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Christian Science Fiction


Submitted:Oct 15, 2011    Reads: 26    Comments: 2    Likes: 2   


THE HOUSEWIFE

Copyright (c) Victor Darnell Hadnot

"Lay thee down on golden sheets so are the resting places of the saints." Friar Pickery

I was just siting there, looking out my office window. I was on the 120th floor, looking down on what seemed like forever. The door was just ever so cracked open, open enough so that I could hear the busy bustle of the other workers, but, not so much so that I couldn't slip into my own world, and just daydream the afternoon away. The office had long since been upgraded to the office of the future. That was three years ago and they were already talking about a new and improved, office of the future. I mean go figure. If that kept up, there was going to come a time when there would be only constant upgrades. But. This office technology was of a different sort. It required hardware upgrades only so often. So. It made going Virtual Tech less painless. Mostly, the office was a series of machines implanted into the walls, that produced force fields, at target locations. These force fields, were then covered with holographic projections that were so sophisticated that the human eye could not discern what was real from what was a simple projection. Though, to be honest, there was nothing simple about a gravitonic-holographic projection. Translation, an image that looks and feels real. But, it went beyond that, there was smell included. So that roses actually smelled like roses, a completely different type of technology, that had to be incorporated into the total gravitonic-holographic technology. But. Because our human senses are simply activated by vibrations of certain atomic structures, these illusions were assimilated into the process. So. Then. It begs the question: who in the office was real and who in the office, got to go home every night?

Well. I'm real. My name is Frank Doorknob. Yeah. I know. It is a long story but it had something to do with things two centuries ago, after slavery. My ancestors were too proud to take on the slave name that their so called, "master", had. Hell. They down right rejected the notion. Story goes, great, great, great, you get the idea, Grandpa was asked what was his last name, during the civil war: He looked around, his eyes fell on the door, because he wanted to get the hell out of there, and he responded, Doorknob. Now days, some think it has English origins, while others say, French or Dutch. Hell. I've even hear some say Russian. Really? Russian? Whatever. Might as well say Japanese.

To what end do I acknowledge my family tree? We went through a lot back then, a century ago, before things started to get better. And they did, they got a lot better. After the Great Recession. Oh. The Down Fall to end all down falls, what did Little Business learn? Well. We all learned that you can't count on Big Business, because Big Business doesn't give a crap about anyone but themselves. To hell with the little guy. Do you remember that, "the little people"? Well there was this big uproar that quickly died off as the next big thing started to happen. Sometime, I think back and can't see how we ever got through all of that. But. If you live long enough, you start to see cycles. You know, like people can read the weather, or tea leaves? I personally think that people are like ants with really bad haircuts. What you say? I'm no ant. Well think about it. We all go about doing our little things, with some making more money than others, some a lot more, others hardly anything, but ants with haircuts none the less. And who is our great ant-like leader? Why. The thing that motivates us all. Our ego! Ah. You thought I was going to go off on some tangent about the politicians and such. If politicians and radio personalities control your thoughts, then you really are an ant! Let's hear it for the ant! Least, if you just go about your humdrum life, just doing what is expected, then you serve a purpose.

Never mind that the purpose is someone else's. But I think too much on the questions of life that have to deal with why we are here. Who are we and where do we fit in, to the grander scheme of the universe. Does any of this really matter anymore? So. I work my shift and do my thing and in the end, how does the universe get better?

Shell said, "The universe can take care of itself." Shell was one of my good friends, we'd started the company way back there, a decade ago, when all hell was breaking loose, the so called Down Fall was starting to give way to the so called Great Awakening, this was an awakening that the only way an economic recovery was going to take place was if the average guy and gal started to create their own jobs.

"What do you mean?"

"Why bother yourself with all that heady stuff when it all doesn't matter?"

"It does matter," I coughed back, we were smoking a new hybrid cigar made in Cuba. It had been genetically engineered as a non-carcinogen. Wonderful what they could do with string-genetics.

