car, and then they headed inside. The Star Trek experience was located at the end of one space themed section of the casino. As they approached, Mike pointed out to Patience the twelve foot long models of the USS Enterprise-F and the USS Excalibur hanging from the ceiling. Just to the right of the entrance was the ticket booth. They were able to step right up. There was no one waiting in line. The clerk behind the counter was not dressed as a Star Trek character, but was wearing a Star Trek Experience jacket.

“Two, please,” said Mike.

“That will be $187.47.”

“What?” said Mike. “A hundred eighty one?”

“Yes, but that includes all four rides and the museum tour.”

“Shit. No wonder the Federation stopped using money. They were probably all broke.”

Mike paid for the tickets and he and Patience walked in. The museum tour was more of a fancy queue line into the ride than a real museum. It wound around in a circle following a time line of the pseudo-history of the future. Opposite the time line were displays of hundreds of props and re-creations of props, including uniforms, communicators, phasers, and much more. Mike happily pointed out the events that he most vividly remembered from the shows as he led Patience along.

Then suddenly he stopped. Right there on the time line, on the year 2266, was a picture of two women in shimmering red dresses, who both looked remarkably like Patience—not exactly the same, but enough alike that they could have been her sisters. Mike traced a line with his fingers from the picture to the description on the timeline.

“Hmm. Two androids from the original series episode I, Mudd. I must have seen that episode a hundred times but I didn’t remember that any of the androids looked like you.”

“Perhaps you had them in your subconscious when you designed my physical appearance,” offered Patience.

“Maybe. You know those androids were trying to take over the world by serving mankind—waiting on humans hand and foot until they couldn’t get along without them.”

“I don’t want to take over the world.”

“No?”

“No.”

“How about Daffodil? Do they want to take over the world?”

“I am not allowed to say,” said Patience.

“Oh you are a funny one,” said Mike.

“Thank you, Mike. You know humor is a difficult concept.”

“That’s just what Saavik said. God, I am such a nerd.”

The museum led to a room showcasing all the props from the Klingon episodes. This led into the “Klingon Raid” ride. This ride simulated being teleported onto the Starship Enterprise and then a ride on a shuttle craft through a Klingon battle. Mike thought it was quite well done. Then he and Patience continued on through the room dedicated to the Borg.

“I don’t care for the Borg,” said Patience warily, looking at the mannequins dressed up as cyborgs.

“Yes, well, you’re not supposed to like them. They’re the bad guys.

“I don’t want to go on this ride.”

“All right,” said Mike. “You don’t have to. You can wait for me at the exit.”

“I don’t want you to go on it either,” she said, frowning.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen your face look like that? I might think you were the evil double of Patience.”

“There is no evil double of Patience. I am Patience and I am for you. This ride is anti-robot. It is making you think that there is something wrong with me.”

Mike looked at Patience. “All right,” he said, taking the slow steady voice he reserved for mad dogs and crazy people. “We won’t ride this ride. We’re going to leave here and go down to the promenade, where there won’t be any Borg.”

Patience nodded her head in understanding. “We could go on the Vulcan ride or the Gorn ride.”

“I think we’ve had enough rides for the day, anyway. It kind of made me sick to my stomach.”

Mike took his robot girlfriend’s hand and led her back out the way they had come in, taking a right as they exited to step into the life-sized replica of Deep Space Nine’s promenade deck, filled with gift shops and Quark’s bar. Once there, Mike pulled Patience to the side of the hallway next to a replicator replica.

“Are you all right?”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure?” He looked into her eyes, and she looked back as if nothing had happened. “You’re okay now?”

Patience nodded.

“What was that all about?”

“I don’t like the Borg.”

“I guess not.

“Why don’t we go have something to eat?” said Mike, eyeing the entrance to Quark’s bar.

Patience nodded again.

They entered and were seated by a very short man dressed as a Farengi.

“Enjoy your meal, Hoo-mahn,” he said, handing each of them a menu.

“Thanks,” said Mike.

Mike looked at the menu with one eye and at Patience with the other. She was looking around with wide eyes. He didn’t know if that was because of the interesting things to look at, of which there were many, or an impending recurrence of her anxiety. For his part, Mike was realizing that he was pretty hungry and he thought he could really go for a burger. He always enjoyed a good diner burger and he had been eschewing fast food during the past two weeks as he tried to lose weight. Then he noticed the names of the food. He ended up ordering a chicken quesadilla called a “saucer section” and an order of Holy (onion) Rings of Betazed. Under the circumstances, there was no way he was going to order a cheeseBorger. Patience had a bottle of water. As Mike was enjoying his meal, a Klingon came by.

“Greetings human!” said the Klingon. “It is a good day to die!”

“If you say so,” replied Mike. He was still carefully watching Patience, who had not said anything the entire time they had been in the restaurant.

Mike had finished eating and was paying his check when the Farengi came back by. “You ridiculous hoo-mahns, clothing your women!”

“He keeps me naked at home,” said Patience.

“I bet he does,” said the man in the Farengi costume, his voice losing all trace of his alien accent.

“Hey, stay in character,” said Mike.

“Uh, good luck at the Dabo tables,” said the Farengi.

Mike and Patience spent a few minutes looking around the gift shops. Mike spent $50 on a toy communicator just like the one Captain Kirk used. There were quite a few other nifty items that he would have liked, but he had already dropped a few hundred dollars in the universe that Gene Roddenberry built.

“How are you feeling, Patience?” he asked, pulling her aside, clasping his arms around her waist, and looking into her eyes.

“I’m fine, Mike,” she said in her usual tone.

“Good. I’m glad. And I have a job for you.”

“What kind of a job, Mike?” She placed the tip of her index finger on her chin. “A sexual job?”

“Precisely,” said Mike. “I don’t care how big of a nerd this makes me. I want to get blown on Deep Space Nine.”

