Some February fiction for you …
With Extra Points for Neatness
by Sheila North
Margaret Pennyworth was nothing if not direct.
“I’ve decided to deactivate you. I am sorry.”
Her parents had been big on superficial politeness, so the phrase, “I am sorry” was only to be expected. They both knew she didn’t mean it.
“Will you please stop looking at me like that? It’s extremely off putting.”
Margaret shuffled through the paperwork, which she had shoved into the bread bin, the day it arrived. There was no bread in the bin, hadn’t been since Colin died in their marital bed: his beautiful eyes gradually becoming as cold as the rest of his body. Bread was fattening, or so the beings who ran Planet Diet said. On those rare occasions when Margaret reflected on things, she wondered how an alien life form which existed entirely on the waste products of others could know so much about carbs, or, indeed, food.
A small pile of paperwork was rapidly accumulating on the otherwise spotless kitchen floor. Inwardly, Margaret Pennyworth sighed. It really was an excellent housekeeper – and bookkeeper, and cook, and bottle washer. But even the best products have their flaws, and Margaret had had enough.
Item 99462M was everything The Houseboy Company (TM) had claimed: well, almost everything. It was the expression: that fixed smile; even worse, those marble blue eyes. They’d been so different those first 38 years of their 40 year relationship. What had she been thinking of – besides a tidy home – paying for her late husband’s neat-freak mind to be lodged in that metal body, and behind those eyes, oh, those eyes!
“Shall I dust and vac the master bedroom, first?” the flat voice asked, its eyes as cold, and unblinking, as ever.