Molly came over from her office and joined the boys. She fired up a fat stooge and began to puff away with the best of us. It was Friday and we all were wondering what we were going to do for Friday night. "You got plans?"

I looked over at her, "I'm thinking about cracking open the Scotch. You know I've had a bottle sitting in my bar for over five years."

Shell said, "You have a lot more than just Scotch, Frank. I've even borrowed a bottle and you never noticed."

It wasn't true. I had noticed, it was just that I hadn't minded if he took it. Oh. I knew who took it and when. All I had to do was ask Lala. Who is Lala? Lala is the system that runs all the programs that create what looks like a super fine business office. Now days, a small upstart can look like a million bucks, if they invest in the technology that all the big companies invest in. Oh. There were different levels of G-H technology available, yes. But a small company could find itself doing better and looking better than ever.

So. What do we do? We are a law firm that specializes in the odd case. We even advertise that no case is too odd, in fact, the odder the better. (You can't find representation through a normal law firm, try Doorknob and Corn, we'll open the door and feed you to it!), I know, it sounds dumb but you'd be surprised how many clients we actually get. Odd ones, for sure, but money is money, and we don't discriminate against the odd and the normal. "It's all good" I finally said.

Molly said, "I have a date tonight."

"Ah. Our young and strident associate has herself some adventure. There will be no boring evening for this young lass, no."

"This young lass is simply going to have dinner with someone interesting, that is all." She countered my stupidity.

"How about you, Shell? Got something going?" I glanced my eyes over to him, his big ass feet resting on the edge of my desk.

"Naw, just me and the family." Shell's eyes told the whole picture. He was a happily married man with a great family. Man. I envied him for that, but not in a bad way, I mean, hell, we were all friends.

"You? What are you going to do?" Molly grinned as she lifted a bottle of imported beer to her mouth.

"Ah, you know me, a little of this and a little of that." The truth of the matter is that I had nothing to compare to what they were doing. But. I had just had installed a new domestic technology in my home. It was something I had been wanting to do for sometime but lacked the money and the emotional courage to pursue. But. Finally I got around to doing it. It was a first class G-H package for the home. Oh. There were others, yes. But mine was the Home Entertainment 700. Ah. What is the Home Entertainment 700? Well. As advertised, it presented itself with a total gaming and adventure experience. You could actually vacation and go anywhere you wanted to go, without ever leaving your home. I know, it sounds great doesn't it? Imagine all the money you'd save and at the end of the trip, you didn't have to go through the airport or security, unless that was part of the program. The technology was basically like the technology that was in the office, but tailored to the domestic market. I actually first got a really good look at it when I was considering the office package for work. You have to understand that not everybody was thrilled by this technology. A lot of jobs and businesses actually folded when this technology was perfected. A lot of moral and social issues were also uncovered and brought to the surface as a result of this technology. Oh, it did more good than bad. I ,mean, think of it this way, if you were sick and you went to the hospital, everyone wants the best of care. Well, that was when this technology really shined. Imagine the best doctors and medical staff at your bedside, and all of it was generated by super sophisticated medical programs, linked to real doctors that could be at a hundred different places at one time. Ah, the stuff that once was science fiction, on some spaceship movie was now available to the mere mortals like us. The police and the fire departments, mostly all levels of government, had to some degree, G-H technology. So. My life is a life of illusion. We all worked in places that were at lease partly supplied by G-H technology. Some people never wanted to leave the G-H worlds that they created, more alienation, and more patients for shrinks, right? Well. That is the point, while one facet of life was quickly being phased out, another was being born. We traded one type of life, in which, no one, seriously could have imagined would become so intertwined, into the fabric of society. I'm old enough to remember how it all started, as communications devices got smaller and faster, then the breakthrough. It changed everything. It started off with a real breakthrough in battery technology which quickly led to unforseen leaps in other areas, and finally the revolution in computer programming, in which super programs started to be developed, programs that could mimic true biological operations. They were called Synthetic Organic Systems Programs. Suddenly, it seemed, all sorts of machines started to pop up, you know who had the biggest uses of the new tech, right? Yeah, the military. The applications were almost limitless. If the old war dogs could imagine it, the technology could create it. And yes, that was the creepier side, or so we all thought.