Mike had spotted an alcove in the back of the promenade where nobody seemed to be going. He led Patience over to the spot and she wasted no time dropping to her knees and demonstrating that her programming in this area was just as complete as in any other. Within moments Mike’s eyes had rolled back in his head and he leaned back against the wall. Patience stood up and smiled.

“How was that, Mike?” she asked, wiping her chin with the back of her hand.

“If you had spots, it would have been perfect.”

Just then a doorway opened right beside them and a line of people filed past. Their private spot was the exit of the Borg ride. Mike stepped calmly out of the way and pulled Patience along with him. Then he surreptitiously reached down to pull up his zipper.

After leaving the Star Trek Experience, Mike and Patience walked to the very front of the casino and followed the signs hanging from the ceiling to the monorail station. It was a large station, looking very much like one would expect a train station to look. Clean and modern. And crowded. Mike purchased two way passes from a vending machine using his cash card. Then they sat down to wait for the monorail train. It arrived seven minutes later. The monorail was cool and modern and painted black. It stopped and the doors slid open. Mike and Patience stepped inside. There were a few seats along the sides of the train, but the center was completely open, with handrails above to allow for standing passengers. Mike chose to stand and Patience stood next to him. As the train began to move, Mike braced himself on the handrail. Patience wrapped her arms around his neck.

The train moved what seemed like only a few feet before stopping again. This time it was at the Monte Carlo. This hotel had a train station not too much different from the one at the Tangiers. As the doors opened several dozen people moved in and out of the car. Then it started on its way again. This leg of the monorail track was longer as it led from the Monte Carlo to McCarran Airport. From the track, scores of feet above the roadways below, there was a great view of the MGM Golf Course, a truly huge expanse of green in an otherwise grey surrounding. As the train approached McCarran they passed another monorail going in the opposite direction. It too was painted black, but had a gigantic Borg painted on the side of the first and last car. Mike glanced at Patience to see if she had noticed it, and by her tight-lipped expression, she had. They arrived at the airport and got off. It was the last stop on the line.

Mike led Patience through the station and the extensive mall-like structure that connected the station with the airport gates. They browsed the store windows, looking at things that Mike thought would take him a lifetime to pay for, if they had been something that he would actually want to buy. Patience seemed fascinated with the clothing and the shoes. But there was no way that Mike would have been able to let her go on a spending spree here. So they returned to the monorail station and took the train, this time a yellow one, back to the Tangiers. The round trip had taken them about an hour and a half. They found their car in the parking lot and returned to their own hotel.

They spent one more night at the Palms and when Mike woke up in the morning, Patience had everything packed and ready to be loaded into the car. It took only a few minutes to check out and then they were back on the road, driving up the on-ramp to I-15. Mike steered into the travel lane of the Interstate.

“Well, this was the most interesting trip to Vegas I’ve ever made.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to stay another day, Mike?”

“I’m pretty sure. Why? Do you want to stay?”

“I want to do whatever you want to do,” said Patience.

Less than forty miles south of Vegas, Mike turned off in Primm. Primm, which used to be known as Stateline for the obvious reason, consisted essentially of three hotels and the associated restaurants, gas stations, and recreational activities that went along with big resorts. One of these casino add-ons was the Primm Fashion Outlet Mall. Mike wanted to give Patience a chance to buy something for herself, since she hadn’t at the airport mall. The mall here consisted mostly of stores that Mike had never heard of. Almost all of them were for women who liked clothes, though. They stopped at one store called Elie Tahari, and Patience selected a sexy little dress with a scooped neckline that the sales clerk called a Marcy dress, and at the Neiman Marcus Last Call store she bought a pair of chocolate and gold Gucci high-heeled sandals which were seventy percent off, but still cost $405.28. Mike thought that, if given half a chance, Patience could develop into quite the shoe whore. Patience seemed to have developed that feature that many humans had, including Mike himself, of finding satisfaction in buying something for herself. If it could be considered a religious experience, and one could certainly make that argument, at least Patience left the great temple with her spirits raised. She never mentioned her agitation at the Star Trek Experience, and after a while Mike forgot about it as well. At least until he was reminded of it some weeks later.

The rest of the trip home was uneventful. Patience drove and Mike slept, with his head wedged between the back of the seat and the car window. He woke up long enough to visit the restroom at the same filling station that they had stopped at on the way to Vegas, and then snoozed away again until they reached the driveway of his… their house. Patience pulled the car into the garage and they both climbed out.

His Robot Girlfriend – Chapter 5

His Robot GirlfriendThe next morning Mike woke up late but feeling great. He stretched in bed and then looked around. He had become used to being greeted as he woke with breakfast and that smiling perfect face. But Patience wasn’t there. He wasn’t concerned. She was probably cleaning, rearranging the house, or buying and selling on eBay. Shaving and then popping into the shower, Mike shampooed his hair and washed his body, finding quite a bit of sand here and there. When he had dressed he walked downstairs to the family room to find breakfast laid out for him on the coffee table—toast and orange juice. He sat down and ate while watching vueTee.

As he ate, he heard several vehicle horns honking outside. Not paying too much attention, he turned back to the vueTee. Battlefield Europa was on. Then he heard more honking. He was not one of those people who liked to get up and go outside to see what the neighbors were up to. He generally shied away from going outside the house at all, especially during the summer. The median temperature for June in Springdale was well over the century mark. But as the honking continued, Mike got up out of his chair, brushing off the toast crumbs, and walked through the hallway and foyer to the front door. Opening it, he was hit by the blast of hot air from outside and he squinted his eyes at the bright sunshine.

