Good morning, T-gang and everyone else who makes their way over here. And again, like every other Tuesday, we are going to continue today with the 5th part of David’s The Robot Apocalypse. I hope you will enjoy!Create a phrase or statement, that you carry with you throughout the coming year. I really don’t have one, but maybe you do and if you’d like to join Leslie, I’m sure she’ll have a cuppa of coffee (or tea) for you.
“Roger, dear, it’s 6:30. Good morning.”
“Hur?” My consciousness sluggishly migrated from the fragments of a now fading dream. Monday morning already? I sat on the edge of my bathtub and brushed my teeth. I suppose it was official now. As great as Tanya was, even she couldn’t get me to enjoy getting out of bed in the morning.
Monday went as well as could be expected, and I did have to stay a little later than I wanted to finish up work on my assignments for the system migration. Thank heavens I now had Tanya, or I would have had to go grocery shopping on the way home; cutting into my evening even more. Tanya and I played a few quick rounds of cards that evening, and I went to bed a little earlier.
My Tuesday wake up was a little easier than Monday.
I downed a quick bowl of Alpine Artisanal granola, and finished getting ready.
“Say, Tanya, this is not my usual brand.”
“As much as you dislike getting up in the morning, I thought I would try to cheer you up by getting you a premium brand. You’re worth it after all.”
How thoughtful of her. It sure was great to have her around. I left for work in a very positive mood that morning. That all changed just after lunch during our project meeting. Our team was working on a system migration, and again Ryan hadn’t completed what he agreed to. And then he talked for most of the meeting, blabbing on and on about “We have to consider this,” and “We really need to make sure we take that into account.” And of course by “we” he meant “someone else,” because he never seemed to actually do anything.
“Hello Roger, how was work today?”
“Hi Tanya … it was …” Try as I might, I just couldn’t come up with any kind of positive spin for the day. “It was work.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, dear. Do you want to talk about it? Can I get you anything?”
“I’m not sure. I’m not sure what would help.”
“How about this for an idea – what would Captain Longbow do in your situation?”
“He’d get himself a stiff drink.” I pondered a moment. “Actually Captain Longbow wouldn’t be in this situation, because he would have popped Ryan in the snout long ago!”
“I can’t say I’d recommend that course of action.”
Yet somehow she was right. What would Captain Longbow do? “Seriously, though, he’d have a drink with one of his buddies and hash it out.”
“Well, I’m not a buddy, but I can listen with the best of them. If you want to have a drink and talk to me, I’m ready to listen; otherwise I can recommend a couple of good bars in the area you could go to.”
“No, it’s a great idea. I’m fine drinking with you. But umm, do you even drink?”
“No, but I can simulate it well if you like. And it would even cut your drink bill in half! I guess I’m what you call a ‘cheap date.'”
“Um, ok, great, then let’s do it. But I don’t know how well stocked my liqueur cabinet is.”
“I restocked your bar just yesterday. You’ve got a fresh bottle of Vitra Vodka.”
“Captain Longbow’s brand! Great!”
“So why don’t you go and change, and I’ll get things set up in here.”
“Captain Longbow wouldn’t go to either a bar, or a lady friend’s house dressed like that. If we’re going to do this, let’s do it right. Go put a black suit on.”
Now this was going to be fun. I marched off to the bedroom and sifted through my wardrobe. I did have a few suits, but nothing in black. Wait, there was that black tux I had finally broken down and bought when three of my inconsiderate friends had the nerve to get married in the course of six months. The shirt was clean, but I had not ironed it, and I couldn’t seem to locate the cummerbund, but it was as close as I could get.
Tanya had the bar counter top freed of its former stack of unsorted mail and take-out menus, and with a couple tea lights, an “ice bucket” improvised from one of my stainless-steel mixing bowls, and a couple of matching shot glasses (most of mine were collected from various colorful and questionable establishments I had visited during spring breaks and the like), my bar almost looked the part.
“You’re looking very debonair, this evening, Mr. Rickenbock.”
“Thanks. I suppose I really should have looked into getting you some clothes, Tanya. Perhaps a cocktail dress would be appropriate for the occasion,” I joked.
“Well, it’s too late now, Roger, but perhaps next time.”
I sat down at the bar, Tanya poured me the first glass of vodka, and I started in about the problems I had. Mostly it was about Ryan. I tried to avoid whining, because Captain Longbow certainly wouldn’t whine. He would be more forceful. And manly. And after drink number three, I had apparently gotten over it, and moved away from the topic of work.
“It’s really too bad you can’t actually join me for a drink. It’s alcohol, right? Isn’t there some way you could burn it in your system.”
Tanya stuck an alluring pose and gazed at me with those luminous purple eyes. Was this the “sweetheart mode” kicking in? After a long pause she replied. “Nope. I run on pure electricity. If you would like to buy the lady a drink, there is a ‘Party Boost’ series of accessory glasses. They look like a normal glass or mug, but they have a power pack in them, so if I were to take a sip, it would transfer energy to me by contact.” She slid my into a better position on the countertop and did a quick search. “Here is what they look like. They even have an optical effect showing if the power pack is empty or full.”
The Party Boost glasses really did look pretty cool in the photos. But they were not cheap, ranging from $79 to almost $200 depending on the size and style of the glass. But Captain Longbow wouldn’t hesitate on this. “Why don’t we order you this ‘Manhattan’ style glass for next time.”
“Why thank you, Roger. I’ll order that now. And a matching one for you … without the power pack of course. We have to have a matched set.”
“Done! It will be here tomorrow evening.”
I awoke the next morning with a bit of a headache. This was of course part of the ritual when Captain Longbow had a night out on the town, but it looks so much cooler on screen than if you are experiencing it in person.
On the bright side, minor annoyances at work that morning really did feel minor compared with my headache, but by 11:00 I was feeling better, when I received a call from an unknown number. “Hello, is this Mr. Rickenbock.” A call center. Ugh. And I had just gotten rid of my headache too. I almost hung up right there, but fortunately I replied “Yes, this is me. Who is this?”
“This the your credit card company. We’ve seen some unusual charges on your account we wanted to review with you.”
“OK, what are they?” This was certainly not good news. At first the names seemed unfamiliar, but after a moment I was able to recognize them as Lifebots affiliate companies. The charges seemed a bit high on an individual basis, although not unreasonably so; however my total balance was alarmingly high this month. I suppose Tanya’s initial house cleaning for me had taken its toll. But it was a one-time thing, and I would watch it more carefully next month. “The charges are all OK. Thanks for calling.”
* * *
Claudia here again. That does sound a bit too real to me. How many calls, emails, text we have gotten this past year from credit card companies about fraud – no fun!
We certainly hope you liked this somewhat different from the usual art form on this blog of mine and will be back for the next chapter in a few days, well, most likely next week.