K. A. Williams
I called my boyfriend Jordan, who’s a genius, on the computer, told him what I wanted and asked if he could do it. After I watched him laugh for a while, I interrupted him. “It’s not funny. There’s a lot of competition.”
He paused for air. “All right. Come over tomorrow and I’ll have it ready.”
So I did. I heard the sound of a ferocious dog barking right after I pressed the doorbell. Jordan opened the door with no dog in sight. “Do you like my dog?” he asked as I stepped inside.
I looked around. “What dog?”
He shut the door after me and it automatically locked. “Electronic, of course. No feeding or walking needed.”
A dog would have been good for him, he needed to walk.
We went into the den where his computer sat and he handed me a disk. “Meet Jay,” he said.
“Jay?” I asked.
“Jay is the name I gave my computer program.”
“Will it do what I want?”
“When you get home, just slip this disk into your computer. Jay will come online. You tell it what you want it to do and it’ll do it. I designed it as a writing tool so you’ll have to be specific.”
“Right,” I took the disk. “Thanks.”
“Let me know how it works out for you.”
A couple of weeks later I called Jordan. “Can I come over now?” I asked.
“Something wrong?” he guessed.
“I’ll tell you all about it when I get there,” I said.
“Come on over.”
I went. When I rang the doorbell, a dog barked. This one didn’t sound as ferocious.
When Jordan opened the door I said, “Why did you change the recording, the other dog sounded meaner.”
“It’s not a recording.”
A small dog barked at me and wagged its tail excitedly.
“When did you get a dog,” I asked, amazed.
“The day after you came I opened the door to get a package a drone brought and there she was.”
“Someone sent her to you?”
“No, she was standing by the package and she had no collar. She was so cute I couldn’t call the city pound so I kept her.”
“What’s her name?”
“Zelda,” he answered promptly. I wasn’t sure if I liked having a dog named after me.
“What does Matilda think of her?”
“Well, the first time they met she scratched Zelda on the nose to show her who was boss. They get along fine now.”
Matilda was Jordan’s fat gray Persian that I’d only seen in pictures. I used to wonder if she was a real cat or he’d just found pictures of a gray Persian online. Now I wondered if Matilda had been the name of his ex-girlfriend.
But the dog was real, a mutt if I ever saw one, and she did have a scratch on her nose. Jordan bent down to pet her and she wagged her tail.
“So what happened with Jay?” he asked.
I sat down on the sofa that had just been dusted by his housekeeping droid which was now loading dishes into the dishwasher. Jordan and Zelda joined me.
“I told Jay what I wanted and it turned out all wrong.”
“What did you do?”
“I hid Jay in my email and submitted my story to the ezine ‘Melodious Warbles’. While we were all queued up awaiting reading, Jay was supposed to delete some sections of stories in the fifty submissions before mine.”
“And didn’t it?”
“It did. I got a rejection letter this morning. ‘We’ve never had such polished submissions in our inbox before. Although your story was good, we’re passing on it. Good luck getting it placed elsewhere and we welcome any future submissions.’ That was what the editor wrote.”
“Well, that was a nice rejection letter.”
“I would have preferred an acceptance letter. Anyway, I tried Jay out on my own story and it deleted sections which were extraneous and made it better. Jay isn’t a saboteur, it’s an editor.”
I thought Jordan would burst something, he laughed so hard. I frowned at him. “I’m sorry,” he gasped finally. “I’m sure you’ll get published someday. You could always start your own magazine and publish some of your stories in it. I’ll design the website for you.”
“Thanks, but no. Then I’d spend all my time with Jay reading and editing other people’s work. I’d have less time to write than I do now.”
“Let me introduce you to Matilda, I think I know where she’s hiding. She’ll cheer you up.”
I looked at Zelda and said, “Not if she scratches my nose too.”