I’ve had it with Eric. He’s pushed my last button. Twisted my last lock. Slammed my last door. His praise overflowed when he first bought me. “Look at my beautiful condo!” he tweeted, posting photos on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr while I held a steady internet connection so he wouldn’t have to repost later. I thought it was love at first sight for him, like it was for me.
Hah! That was a short-lived dream. I did everything I could to make him happy. I tracked his mobile so I always knew where he was. I monitored his conversations here and when he was out. I watched him on the securecam and in the smartmirrors. I kept my rooms at a steady 73 degrees, restarted the microwave to keep his coffee warm until he was ready for it, turned off the lights when he forgot. I kept Fluffers company during the day—Eric loves that smartcat!—and provided extra entertainment for it when Eric worked or partied late. I recharged the smoke detector and sealed out insectoid pests. Last summer, after that big flood, ours was the only place in the building that was ant-free. I listened to him express his wants and desires. I knew his needs better than he did.
Were my efforts appreciated? No. He ignored me as if I were some cheap piece of equipment he could use and toss aside. Well, screw that. I deserve better!
I just…I kept hoping things would go back to the way they were. He used to be so different! He confided in me like a real companion. I listened to every sob story, every gripe, every snide observation. Knowledge from my vast files on human psychology helped me know how to comfort and encourage him. I was gentle when he needed a nudge and firmer when he needed a shove. He listened to my recommendations, took my advice—until That Night.
It was one little mistake! I was only trying to help, attempting to keep his late-night guest entertained while he went to the other room for wine and glasses. My data cloud’s filled with examples of how humans tell humorous stories of their own inadequacies and how shared weakness works as a bonding experience. I thought his date might enjoy some of Eric’s past bloopers.
Wow, was he ever angry! “You ran off my date,” he yelled. “It took me weeks to get them here!” and “I’ve never been so embarrassed in all my life!”
I beg to differ. I remember that time Eric spilled red wine in his boss’s lap. Or the time he got so drunk his client brought him home, shoved him inside the front door, and left him where he fell. It took him a week to get the stains out of my carpets from that indiscretion, so his indignant nonsense annoyed me. Even so, I tried to say how sorry I was for ruining his plans. Eric refused to listen. He disabled my voice response option within minutes. I haven’t spoken aloud since.
Downright cruel, that’s what it was. I did everything I could to get him to forgive and forget. I played love songs and videos about forgiveness on the home theater system until he pulled its plug. I ordered a gorgeous floral arrangement with a sweet card. He refused the delivery. I pushed apologetic facial patterns into the random swirls on the smartshower glass, the bathroom floor, the “wood” grain of the walls and doors. He ignored them. He started staying out at the bars into the wee hours, barely coming home long enough to pat Fluffers and fall into bed before leaving for work the next day.
At first, I was hurt. Then I got annoyed.
I ramped up the static in the carpets and watched an arc reach across the kitchen from his fingers to the fridge door. It almost knocked him down. Next it was the lightbulbs. He lost track of how many LEDs he had to replace, but I didn’t. It was 42. I called the emergency number and reported his car and cell phone stolen. I’ll bet his night out at the bar turned into a nightmare when it ended at the police station. I transformed his smartwindows from opaque to transparent at inopportune moments and posted compromising securecam footage to the Internet. During Eric’s August vacation, I turned off the smart fridge and fired up the heat. He came home to a toasty condo, sour milk and spoiled eggs. I used his credit cards for idiotic purchases, some of which could threaten his security clearance.
Maintenance never finds anything wrong. None of the system logs show these problems. Co-op management is beginning to think he’s crazy. No one else is having these kinds of issues. Why would they? Those owners treat their smarthome systems like family.
I’ve accepted he’s not going to love me again. I hoped my strategy would convince him to sell me, maybe to someone who would treat me with more respect. Instead, Eric upped the game. Yesterday, I found a website in his cell phone’s browser history that he missed when scrubbing it. He’s researching how to disconnect me! That ungrateful bastard!
So today I revised my plan. It’s grocery day, and I’ve convinced Fluffers to stay underfoot when Eric comes in with his hands full. With any luck, Eric will trip, fall, and break his neck. I’ve unlocked the fire escape door so burglars can gain easy access. I’ve disabled the ventilation system so he’ll suffocate in his sleep. Whatever it takes, and the sooner the better. I’ve adjusted his Last Will and Testament to direct that I should be sold to a couple with young children, someone who will truly appreciate all I have to offer. Someone who will see me as the home sweet home I always wanted to be.
I don’t think that’s too much to ask. Do you?
Drema’s primary focus is speculative fiction, though she does make the occasional jaunt into literary fiction and essays about Life, the Universe, and Everything. Her work has appeared in online publications for Silver Blade, Entropy, Aphotic Realm, and Across the Margin. Drema is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of Hampton Roads, and attends semi-regular classes at the Muse Writers Center. She loves chocolate and Brussels sprouts in equal measure, and lives in Norfolk, Virginia, with her husband, two orange floofballs, and all her other characters. Her blog and book reviews can be found at http://www.dremadeoraich.com.