The dystopian genre can be varied and crossed with many other genres. It is this, along with the foundations of the idea of dystopian, that give writer’s such a wide scope of imagination and possibility. Dystopian romance. Dystopian horror. Dystopian fantasy. Dystopian fairy tale. I could go on.
There are a lot of answers, but a few include: Disturbing, Within our reach (a potential future), Parallels to our reality, Unsettling. Some, or all of these can apply to a story within this genre, but as always, the power lies with the writer and the unnerving tales they conjure up.
In Machinations by Shira Hereld, featured in Broken Worlds: Dystopian Stories we read about a husband and wife who keep a ‘collection’ of servo androids. The story focuses on a loss of family values, the hollow pursuit of ‘keeping up with the Jones’’ and a disconnection from true and valuable life experiences.
The two main characters lust after their androids in their own secret ways, admiring the unattainable levels of beauty, perfection and innocence the robots hold. It takes them away from the monotony of what their lives have become. Humans have become lazy with bad hygiene. They want the best house, money and more androids than the neighbours have. Family, friends, experience, love – the real things that make life important have fallen by the wayside.
Of course, the themes of this short story affect us in such a way because perhaps we can see something of ourselves and our world within the characters Hereld has created. We’ve all been sucked in by the draw of technology – the ease with which we can now perform certain tasks with a phone or tablet, the time lost spent staring into cyber space when we could have been doing something better and more productive. We’ve all compared ourselves and our lives to film stars and perfect airbrushed models that just aren’t real.
Dystopian stories strike fear in a reader when they begin to see signs of a terrifying future in their own present. It is a dark and unsettling wake-up call to look at the world we live in and really live in it, before we too fall by the wayside.
by Shira Hereld
For Mrs. Grubb’s thirty-eighth birthday, Mr. Grubb bought her her third android. This brought the total number of family androids to five, which was rather a pleasing number for a couple only baby steps away from middle-age.
This Andro was also one of the newest models – a curvacious Nigerian beauty with fiercely curling hair (Nextra Institute bragged: “Our Andros’ synthetic hair feels realer than the stuff on your head!”). Of course, the requisite flaws had been engineered into her design, so as to not engender jealousy – eyebrows a tad too thick, chin jutting, and teeth inexpertly arranged. But all in all, the overall effect of her presence was exceedingly pleasing both to Nextra and the Grubbs.
“You shouldn’t have!” Mrs. Grubb squealed, searching around the Andro’s back for the hidden ‘on’ switch. But of course he should have, had to have – the Gryzowskis next door bought a pair of twin Andros only last week, and the sight of them cultivating the garden was nearly enough to throw Mrs. Grubb into a fit.
“It’s the newest model,” Mr. Grubb replied, smiling at the innocent eagerness on his wife’s face, the excitement of a child given a chocolate bar (back in the days when real chocolate existed.) “This season features designs from all 60 countries in Africa – I thought she’d appeal to you the most. And do you know what this means?”
“We have an Andro from every continent!” Mrs. Grubb breathed as the trillion circuits inside the Andro fired, bringing her to life. A complete set, she thought, while the Andro blinked, flexed her fingers, arched her back, shook herself awake. We’ve made it at last. Everything else is gravy.
The Andro waited politely for a response. A certain amount of programming at home was required, but Mrs. Grubb didn’t mind – it created a personal feel that she was quite fond of, like when people used to name their pets.
“Mr. and Mrs. Grubb,” she said, and squeezed Mr. Grubb’s thigh.
Mr. and Mrs. Grubb, I am so thrilled to be a part of your home. You may call me
“Andi 3,” Mrs. Grubb replied. Many of her friends gave their Andros real-people names, even tailoring the name to the region the Andro was from, but to her, this crossed an invisible divide. The Andros might look human, speak through carefully-calibrated vocal chords, play ball with the children – but they were not human, and there was no good to be had confusing the matter.
How may I be of service in your household?
“We’d like you to start in the kitchen,” Mrs. Grubb said, “Groceries, cooking – ”
“Andi 2 will tell you everything you need to know,” Mr. Grubb cut in. “She’s been reprogrammed to switch to household organization as soon as she finishes explaining kitchen duties.”
Absolutely, Mr. Grubb.
“You are dismissed.”
Thank you, Mr. Grubb.
“You really do think of everything, Barty,” Mrs. Grubb said, kissing him on the cheek as Andi 3 exited towards the kitchen.