I came home to my flat. Everything was automatic, as the place anticipated my arrival and started to do the things that it knew I liked. Ah. The best one was, my housewife. Wife you say? But I thought you were not married, envy and all that stuff? I'm not. Not in real life, and I'm not one of those people who have so lost themselves in the H-G tech that they want to marry it. Or even worst, be buried with it. Good grief!

"Hi, honey," came Sandra's melodic voice. I had given the master system all the parameters that I wanted and the system created and tweaked itself, until I had the perfect home experience. That which I could not find, in the real world, I created, in the privacy of my own home.

"I'm good, Sandra. Something smells good." I told her as I found the closet and removed my outer jacket before starting upstairs. Sandra was tall and built voluptuously. Her long black hair reached to her back. Her deep brown eyes swept across the room and rested on me as I started at the stairs, she quickly came over to me, and we kissed.

"Missed you," she smiled with her warm moist full lips. "Dinner will be ready in about thirty minutes." She told me and followed me up the stairs.

"How was your day?" I asked her.

"Ah, you know. Mom is still bitching about how we haven't gone to visit. When are we going to visit her? So I can tell her something."

"Hmm. When is the next holiday?" I reached the bedroom and began to undress and donned something more comfortable.

Sandra sat at the edge of the bed and watched on for a moment, then: "You feel up for sex tonight?"

Up for sex? Come on, she was the essence of my dream wife. The one I so wanted in real life, but, for reasons, that were also very obvious, could not find. I was like millions of people across the world, who had the money and opportunity to own such a technology, I was one of those who fled into my imaginary world, to escape the real world inadequacies of my own personal conundrum. "Sure, Sandra, but how about after dinner. I'm starved."

She came over to me and gave me a big hug. "Hard day?"

"The same old same old." I answered back, and we kissed again, while I grabbed a quick feel of her fine ass.

"Oh. I forgot to tell you. We are having guess over for the weekend." She announced as she headed back downstairs.

"Guess? Oh. Come on. Not this week. I was hoping to get in some quiet time. You know, just me and you." I told her. But she just looked back and smiled, wagging a finger, "This thing has been planned for weeks, I just forgot to tell you."

"Well then. It is not fair. You should have told me sooner."

"Maybe I did. I handed you the pad that had everything on it. I'm sure it was on there. I just forgot to talk about it." She took hold of my hand and led me back down to the dinning room, it was small, but just right for the two of us. The meal was just like I liked it. The meat a little over cooked, the wine could have been chilled a little more, the conversation was just right; and Sandra was the perfect housewife.

The basic idea wasn't to make the perfect ideal wife, but rather to give the real person, a realistic experience, that they wanted. Kind of like having a genie, but not in a bottle, in this case, the genie was your home. What did the people at the office think? Molly tried to be a friend and understand when she found out about it. Shell kept on trying to fix me up with his wife's friends and relatives. The rest of the office, offered opinions, but they were part of Lara, so Lara, being a like artificial intelligence, felt that she was biased towards understanding my need to retreat into a life of fantasy. And all would have been well. But one night, after dealing with a crazier client than usual. I didn't come home. Sure enough. Sandra stood waiting for me to come through that front door. She had all sorts of things planned for the evening. But she couldn't have planned for this. I was in a accident. One of our crazy, odd, but rather more emotionally disturbed clients didn't like the representation that we had provided and decided that some sort of revenge would make for a good payback.

My car was sabotaged. I ended up driving off a cliff. The normal emergency security features were disabled, and for three long nights, I sat in a deep crevice. All the while, Sandra started a most unusual campaign to find me. She stopped at nothing, first contacting my friends at the office. She even managed, through some rather sophisticated self willed programming, to come to work. It had been done before, where a home system, took it upon itself to go beyond the parameters set by the owner, and seek out other ways and means. In this case. Sandra contacted the police, who were for all their high tech, not of very much use, specially, when they realized that they were talking to a housewife program. They basically dismissed her as being over reactive and told her that a real person would have to file a missing persons report. The domestic machines, were basically very complex robots, but unlike the ones in the movies, these robots were more like television-come to life. They were capable of projecting anything.

