by Al Pinto
“Well, young man, you certainly got yourself into a fine mess, didn’t you?” the snow-haired patrolman remarked after landing his black-and-white anti-gravity scooter upon the slightly-tilted platform. “What made you lose control of your aircraft?”
I scanned the place, surprised to see what was left of the aerial bus stop. Amid the unrecognizable mass of twisted steel and shattered glass, there were several scattered bodies bathed in blood. I knew that Lola had also spotted them.
How could I tell the cop that we were wildly making love behind the wheel as I sped down the lane? I simply forgot I was driving, didn’t I? Man! Lola was all I could ever think about. The same night we met, back at her agency, we got smashed and made love till sunrise. We did all sorts of things, including a few tricks I had never tried before. Yeah, she was the world’s greatest lover. She even taught me how to smile in spite of the crummy war that shook the world, regardless of the fact that I was expected back at the front within a short month. I don’t know how Lola did it, but she made a new man out of me practically overnight.
“Can I see your identification, please?” he asked me, stretching out his hand.
“Sure officer.” I snatched my pilot’s license from my wallet and handed it to him. He punched his password directly on the back of the card and instantly accessed my file. Luckily, Lola and I had managed to get dressed before the coppers showed up. At least this one had no way of knowing the truth—not as long as Lola and I kept or mouths shut.
The blue patrolman turned a speculative eye on me. “I see you’re part of the Army, just like my son was,” the cop said still reading from the plastic. “My boy got killed about ten years ago, you know, right after this damned war started.”
“I’m sorry about it, officer…”
“It’s okay, I guess. I’ve learned to cope with it. Now back to you, son, you turned this place into a real disaster! When I heard the crash I thought the city was facing another terrorist attack!
“What happened to you?”
“I really don’t know, officer…” A loud siren filled the air as an ambulance landed on the far end of the platform. Half a dozen men in white jumped out of the craft with their first-aid microkits in hand.
“Tell me, young man. What happened?” he insisted. “Well, officer, truth is I didn’t see a thing. Not before it was too late.”
I dug into my mind for a reply. “It was the fog, officer. It came out of nowhere and literally blinded me. You can ask my wife if you want. By the way, we just got married a week ago, you know…”
The policeman frowned in disapproval, “I didn’t see any fog!” he growled. “What about your obligatory radar warning signal?”
“Sorry, officer, but I don’t remember hearing any signal.” I know, I was lying. Actually, I had vaguely heard the radar warning just before we crashed. But it was only a weak and vain rumor next to Lola’s maddening cries and groans. Oh, Lola! You were so wild! I even believed I had finally found true love, if there is such a thing, and that I would live “happily ever after” with her. Of course, I still ignored that my life was about to experience an unexpected and radical metamorphosis. But, back then there was no way of knowing it. Eventually the pieces would fall in place. Had-I-but-known, I would not have wasted my time in vain feelings.
“You sure about that fog, boy?” the cop inquired, raising a suspicious eyebrow.
I gave him a thumbs up with a smile. “You bet, officer. Like I said, the fog didn’t let me see a thing…”
My words were hushed by a loud siren coming from above us. A black-and-white patrolship flew overhead and landed on the platform before a dozen men in blue hopped out. Almost at once, the eager patrolmen started to cordon off the area with gleaming yellow tape.
“That’s all I’ve got to say, officer.”
The cop turned to my wife with inquisitive eyes. “What about you, young lady? Were you also blinded by the fog?”
I turned back to Lola, who still had her eyes glued on the paramedics working on the inert victims of the crash.
“Me?” she asked, turning unusually pale. I couldn’t figure out why she was so nervous. Maybe she was only bluffing. Maybe she was only trying to find a way out. After all, she was a bright girl. That was one of the three things about her that literally drove me nuts: her sensuality, her intelligence and her loyalty. Yeah, she must be bluffing, I concluded, probably only trying to buy time.
“Please Lola,” I said winking an eye, “just tell the officer what he needs to know.”
She frowned worriedly, watching the paramedics starting to shove the lifeless bodies into black plastic bags. “But… but what about those pedestrians that were waiting at the stop?” she asked with empty eyes. “Are they all… are they all dead?”
The cop turned to see a paramedic who was shaking his head. “I believe so, but you don’t have to worry about them. Luckily for your husband, they were only a bunch of second-generation humatrons. I can tell by their uniforms. No big deal. During the war, you know, humatrons die like flies.”
“But, officer, are they… are they dead?”
