They are in an indulgent mood, but must serve themselves because Femina’s domestic help is in its docking station to get uploaded. Tina is inspecting ‘him’ while Femina puts out all the goodies she can find. Tina states that it is exactly the model she is after. Her old one is definitely not for repair, but she does not want to spend too much money, though she admits, the really top class models are outstanding in what they can do and what they actually look like. However, these are not yet available where she or Femina live. At their latitude everything lags behind. Of course it is only a question of time when the markets will offer them but one can expect them to be exorbitant expensive, initially at least. Femina’s type is sufficient to do all the domestic duties, even simple cooking, but lacks the ability of complex multi-tasking and, is incased in metal, in a statuesque design like the old Greek or Roman male statues. They were once a real hit product. Femina painted ‘Robbi’ black which looks great indeed. He even oils himself, when his joints start to creak. Tina was only recently at an international conference in one of the highly industrialized capital cities of the West-Zone and gives Femina an update.
“You know”, she says, “these people over there must be really well of, because I saw many of these new types in the shopping center that I went to. They are still expensive over there too. But there were so many, it won’t take long and you will meet hardly any real people in some of the facilities at least, except may be supervisors and security. And would you believe it, on one of my excursions I saw the bust of one, for shop-lifting!!!!!”
Femina and Tina find that truly funny and they start to make up stories about roboter-gangsters and robber knights while they indulge in the foods on the table. As they slowly get full they also get more sober. The roboter robber tales don’t sound that funny anymore either, because the prospect that one cannot differentiate between roboter and human is in fact not funny at all, at least not desirable, or so they believe. But then again, it is even worse to see humans being dehumanized in the surveyor belt factories where one type task and speed requirements transform the workers into a robotic workforce. Nor is it acceptable what they do to the chicken, who have to produce egg after egg and never can stretch their legs or live a life they deserve just as any other creature in this world. That’s how they do it in the countries where the two women currently live, where people know of technology, but don’t have it as much. No surprise that the humans lose their health, no surprise that the yoke of hens has lost its color. The women shudder in sadness for both of them.
They go back into the living room. Femina puts a new record on the turning table. The remainder of the champagne has turned look warm. Never mind! It is enough for two glasses and then, Femina decides, she will go to bed to get some sleep at least. Her mood drops instantly further down the abyss.
“Damn, damn, damn it!” She hisses. “Damn it all! I am not interested in anything here at all. I am not interested in my job, nor the people I have to put up with. The land is boring, the population altogether worse than boring! Ah, Tina”, she sighs. Melancholy has returned. She has no words to express it. Her emotions are too fast for it. Forces clash inside her and in between there runs the pain up and down. Logic dictates to put up the defenses. To travel with it would be a challenge, and an adventure. “Hmhm!” That puts the smiles back on her face. She looks at Tina: “I have just seen stormy waters. Poisonous green, gleaming like phosphor, the foam an ember spray…….”
“Cheers”, says Tina, taking a sip she continues with a cool voice: “Enough now! What do you want? Do you really have so much aggression piled up that it tears you apart? I feel sorry for you, but it is your own doing.” She pauses while she looks piercingly at her friend. Finally she says: “You really need to leave! I have never seen you so fragile. You may be theatrical at times, even impulsive, but breakable….?” Shaking her head softly her eyes remain on Femina but now with warmth and concern.
Femina’s eyes are half shut. She has smoked far too much. They sting, and the alcohol continues to play its paradoxical game. ‘What does she want’ has Tina asked, and is she getting torn up.’ Motley thoughts fly in her head. Indeed she likes adventure. She even likes poisonous green water and the phosphor spray and in no way will she let herself be torn apart, or will she? She smiles silently because she must admit there is no telling if she can truly prevent harm while going on an adventurous trip.
She takes her glass filled with the tired champagne. She holds it up against the light. Tiny little bubbles are a reminder of the once sprightly life. Now they form shimmering threads, striving to the surface where death meets them after all.
“Cheers”, she says taking a sip. She swirls the fluid around in her mouth. The warmth has changed the taste but the quality is good, no sad circumstances could change that. Good enough to rinse her esophagus with the rest.
She winks at Tina, accentuates it with a naïve eyelid flutter and a deep melodramatic sigh: “Oh the world is so bad……… only I am good……..”
Tina shakes her head stating: “You have always been a cheap drunk! Let us call it for the night. I am tired as well.”
Being well behaved they both do not let the rest of the champagne go to waste drinking it to the last drop. After all they are ready to go to bed, but it is not as simple as that. Femina stumbles over her own feet and falls backwards on to the rug. Tina tries to help her up, landing herself on the floor. They burst into laughter and by carrying on trying to get up again, they end up rolling around like the puppy dogs with rubbery legs. They are not only noisy, but also careless in their actions as they tackle the obstacles in their way. An astray flies of the table, catapulting the many cigarette buds all over the rug. What a relief to have “Robbi”. He will make his first clean-up tour punctually at five and at seven he will have breakfast ready, even if she may not be able to get up at all.
The little one lies happily asleep in Femina’s big bed. ‘She must have sneaked in’ Tina says. Never mind! The women, one on each side slip carefully under the blanket, taking the girl into their midst. There are so many children in this world. They all need love. To give them love does not mandate to be their parent. Love should be given to them freely by all, parent or not. Femina remembers a news clip which not so long ago got her fuming. Of course she had to consider in what conservative country she lived. It was about a newborn that the state took into custody, because it was born by a surrogate. They justified their action that they had to clarify the legality and jurisdiction. There they are these moral stalwarts, putting the paragraphs on a newborn and taking away the love that the couple who wanted that child had and were ready to give. Unlikely that the state could make up for it. The moral police and theoretisists call that responsibility, their duty to protect the child and its rights! They could sort out the legalities while the child remained in loving care, could they not? Truly, the world can be as beautiful as it is, with such bureaucrats, it can never be more than paradise lost.
Femina’s eyes rest on the girl’s pieceful face, than she looks at Tina who has cuddled up to her and who says her final “good night”.
“Good night”, answers Femina switching off the light.
Sleep is indeed a royal lover. Tonight he is Nosferatu, black and red is his cape, pale is his face. Mother of pearl night, scent of eternity, - mmmmh…….dreams start to take over while her mind drifts away.