The secretary was nervous when she came into Molly's office. "Er. You got a moment?"

Molly glanced up to see Sandra. Molly stood from behind her desk, "Sandra? How? What are you doing here?"

Sandra had been crying, but she tried to hide it. "I know I called you guys a dozen times, but I just needed to come down here. I mean, this is where Frank works."

"I know. We still haven't heard from him and we are worried too.' Came Molly's response as she gestured for Sandra to sit down.

In came Shell, while a few office workers peeked from around the corners. Shell found a seat across the room. "Sandra, I know how you must feel. I can only imagine. We've contacted the police and hired our own investigators to look into it. But it doesn't look good."

Sandra wagged her head, "I don't understand?"

Molly looked at Shell and then, squared onto Sandra, "This wasn't an accident. All we know it that one of our clients, crazy as they are, this one in particular, didn't like the work we were doing for them and took action."

"Took action? What type of action?" Her eyes were filled with all sorts of fear, of the unknown. "What has happened to Frank? If you know something, you have to tell me."

Shell finally said, "All we know is that something was done to his car."

Sandra shrugged, "His car? Wouldn't the emergency protocols kick in?"

Molly blurted out, "They we disabled."

Sandra left the office with more determination than ever. She got in contact with my relatives. Asked what few friends I had all sorts of questions. Doing all this, by use of a very creative method of getting from one site to another. She interfaced with other people's home or office systems when she could. Searching everywhere she could think of. Finally a break took place in the case, because of her persistence, it was now a case. One day the police came to my home. They looked about, doing little of nothing, claiming to be investigating, but the truth, they had gone on record as believing I was dead. This sent Sandra into a type of rage and concern that I had never considered, when defining parameters. If I had a real, flesh and blood wife, could she have been anymore concerned, or outraged at the callousness of the police?

The officer was a woman, who seemed to take issue with Sandra. "We've looked about the place. Is there anything you can think of that might help us find him?"

Sandra tried to contain her disappointment in the service the police rendered. "Did you try and ask that crazy client of my husband's?"

The policewoman was quick to interject, "Look. First of all. You are not Mr. Doorknob's wife. You are just a machine, programmed to pleasure him when he is here."

The word had no more come out of the woman's mouth, when Sandra exploded with outrage: "You people are too stupid to find my husband, but you are not short on insults? What business is it of yours what goes on in the privacy of one's own home? You can try to cheapen the relationship we have, but, the truth is that your words speak more to your own incompetence!"

The policewoman had the entire system turned off, claiming that it was interfering with a police investigation. When the system was down, the true nature of my home became obvious. Mostly everything, if not all, was just an illusion. There was no nice furniture. No expensive art. No worrying and caring wife. I was gone and Sandra was gone. In its place were the walls, lined with machines and circuits that when operational, gave the illusion of a home, a place where I could pretend, for the moments I was there, that I had a life and someone who really cared about me. But. Just like that. It was all gone. Over in a flash. As some crazy person that we all should have had enough sense to avoid like the plague, decided that vengeance, for a case that had gone horribly wrong, was the answer. I admit that things could have gone better. But doing this, was still too late, it made no sense to harm me. I had done my very best to represent him.

