Friday, October 16, 2009

Flash Fiction Story: Silent Treatment

So she's sitting there again when I come in. On the floor, cross-legged, facing away from me. At first I think she's doing one of those exercise things, whatever you call them. Pilot-eez or Yoda or something. I know she's not, but I try to pretend.

"Hello, dear, I'm home..." I say.

I put down by bag and take off my coat before I glance back at her. Sure enough, she's still in the same position. If I had some fraction-measuring ruler, I doubt it would have registered even the smallest change. I hate how she just sits there. She does this now. I come home, and she doesn't react. She robot-ifies. It's a thing.

"Did you make anything for dinner?" I ask.

Again, no answer. Last night I had to eat emergency rations. I tried to give her one but she didn't even blink at me. When I got up in the morning, she was still sitting there, the un-opened rations bar same as where I'd placed it. If it keeps up this way, I'll probably starve. A man can't survive on emergency rations forever. He'd die of culinary boredom. It happened to a friend of mine. He wrecked his shuttle on some human-forsaken planetoid and when rescue found him, he was dead
as the 'toid. There were still plenty of Emerations so it's not like he ran out of supplies. They did an autopsy but afterwards, all they could say was he should be alive today. I knew the guy: he lived for food, and Emerations just couldn't cut it. Don't want to end up like him, but with her sitting there like that, I think I might be on the same damn 'toid, emergency-rationing myself to death.

When we first got married, things were different, things were simple. I got home, she was there, dinner was made, love was made, sleep was slept. That was before my promotion. We were young and in love and all that. Things were different afterwards. She couldn't support my work,
she said. It's wrong to de-ecologize a planet for our own use, she argued, there are other beings to consider. Well, excuse me for trying to provide for her, for the family we were supposed to have. And those beings? Not even sentient. She wants to sacrifice our livelihood, our futures, for insects and rodents and plant life! Ridiculous.

"Okay, dear, I'm going to bed then. You coming?" I say, grabbing an Emerations shake for variety. Same awful substance, in liquid form. I can't decide which is worse, so I alternate.

She doesn't say anything. She's probably waiting for me to go into the other room before she moves. She's probably sitting there wishing I would just leave. These days, even though I know she hates my job as much as ever, she probably wants me to stay there all the time, not come home at all. She's probably glad she couldn't have children now.

"That's it," I say, "The final push of my abort-mission button!"

So I get back into the room where she's sitting and tap her on the shoulder. I'm not going to stop until she reacts. Took a couple of minutes, but then she turns her head and opens her mouth, and her eyes lock onto mine.

"Three days, five hours, twelve seconds since I left this robot in my place," a strange electronic version of my wife's voice says, "and you have failed to notice the difference. Should have done this long ago. Have a nice life."

I stand there, this robot wife of mine still sitting cross-legged, staring up at me and all I can think is how amazing technology is, that it can look like real anger in those computerized eyes.

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  1. Oh. My. Goodness. I was half expecting her to be dead, but not that!!! Good gracious!

    Great job on an absolutely engrossing story.

  2. Great! I was expecting her to be dead too. It took him 3 days to even try to get a reaction - clueless! Welcome to #fridayflash!

  3. Wonderful - very funny. Well done.

  4. LOL! Wow at the ending.

    Great job. Welcome!

  5. Nice, wry story here. Enjoyed it. Especially the twist. Just like a man, isn't it?

    Jeff Posey

  6. very nice! and I know people that can be just that stubborn when they argue with someone *lol*

  7. The last line... fabulosa. Peace, Linda

  8. Wow, thank you all so much for the comments and welcomes!!! I'm so glad you all liked the story!

  9. Wow. If hubby failed to notice the difference between me and a robot lookalike, I think I'd be pissed too.

    Nicely done.

  10. A very enjoyable read. Such an observant guy. He deserves his robot.

    Would you like to be included in The #fridayflash Report? I hesitate to add people who have not specifically tweeted under the hashtag unless I know it is OK with them. I'd be happy to include your story.

  11. Haha - yes, he certainly deserves his robot!
    Good twist, clever tale!

  12. lol, I to join the club where I thought she was dead as well, even quickly scanned the page looking for a line about rigor mortis.

    Great original twist!

  13. Too funny! I didn't even think she might be dead. If anything, I thought I'd made it too obvious that she was a robot, since he even describes her as robot-ifying in the beginning. Nice to see the ending was a twist after all!

    Jon, it would be wonderful to be included in the #friday flash Report. I had no idea such a thing existed--what a great idea! I'll be sure to check out the stories listed there too! Thank you! :)