“Like I said, there’s no need to worry about obsolete versions. They’re not like recent models, who convincingly appear to manifest real feelings. Remember that humatrons are not considered living beings by the law unless they belong to the sixth generation or up.”
“I know that, but all that blood…”
“No buts. Just forget about the bloody hums, will you? Now, back to my question, did you see the fog your husband mentioned, young lady?”
I held my breath as Lola nervously shook her head and uttered her reply.
“No, officer, I didn’t see any fog. Truth is I wasn’t paying much attention to what was going on outside our vehicle, officer. I’m truly sorry.”
Bingo! I knew I could trust Lola with my eyes closed. She evidently had a plan. Yeah, Lola had everything I ever wanted in a female. Sensuality, intelligence and loyalty. What a girl!
“Well, then,” the cop scratched his chin thoughtfully. “Do you have any idea of what could have caused the accident, young lady?”
“Not really, officer. I reckon my husband was too drunk to drive,” she suggested with a foxy smile.
I almost jumped out of my skin when I heard her say it. Was this also part of her plan? Did she have an ace up her sleeve and was getting ready to use it? Yeah, I concluded, Lola definitely had a plan.
“Is your wife right, young man? Have you been doing some heavy drinking today?” the cop asked raising a suspicious eyebrow.
I took a deep breath and tried to relax. “No way, officer. I don’t even like alcohol!”
“That’s bullshit!” Lola cried out raising her right fist. “Fact is, officer, my husband hasn’t stopped drinking since he got up this morning.”
I had no idea if this was part of Lola’s plan or not, but she was definitely playing with fire.
“What are you up to, Lola?” I asked her worriedly. “I’m afraid I don’t understand!”
“Sorry, honey,” Lola replied with a wicked smile. “But calling a spade a spade always helps. That’s what we say back at the agency. Admit it, honey, you’re drunk. That’s precisely why you’re always in a jam!”
“Cut it out, Lola!” I loudly complained, angrily clenching my fists. “Please stop before its too late, will you?”
“That does it!” the cop loudly demanded, caressing the black electrogun on his belt. “Can you please step out of the vehicle, young man?”
I cleared my throat. “Sure thing, officer, whatever you say.” I nervously stepped down to the shattered platform.
After testing my breath, the cop cleared his throat and placed his right hand affectionately upon my shoulder. “Look boy, you seem to need a man to man talk, don’t you? I don’t know, but somehow you remind me of my dear son, you know, the one that got killed in the war…”
“I’m sorry he’s gone, sir. I was in the front before I got married. And I’m expected back there in only a few weeks. This is our honeymoon, like I said. I hope you understand.”
He frowned. “Don’t you know that drinking and driving don’t mix, son?”
“Excuse me for butting in, officer,” Lola interrupted me, anxiously turning to the cop. “I forgot to mention that my husband also took some drugs just before starting the vehicle. Maybe you should also check out his blood…”
“Cut it out, Lola!” I turned to her angrily. “How careless can you get?”
“Sorry, honey. I’m only saying the truth and nothing but the truth, am I not?”
Where was my intelligent and loyal girl? Had the accident somehow messed up her mind? Or was this also part of a possible plan? Maybe that’s it, I concluded, deciding to play along.
“Is your wife right, son?” the cop loudly asked, increasing his grip.
I nodded. “Yeah, officer, I admit it. I was all junked up, like she says, officer… but so was she!”
“Oh, yeah?” Lola protested. “But I wasn’t doing any driving when you decided to crash against this bus stop, was I?”
“Shut up, both of you!” the policeman loudly demanded after dashing off a ticket. “Okay, young man, that will be twenty megadollars for destroying public property, five more for driving under the influence of prohibited substances, and two additional for using drugs and alcohol on weekdays.”
“Twenty-seven megs! Hell, officer, that’s basically all I’ve got on me!” I complained.
“You heard me, boy. Either you pay or you do three weeks of community service. It’s up to you.”
All I can say is that I was lucky enough to get my vehicle started and fly off with Lola before the cop changed his mind.
“I can’t believe that bastard fined me!” I exclaimed, watching the cordoned platform shrink in my rearview window. “Why did you tell him I was blasted, Lola? You’re supposed to be on my side, damn it, you’re my wife!”
“Well, honey, I guess you had it coming.”
“What do you mean, babe!” I exclaimed spotting a red traffic light before slowing down. “I don’t understand what’s gotten into you!”
“You don’t get it, do you?” She laughed.