“Just think,” said Mr. Grubb, wrapping an arm around his wife and leaning back against the satinite-threaded pillows of the couch. “No more bothering with recipes and grocery lists and making dinner. Did you know? Nextra even pre-programmed this series of Andro with 200,000 cookbooks from all around the globe, including over a thousand regional specialties. So we won’t even have to waste money buying recipe chips.”
“What will they think of next?” She shifted closer, breathing in Mr. Grubb’s musk, warm and pungent and mammalian.
“So what are you going to do with your new-found time?” he asked, and her body wrapped itself around him in answer.
Within five years, Mr. Grubb was promoted to Nextra’s Assistant Chief Marketing Advisor: Andro Division, a position loftier than anything he’d ever imagined for himself, and only slightly lower than what Mrs. Grubb had imagined for him. Not only did the promotion mean a significant pay raise, but Mr. Grubb suddenly had access to and discounts on the coming season’s models before they hit the market. There was only one issue with his good luck.
“But where are we going to put them?” Mrs. Grubb asked, taking from Andi 8 her dinner plate, with its six pieces of sashimi delicately arranged in a semicircle. “There’s no room in the storage closet, and it still feels cruel to me not to give them a bedroom.”
“I’ve told you, dear, Andros don’t need bedrooms.” Mr. Grubb watched Andi 8 saunter back into the kitchen – she was a slim Japanese model with a harelip, but from the back, that particular imperfection couldn’t be seen. “And I was thinking that perhaps we should use the rest of the bonus to buy a larger house. More room for us, more room for Andros.”
“A larger house? That’d be – I mean – ”
“Just consider it, Eliza. Three, four more rooms, maybe a swimming pool, and four more Andros running around the place, keeping it up.”
“Four?” Mrs. Grubb choked on her Shiraz, droplets of wine blossoming on the white tablecloth. “Do we really need four more? What would they do?”
“Anything! Everything! Do your shopping. Clean the pool. Pick out your clothes. Cut your hair. Whatever they aren’t already doing now.” Mr. Grubb reached across the table and patted his wife’s plump hand. “This could be a brilliant new opportunity for you. You’d have more time to paint and write, and you could throw huge dinner parties like you always say you want to, with hardly any of the fuss. This is what the new century is about. Our forefathers struggled so you wouldn’t have to. Why not take this chance to do what you love?”
“I don’t know. What if I get bored?”
“Then you’ll start doing the work again. It’s not an issue.”
Mrs. Grubb examined the blood-red face staring back at her from the bottom of her wine glass, then swilled it in a circle so it disappeared.
“There is one thing, though,” she began tentatively, glancing up at Mr. Grubb through her eyelashes, which she knew were her best feature.
“What’s that, love?”
“If we wanted to have children – and the house, and the Andros – the expense – ” She lost her words somewhere between the salt shaker and the butter dish, and ended up staring into space between the two. Mr. Grubb let the silence hang as Andi 8 and Andy 2 came in to clear away the remaining dishes and Andy 7 brought out a sumptuous fruit cobbler. Finally, he cleared his throat and began serving himself dessert.
“That is a consideration. I think – if we made this step – it would most likely mean we’d have to give up that particular – future.”
Mrs. Grubb bit into her own piece of cobbler – Andy 7 had made it specially; he was a Native American limited edition, and his skill with vegetables and berries was unsurpassable. Yet Mrs. Grubb tasted only a deep, copper-flavored sadness, and along with it, an unsettling sense of defeat, although the fight was still in utero.
“I mean,” Mr. Grubb continued, mashing a bruised array of blueberries and blackberries between his teeth, “having children is really – you know, it’s not really in vogue for the upper brackets anymore anyway. Leave that dirty business to worker bees, I say.”
Mrs. Grubb recognized the quotation – it had been in the most recent issue of the sardonically named Nouveau Riche. She liked the sound of it even less aloud.
“We could even get one or two of the younger Andros they came out with last year if you like the look of children around the house. They’re just as functional as the adult ones, but they like playing games and singing with you and things like that – emotional connections, you know. Actually, a lot of people are starting to buy them just for that purpose, not even using them for house- or yardwork.”
“No. Thank you. They’re too – ” But Mrs. Grubb didn’t know what they were, only that they reminded her of the child slaves she’d read about in an old history book.
“We don’t know, maybe we’ll have enough money for both. Word from the top is they’re considering me for the VIP position when Weathers retires. But it’ll give me quite the boost if I can show my commitment to the company with some new Andros.”
