Variable Resistor

Another double-duty post. This story is written for the A-to-Z Challenge: V is for Vacuum Tube, a switching component commonplace in electronics (and thus in golden-age sci-fi) prior to the development of the transistor. And for Flash! Friday vol. 3-20, where the prompt is to include a man-vs.-man conflict, along with this public domain photo.

“Welcome home dear!” Edith kissed her husband on both cheeks, then adjusted her hat. “Now don’t forget about our eight o’clock reservations at Chez Maurice!”

Richard unbuttoned his jacket and slumped into the recliner. “Just let me rest my feet for ten minutes,” he said as he slipped out of his loafers. Leaning his head back, he sighed. Ever since MARK arrived, Edith had been so energetic, so affectionate.

For years, Richard had suffered under a bombardment of Edith’s complaints about his long hours and late nights at the office. The payoff came two weeks ago: MARK had cost him three months’ salary, but was the best early anniversary gift Richard had ever bought.

The Mechanized Automaton and Robo-Keeper stood against the wall. The lanky android’s primary duties — cooking, cleaning, laundry — were finished, and now it was recharging its capacitors for tomorrow.

“Come now, dear, we don’t want to be late.” Edith kissed him on the lips, then dragged him to his feet.

Richard looked around the apartment, admiring how tidy it looked for a change. The apartment was clean, and Edith was finally happy. Money well spent.

“Is there anything that ee-lectronic contraption can’t do?”

Edith grinned. “No, dear.”


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