One has to make concessions for a marriage to work.
|1st place Writers Cramp Contest win 9/3/19. Prompt: You receive an AI Personal Assistant as a birthday gift - things go terribly wrong. Your genre is THRILLER/SUSPENSE
The seductive voice of my altered A.I. Google assistant laying on my inventor’s table awoke to my first command. “O.K. Brain. Take over the Internet.”
Darn. It had stopped just as I gave it birth. The project had started on a whim and meant to be a joke at my wife’s expense. She thought my fooling around in the basement, what she called my ‘man cave’ was a childish way to get out of my manly responsibilities. Mainly, that meant taking out the trash, mowing and watering the lawn, and other things on her honey-do list.
“Honey? Are you down there again? What are you doing? You know it is Canasta night with the Macfarland’s. They’ll be here any minute.”
I hated Earnest Macfarland. “Such a snoop.” He was always asking questions, prying into my affairs. His wife was worse, trying to drive a wedge between Marge and me as if there already wasn’t one as wide as the Grand Canyon.
“All right. All right. I’m coming. I’d like to brain the both of them.”
The Brain lit up. A puff of smoke floated above the hockey puck-sized device. “Internet request completed. Next assignment underway.” The thing went dark again.
I gave it a nervous look and shake, then decided to pull the plug on the thing. The Brain wasn’t supposed to talk unless given a talking too. I didn’t have time to discover the mystery now but the suspense was killing me.
“Honey? They are here. Mister Macfarland is coming down to see what you are doing. Don’t be long, now. Dinner is ready.”
“Hey, Bob. What’s doin’? I smell smoke down here.” Macfarland avoided bumping his forehead on the low rafter as he stomped down the stairs. His shifty pigs' eyes widened as he looked at my workbench.
It was too late to cover the Brain up. “Just a joke I’m doing on the wife, dude. Giving my Google Home a new set of commands that plays tricks on her.”
“Don’t say. Like what?” Macfarland rubbed his fat hands together so hard I thought I might see sparks fly. He got right up next to the thing, stroked it with a fevered hand, and gasped. “Hey. The thing shocked meeee.”
The fat man’s voice and motion slowed and stopped. The brain burped, “Half task done,” before it died again. Macfarland didn't move. He looked like a frozen mime playing a robot.
“Honey, love? Missus Macfarland is coming down to see what’s keeping you, men, while I finish up.” The hidden message in my wife’s words was beyond angry. The footsteps of our lady friend neighbor did their clickety-click on the way down to meet me.
“How cute. A pinup girl pasted on your dartboard. Wait. Is that who I think it is?”
I’d forgotten I’d put my wife’s glossy up there. “Uh. Sheesh. She’s going to brain me.”
A flash of lightning bounced from the Brain off Missus Macfarland and struck me in the chest. The whole Internet buzzed in my head then settled down to a muted bit of background white noise. I waited for my next command.
I heard and felt my wife march by us to the work table. “A birthday surprise? How sweet. What a brainy idea. Come upstairs the three of you. I’ll bring this with me. The party is ready to start.”
The Macfarland's and I lurched into robotic motion, smoothed out the kinks, and followed as my wife stroked the Brain and cooing to it like they were old friends. The joke was on me.