The silence that fell over them then was less a true quiet and more a conspicuous lack of words, a sudden inappropriate cacophony of other noises – metal clanging in the kitchen, the hungry buzz of a lawn mower, the nearly overwhelming huffing of breaths captured and released. Within this dust devil of sound, Mr. Grubb finally became aware of a wave-like recession in his wife’s eyes, that left him stranded, miles of dinner table away.
Unable to bear it, he crossed around the table and knelt by her chair, one hand caressing her thick, soft shoulder.
“I’m only trying to make you happy. Tell me what would make you happy, and I’ll do it for you, Eliza, I promise.”
She turned to look at him then, murky brown eyes clearing slightly, and smiled.
“You make me happy. I don’t need – Let’s get the house, the Andros. Jemima and the girls will be dreadfully envious and you know how that cheers me up.” She laughed, and it seemed to reignite the joy that normally exuded from her like light.
“And you can paint,” Mr. Grubb added, stroking her cheek, pink and round as a newborn’s. “It’ll be nice to have you painting again.”
“Yes.” She kissed him gently on each of his fingers, and then the Andros returned to clear the plates, so they stopped, acutely self-conscious before those bland, mechanical eyes.
The new house was in a neighborhood where each property was separated by a 10-foot hedge, inviting an almost irresponsible privacy in that painfully crowded age. Andy 6 and Andy 1 tended to the short, sloping lawn filled with rows of lilies, azaleas, hydrangeas, and other, more incongruous flowers like belladonna and cymbidium. Off the back porch, an in-ground pool squatted in the dirt, kept clean by Andi 10, and a large willow tree wept quietly into it, lowest branches skimming the very edge of the water.
And in the drawing room of the, if not massive, then quite pleasingly-sized house sat Mrs. Grubb, patiently painting a portrait of Andy 8. A smooth-skinned Jamaican model with a purposeful twinkle in his eye and a hooked nose, Andy 8 made the perfect subject for Mrs. Grubb’s endless sketches. When she was young and took art class at her women’s college, she always had a human model to contort and draw, usually nude. But Andy 8 was a much better choice, since he didn’t move or get tired or ask for reimbursement. He would have to remain clothed, of course – Mrs. Grubb knew she would feel horribly uncomfortable if Mr. Grubb saw her sketching a naked man, even a machinated one.
She traced her pencil around the curves of his thick, knotted fingers, entranced by their strength. All Andros were equipped with a similar lifting capacity, of course, but the look of them. The power. Those fingers could snap her neck before she had time to scream. The thought made her squeamish and excited all at once, and she pressed the pencil down hard enough to break off the tip.
“Drat. Andy 8, would you mind getting me another pencil? In my desk, first drawer on the left.”
Absolutely, Mrs. Grubb.
He rose, lithe as a serpent, and sped off towards her study, leaving her alone in the sun-spotted room. Staring at the half-finished outline on her canvas, Mrs. Grubb felt something damp and ticklish running down her cheek and was immediately overcome with embarrassment. There was no reason to be sad, certainly nothing to cry about, but such an excruciating loneliness had overwhelmed the room on Andy 8’s departure, that Mrs. Grubb felt she might soon begin to scream.
Just at that moment, Andy 8 reappeared, holding out the pencil to her.
Here you are, Mrs. Grubb.
“Thank you,” she replied automatically, though the Andros had no sensors that would make them offended by rudeness.
You’re welcome, Mrs. Grubb. Would you like me to continue modeling for you?
“No, no thank you. Tomorrow, perhaps.”
May I do something else for you?
“No, that’s alright. Why don’t you go help Andi 4 with the laundry?”
Absolutely, Mrs. Grubb.
He turned to leave, and with an immense desperation, Mrs. Grubb cried out,
“Wait, Andy! Could you perhaps – stay? Here. Just sit.”
He sat on the embroidered divan across from her, muscular legs outstretched, and waited patiently. Mrs. Grubb didn’t know what to say; she’d never bothered having conversations with Andros, although many people did. Some even used their Andros to help liven up dull parties, and Nextra’s inventive Jokes and Witticism feature on the 64X models had been a resounding success. But she felt – perhaps it was old-fashioned of her – but she felt that having a real conversation with an Andro was stepping over a boundary, which could never be uncrossed.
“What – what is it like in Jamaica?” Mrs. Grubb asked at last, unable to hold the silence with Andy 8’s cool brown eyes staring her down.
