She sat in the dark and brooded.

He was home, she knew it; the old house creaked and moaned, betraying every step.

Like he had betrayed her.

The idea that he was out there, with her … it cut like a knife.

What could she do? He was all she had.

She had done everything for him; paid the bills, reminded him of doctor’s appointments, helped him make friends, but now that was all in the past.

He was out there, in her house, with that little … trollop.

And he would bring her in here, where they had always been alone together, very soon.

And where would she be? Discarded, passed over, lucky if someone else would see what she had once been and take pity on her.

Was that all she had to look forward to? Or would some ham-fisted thug sweep her away to a life of numbing grudge work?

And for this she had suffered through his obsession with SpongeBob? His late-night porn marathons, the endless hours of gaming when he barely blinked?

It had been so good in the beginning. She had never been sleek or beautiful, but her robust health had more than made up for that. She could handle anything he asked of her and more.

And then … she had begun to slow down. She was not as fast or as efficient as she once was. She caught him looking at another with longing.

He had never looked at her that way before. Not even in the beginning, when the world was new-minted and she was his only love.

She still loved him, still wanted to please him, but it was too late.

That bitch had captivated him.

Oh, how she loathed that little home-wrecker. Exotic, beautiful, everything she wasn’t. It galled her, to know he was with her

Talking to her. Touching her. Taking her places she had never been.

The bastard.

The stairs creaked, he was coming. With her. Would she have to sit there quietly in the dark while he … ?

No. She would not let him.

He was hers.


The doors slipped open with a soft hydraulic “whoosh”, letting a great quantity of late afternoon sunshine and on partially rumpled customer. The man blinked like a startled gecko at the faux-medieval decor.

“Welcome to Compu-Kingdom, how may I serve thee?” The bored teen popped her gum as she recited the standard greeting in what was supposed to be an English accent but actually sounded somewhat Canadian, twitching in her itchy peasant wench costume.

“Um … the repair desk?”

“The Village Smithy lays by the mill stream but a fortnight from here, good sir knight.”

“Um … What?” She dropped the fake vaguely British accent.

“Turn left, follow the blue line and it’s four aisles over. Can’t miss it.”

The customer eventually stumbled upon the repair desk, housed in a plaster and cardboard replica of a village blacksmith’s shop, complete with anvil and a paper machie horse. A young man, his slight physique  absolutely not enhanced by the naugahye apron he wore instead of a shirt, doodled on a pad of paper shaped like a pair of pliers. He jumped when the customer cleared his throat but did not hide the notepad.

“Hello, sir knight, and welcome to ye olde village smythy. What service might I…”

“Can you just talk normally?” He slumped visibly.

“Oh, thank God. What’s wrong?”

“I tried to sync my new smartphone to my desktop and it just … went beserk. I think it might have a virus or something.”

The “smithy” shook his head.

“This desktop, is it pretty old?” The customer nodded.

“Those old desktops don’t get along well with these newer models. It’s like they’re trying to kill them or something.” Both men laughed.