Mike had just managed to unsquint his eyes when another car went zooming by, honking, and he saw the source of the disturbance. Patience was in the center of the front yard, just beneath the shade of the large weeping willow tree on her hands and knees. She was transferring potted pansies from small cardboard containers into neatly cut holes that she had made in the rich black soil of the flower bed. Her shapely ass was pointed toward the street and she was wearing the same tiny string bikini that she had worn to the beach.

“Patience!”

Patience looked up with a smile on her face.

“Come in here.”

Jumping to her feet, Patience hopped to the door. Her arms and legs were stained with dirt. Mike let her in and closed the door after her.

“What do you think you’re doing?”

“I am planting some flowers, Mike. Now that the house is clean and orderly, I have decided to spruce up the yard.”

“The honking horns weren’t an indication to you that you might be obstructing traffic? I’m surprise you didn’t cause an accident.”

“I was nowhere near the road,” said Patience, innocently. “The motorists have been honking warnings to each other, but it had nothing to do with me.”

“The drivers were honking because you had your ha-ha pointed at them. Why are you wearing your bikini?”

“I did not want to damage my clothes. I have ordered some work clothes, but they have not arrived yet.”

“Well, go get cleaned up. We have to go to Walmart.”

That’s just what they did. Cleaned up and dressed in something Mike considered more appropriate, though still fetching—a short red dress— Patience met him by the door. Climbing into the car, they drove the short distance to the discount superstore where they purchased several pairs of shorts and simple tops for Patience. Mike also had her pick out a large floppy-brimmed hat. Though he knew that she wouldn’t get sunburned, it just didn’t seem right for her to be outside all day in the summer sun without one. Patience took the opportunity to purchase supplies for upgrading the yard. She bought garden edging, tools, flowers, fertilizer, and a yardbot. Mike was skeptical about spending two hundred eighty dollars on the boxy device which wandered around the yard cleaning the artificial turf that now by law had replaced all of the lawns in water-starved Springdale, but Patience made a convincing argument that it would beautify the outside of the house.

Returning home, Mike sat down in his recliner again and Patience, now dressed in white shorts and a little spaghetti-strap top along with work gloves and her new floppy hat, returned to the yard. Mike watched the news, but began to feel as though he should be doing something around the house too. He went to the hamper in the utility room just on the other side of the upstairs bathroom, thinking that maybe he could do some laundry. But the hamper was empty. He looked in the study to see if anything needed to be dusted. It didn’t. As a last resort he made his way into the kitchen to see if the refrigerator needed to be cleaned. It was not only cleaner but neater than it had ever been. He threw away an old bottle of steak sauce, even though he was sure it was still good.

Perhaps there was something he could do outside. Though he grimaced when he glanced at the digital thermometer by the door—132 degrees—he opened the portal and stepped outside.

“Patience!” he shouted when he saw her.

His robot girlfriend lay prone on the turf, her arms and legs splayed in distressing angles. She was still half shaded by the willow tree, but her legs were sticking out into the direct sun. Rushing over to her, he knelt down and gently rolled her over. Her once human looking face, now motionless with eyes open, seemed more like a mannequin than anything that had once had animas. This effect was only heightened when Mike lifted her up in his arms to carry her to the front door. She weighed less that a human being, somewhere around eighty pounds Mike guessed, but unlike a human being she didn’t bend and conform to an easily carried form. Her arms continued to stick out and her legs stayed stiffly straight. Kicking open the door, he carried her to the white couch and laid her down. She didn’t move and her eyes stared lifelessly at the ceiling.

“Shit, shit, shit.”

Mike felt her wrist. Her arms were hot from the sun but there was no pulse. But of course she would have no pulse. He tried to see if he could detect anything wrong by looking into her eyes. He couldn’t. They looked just as they had looked, but without the slight movement that her eyes, like human eyes, had shown. Mike thought that they looked like they didn’t have Patience in them anymore, the way that he suspected a human being’s eyes would look when that person died though he had never looked into the eyes of a dead person. Not even Tiffany’s.

“Tech support!” shouted Mike, as the thought hit him like a bolt of lightning.

He grabbed the remote off of the coffee table and turned on the vueTee. Quickly switching the browser to the Daffodil site, he saw the familiar large daffodil along the left side. The four large buttons filled the right side of the screen—Barone, Amonte, Nonne, and PWX. There didn’t seem to be a button for tech support. Mike moved his face very close to the screen. At the very bottom was a small flower symbol. He moved the curser over the spot and pressed. Immediately a man in a blue jumpsuit appeared on the screen.

“Good morning,” he said. “This is Daffodil Tech Support. For a list of known issues, press one. For an automatic diagnosis of your problem, press two. To be contacted by a Tech Support representative, press three.”

Mike started to press three, then changed his mind and almost pressed two. At the last second, he moved his finger over the one button and pressed it. The blue clad man on the screen was replaced by a long list of text. The topmost line said “sudden crash upon software upgrade”. Mike moved the curser over this line and pressed.

“A small service software update was pushed through the InfiNet 11:38 6.9.32,” said the next screen. “A small percentage of Amonte models have failed to reboot. This is a known issue and a patch is currently under development. Your Amonte may be restarted with the power button located on the back of the neck.”

Mike rushed back to Patience’s side. She had not moved from the spot on the couch. He felt behind her neck, his fingertips locating the three small holes and the button. He pressed it and counted aloud. “One, two, three.” Then he let go.

Patience’s eyes flickered, and then her arms and legs moved straight in line with her body. She stayed in that position for a moment and then turned and sat. With a single swift motion, she stood up to her full height.

“You are Michael Winston Smith?”

“Patience? Are you all right?”

“You are Michael Winston Smith?” She looked at him, seemingly without recognition.

“Yes. Yes, it’s me.”