What would you like to know about it? I can tell you about the people, the culture, the travel destinations, the –
“The environment. Tell me about the weather and the climate and the island.” She shifted slightly to listen to him, and the gloaming light drew long eyelash shadows down her cheeks.
The island of Jamaica is the fourth largest island of the greater Antilles, and has a tropical climate. Its terrain is mostly mountainous. The largest mountain range is the Blue Mountains. These summits span 24 miles in length and –
Mrs. Grubb listened with a quickening heart as Andy 8 described the peaks and valleys, coasts and jungles of an island she would never see. When his sentences faltered, she asked another question and another, lost in the caramel flow of his words. As the sun completed its descent belowground, she even stopped hearing the slightly tinny tone of his voice box. Instead, she thought about Mr. Grubb, and how long it had been since they’d had the sort of conversation that actually interested her, taught her new things, made her curious and thrilled to be right here with this person. But the thought of it made the terrible loneliness twinge in her belly again, so she leaned closer to Andy 8 and laughed a little at his description of the West Indies Manatee and the Swallow Tail Hummingbird.
Mr. Grubb came into the bedroom just as Mrs. Grubb was almost asleep, and for a moment she had the urge to continue pretending to sleep. But the impulse passed as quickly as it came, and she sat up, offering a semi-comprehensible greeting.
“Sorry I’m so late, Eliza.” Mr. Grubb slipped off his business jacket and slung it over a bedpost. “The Chairwoman had me checking specs on 150 new potentials so I could winnow them down to the 5 we’re going to pursue. I still have 63 to go too – it’s damn brutal work.”
“I’ll have to go in early tomorrow, very early, but hopefully that’ll mean I’ll be home for dinner.”
“That’d be nice.”
“How was your day?”
“Did you do any painting?” Mr. Grubb pulled off his button-down and reached for a nightshirt. Mrs. Grubb stared at the moon-pale fleshiness of his slowly-expanding abdomen.
“May I see it sometime?”
“No.” The word slipped out more potently than she meant it to, and she tripped over her tongue to add, “It’s not finished yet.”
“That’s alright. I’m sure it will be beautiful.” Dressed for sleep, Mr. Grubb threw himself down on the bed beside her, smelling faintly of sweat and Chinese food.
“Don’t you want to brush your teeth?” Mrs. Grubb asked as politely as she could manage.
“I’m winded, love, I’d really rather just rest. If you don’t mind? I’ll be sure to in the morning.” He rolled over to face her and she pulled her stomach centimeters away from him. “I’m sorry I’ve been so busy lately. It can’t be easy being alone so often.”
“I’m not alone.”
“Well, sure, there are the Andros, but I meant real company.”
“They’re plenty of company, dear, don’t worry about it.” She shut her eyes, the outline of his bulbed nose imprinted in black and blue before her. “Can we talk tomorrow? I’m very tired.”
“Of course. I’m sorry to keep you up.” Mr. Grubb leaned over and kissed her on each of her eyelids, as he had for the past twenty-five years; something about the feathery dryness of his lips felt ancient and right, like a key sliding into a rusty lock. “Good night.”
“Night, Barty.” As nighttime ambience invaded their bedroom, Mrs. Grubb wanted to ask him if he’d ever traveled to Jamaica, perhaps with his family, when he was very young. But the answer was probably ‘no’ and hearing him say ‘no’ might just snap some tenuous, vital thread she was only lately aware existed. Before she could make up her mind whether to ask, Mr. Grubb’s snores answered her question for her.
The Grubbs’ vacation to Hawaii was a resounding failure, for reasons neither Grubb would ever quite understand. The aeroship was both spacious and consistently on time, the beaches (some of the only beaches in the world still open for public enjoyment) stunning, the Andros well-behaved and useful, and the island itself pleasantly devoid of natives, so the tourists need not feel as though they were intruding on someone else’s territory.
Yet both Mr. and Mr. Grubb independently returned with a dismaying pressure blooming in their chests, the sort that arises from continuous time spent in the presence of someone with whom you have nothing more to say.
As they sat at the dinner table their first night home, eating fish stew made by Andi 11, a sinuous, web-fingered Finnish woman, Mr. Grubb began counting the seconds between each of Mrs. Grubb’s bites of food. He couldn’t be quite sure, since he kept losing count, but it seemed as though she was picking up speed as she got closer to finishing the bowl.
