Thursday and Friday were exam days at school. That meant that for the students both days were half days of strenuous testing, with free afternoons to recover. For the teachers, the mornings were a scramble to get fourth quarter grades completed, and the afternoons were a scramble to grade tests, all the while attempting to get the classroom stowed for the coming summer months. In the evenings, after a workout at the health club, Mike would enjoy delicious dinners and relaxing evenings of watching movies on vueTee. On Saturday morning, Mike woke with the realization that not only did he not have to return to work that day, but that the school year was essentially over. Only Monday remained to finish make-up exams, clean up the classroom, and sign out for the year.
Climbing into his recliner, Mike went through Friday’s mail as he watched cooking shows on vueTee. There were a couple of bills and a handful of ad flyers. At the bottom of the stack was a white envelope that felt abnormally thick. He opened it up to find a matching set of Visa cards—one in his name and one with the name Patience D. Smith.
She came in through the kitchen from the garage, covered in dust and dirt, but was otherwise completely naked. As she smiled at him from the doorway, he felt himself aroused.
“How come you’re nude?”
“I didn’t want to get my clothes dirty while I worked.”
“Okay. How come we have new bank cards?”
“I thought we might need them, at least in the short term. It is going to be a few weeks before I can earn some extra money, and I don’t want to spend all your savings.”
“You’re creating more questions than you’re answering,” he said. “How are you planning to make money?”
“I’m selling a great many things on eBay. Then I will take that money and invest it.”
“I know I have a lot of junk around here. Just make sure you don’t sell anything I want to keep. I know you should have more clothes.”
“The money is not for my clothes,” said Patience. “It is for yours.”
“Clothes for me?”
“Hmm. Yes, I suppose that is a good idea. I don’t want to look like such an old fart if I have such a beautiful, hot young woman on my arm. Why don’t we go ahead and do some shopping at the mall today?”
“So what is this name?” He held up the Visa card. “You’re not my wife. You’re just my… well, I guess you’re my girlfriend.”
Patience leaped across the room and jumped into Mike’s lap. She planted her full lips on his and kissed him, then pulled back and smiled.
“I’m your girlfriend?”
She kissed him again. This was all the motivation that he needed. He pushed her up out of his lap, stood up, and then took her by the hand. He led her upstairs to the bedroom, where they spent the next half-hour, though Patience would not get on the bed until she had washed the dirt and dust off of her synthetic skin. Afterwards, Mike got up and went to the bathroom. Just as he was washing his hands, he heard his phone ring on the nightstand, and Patience answering it.
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.”
“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.”
“All right 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 long 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.”
Mike dropped the shopping bags and spun around. Two men, both in their early twenties stood there. One was white, the other Hispanic. They both had shaved heads and they both carried butterfly knives.
“Maybe we’ll have some fun with your little girl too,” said the closest one.
Mike snapped into action. He dived at the punk who had spoken last, hitting him square in the chest. They both went down onto the pavement. As they did, Mike felt the knife blade penetrate his stomach. The punk hit his head hard on the pavement but he still managed to push Mike off of him. He was already on his feet while Mike was still rolling around on the parking lot.