“I am Daffodil serial number 55277-PFN-001-XGN-F0103. My software is up to date. The primary setup procedure requires approximately six hours. During this period, I your Daffodil, will be unavailable for other activities. It is recommended that during this time period you make a few basic decisions. What initial duties do you wish me to have? What clothing, if any, do you wish me to wear? What name would you like me to answer to?”

Patience became quiet. Mike watched her anxiously for at least twenty minutes. Then realizing that her primary setup would not hurry just because he was actively watching her, he went to the family room and sat down. He didn’t read and he didn’t watch vueTee. Dinner time came and went, and it was only when his stomach made a loud swirling noise that he decided he would get up and eat something. He stood up and turned around to come face to face with Patience.

“The primary setup procedure is complete,” she said. “I your Daffodil, will not require a secondary setup procedure.”

“Are you all right?”

“Yes, Mike. I am fine.”

Mike jumped forward and hugged her fiercely.

“You remember me?” he asked her.

“Yes Mike. I remember you. My experience memory was not corrupted.”

Mike forgot about eating, but his stomach didn’t and made several more loud noised. Patience quickly made him a sandwich and served it to him along with potato salad that she had prepared that morning. Afterwards, they went to bed. Though Mike held her until he fell asleep, they didn’t have sex. He just needed to remind himself that she was there.

The man in the blue jumpsuit leaned over and poked Mike in the chest. “This is a known issue.”

Pain shot through Mike’s chest. Horrible, terrifying pain. Mind-numbing pain. The kind of pain that makes one realize that there really is an end. He opened his eyes. He was lying flat on his back in his bed, bathed in sweat, clutching his chest. No, not again! Please, not again! He reached to his left and grabbed Tiffany’s arm, as another bolt of pain shot through his chest.

“Honey, argh!”

“What’s the matter?” asked Tiffany. “My God, Mike! You’re white as a sheet!”

“It’s my chest,” said Mike. “I think I’m having a heart attack.”

“Come on,” she said. “I’m taking you to the hospital.”

The next half hour was a terrifying blur. Trying to don shorts, while at the same time fighting the pain. A fast car ride. Rushing through red lights. Sitting in the hospital waiting room. At last he was lying in an emergency room bed. A male nurse was giving him a shot in the stomach that gave him a bruise the size of a football. The pain was going away. Where was Tiffany? He looked around. She had been here a moment ago. Then he saw her.

Lying on the bed next to his was Tiffany’s broken body. She had a blood all over her. Her arm was mangled. Her legs didn’t look quite right and Mike knew it was because her pelvis was shattered. None of that had killed her though. It was that tiny bump on her head. It didn’t look like anything at all, really. It certainly didn’t look like something that could kill a person. It was. It did and it was.

“No, this isn’t right,” said Mike. “This isn’t how it happened. This was eleven years ago. You were lying here eleven years ago. You died eleven years ago. That’s not the same time. I had a heart attack way before that. When was it? Fifteen years ago?”

Then Harriet burst into the emergency room. “Daddy!”

Mike’s eyes popped open. He was still in bed. He turned his head slightly and felt as though his head was going to explode. He looked for Patience, but she was no longer in bed. He got up and walked to the bathroom. Opening the medicine cabinet, he pulled out a bottle of aspirin and tossed four into his mouth. Then he chewed them.

Something landed heavily on Mike’s shoulder. He jumped and spun around. Patience was standing there. The arm that had been on his shoulder was still outstretched. He grabbed her and pulled her to him. Cupping her face in his hands, he covered it with kisses. Dozens of tiny kisses spread across her face turned into one deep kiss on her luscious perfect mouth, which she returned.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

“I am still all right, Mike.”

“No. I mean are you really all right?”

“I am still waiting for the software patch,” she said, “but that only affects rebooting. All my systems are in good working order.”

Mike clasped Patience’s face once more between his hands and kissed her deeply. Then she frowned.

“You have a fever, Mike,” she said.

“Yeah. I feel like shit.” He staggered slightly.

Patience led Mike back to the bed and tucked him in. Then she brought him a glass of juice. When she was sure that he was as comfortable as he could be, she lay down in the bed beside him, and brushed his hair with her hand. She stayed with him until he dozed off once again.

Mike spent most of the day in bed, eating very little, but at Patience’s insistence drinking plenty of juice and water. He felt annoyed, because it seemed to him that Patience was the one who had been truly ill. She should have been resting. She insisted though that she was fine and informed him that he had likely picked up some kind of parasite at the beach.

“That water was not very clean,” she said, as she handed him two antiparasitics.

By evening, he was feeling much better. He got up to shave and take a hot shower, then went back to bed and read The Tales of Beedle the Bard until he was drowsy. With Patience once again lying in bed beside him, Mike went back to sleep. He spent most of the night with his hand on that perfect body beside him. The next morning Mike felt well enough to take his morning walk, Patience right beside him of course, urging him to keep up the pace. Driving to the walking track, they started on the long oval. Even though the sky was overcast and the weather had turned decidedly blustery, they walked the full five miles, shaded by the massive sunscreen above.

They walked at a quick pace, but instead of feeling as though he were going to pass out, Mike felt rejuvenated when they returned home. He shaved, showered, and when Patience brought him his breakfast, along with more antiparasitics, he ate and felt great.

“Do you feel up to going furniture shopping today, Mike?” Patience asked.

“I think I do. Do we need furniture?”

“We do if we’re going to make Harriet’s old room into a guest bedroom. Some of the other furniture is so worn that it should be replaced too.”

Mike put on a new pair of slacks and a grey shirt. He thought that he looked pretty good. Of course he realized, when Patience walked into the room, she would still look completely out of his league. She had on a dark blue peasant top, a pair of tight fitting Capri jeans with sequins along the bottom of the legs, and a pair of black high-heeled shoes with flowers on them that she described as “Bocaccio round toe pumps.”

They hopped in the car and headed for the Pico Mundo mall. Once there they went to Modern Furnishings.