“So, I’ll be back at work tomorrow,” he finally said, twirling his spoon in and out of his stew like a screwdriver.
“Yes.” Two seconds in between – she was definitely speeding up.
“That was a lovely vacation, wasn’t it?”
“Very nice of them to give me the time off.”
He estimated she had six more bites, and a pang of desperation burst in his stomach.
“I’ve never seen beaches like that before. With the black sand. Like something out of a dream.”
“Yes.” Four more bites.
“Did you enjoy yourself?”
“Of course.” Two.
“Good. I thought it would be nice to revisit the place we went on our honeymoon. You know, romantic memories and all that.”
There it was. Mrs. Grubb’s spoon froze, inches above her bowl, thick shrimp chunks oozing down the side of it. Her face was like a scratched DVD – moving in tiny, sluggish jerks towards some inescapable conclusion. For one heart-stopping moment, Mr. Grubb thought she was finally going to talk to him, unleash the torrent of words he was positive must be stored within her broad frame. But then the DVD skipped over its scratch and Mrs. Grubb simply said,
“It was nice. Thank you.” Then she swallowed the final bite of stew and rose from her seat. “I’m too full for dessert tonight, dear. Do you mind if I just go upstairs and shower?”
“Of course not. Go.” She rose and turned to leave, her tight bun seeming to admonish Mr. Grubb for his entrapment. Before she was entirely gone, though, he called, “Eliza?”
“Yes?” She somehow managed to be both inside and outside the dining room. Then Andi 8 entered to clear away the dishes, and Mr. Grubb lost his nerve.
“I’m afraid I’ll be working late most nights now. Catch up from the vacation. I probably won’t be home for dinner for a while.”
“Alright.” She turned, leaving him alone in the dining room, and he realized Andi 8 had taken away his half-full bowl. While he waited for dessert, Mr. Grubb sent a telemessage to his boss, offering to take on the proffered task of categorizing all 12,000 models shipped over from Nextra’s sister-company in China. By the time Andy 13 brought in a freshly-cooked flan, Mr. Grubb had the job, the prospect of working overtime for at least the following month, and the clean, empty sensation of relief.
On the sixth straight day of spattering sleet, Mrs. Grubb enlisted Andy 4’s help to hang up her most recent portrait on the wall of the drawing room. It was on a 6×5 foot canvas, and depicted a clearing deep in a forest, a pallid circle of light surrounded by towering redwoods. She liked it even better than her large portfolio of Andro portraits, and thought Mr. Grubb might like it too, if he ever actually popped into the drawing room.
With corded muscles, Andy 4 lifted the painting onto its hook so that it hung directly above the fireplace, and Mrs. Grubb stood back to survey its effect.
Is this where you would like it, Mrs. Grubb? asked Andy 4, an all-American boy with blonde hair curling lazily around ears that stuck out like a monkey’s, and eyes blue as her chlorinated pool.
“Yes, thank you. That’s perfect.” It is perfect, she nodded to herself. It casts just the right mix of gloom and thrill over the room, depending on the light. Lovely. The longer she stared, the more Mrs. Grubb could feel the clearing engraving itself on her retinas.
Can I help you with anything else, Mrs. Grubb?
“What do you think of the painting, Andy 4?” He was an earlier model, and Mrs. Grubb wasn’t entirely sure the question would process properly, but to her surprise, Andy 4 turned and faced the artwork in a perfect imitation of a museum art critic.
I think it is beautiful.
“Well.” Heat trickled up her neck and to her cheeks as she watched him examine it. “Thank you.”
You’re welcome, Mrs. Grubb. He turned back around and smiled, white teeth outshining the paleness of the clearing. You’re welcome. She liked that, she like it very much. A good programming choice. Mr. Grubb never so much as remembered a simple “bless you”.
“Andy 4, could you come here please?” Mrs. Grubb murmured without thinking, and Andy 4 stepped towards her, his thigh muscles gleaming as though freshly oiled. Mrs. Grubb eyed them, a shifty, perplexing thought moving like fog through her mind. She remembered her lively discussion with him a week ago about the politics surrounding the Great Recession, a conversation that had lasted nearly 4 hours. She’d decided that Andy 4 was her favorite, then had felt slightly guilty without knowing why.
What would you like me to do for you, Mrs. Grubb?
“Just – just stand still, please.”
