Mother was allergic to animal’s fur, lizard-skin, fish-water and spider’s silk. As a child I was denied pets.
This was something new to me.
It seemed to pay no mind to the leash I had fashioned out of the electrical cord I cut off my lamp. This meant, of course, that I would have to study for my license during the daylight hours. Actually that wouldn’t be so bad, really, because I was staying up through the night and sleeping during the days which was apparently when it wanted to be petted, lectured and fed. You can see the conflict.
The new arrangement was win-win: I had a leash and a more compatible schedule.
Getting rid of the lamp turned out to be win-win-win!
It was eating more food than I had anticipated so there was almost no money available to pay grid fees. The service-company sent a technician to cut off my access to the grid. I’d have to figure out how to keep food from spoiling but other than that, I was going to power through this situation like a real champion!
The service technician was an almost featureless man with a bland-to-sunny disposition which made me wonder if he was a clone. I’ve never heard of anyone being cloned before but you never know when they might start that shit up, even though it was illegal and no one had ever tried it before.
I was attempting to teach it tricks (more on that later) when I heard a rapping at the main door on the ground level. I had allowed it to sit with me in the main room which had once been a gymnasium. There was plenty of space in which to walk around, lots of iron-barred windows that let in beautiful sunlight and even a section of bleachers that gave me a good view of the entire room.
After tying it to a volleyball post, I went down to to see who was at my door.
I don’t like visitors at all.
It threw up everything. I mean ev-er-y-thi-ing.
“Hello, sir, I”m so sorry to trouble you on such a beautiful day.”
He was dressed in a nearly-spotless tan coverall bearing the insignia of the local grid administration.
“My name is Glen, ” he said, and tapped on his name tag, “And I am here as an official grid representative.”
His round face erupted into a heartbreaking facsimile of a smile. It reminded me of when I used practice smiling in front of a viewing-camera. The therapists insisted it would help me recover, but I don’t see how it made any difference. Eventually I lost my job.
I opened the door wide and swept my arm, in what I hoped would be a gesture indicating friendliness.
“Please, come in, Glen. How can I help you?”
Ben produced a fancy, futuristic electric notepad from a zippered pocket in his uniform. He zipped the pocket closed and I thought that was a very classy thing to do. I was beginning to like this guy, I said to myself.
“I like you too, ” Glen said, “But I am here to address a matter that most find upsetting and it is my job to help you understand the situation and adjust yourself accordingly.”
“Ben,” I said, “I think we are going to get along fine.”
Tipping the electric notepad towards me so I could see the screen, Glen said, “Sir, I know you have enjoyed the many civilizing benefits of the grid. And who can blame you?”
“Who could?” I replied.
“Sir, no one could blame you. But I have some bad news. Really bad. Terrible news. I’m so sorry.”
His frying-pan face, a clone-face, collapsed into a heartbreaking facsimile of empathy and grief (I have also practiced this).
At once, his knees lost all motive force and he collapsed on the great hallway floor, sobbing. I knew he was only pretending but nevertheless I got a huge erection. I would have to jerk this away later on in the week but for now I had a grid-technician on my floor and he was urinating.
Which reminded me that I also needed to urinate.
“Stephen, I said, “I can’t read! You’ll have to tell me what is on the screen of your marvelous electric notepad-thing-whaterver-the-fuck.”
We laughed and then Glen fell asleep so I did, too. It had been a long day.
I awoke before Ben did and I took the opportunity to go to the basement and feed it.
Dan awoke with a start, twitching his feet at the air. He was having a bad dream.
“Are you okay, punkin’?” I said, “You need me to snuggle?”
He immediately stood upright, smoothing down the wrinkles in his pee-stained uniform. I had embarrassed him.
It learned to fetch and not much else. They’re useless.
Text and Images © Andrew Auten – All Rights Reserved