“Do you have a split back lounger in reddish brown leather?” Patience asked the clerk.

“Um, just what you see,” answered the clerk.

Mike didn’t know what it was that Patience had asked for, but they ended up picking out a nice leather couch with clean lines that was pretty comfortable. They also found a nice double bed and a pair of nightstands. He paid for them and scheduled delivery. They had lunch at Gyro Time. Then before leaving, Mike insisted on stopping at Venus to buy some more clothes for Patience. He was finding that he enjoyed seeing her dressed up in her sexy clothing almost as much as he did seeing her naked. Patience certainly seemed to enjoy showing off new clothes to him. This time she selected something called a Marilyn-collar sweater dress, which completely covered her from neck to mid-thigh, but showed off every curve and, Mike was happy to see, every bump too. As they walked across the parking lot toward the Chevy, Mike stopped suddenly and looked at Patience.

“What is it, Mike?” she asked.

“I’m falling in love with you, you know,” he said.

Patience smiled happily. “I thought you might be, Mike.”

“Really?”

“At first I didn’t know for sure. But once I got to know you and your needs, I believed that it would be only a matter of time. I am for you, Mike.”

“Yes,” Mike mused. “Yes, you are for me.”

His Robot Girlfriend – Chapter 4

His Robot Girlfriend“Time to get up, Mike,” said Patience. “Take your shower and I will have breakfast ready for you when you get out.”

“I don’t know if I’m hungry.”

“A healthy breakfast is important.”

Mike tilted his head and looked questioningly.

“It is important for you to be healthy, Mike. I’ve already started you on a regimen of exercise. It is important that you eat well too.”

“All right then.” He got up and made his way to the shower.

True to her word and her name, Patience was waiting patiently with a piece of whole wheat toast and a glass of grapefruit-pineapple juice.

“What now?” he asked as he ate.

“You have to work today,” Patience replied. “We will go to the gym for our workout later.”

It was Mike’s last day of the school year. He had already packed away everything that needed to be packed, so all he really had to do was show up and wait for the principal to check him out. By eleven, he was done. He had walked to school, and he walked back home to find Patience at the door in a tight pair of red shorts and a white spaghetti tank. He had a small salad for lunch, and then they went to the gym.

“Are we going to exercise every day over the summer?” Mike asked on the way.

“Five times a week.”

Time at the gym went quickly and Mike suffered only a small amount of discomfort from his stomach. Afterwards, as they drove home, Mike asked Patience to stop at the cemetery.

“I promised Tiffany that I would stop by every week, but I haven’t been there in months. Of course, she was dead when I promised her, so it’s not like she heard me.”

Patience pulled the car into the cemetery gate and drove around at Mike’s direction until they reached the southeast corner, where the green of the grass met the tan of the surrounding desert. Mike climbed out and walked to the marker at the head of his wife’s grave. The marker was covered with bits of grass from the last time the lawn was mowed, as well as bits of dirt. He knelt down and brushed it off. Tiffany Louise Smith 1984-2021, little enough to sum up a lifetime. 2021! Could it really be eleven years? That didn’t seem possible.

“Who is buried here?” asked Patience.

Mike looked up. A few feet from Tiffany’s grave was another. Affixed to the flat grave marker was an upright statue, about a foot tall, of an angel, a little girl with wings, wearing a nightgown and holding a flower in her left hand, her right hand raising a handkerchief to her eye.

“Some poor little child.”

Home once again, Mike took another shower and had a quick nap before getting up to play a few games of Age of Destruction on vueTee. Pausing the game, he went to the kitchen to get a diet Pepsi and noticed for the first time that the kitchen cabinets had been scrubbed clean. He opened one to find it reorganized inside. This sent him on a tour around the house. He went into the garage to find that what had once been only the home of a gigantic mound of surplus junk had been reorganized. Tiffany’s Tesla, which hadn’t been driven or even charged in more than two years, was clean and polished. There was actually enough room for Mike’s Chevy to sit beside it, and it had never known the interior of the garage. Most of the room’s contents were now on the shelves along the walls, and what remained was neatly stacked against the west wall to either side of the inside door.

He went upstairs to find that Harriet’s old room, once almost as buried as the garage floor, had also been cleaned and organized. Though the right side of the room was now filled with labeled boxes, the left side had been cleared completely out. Mike noticed that the closet now contained Patience’s growing wardrobe. Even the pictures on the walls had been dusted, though they still were just as oddly placed as they had been. Lucas’s room, which had not been nearly so cluttered, was now empty with the exception of an exercise mat in the center of the floor.

“Just as you wanted.” said Patience speaking right behind his left ear.

“Shit! You startled me.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I can’t believe how much you’ve done in a week. What are you doing now—alphabetizing my underwear?”

“No. I was on the phone with Harriet. She invited us to dinner.”

“Hmm. Both of us?”

“Yes. She specifically asked that I come too.”

“Speaking of Harriet, what are you planning for her room?”

“I didn’t have any plans yet,” said Patience.

“Why don’t we make it a guest room? You can move your clothes into my closet. God knows I don’t need all that room.”

“As you wish,” she replied sweetly.

Later Mike hopped in the passenger side of the car and let Patience drive them to Greendale, to Harriet’s house. Patience wore what she referred to as a red bra-top dress, though it didn’t look at all bra-like to Mike, and a pair of matching three and a half inch wedge shoes. Mike wore a pair of tan slacks and a matching pullover shirt which Patience picked out for him. He was quite happy as they made their journey. It was a beautiful day. There wasn’t much traffic. And just having Patience with him seemed to make him happy.

Harriet greeted them with a smile. When Harriet’s husband Jack saw Patience, his mouth fell open.

