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The Trouble With Marjorie
by J. Jones

Looking back, I’m sorry I ran into Marjorie in Sears. She was smart and attractive, but emotionally unavailable, which is a common default position for many high functioning types. To be fair, we did have a short, amicable relationship.

I was na´ve when I assumed that I would plug her in to my way of life—so to speak—and in time, she would be humming along in her new home. As time passed, however, I saw that she was barely up to performing basic, domestic choirs, and no amount of burnishing her fading attractiveness could restore her sterling appearance. Living outdoors, she became overrun with black widows, ticks, rats —seemingly everything man has tried to rid from the civilized world. Marjorie, however, reigned supreme in one area: will—or as I like to call it— mechanical, single mindedness.

One day after accidentally banging into her, I went into the kitchen and the lights went out. When I stared back at her through the kitchen window, I had the distinct feeling that she had switched off the power. Armed with only a flashlight, I entered the shed to get my kerosene lantern. As I shined my flashlight around the shed, spiders fled angrily from the light and something furry scurried into a dark corner. Then, inexplicably, the door slammed shut. I pulled on the handle, but it wouldn’t open. “Marjorie, open the door!” I shouted.  A moment later, a compartment above me opened and brown recluses and black widows rained down on me.

Now, I knew with absolute certainty that Marjorie, my metal shed with smart technology, was out to get me.

After forcing open the shed door, I clambered about in my dark house. When I paused to think of a new strategy, I heard Marjorie’s circuits clicking. Was she planning a new trap?

No fledgling now to her dangers, I re-entered the shed, this time with a glowing flare. Wielding it as a sword, I incinerated spiders and ignited those balls of spidery silk. I shouted, “I have become Shiva, God of Destruction….” Midway through my ecstatic chant, I spotted a few smoking cans of oil. Oil and gas—that’ll send her to a fiery grave. Then suddenly, a flame rose from an oilcan. Fearing another slip down the evolutionary ladder (I didn’t want to be hoisted by my own petard), I hurried from the shed.

Just then, something inside of the shed exploded and flames leaped through the roof. God, no! —the flames were touching my favorite oak’s branches.  Helplessly, I watched as Marjorie‘s immolation engulfed my oak.

The next morning I went outside. The shed was was a scorched shell, and behind it my oak bore the fatal battle scars from last night. My war with Marjorie was over, but I now face a new battle with other inanimate structures. My digitally enhanced carport eyes me warily and casts a long, ominous shadow over my favorite roses that now struggle for light.