“No, I don’t,” I turned to see her after easing my vehicle to a stop.
Wow! Lola was so good-looking! It was almost impossible to stay mad at her. Every time I saw her she literally took my breath away.
“Come on, Lola. I’m sure there must be a reasonable explanation for your behavior, is there not? Why did you turn your back on me?”
“Because of you and Sally, that’s why!” she answered coldly and crossed her arms. “I wanted to see you with your tail between your legs, that’s all.”
“But Sally is past history! I was dead drunk last time I slept with her. I’ve told you that a zillion times!”
“Yeah, that seems to be your endless problem. You always seem to be too damned intoxicated to know what you’re doing, don’t you?”
“But I don’t even remember if Sally and I did it or not!” I exclaimed stepping on the gas after the light turned green. “Neither does Sally for that matter…”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know the story from A to Z,” she remarked with evident sarcasm. “You don’t regret a thing, do you? What about all those pedestrians you just ran over?”
“What about them? They were only second-generation hums like the cop said. Don’t you know your agency can assemble twice as many in two shakes of a lamb’s tail?”
“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean you can go around killing hums in cold blood, does it? After all, they also have feelings…”
“But it was an accident! Please, babe, there’s a crummy war going on and I’m expected back in the front in less than a month. That doesn’t leave us much time for marital problems, does it?”
She shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t care. All I know is that you better stop intoxicating yourself if you don’t want to stop seeing me.”
“You heard me. You’re always getting into trouble, so, either you forget about taking any more drugs and alcohol or I will leave you for good. I will file for a divorce, do you hear?.”
What makes females so unpredictable? This woman was not Lola. There was no way she could be my real Lola. Not the Lola I had met, the one I had married, the one I had always cared about. “Come on, my love, what’s wrong with you? Don’t you love me anymore, is that it?”
“You know I love you, sweetheart,” she answered. “I promised I would, at least for a whole month, didn’t I? After all, that’s what you paid for. It’s in the agency’s contract, remember? You wanted a complete month with the hottest bride in the world, didn’t you?”
“Come on, Lola, I only paid the agency for a couple of weeks of marriage. And I almost feel like writing the deal off only because you forgot to be bright and loyal when we were back there with the cop…”
“I forgot to be bright and loyal, you say? How dare you speak to me about such virtues? Where you bright and loyal when you went to bed with Sally?”
“Damn it! How many times do I have to tell you that I’m innocent, Lola?””Maybe I only want to see you with your tail tucked between your legs, that’s all. I’m really not through with you, not yet…”
Why was Lola so unrecognizable, so utterly unknown? The new Lola was evidently possessed by some horrible force, only meant to do me wrong. She was mean, impolite, foolish and disloyal. No, she didn’t look anything like my wife.
“How can you be so stubborn, Lola? I didn’t know you could be such a pain in the neck! I thought you were smarter than that. I even feel like breaking up with you and finding myself a new wife!”
“You don’t say!” She chuckled. “Face it, boy, you’ll never find another woman like me. Not with the female shortage caused by this foolish war. No, I don’t think you’ll ever leave me, hun. Not before your turn is up.”
“What makes you so sure?”
“No one has ever left me, honey. What makes you think you’re so special, you fool?”
As I heard her last words, something heavily fell and was shattered deep in my soul. I’ve always hated pretentious bitches—always have and always will. Especially when they try to make a fool out of me.
“Hey, babe, don’t forget I can cancel this wedding if I’m not completely satisfied. Satisfaction guaranteed, that’s what the contract says, isn’t it?” I said caressing my wedding ring obviously annoyed.
“Of course. But you will never leave me. I challenge you to do it.”
“You know I can’t refuse a challenge from a woman.”
“Yeah, honey, but I also know you simply don’t have the guts to leave me. Do you, you fool?”
“That does it!” I loudly exclaimed. “How about this for a try?”
Slipping the wedding ring off my finger was all it took. Almost immediately, Lola dropped her mouth, rolled up her tongue and fell back in her seat. She barely had time to turn to me before her tearful, lifeless eyes slowly dimmed out.
“Now that didn’t hurt much, did it? I bet my life will be a bed of roses from now on. Especially if I get myself a new virtual wife. After all, with this damned shortage caused by the war, a tenth-generation female humatron is the closest I can get to the real thing, don’t you agree babe?”
As expected there was no reply.
I drove off with a wide smile across my face. Life was good after all. Knowing I was still able to get a full refund, I made a right turn and headed straight back to the agency before finally disappearing into the starless night.