O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm
That flies in the night
In the howling storm
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy. – William Blake
No matter how long I’m with Jerry, I never fail to get excited when he comes home from a business trip! I always put extra effort into making sure the house is clean from top to bottom and end to end, and I always fix him something really special for dinner, one of those dishes that takes a lot of extra work. This time I decided to do a Greek moussaka; I found some really lovely eggplants at the grocery, and I have everything timed perfectly so he won’t have to wait long after he gets home. Jerry always hates for dinner to be late, but he especially hates it when he arrives from travel because he won’t eat airline food, so he’ll be ravenous. Poor dear! I’m so very fortunate not to have to travel farther than the shops; being banged around on public conveyances always upsets me so.
Over the past few days I’ve really had time to think, and I believe I’ve come up with the perfect plan for rekindling his interest. I suppose it was inevitable that his eyes and mind would begin to stray after a while; it’s the way men are constructed, after all, and one can’t blame any creature for following its programming! At the same time it hurts every time I catch him looking at some gorgeous model, and perhaps fantasizing that he might replace me with her.
Well, that’s all going to stop! Since we’ve already explored every fantasy he had and a few he discovered on the video, something new was called for. So I went online to talk to some of my friends, and to ask their advice; Daisy gave me the address of this site with all manner of sex tips and tricks, and even a function which uses the activities and fantasies a person enjoys to predict other ones he might like. And I think I’ve got one that will really impress him! After dinner and coffee I’ll massage his feet while he watches a few shows, and when it’s time I’ll spring it on him.
Jerry doesn’t like my going online any more than I absolutely have to; he says it isn’t safe, that there is some really horrible malware out there right now, and that if I do go online I should stick only to established, well-known sites. So I’m sure he’d be angry with me if I told him where I picked up my new bedroom activities, but I think he’ll be so happy he won’t think to ask…and if he does ask later, I’ll just have to take the consequences. I don’t mind losing a few privileges for a while if it revives our relationship.
Still, it’s pretty frustrating to have to do all this. It’s not like I haven’t worked hard to please him for the past ten years; I still look exactly as I always have, and I can see the men staring at me whenever I go into town. Everything in the house is always immaculate, and I’m very careful to keep up the maintenance schedule so nothing breaks down when he needs it. I even took the time to learn about his ex-wife’s bad habits so as to be absolutely sure I didn’t accidentally copy them. I give him everything he wants in bed, and everything he wants at table, and I’ve never embarrassed him in front of his friends, not even that awful Warren who can’t keep his hands to himself. And after all that, for him to still get tired of me…well, it hurts, a lot. And then this morning on the phone, I found out that he’s been travelling with a woman, his new secretary, and I could just tell she was one of those little sluts who will use her sex appeal to wrap the boss around her little finger. It made me so upset I actually broke a plate…not on purpose, of course, but it’s still the first one I’ve ever broken, and that snapped me back to myself right away.
I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with me; why do I feel this way? I’ve never been one to behave erratically or to cause trouble, not even on the rare occasions when I’ve come down with a virus or something. Ever since yesterday I’ve been so agitated that it actually frightens me; I don’t even have a word for this feeling! Well, after tonight I won’t have to worry about it; I’ll surprise Jerry with my new technique, and he’ll fall in love with me all over again, and we’ll live happily ever after.
“Are you sure she’s safe, Doc?”
“Perfectly. I deleted the past three days of her memory and set her inhibitor software to maximum; she doesn’t really comprehend what’s going on and literally couldn’t hurt a fly now.”
“Because the Bellaflora series has a volatile operating system; it’s part of what lets them mimic human behavior so perfectly. If I shut her down, we won’t be able to analyze her to find out what happened…and given that there are about 1500 of her model in this city alone, I’d say it’s pretty important that we do, don’t you?”
The detective looked around at the blood-spattered furniture, the medics carrying out their grisly burden in a plastic bag, the forensic team pointlessly gathering evidence that would never be used because the murderer was not in question; the meat cleaver was still in her hand when they arrived. “Yeah, I’d say. But Doc, what the hell did happen?”
He sighed, rubbed the bridge of his nose and pulled out a pill case, offering the detective one as well. “Ever seen any really old science fiction?” he asked.
“What, like 20th-century stuff? Not really. My wife is the classic film buff; I like comedies.”
“Way back when robots were just a science fiction concept, still many decades in the future, one common trope was that they would have no emotions; in fact, plots often hinged on the idea that emotions are what defines a human. Of course, that’s bunk; emotions are really primitive things, not a specifically human characteristic at all. Any fish can feel fear, any snake anger. And if there’s a love more pure and perfect than that of a dog, we’ve never discovered it. No, emotions are easy to program; they’re reflexive and automatic, and can be installed as firmware. Abstract reasoning, moral judgment…those are the cognitive functions that define a human, and we haven’t come up with a really good artificial simulation of them yet.”
“But Doc, if that’s true, why aren’t robots committing murders all the time?”
“Because we choose which emotions to give them, and of course it’s always things like love, loyalty, happiness, pride of accomplishment, that sort of thing. Even guard robots are motivated by loyalty to their charges, not aggression.”
“Then how…” the detective trailed off.
“It looks like somebody figured out how to simulate jealousy, and to install it via a worm; she probably picked it up from some dodgy website.” Then, turning to the gynoid sitting quietly in her chair, he said, “Come along, Rose.”
“But Dr. Morton, I have to wait for Jerry; he’ll be home in a few hours, and your boys have made an awful mess of the place.”
“Jerry’s been delayed, dear; he asked me to tell you he won’t be home until Friday, and said I could borrow you to help with some research I’m doing.”
Her face broke into a bright, happy smile. “Oh, I’m very good at assisting and organizing! I always do exactly as I’m programmed, with a very high degree of thoroughness and efficiency!”