Diva and the Real Dog
By Anne-Marie Oomen
Gerald’s Talking Dog loves cherries. That’s all he talks about…
Gerald. Gerald. Gerald’s Talking Dog loves cherries, all things sweet. That’s all…
Diva’s shower opera echoed against wet enamel. She topped off with a rousing splash of maraschino mélange body wash. Gerald’s taaaalking Dawwwwg loves cherries. That’s all he taaaaaalks… unadulterated free form.
The man who had been her life, Big Ger Toymaker, didn’t live with her anymore, but the stuffed dog that served as his surrogate did. Big Ger had implanted the dog: 10,000 new voice-coded comments on adult themes, beating the new Talking Barbie by 2000.
Diva shut off the shower, stepped into the bedroom, picked up her Stormcloud’s cherry-flavored Belgian Rye, sipped slowly, strolled over to the toy dog abandoned on Big Ger’s side of the bed, and offered him the lip—she’d been doing this for days. Did he seem to lick the neck of the bottle? She couldn’t be sure. Then the talking dog said, “You are one good looking woman.”
She looked at him with sardonic surprise. “Who programmed you?’
“I am the king of storm. I am the lord of misrule. And you are one good-looking woman.”
She rolled her eyes. Did he wink? Did he cock his head so the spotted ear turned up and the other floated down in rakish sloppiness. Why was he suddenly so…responsive? A dog who talked as though he saw. No. Flirted as though he saw. Was he becoming the toy Big Ger had dreamed of? Nah.
Ignoring Big Ger’s dog, she toweled off. He was a toy. Still. He stared at her. This had to stop. She asked the put-down question. “So Gerald’s Talking Dog, how long will your battery last?” That should do it.
He had been responding for two weeks, ever since she had asked Gerald to move out for his own good, insisting only that he leave the toy he was working on, which had caused his serious depression. Gerald’s, not Talking Dog’s—because Ger had heard that Barbie’s talking doll linked to the internet and pick up “trends” in girls’ conversations. Big Ger had wanted to make a talking dog for grown ups, but to respect their privacy, to let them play. Upstaged by Barbie, Gerald’s Talking Dog prototype seemed a mistimed weak copy. And until today, Dog’s exchanges had been uninspired. Canned.
Was he flirting with her, reminding her…? Did Gerald’s talking dog get it? Had it been the cherry beer? Had it been her shower song?
And Big Ger? Was not here.
Then Dog said, “The difference between men and toys is the size of their beers.”
Better than Barbie.
She raised her eyebrows, hummed the chorus. He whined. She knew Ger could program innuendo, but this? Wildly unexpected. She punched her cell. He picked up his. Dog sucked her cherry beer. “It’s working Ger, the damned talking dog is working.” Dog gave a small bark, and rolled over, exposing his lovely belly.
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