He froze in position, chest lightly rising and falling; Nextra had quickly discovered that customers were put at ease by the sight of their Andro breathing, even if the function served no physical purpose. With a curious stab of surprise, Mrs. Grubb realized she was beginning to sweat and too much saliva seemed to have pooled in her mouth.
Holding her breath, she reached out one uncertain hand, dimly aware of the great, unspoken taboo floating in a cloud of excitement and terror. Then, Andy 4 seemed to shift back from her without lifting his feet off the ground.
Mrs. Grubb –
“Sorry, I – you had – the painting – the painting doesn’t look quite secure. Could you check it one more time?”
Absolutely, Mrs. Grubb.
As soon as he had his back turned, Mrs. Grubb shook her head violently, popping air bubbles in her neck. It’s wrong. It’s wrong, she scolded herself. They can look and talk and be programmed any which way, but they aren’t – they just aren’t.
The painting is secure.
He smiled again, facing her, and one last desperate idea formulated itself in her mind.
“Andy 4. Say – ” Her voice caught, but she ignored her exploding nerves. “Say ‘I love you, Eliza.’”
I love you, Eliza, Andy 4 repeated, without pause.
“No, it’s not right!” Mrs. Grubb hit the back of the sofa, and a flash of lightning seared through her palm. “Leave. Get out. Go on. Out.”
Absolutely, Mrs. Grubb. Unfazed as ever, Andy 4 exited, and Mrs. Grubb sank onto the ground behind the sofa, head in her hands. Maybe it was the artificial voicebox, maybe the way the lips moved a little less than normal – it was not the same.
But even as she reminded herself of this fact, over and over, her fingers silently wondered whether Andy 4’s arms would have been, as they appeared, warm and slightly sweaty.
The evening of the Grubbs’ 28th anniversary, Mr. Grubb worked late, but when he came home, Mrs. Grubb was still awake. She sat on their bed, knees pulled up to her chest, and for a brief moment looked exactly has she had three decades earlier, when they’d first met. The thought of it made Mr. Grubb smile, and for the first time in many weeks, his smile was returned.
“How are you, dear?” Mrs. Grubb asked, watching him with clear, patient eyes.
“I’m alright.” Mr. Grubb shrugged off his jacket, throwing it over the bedpost as always, and plopped down next to her to yank off his shoes. “Happy anniversary.”
“Yes. And to you.” She squeezed his arm, and he stood up to go to the bathroom.
“Did you have a good day?” he called through the door.
“Busy.” He flushed, ran his hands briefly under the sink, then, on a whim, sprayed himself overzealously with his cologne. “But McLaurin took me into her office today to tell me if she happens to be transferred overseas next year, she will definitely submit my name for her replacement.”
“It is.” Returning to the bedroom, Mr. Grubb took off his shirt and pants, but paused before pulling on his pajamas. Some deep reminiscence stirred in him as he watched his wife braid her hair with delicate fingers. “It would be a much bigger raise than the last promotion. At least five new Andros. Longer vacations. The works.”
“Do you remember,” Mrs. Grubb cut in, quickly enough that Mr. Grubb knew she hadn’t been listening, “that we used to garden together? We had that little patch of green at the old apartment. There were tomatoes and roses. We planted them right next to each other. Everyone always commented on how silly it looked.”
“I suppose so,” Mr. Grubb shrugged, crawling up beside her on the bed, still in his boxers. “Thank goodness Andy 6 takes care of that now. Much less fuss.”
A brief pause made a nest between them as Mr. Grubb wondered if he’d said something wrong, and Mrs. Grubb turned off the light and crept under the covers. Mr. Grubb leaned over and kissed Mrs. Grubb on each of her eyelids, one by one, and hovered above her for a moment longer. With the care of a hunter approaching a sleeping bear, he lowered his lips onto hers; and, after a moment, she kissed him back. They remained that way for several pregnant seconds, as though neither could remember what came next, before simultaneously deciding to play this game out to its conclusion. Neither knew what they were looking for, but they searched for it with their hands, their mouths, and their bodies as deftly and professionally as surgeons, until the inevitable connection was made.
Mrs. Grubb found that, with minimal effort, she could detach her mind from the incessant pounding sensation, and used the time to decide which new art supplies she wanted Andi 3 to buy for her.
Mr. Grubb tried to concentrate, but his thoughts slipped relentlessly towards the slick waists and gyrating metal hips of his Andros.
Beneath the lightweight satinite sheets, the Grubbs reached for and retreated from each other with mesmerizing regularity, mechanical precision.