From Jennifer’s office we drove to the preacher’s bike shop. “Hey guys,” I said when I was inside the overhead door. I hadn’t expected the preacher to be in the shop, and he wasn’t. “So who is the head bike man today?” I asked.
“I’m bobby,” and older man said to me. “I’m in charge today.”
“Bobby what you got for my friend Eve here. We need a good reconditioned bike with a small gasoline helper motor.” I glanced at Eve while I spoke to Bobby. She needed to be able to handle such a small purchase with me just staying in the background.
“So Eve come pick out a bike dear,” I gave her my best girlfriend voice,” Bobby didn’t miss it, or our less than feminine demeanor. Eve came closer. “So pick out a bike first,” I suggested.
“If you want a helper motor you might as well get a mountain bike type thing. We can swing one of the shifter cable, so that you can use it as a throttle,” Bobby ssuggested. I nodded my agreement.
I kept a close eye on Eve to see what she did to make the bicycle decision. First she looked over the rows of bicycles parked in the showroom space. She asked to ride three of them. All three were smaller but not children’s bikes. They were all more or less teenage girls size. Both Eve and I were over the 5‘4‘’ minimum size recommended as the bottom of the adult size bikes. We could swing either way on bikes. We could go teenager or adult size.
After trying all three, she chose a larger 26“ bike. She obviously didn’t mind sitting up a little higher than I liked. After she had the bike picked out, we began to speak about the engine. There was some back and forth about engine sizes. The bike shop had two sizes which were legal on the streets. One was a 50cc engine which was heavier and faster than the 33cc engine on my bike.
The reason for the 33cc was simply that it could be removed from the bike easily. I never had done it, but one could leave the bike in the building’s lobby and take the engine up to their apartment. It was the only reason to buy the smaller engine.
I had my bike built for the Gunny and he had lived in a high rise apartment building. It was the ideal bike for him. For me it hadn’t mattered, since I used the bike sparingly and just for the exercise and pure enjoyment of the being outdoors in the open air.
Eve was going to need it if she wanted or needed to go somewhere different from where I went. I could see that happening now and then. The cruiser had a permanent bike rack on it, so it would be possible to drop Eve somewhere, then have her ride the bike home.
Eve left with a thick framed full suspension bicycle. It was more or lesst a taller version of my bike. Hers had the slanted top bar of a girlie bike. The guys at the shop loaded it onto the cruiser after they finished attaching and testing the bigger motor.
We made it back home with no further chores interfering. Eve went into her computer lab while I went into what was more or less going to be my office. I sat at the desk with my smaller computer with far fewer features. With it I scanned the national news. There didn’t seem to be much happening other than the illegal alien debate, and the drug violence along the border. Both of those seemed especially upsetting, since I knew what at least one of the Narco Terrorists had in mind.
We no longer waited for the Muslim terrorists to strike us at home before we launched predator strikes and probably some black ops strikes against them. I had to wonder why we felt the need to allow the Narco Terrorist more wiggle room. It seemed to me we should be targeting them as well. Maybe that’s what needed to happen to destroy the poison.
Sure you had to get rid of the demand in order to finally cure the plague but in the short term the terrorists were the problem. Long term we needed better drug education and treatment for those too stupid to listen. But in the short term the violence had to be ended with violence. The Narco Terrorists would not stop their reign of terror until someone stopped them one group at a time.
The only question was who, if anyone, had the political will (Balls) to make it happen. Going outside the political system would also be death for any career civil servant if it all went south. Maybe it would be someone like a Swamp Thing that did it, but what would their motive be.
After an hour or so of the depressing news, I changed into very warm thermal clothing, so that I could begin taking Eve around to introduce her to people in town. We took the bikes because I loved the fresh air and exercise. Eve and I criss crossed the downtown touching base with people I hadn’t seen lately. Most of them I hadn’t seen since well before I left for my enforced European Vacation. Also most of them were just casual acquaintances.
Even though I had seen him since my return, I took Eve over to meet Lucas. I didn’t plan to show him that I didn’t need him any more. Okay, maybe I did but I didn’t have it as a conscious thought. Eve and Lucas sort of circled each other. I saw it and had to smile. Hell it was amusing, if you think about it. A human and a robot feeling each other out. Note I said feeling out, not feeling up. Which may or maynot have been possible, since I had no idea what all of the new improvements were.