After the police left. There was a moment when the emptiness of my home became like a tomb. The sparseness of the emptiness. But something started to happen. It was a will that was not originally programmed into the machine. Sandra was fighting back. First it was just a simple projection of a piece of furniture. The projection didn't even look convincing. But. It was a start. Then something else would appear in some other part of the home. Then music through the sound system came online. And finally, one by one, Sandra began to build her home back. The police had failed to suppress her will and need to be heard and to matter. It was perhaps by accident that a faint signal came through from my wreaked car. Perhaps not all the systems were disabled or damaged. Sandra who had been monitoring all the systems she could find, found this one. I remember seeing Sandra, as she used the car's primitive H-G technology to appear at my location. I was in bad shape but I was consciousness, and glad to see her. She couldn't do much for me because of the limited electronics that facilitated the H-G in the car but once she was sure of my condition, she sent message to the authorities for help. She then stayed with me the rest of the time, down in that deep crevice like formation. I was holding on by just a thread of life. She did her best to comfort me but the real comfort was that someone out there, cared enough to go looking for me when I couldn't fend for myself. It was that, that I always longed for but never seemed to find it, in any real relationship I tried to form, but somehow, this machine, this Sandra, had managed to cross the boundary of what love was a meant. They would later tell me, in an attempt to explain the behavior that Sandra exhibited towards me, that she had been programmed to do so. But we all knew that was a lie. Hell. The so called authorities had disconnected her but somehow she managed to bring herself back from the brink and then, find me and bring me back.

"Sandra, what are you doing here?" I could hardly speak and my wounds were really bad. I knew I didn't have long to live.

"Shhh. Don't talk. I've contacted the authorities. Help is on the way." She did her best to try and comfort me and treat the wounds that she could treat. Her tactile abilities were limited to the capabilities of the car's G-H technology.

"How did you find me?"

"A small spark triggered an auto response. I managed to detect it. At first I didn't know what it meant. But. I decided to look into it and then I realized what it was. And then I found you. Darling, just hang in there. Help will be here soon." The obvious concern and fright in her voice was as human as anything.

"I must have dosed off or something, drove off the cliff."

"No. Your car was sabotaged. One of your disgruntled clients. Lost there mind and decided to do you harm."

"How do you know this?"

"He's been arrested, but he couldn't tell anyone where you were because he didn't know. But don't talk, save your strength. Help will be here soon."

I looked up at her beautiful face. So pretty. She had smudges of my blood about her chin from where she had touched me and then unknowingly touched her face. Finally, I began to lose consciousness again, but before I did I managed to say: "I love you..."

Sandra smiled with worry and sadness in her face, "I love you all the more."

I must have been out for a long time. When I did finally come back to the living, I was in the hospital. I had been given a private room. Expensive but I had the money to pay for it plus I was one of the lucky ones, who could afford the medical coverage. And while universal medical coverage had once been a given, the neo-political elite had seen to it that only the wealthy had really good coverage. Oh. The average person had universal medical coverage, but it had been gutted over the years and was coverage in name only. The politicians had managed to amend every good thing about it, so that, in essence, if the public bitched about medical care, they could point at an impotent medical process, that wouldn't treat a dog. I had been pretty well busted up. While medicine could do wonders, thanks in part to the very technology that allowed so much social change to take place. They couldn't do everything. Even in this day and age, there were things that they just could not do. I was busted up to the limits of the technology's ability to heal properly. The medical field always had a good public relations department. They could advertise new cures and medicines to treat all sorts of diseases. Problem is that the pharmaceutical companies were usually the ones that came up with the new diseases and funny how that always managed to fit nicely in with one or more of their mystery pills and such. So. When something like what I had been through took place, you could see the real limits of medicine.

I'm not going to say that they were not able to save my life. They were. But my body was messed up badly, I was deformed, grossly. No woman would ever want to be with me or even look at me, in that way, ever again. If I had problems with self-esteem, before the accident, then I was even more a basket case now. Sandra was quite imaginative when it came to getting around. She managed to hack into the hospital's G-H system and appeared every day and what seemed like every waking and sleeping moment, I was in. But finally, there came the time that I would leave the hospital and be transferred to another facility. I was no longer in medical crisis and the long road to rehabilitation had begun. To try and get back whatever abilities I once had but I was not going to kid myself, I knew that I had fallen a long way down, and I was never going to be able to come back 100%.

"How are you today?" asked Sandra. She visited me everyday. Today, she was wearing a bright colored dress, with a special floral arrangement that she knew I liked to see her in.