“Put your tongue and your eyeballs back in your head,” said Mike, as he walked passed him. Then for good measure, Harriet smacked Jack on the back of the head. As he sat down, Mike looked at Patience to see alarm on her face.

“What?” he asked.

“Are you mad at me, Mike?”

“No. Of course not. Why?”

“You were making an angry face.”

“Was I?”

“Yes.”

“Oh. I’m sorry. I was just worrying about something I don’t even need to worry about.”

“I don’t like for you to worry, Mike.” she said. “I want to make all of your worries go away.”

“Thanks.”

Inside, they sat and talked for a while. Harriet, who worked at a dentist’s office, regaled them with stories of bad teeth and bad breath. Then she talked about Jack’s baseball team. He played with a group of men from his office. Finally she started telling them about her gardening. She described in great detail all of the plants that she had recently added to her yard. Mike wasn’t paying too much attention. He tended to zone out. Once Harriet got started on a topic she usually wrestled it to the ground and killed it.

“Get away!” shouted Mike, when one of Harriet’s dogs suddenly stuck its nose in his crotch.

“I know you really like dogs, Daddy,” said Harriet. “You just pretend you don’t.”

“I like dogs fine, when they aren’t sniffing where they shouldn’t be sniffing.”

“They are just curious about you,” she said. “I’m surprised they aren’t sniffing at you, Patience. They don’t seem to even notice you.”

“Hey Harriet,” said Mike. “Didn’t you just say you needed some more potting soil or something?”

“You’ll never know how surprised I am that you heard that much of what I said,” she replied. “But yes, I do.”

“Let’s run over to Lowe’s and get it.”

“Well, I have the quiche halfway done.”

“Patience can finish that up for you,” said Mike, looking at his girlfriend for, and seeing in her face, confirmation. “You and I can run to the store.”

“I thought real men didn’t eat quiche,” said Jack.

“Real men eat whatever the hell they want to eat,” said Mike, managing to keep most of the derision out of his tone.

“Come on Daddy,” said Harriet.

Father and daughter took a quick drive down the block to the neighborhood home improvement store. Mike hadn’t really wanted to help pick out potting soil. What he wanted was more reassurance that his daughter was not bothered by his relationship with a robot. She was very reassuring. She seemed as happy that Patience was in her father’s life as he was. Their conversation on the topic ended just before they reached home again with two forty pound bags of planting soil.

“One more thing Dad,” said Harriet, who only called Mike “Dad” when she was angry or serious. “Try to be nicer to Jack. Don’t talk to him like he’s a moron.”

“Well he is a…”

“It’s his house, Dad.”

“Yeah, all right,” conceded Mike.

Mike tossed the two bags of soil over his shoulder, ignoring the short stabbing pain from his stomach, and followed Harriet through the gate and around the house to the back yard. He tossed the bags down beside the flower bed and dusted the dirt off of his shirt.

“Why don’t you go see if Patience needs any help,” said Harriet. “I want to get these last two Verbena in the ground before dinner.”

“Okay.”

Mike walked in and found Patience standing by the stove and Jack leaning on the counter nearby. Patience gave him the kind of smile most people reserve for someone they thought lost at sea or perhaps for Hunter Tylo when she was carrying an oversized novelty check for ten million dollars from Digital Clearinghouse. There was something shifty in Jack’s expression though. Mike asked what was going on. They both spoke at once.

“Nothing,”

“Jack fondled me.”

The look of shock had not even completely registered on Jack’s face when Mike grabbed him by the shirt collar and dragged him through the kitchen and out the door into the garage. Calling for Patience to stay and finish dinner, he shut the door after him. Jack was beginning to square his shoulders. Mike shoved him back against the wall of the garage.

“Hey, don’t get all jealous,” Jack began. “She’s just a sexbot.”

Mike grabbed Jack’s face in his right hand and slammed it once again into the wall, this time making a large round dent in the unfinished wallboard. He squeezed his fingers together until Jack looked as though he were doing an imitation of a fish.

“You don’t get it!” hissed Mike. “This isn’t about Patience! This is about Harriet! This is about my daughter!”

Jack’s eyes got rounder.

“If you ever hurt my little girl, if you ever cheat on her, I will kill you.”

Once more, Jack’s head slammed against the wall.

“If you want to leave. Tell her. Get a divorce. Now is a good time. There aren’t any kids yet. But if you stick around and then cheat on her, I will kill you.

“I… will… kill… you.” said Mike. “It won’t be quick. It won’t be painless. And you know what? I’ll even get away with it. Look me in the eye. See if you can tell if I’m serious or not.”

Jack’s round eyes rolled over in his head to focus on Mike’s close, way too close, face. A look of recognition crossed those eyes. Mike crinkled his nose and looked down at the spreading wet spot in Jack’s pants and the widening puddle of urine forming on the floor around Jack’s shoes. Mike let go.

“Get cleaned up,” he said, heading back into the house.

Harriet was in the kitchen with Patience, washing her hands in the sink.

“What were you two talking about in the garage?” she asked.

“I was just apologizing for being such an ass before,” said Mike, as he heard Jack enter behind him. “But, uh, Jack spilled his drink. So he needs to go change his pants.”

“That’s fine,” said Harriet. “Patience and I are just getting ready to set the table.”

Mike thought that it was the best quiche that he had ever eaten. Sautéed green beans and fresh fruit completed the meal. Harriet was a little concerned that Patience wasn’t eating anything, but Mike assured her that this was completely normal. He also pointed out that Jack wasn’t eating much either. Jack apparently didn’t feel well and everyone agreed that he looked a little green around the gills.

“I heard you speaking to Jack in the garage,” said Patience on their way home.

“Did you hear everything?” asked Mike.

“Yes.”

“Are you upset with me?”

“No, Mike. I could never be upset with you.”

“I just thought that you might be disappointed that I wasn’t more jealous over you.”