From Lucas’s office we rode to the drive through window at the local sub shop. I picked up a foot long steak and cheese sub. Then we took a ride to the marina, where I introduced Eve, not just to the view of the lake from the terrace, but also to the two people who worked there.
“I see you have lunch?” the roughly fifty pounds over weight man asked. “It’s been a long time since you were here. We missed you.”
“Yes, this is the best view even in the dead of winter,” I explained. Of course Eve never got cold and I was dressed like the Michelin man, so it was doable.
The downside was that there was no way to tell that I was female in that outfit. If one didn’t know with the short hair and the nondescript outward appearance of my body, especially in the thermal clothing, I could easily be mistaken for a middle age man.
“Maxine, who is your new friend?” the thirty pound over weigh, blond haired, woman in her twenties asked as she passed us on the terrace.
“This is Eve Stone, my cousin.” I replied.
“Nice to meet you Eve. I hope you come back to visit again. Maxine is about the only visitor we get this time of year.” she said.
“Well Deloris, spring will be here soon, and then you will be over run with fishermen,” I suggested.
“That is true enough,” Deloris said. “Well you two enjoy your lunch.”
After she had gone, I ate my share of the sandwich. Then when I was sure no one was looking, I switched the wrappers, so that the empty one was in front of Eve. I ate a couple of bites of hers, then threw both wrappers and the bag into the trash.
After lunch Eve and I went back to the townhouse, as I had begun to think of my building. After the bikes were secured, instead of going in we took a walk around the downtown. I wanted Eve to have a feel for the town’s geography if nothing else.
I left my thermal vest and parka in the storage room. I walked down main street wearing my wool long sleeved dark blue blouse. It was cut in the military style, as it should be, since it was left over from my Air Force Days. Eve who felt neither heat nor cold wore the same clothes as when she rode the bike. Life was so much easier for a robot, I thought.
Most of the downtown businesses were small specialty stores catering to office workers. Of course there were also stores aimed at the poor minorities. The reason for that seemed to be pure logistics. All bus routes began or ended in the downtown. So the downtown was the easiest destination for the bus riding public.
Lots of cutting edge fashion boutiques were to be found in what had once been downtown jewelry stores. There were even some rental and low end furniture stores located in the area of my townhouse. Three blocks north of the townhouse was the senior towers where Gunny had lived.
We stopped in at the senior center a couple of blocks from there. The Gunny had played cards there. The only employee recognized me. “Maxine, it is so good to see you. Are you going to start playing cards with the clients again.”
“I’m not sure I can afford to lose that much money again.” I said grinning. I had stopped in to play with the guys who had been Gunny’s friends. I made sure I lost a few bucks to them each time.
“I expect that it would be alright if you won now and then,” she said with a knowing smile.
“It would be even better if I had bigger boobs,” I added.
“Most likely,” The woman added.
“Thelma this is Eve. Eve is my cousin and here to visit a while. I am just showing her around.” I said. The two of them smiled at each other and said some meaningless pleasantries. The old guys at the community center seemed to even enjoy looking at Eve. They figured out that she was supposed to be female without any fancy clothes or hair styles. I could tell but barely. I guess they were more attuned to the subtle clues than me.
From the senior center we went back to the townhouse where Eve checked her messages, and I checked my email. Mine was all spam, but I can’t say what hers was, since I didn’t bother to go inside the computer lab.
While Eve did whatever she did in that little room, I heated a frozen dinner prepared by Helen for me. Actually I think she was preparing them for several people, but I was one who could always load up just by calling and telling her I would be buy to pick up a few. I always paid even though she tried to refuse to take my money.
While the dinner heated, I remembered the sight of her kitchen these days. Since Swamp Thing had begun to replace their MRE with her dinners, there was constant activity there. There were cooks everywhere making take out meals for all kinds of people.
It was my impression that they ran around like one of those cooking shows on TV. I had no idea what all she was cooking for the Swamp Thing’s ops teams, but I am sure that it was better than MRE.
Hell I knew that it was, I had eaten both Helen’s fast food and the full MRE menu. I can tell you right this minute, it’s Helen’s food hands down.
I looked at the clock after I finished the dishes. It was time to head to the Cowboy’s Bar and Grill. The food there wasn’t near as good, or as healthy, as Helen’s but it was fun food. Greasy and hot were the two words that came to mind. Hot both in temperature and spice would be anyone’s assessment of the food. Even the french fries were over spiced.
“Come on Eve, it’s time to go fake a meeting at Cowboy’s so we have a cover for the girlfriend story.” I said.