"Well. I'm getting there. I managed to wiggle my big toe." That was saying a lot, because I had lost big parts of my body in the wreak. To be honest, just having a big toe was now a big deal. You never know how good you have it until you lose it.

"I talked to Molly and Shell. They can't wait until you get better, enough, so that you can return back to the office, " she smiled at me when she told me that. I know that in her mind, I would be getting all better and would get up out of this chair and, somehow, I was going to be as good as new. But I knew, and I knew that Shell and Molly knew, those days were over for me. They'd just tell her those things, because she would ask them questions, and believe it or not, they actually felt sorry for her. Sandra had become as real to them as she had been to me. She was my wife and in every way, a real person.

"Well. One day. I'll be out of here and all better. I'm working at it. I really am." I told her because she wanted me to not give up.

"Miracles do happen, darling. We will be fine." There was hope mixed with fatigue and abstract sadness in her voice.

I had been rolled out onto the balcony to watch the sunset. It was beautiful. The night was warm and I didn't need the warm clothes that Sandra insisted that I have on, so that I didn't catch my death of cold. But to be honest, it really didn't matter to me. There were times when I actually wanted death to come to me. Hell. I know. Selfish. But I rationalized that it would be better for everyone concerned. There would be no more medical bills. My friends and distant relatives could get on with their lives, without having to factor in the indolent. Was it fair to Molly, whom I heard had my office arranged the way I liked, so that when I came back, everything would be ready for me. Or how about Shell? Shell and I went back decades. We were old college buddies, from before law school. While I can't say much about my death and how it might affect my relatives. Most of them hated me and I didn't feel any deep attachment to them. When they first found out I was sick, a few of them braved to come to the hospital, to see if I was going to die. I guessed, it was to put on a show, of false concern, so that by chance, they might be in my will. I quickly had them all cut out. And with that news, the phony showing of concern stopped as quickly as it began.

The truth of the matter was that I had a sad and lonely life. A few friends that were just as weird and off the wall as I was. But really, there was just Shell and Molly. So. On that faithful day that I decided to have the G-H Housewife system installed, I guess I was meeting a need. A need, not to be lonely anymore. A need to try and share my life with someone, anyone, okay, anything. Because let's face it. Sandra, for all of her wonderfulness, was not real. She was a pile of circuits and electrons and atoms and hardware and software, she was a robot, in the form of photons and gravitonic-fields. So. What did any of that mean? It meant, that one day I was going to go home and what would I find waiting for me? A flesh and blood woman? No. A machine that was programmed somehow to go beyond her parameters, a machine that didn't stop searching for me. A machine that cried when she saw my suffering and laughed when she witnessed my joy? I don't know what true love is. I don't think I have ever been truly loved. But what Sandra exhibited towards me, was probably as close as I was ever going to get to it. Whether that was sad or not, I don't know. Hell. Most people are just happy to have anything to love them. A dog. A cat. A bird, fish, anything, right? So. What loved me wasn't alive in the sense that we understand life to be. But I'd come home eventually to something, right?

After my release, I wanted to get to the office. There was no reason that I couldn't be. My rehabilitation was complete, they managed to do what they could, but I knew that the real work, was to get me to accept the tragedy that had befallen me. If I had gotten this beat up as a result of combat, I might be able to rationalize the event as service to my country. But some stupid bastard, that was pissed at me, because he didn't win his case, turned me into a human mushroom, I still couldn't comprehend.

Molly had managed to gather everyone for a welcome party at the office. She showed me to my office, "See. I kept things just as you like it. The best booze. Your favorite music. Of course your chair. I. Er. Had to make a few adjustments." You could see it in her face, she was trying.

"That is okay, Molly. Things are just fine. I guess I need some time alone." And with that they all slowly left me behind closed doors. All I did for the next half hour was cry. What was I crying for? I was alive and my friends turned out to be real friends. There was a knock on my door. "Who is it?" I tried to wipe away the tears with mechanical extensions I had been fitted with. They didn't look natural, nothing could make me look natural, only functional. God was I freaked up!