“No, Mike.”

“You’re not feeling jealous yourself? Or upset that I love Harriet more than I love you?”

“I would expect you to love her more than you love me,” said Patience. “You have known me for only a few days. You’ve known her all her life. Your love for your children is just one of the many things I like about you, Mike.”

When they returned home, there were several packages waiting on the front step. Two were quite large—as big as the box that Patience had arrived in. One was small and flat. Three others were odd configurations. Mike picked up the small, flat package and examined the address.

Mr. Mike Smith

11 North Willow

Springdale, California 82803

As it turned out, this was the only one of the packages addressed to him. The others had all been sent to Patience D. Smith at the same address.

“What the hell is all this?” wondered Mike.

“These are some of the purchases that I have made,” Patience replied.

“These aren’t all clothes?”

“Of course not, Mike. I’ve started selling some of your old things on eBay, and I realized that there were a number of things that I could buy and sell for a profit.”

“Are you sure? There’s a lot of junk on eBay. That’s why I sell all mine there.”

“I’m sure. This package is from Submit Fashions.”

“Really?” wondered Mike. “That sounds like some kind of fetish shop.”

“Well it isn’t,” said Patience. “It’s a store that sells sexy clothing for young ladies.”

“Such as yourself.”

“Such as myself. I noticed that you enjoyed watching me in my new clothes.”

“Indeed I do,” replied Mike.

They took the packages in and Patience removed most of them to the garage. Mike sat down and opened the one small package that had his name on it. Inside was a new texTee. It was like the one that he had used in the hospital. It had a brushed grey finish and a larger screen than did his old one. He turned it over and flipped the on switch.

“Good evening, Mike,” it said aloud.

“Do you like it?” asked Patience from the hallway.

“It’s beautiful, but I wasn’t planning on buying a new one. My texTee isn’t that old.”

“I noticed that you liked the one at the hospital,” she said.

“I did like it, but I don’t remember saying anything about it.”

Patience poked her head around the corner and grinned. “It won’t be long before I know what you need before you even know that you need it.”

“Just as long as you don’t tell me ‘I’m sorry Mike, I’m afraid I can’t do that”.

“I doubt I’ll need to do that,” she replied.

“Well there you go.” Mike turned back to his new texTee. Time Magazine was loaded and he began reading the political department.

“What do you think?” asked Patience a few minutes later, now back in the center of the living room.

“I think Barlow is an asshole. Why is he cozying up to the religious right? You know he hates them.”

“I mean about my clothes.”

“Holy Crap!” said Mike, looking up at last. “I thought you said that wasn’t a fetish store.”

“It is not a fetish store. This is what all the young women are wearing.”

“Then all the young women are dressing like sluts.”

Patience was wearing a halter top and a pair of short shorts, both of which were made of some kind of very shiny white plastic material. She had a matching pair of shin high white boots with platform soles that had to be three inches high.

“How do you propose to walk in those?”

“I can walk just fine,” said Patience, and began doing a sort of 1970s electric slide, sideways across the living room. “Does that mean you don’t like my new clothes?”

“I didn’t say that,” Mike laughed. “Did you buy a swimsuit from Slave Fashions…?”

“Submit Fashions.”

“Whatever. Did you?”

“As a matter of fact, I did. Would you like to see it?”

“No. Save it for tomorrow. We’re going to the beach.”

“That is very exciting, Mike,” said Patience, exactly as excited about it as she was about anything Mike suggested.

Mike spent the remainder of the evening gathering together everything that they would need for a day at the beach. Then he watched the news and joined Patience who was waiting in bed for him. They spent a very enjoyable half hour together there, and afterwards Mike had just enough awareness to note her leaving him alone as he dozed off.

In the morning Mike loaded the beach chairs, umbrellas, and towels into the car, along with the ice chest full of food and drinks that Patience had prepared before he had gotten up. They hopped in the car and drove west. Though they were in California, Springdale was a good three hour drive from the coast. The time went by quickly though. Mike listened to the radio. Patience watched him with devotion in her eyes.

After three hours and eight minutes of driving Mike reached Oceanside, California. He pulled into a filling station two blocks away from the beach and topped off the car’s fuel.

“Hydrogen?” he asked, pointing the hose in Patience’s direction.

“No, thank you.”

He noticed that across the street was a surf shop. He sent Patience over to rent a boogie board. When she arrived back, she not only had the boogie board, but a shopping bag as well.

“What did you buy?” he asked.

“Since I have a new swim suit, I thought that it was only appropriate that you have one as well.”

“Oh shit,” said Mike. “Good thinking. I didn’t even pack one. I don’t think I even have one anymore. It’s been so long since I came to the beach. I hope you remembered that I am a fat, old man.”

“I don’t believe that you are fat or old,” said Patience, with a frown. “The average lifespan in the United States is seventy nine point three years for men, and you already look healthier after only a few days of exercise and nutritional eating.”

“Talk about damning with faint praise,” grumbled Mike.

They drove the two blocks to the beach, but the public parking lot was completely full. Mike paid forty-five dollars to park his car for the day in a private lot. Normally, he would have complained about having to pay so much just to park, but nothing seemed to bother him anymore. After trucking the ice chest, chairs, towels, umbrella, and boogie board down to the sand, and finding a good spot just above the high tide line, the two of them went to the public changing rooms.

Mike liked the swimsuit that Patience had picked out for him. It was long, almost to his knees, and was bright orange, yellow, and red. He thought it was the type of suit that a young man would wear. It made his head swell a little to think that Patience thought it was appropriate for him. When he stepped out of the changing room and saw Patience in her suit, his mouth fell open. Her suit was without a doubt, the smallest bikini that he had ever seen. Even on the internet. The little patch of material in the front could not have been more than an inch wide and it stuck up only an inch and a half above the joining point of her legs. The back had no patch of cloth at all. It was just string. The top could have been custom made for her, in that the two triangular cups so fit her round ripe breasts that there was not a jot of material wasted. Wondering if she might be arrested for indecent exposure, Mike looked around. He was shocked to find that most of the young women at the beach were wearing suits very similar. It had been a long time since he had been here.

