Far in the future... A satire.
A Death in the House
Blotches, blanks, and blurs; as if he'd just been born, or been magically placed here on the rubber mat on the wooden floor.
He struggled to form a thought, but his mind was like a blackboard with an eraser swishing everything into a gray mess. His eyes focused far away. That vague form was shaping into...
Lost. Destroyed. Stolen. Something was missing. But, what?
Auriga and Berenice studied their pet sadly. Both of them thought those blank eyes and that open mouth sure looked creepy. Their heads turned toward each other and they knew what the other was thinking; it was time.
Days were spend making the final decision. They could have arranged to have Perky picked up, but they wanted to be sure his last trip would be painless and stress free, for he had given them many years of loyalty, friendship, and joy.
Auriga bent down and stroked Perky’s hair and softly said, “C’mon, boy. Let’s go for a drive.”
Perky lifted his head to sniff the air. Though his body no longer aroused much of an appetite, his only remaining interest was food. Not smelling any, Perky refused to budge.
Auriga gently placed his arms to scoop him up. “It’s okay, boy. You rest your bones. I’ll carry you.”
Perky cried out once in pain as he was lifted then carried to a vehicle. Curling into the most comfortable position on the seat, he panted from exhaustion, as the car floated up and sped west.
They arrived at a massive columnated entrance that had steps which spread from one corner to the other. At the top and front of the structure in bold black letters were the words Heavenly Gateway. Senility was a blessing, for Perky wouldn’t guess what service this facility offered.
Auriga carried Perky pass the massive oaken doors and into the thick beige carpeted hall with holograms showing scenes of earthly beauty. The scent of cedar and the soft swish of waves pushing forward on a sandy beach with the occasional cry of a high flying gull soothed their sorrow.
Two employees welcomed them. Well trained in their profession they knew how to act, what to say, and when to say it. Understanding that they would be looked at as if they were not there, they made themselves as unobtrusive as possible. The servicing of death was routine.
One of them placed Perky in a softly padded crate, as Auriga and Berenice were escorted to a private room. There, alone, they could bring back in full color action the life Perky had shared with them.
Berenice wept. Auriga forced a smile despite his tears, as he struggled to say, "This was the first time we took Perky to the beach, isn't it?"
Berenice nodded and wiped her tears with a towel.
Auriga placed his arm around his companion. "Look at him playing in the surf! He was so happy."
"And so were you, Auriga."
Tears dropped onto his lap. "Yes."
They were left alone for an hour before a knock on the door announced they would be disturbed. An employee wordlessly handed Auriga a box made of cypress. Inside was an white porcelain urn wrapped in a white silk bag.
Auriga waited for the employee to leave before placing the box on the table in front of them. Opening the urn, he placed Perky’s collar on top of his ashes. His attempt at a cheerful voice was miserable, "Perky's in heaven with all his kind. He's playing with his new friends."
"Oh, Auriga!" Berenice wrapped her arms around Auriga and sobbed.
The pair had been living together for such a long time that they needed something to bring variety and the unexpected into their home. Perky had fulfilled that role. With him gone free time was harder to enjoy. In other words they needed a pet. Not just any kind, but one that would be intelligent enough to have its own personality and an interesting character, like Perky.
A week later Auriga was connected to his computer and downloading videos. Showing one to Berenice, he asked, "What do you think? Wouldn't it be nice to have a human again?"
"Yes, I miss having one to share our time together."
"Then, let's get one."
Berenice smiled and said, "That would make you happy, wouldn't it?"
Auriga applied some lubricant to his elbow and downloaded an app for it. "Yes, we'll never forget Perky, but it's time to move on. Look at these. Do you want another American or how about a beautiful Persian, or a quiet Cambodian?"
Berenice admonished, "Still haven't gotten your elbow replaced! I've told you a dozen times."
Auriga apologized, "I've been so busy. This app will help until I make an appointment after checking my schedule. So, what do you think?"
Bernice thought for a moment. "Perky was nice and very friendly, but sometimes he was very independent and disobedient. I love the Persian eyes, but I've heard they're often aloof."
She added, "Chinese are very intelligent."
Auriga agreed, "Yes, but they talk too much. Japanese are more quiet."
Berenice gripped Auriga's hand. "Yes, let's get a Japanese girl."
They looked into each other’s delighted eyes as Auriga suggested, "Let's look over our choices and choose one this weekend. We can have it delivered next week."
Berenice answered, “I can’t wait. And, how about your elbow? Can you get it done this weekend?”
“Probably not. We’re too busy getting ready to welcome the aliens.”
“When are they arriving?”
“In about a month. We’re almost certain they’re very similar to us. They’ve developed from a silicon base just like us. Of course, their technology is more advanced, and they’re probably more intelligent since they’ve been around longer.”
Berenice smiled and said, “That’s nice. We can learn a lot from them.”
“Yes, we expect the benefits to be the greatest of all time.”
Behind him the urn reflected the setting sun.