Shell came in. He tried to keep a smile on his face, but he was having a hard time. In his hand was a box of only the finest cigars money could buy. I think they were illegal, actually. "I know you can't smoke them right now. But you know, sometime. You and me and Molly, like the old days. Just us. After a good win in court."

A good win in court? Those days were gone. It was like another lifetime. No. It was like someone else's life I was remembering. Was that how things were going to be from now on? Was I just going to ambulate in this chair from office to another, feeling sorry for myself? No. I couldn't do that to my friends. They had tried everything that they knew to try and make things go as smooth as possible. What was I going to do? Throw it all back in their faces? That would be bull crap, after people try so hard to be nice to you. My own feelings of worthlessness was going to have to go. Other people who had suffered even worst a fate had managed to go on. Hell. They even had families and did all sorts of things. How was I going to let this guy, who had done this to me, win? I was a fighter. I had managed to get through law school, not having the money or the brains, that a lot of the other students had. But I knew that if I applied myself, I could make it. This was no different now. I had a choice to make, was I going to live or was I going to die, and just let all the effort to save my life be in vain?

I managed to navigate the parameter of my office, as Shell found a seat. We talked small talk, finally Molly joined us and for a brief moment, it was indeed like old times. I don't know if we all just willed it to be, but we were talking about cases, and even managed to work up a laugh or two. I had finally made up my mind, if this is who I was now, I wasn't going to let my physical limitations dictate to me intellect, who I was. I still had my wits about me and I could still lawyer. Towards the end, we all decided to try those cigars that Shell managed to get his hands on. Turns out that they were illegal and the story he told, as to how he came about getting them, made us all laugh, he had really gone through quite a bit of personal danger. He told me that I was his buddy and that nothing was too good for me. And to that end, Molly started to hint to fixing me up on dates and Shell always had some relative that he wanted me to meet. This time it was a distant cousin from someplace down in South America. I just smiled and went along with it all. It actually felt good to spend the whole day at work. I could see how this was going to be the ultimate therapy after all. I'd get to get involved to the best of my ability, help the business earn money and bring in new cases. I actually had an idea for advertisement. "When the average person sees me, that I look the way I do, they'll know that we are for real, that they can count on us to represent them. The odd and the strange client, has a real friend, who understands them."

Shell and Molly were silent for a long moment. I don't think they knew how to react to what I was proposing. I mean, me advertising for our firm? Was it good marketing or was I being way off center? "Whatever you want, Frank. We are behind you all the way." Came their answer. But like all things, they come to an end. My first day out of the facility, was a good one. Now it was time to face what I was trying to avoid, going home.

"I'll take you home, "Molly volunteered. I accepted. On the way to my place, Molly and I got to talking face to face, heart to heart. She was really more compassionate than I would have ever imagined. She tried to catch me up on all the goings on at the office and in her own personal life. Turned out, she was going to get married, her boyfriend had proposed and Shell and his wife were having another baby. Man. I'd been off the grid for a long time.

"That's wonderful, "I told her, about all the good news. And I was sincere, it was good to hear that life went on. And best thing, was that she wanted me to be at her wedding and that she had put it off until I had gotten better and out of the hospital. I told her, "I'd love to be there, Molly." And just like that we were there. At my place. She helped me to the door. Inside, Sandra was eagerly awaiting my arrival. She had managed to fix all my favorites. My favorite music was playing, wonderful smells were throughout the home. Sandra was wearing an Asian silk dress that fit her just right. As I entered, her arms wrapped lovingly around me, 'Welcome home, darling." Then, something unexpected happened, she had managed this on her own, I looked down at my legs and they seemed to recover, they were like new. I had arms again, and my back was no longer twisted. I could feel my body come back from the brink and I stood up on two strong legs. I took a few steps, looked up at my smiling wife who had nothing but tears of joy in her eyes. We walked hand in hand into the dinning room, where a welcome home feast awaited me. Sandra finally said, "Don't eat too much, save a little room for dessert."





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