BY CARL PERRIN
Copyright is held by the author.
“I thought we were going to be together forever,” I said.
Carolyn took a sip of her martini. Despite her 63 years, she was still a beautiful woman.
“Things have changed, Robert.”
“Of course they have changed. Everything changes with time.”
“You have to admit, Robert, that the changes in you are more than just a passage of time.”
She took another sip of her martini. I, of course, do not drink.
“A lot has changed since we went to Digital Eternity, Inc.,” she said.
It was almost 20 years ago, but I remember it clearly. We went to Digital Eternity and had electronic copies of our brains made. We were so giddy that we spent the weekend celebrating. When we died, the electronic brains would be put into robot bodies, and we would be together forever.
“We didn’t know at the time that I would get sick and go before you, while you were still in the bloom of life. I know I look different, but inside I am still the same man. My brain still has the same feeling for you that I always had.”
“That’s part of the problem. I don’t, I can’t feel the same about you. You’re not the man I married. As far as I’m concerned, you’re nothing but a robot. I’m sorry, Robert, but it gives me the creeps to touch you.
What had happened to the love we both felt? Where was all that “for better or for worse, in sickness or in health stuff?”
Carolyn got up and poured herself another martini. In the old days she used to limit herself for one cocktail. Now it was two, sometimes three.
“I have something to tell you, Robert.”
“Why are you calling me Robert? You used to call me Bob.”
“Bob is the man I married. You do not seem like Bob to me.”
She took a gulp of her martini. She held up her hand as I started to say something.
“This is hard enough as it is. Please don’t interrupt me.”
I nodded, and she went on. “I’m leaving you, Robert. I’ve met someone else.”
“What! You’ve met someone else!”
“That didn’t take long. How long has it been since my heart attack? Two weeks?”
“This is not something new. I was planning to leave you before you got sick.”
“Almost a year ago?”
She nodded and reached into her purse to take out a pack of Winstons. Then she pulled out a Ronson and lit the cigarette.
“God, Carolyn, how long have you been smoking?”
“I started when you first got sick. The cigarettes help me relax.”
She took a puff and blew the smoke toward me.
“They help you get lung cancer,” I said.
She snuffed out the cigarette and headed toward the bedroom.
I sat in a chair, overwhelmed by everything that had happened in the last hour or two. All kinds of thoughts kept rushing through my brain. Then the solution came to me.
I walked into the kitchen and turned on the gas oven. The methane started pouring into the kitchen. Soon it would flow through the living room and into the bedroom. It would not harm me because my body was mechanical, but once it permeated the bedroom, Carolyn would be gone in minutes. Once that happened, Digital Eternity, Inc., would put the electronic copy of her brain into a robot body like mine. Then we would be together forever.
I returned to the living room to await the events that would take place. In a short time the bedroom door opened, and Carolyn walked out and sat on the couch.
“I don’t feel well,” she said.
I didn’t say anything.
She picked up the pack of cigarettes from the end table and then the Ronson.
“Don’t light that!” I shouted.
“I don’t have to follow your directions anymore, Robert.”
She flicked the Ronson, and then a bright flash burst into the room.