Though there were plenty of women with small sexy suits on the sandy shore, Mike noted that almost every eye still turned to Patience as they walked to the beach chairs. While he sat, Patience rubbed SPF 210 sun block on all of his exposed surfaces.

“I suppose you don’t need any sun block?” he asked.

“I’m shielded against much greater radiation that I am likely to be exposed to here, Mike.” Patience replied.

“So you don’t tan?”

“No. I will remain always the shade that you chose when you ordered me.”

For the next several hours, Mike and Patience hopped through the surf, built a sand castle, knocked it down, pulled each other along on the boogie board, and had a great time. Though he was initially concerned about water getting into the small openings in the back of her neck, Patience showed Mike that she had protected against such a calamity by covering the area with a clear plastic patch. By the time Mike thought about food it was early afternoon. Patience had packed quite a picnic lunch–sandwiches, fruit, Jell-o, and diet sodas. After he ate, they swam, and continued playing in the surf, Mike pointedly entering the water without waiting for an hour. He refused to be responsible for propagating an old wives’ tale.

When night eventually fell they strolled along the beach, listening to the pounding of the waves. They walked to the opposite end of the stretch of sand, several miles from where they had parked, and found a seafood restaurant. They smiled and talked over the candle-lit dinner, though Patience didn’t eat. Then walked back down the darkened beach, hand in hand, pausing every so often to look at the moon reflecting off the waves. When they reached their picnic site, they found they were all alone on the sand.

Patience leaned over and kissed Mike deeply, her tongue darting in and out of his mouth. He returned her kisses and more. She deftly removed the tiny bottom of her swim suit and pulled him over onto her, as he frantically pulled at the strings that held up his trunks. Their lovemaking left a sensual imprint in the sandy beach.

“Like sea otters,” said Patience.

“That was a pretty good day,” said Mike.

They gathered up their belongings and carried them back to the car. Loading the things in the back seat, Mike opened the passenger door for Patience and then climbed in to the driver’s side.

“Yes, this certainly was a pretty good day.”

His Robot Girlfriend – Chapter 3 Excerpt

Her eyes flashed at Mike as he reentered the room and she said. “Yes, Mike is here. May I ask who is calling? This is his girlfriend.”

She stopped and listened for a moment. Then she said. “Just a moment,” and handed the receiver to him.

“It’s Lucas,” she said.

Mike grabbed the phone. “How is my son the general?”

“Don’t start all that,” said the voice at the other end. “Tell me all about this lady.”

“Well…”

“Tell me. I think it’s great you’ve got a girlfriend, Dad. She sounds young.”

“Umm. She’s a Daffodil.”

“A what? A robot? Huh.”

“What do you mean ‘huh’?”

“I don’t know. She didn’t sound like a robot.”

“She doesn’t look like one either,” said Mike. “I keep forgetting that she is one.”

“Well, I guess it’s all good,” said Lucas. “Everybody’s getting one. I’m just glad you have someone to take care of you. Can I tell Harriet?”

“No! I don’t know what she’s going to say about it. I’ll tell her when she gets back from her trip.”

“Alright Dad. Take care of yourself. I love you.”

Mike hung up the phone. “He’s calling Harriet right now.”

“Which bedroom belonged to Lucas?” asked Patience, in the car on the way to the mall.

“The one on the northwest corner. Since we’ve been exercising, I’m thinking that we could make it into an exercise room. The room on the northeast corner, on the other side of the stairway was Harriet’s. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. I wanted to turn the south bedroom into a study. I keep thinking I might sit down and write a book about all the goofy things the kids at school do. So far though, it’s just become a trap for all the crap in the house—kind of like the garage.

It was an hour drive to the mall, because the closest good one was in the nearby city of Pico Mundo. Patience spent the entire drive holding onto Mike’s arm with both hands, and pressing her face onto his shoulder. At the mall, the two entered by the food court. Mike bought a smoothie, and they began to circumnavigate the mall, stopping at each clothing store to see what was available for either of them. Mike let Patience make all the style decisions.

“I would like to get my ears pierced,” said Patience, as they stopped in front of a jewelry store.

“Are you sure that you want to?” wondered Mike. “Your holes won’t grow closed if you change your mind, will they?”

“No. But would you like it if I had my ears pierced?”

“Yes, I think I would.”

When they went into the store however, they were turned out.

“Humans only,” said the woman behind the counter. This made Patience pout, which in turn, made Mike smile.

They had quite a load of shopping bags, by the time they made their final stop at the lingerie store. Mike sat down and waited while Patience gathered her selections and then stepped back into the changing booth. She stepped out again and again to show off tiny lacy bras, thongs, and some very hot little lacy things called tangas, as well as garter belt ensembles. With her perfect body, her chiseled features, and bright eyes, Mike thought she put to shame the giant photos of the models wearing the same things plastered across the wall of the shop. By the time that she was done, a sizable audience of men, some ignoring the women that they had come in with, were gathered around to watch.

Mike decided that it was time to head home. Gathering all of the items that Patience had tried on, he sat them next to the register and, when the clerk had finished ringing everything, he paid for them. Both smiling, they made their way out of the mall and into the parking lot. The sun was going down. They had spent the entire day shopping, and had spent almost four thousand dollars.

“I don’t think I’ve ever spent that much on clothes in a year, let alone a single day,” said Mike.

They reached the car and opened the trunk to put away all of their packages. Then Mike heard a voice behind him.

“Give us the packages and your wallet.”