Although I don’t have any feelings I could tell by the facial expressions and the body language that most humans thought it odd that Frank would always have me book a seat for myself beside him. Most humans who travel with their robots would have them checked into baggage as it is about 30% cheaper. The first time I noticed it I had asked Frank why he did that. After all, he could wear his little button and be in contact with me. He said it was to insure he would not have to make chit-chat with some bloody fool. I thought that was highly unlikely in first class, but he told me wealth was no guarantee for someone to be an intelligent conversationalist. Frank would take the window seat and I would take the seat next to him. However, there was one other reason why Frank would have me with him. He would instruct me to order exactly the same drink that he would when the stewardess would come by. If the stewardess questioned why a robot would want a Manhattan, he would politely remind her that he paid full fair and that entitled his robot to have anything another rich bastard would get. If the swearing did not intimidate the poor girl the tone would do it.
The flight from America to London was not unusual. Frank got drunk off of six drinks and slept from the thirty-ninth meridian until we landed in London. Thankfully, he was sober when I woke him up to put his seat upright. He was hungry when we landed so we went straight to our hotel and I ordered him breakfast. He ate it in his room so he could relax and enjoy the Times and the European version of the WSJ.
After eating he finally cleaned himself up. Thankfully, the alcohol level was now so low that humans could not smell it. I could and from the intensity I could correlate Frank’s blood level. That is important information when trying to figure out how serious Frank is when he tells me to do something. I laid out a suit for him knowing that he would probably want to make a couple of social calls in order to refresh some of his contacts. He saw the suit was out but went over to the window to look out at the London cityscape. I couldn’t surmise what my master was thinking, but I did hear steps of a woman heading towards our end of the hotel– then there was a quick firm knock at the door.
“Jack, answer it, will you?”
“Yes sir,” and I opened the door and immediately recognized Princess Marianne. “Princess, please come in. Mr. Huntington, I believe you know Princess Marianne.” I made way for her to enter and pointed to a chair, but she went directly over to Frank and stood by him. I closed the door and then concentrated on recording this unexpected encounter.
“Mr. Huntington, how was your flight?”
“Smooth, I don’t remember anything. Can I offer you some coffee, tea or something stronger?”
“Scotch, if you have any. With a little mineral water, please,” and with that she sat on the bed and on master’s suit. I hoped she would not wrinkle it. I worked hard enough to make Frank not look like a tramp.
“Jack.” That was my signal to be bartender. We had the scotch, but I immediately contacted Room Service and ordered a liter of mineral water. It would be delivered by a fetchbot to the room. The Princess finally relaxed a little and laid back on the bed.
“My secretary told me you wanted to see me.”
“Yes, I did. I didn’t expect you would come to my hotel room. It’s not that urgent.”
She gave a laugh and said, “I know, I just thought I would welcome you back to London personally.”
Frank smiled one of his non-committal smiles and said, “I’m flattered, your royal highness. I guess that is one of the reasons I love coming to the U.K. Everyone is so friendly.”
I wondered what Frank was hinting at. The fetchbot signaled me that it was at the door so I opened it and prepared the drinks. I handed one to her royal highness and one to Frank. I then retreated to the far corner of the room. They both said “Cheers” and took a sip.
“If you like, you can call me Frank.”
“Thank you, Frank, call me Marianne, please. I wanted to see you because I thought you deserved a more accurate view of my marriage to Sir Terrance.”
“I don’t usually write anything for the Ladies section.”
She laughed and Frank came over and sat on the bed next to her. She took a big sip of her drink and then looked at him coolly, “I did not marry for love, exactly. I enjoy my husband, but there are many times when I am not accessible to him.”
“What is the deal? Does he have a mistress or just a low libido?”
“Maybe both. His mistress is Maidstone Lab.”
Frank gave her a long look-over and then reached over and kissed her. She did not resist. In fact she reacted as if it was her first meal in a long, long time. I stopped my video recording as was my protocol, but kept recording the audio. Frank had always told me you never know when you might hear something interesting.
After Frank proved his manliness to the Princess they sat quietly in bed enjoying the afterglow. Frank finally spoke and told me to bring two fresh drinks. They told each other how pleasant the other was for awhile. Seems that is always normal when humans make love for the first time.
Frank finally sat up against the headboard so he could enjoy his drink. He looked at her lovely face and asked, “Why did you come to me, Princess?”
“Well, you would be surprised what a girl hears when talking to her fellow princesses and aristocratic friends,” she said with a slight smirk.
“I guess when it comes to that, some women can brag just as much as some men do.”
“Oh, don’t be cross with me, I meant it has a compliment. And I do find you interesting. Our conversation during lunch was fascinating. Even my husband found you interesting for a non-scientist.”
“So is it that bad being married to a genius?”
“Not really. He creates a very interesting culture around himself. I enjoy being part of it. He is very much a polyglot and Renaissance man. It is just that he does work long hours and when he is not doing that he is reading new research papers or a book. He usually has at least four novels going at any one time. We have to keep extra copies about the castle so when he wants to read more a copy is close by. Odd he doesn’t like reading off a tablet.”
“I see. You must have a lot of free time.”
“Yes. In a way that is nice. I don’t feel micromanaged. He really doesn’t make any demands on me. Maybe I expected a little of that when I got married.”
“Do you miss your religion?”
“Haven’t given it any thought, Frank. Why do you ask?”
“Well, the news was always full of stuff about you visiting some holy place and doing something in the name of God.”
“No, I don’t miss that. However, I have wondered about how I changed so fast. One day I felt very inspired by the Word of God and the next day I threw my Bible overboard into the Atlantic.”
“Just like that?”
“Yes, just like that. I never had such a fast change of mind like that before. Not even breaking up with old boyfriends caused such a quick about-face.”
“Does that strike you as odd?”
“Yes, it does. All those urges I had to pray or do good are gone. I still do charity work, but it is all arranged by my husband’s staff.”
“So is picking up new lovers your only charity work you do?” he said giving her a coy look.
“No, I am not that type. You are my first indiscretion,” she said averting her eyes. Frank could sense there was still something of a virgin about her and pulled himself closer to her.
“Well, I am honored by your choosing me. I would be pleased to get to know you better. Of course, on the sly. It would not be good for either of us. The media would have a field day and they would want to follow me everywhere.”
“I suppose it would be harder for you to avoid the publicity than me. I have a staff that can keep the media vultures at least far enough away from me that I can’t hear them shout their silly questions.”
“Did you ever hear of anyone else ever losing their religious beliefs like you did?”
“I asked Richard Dawkins's son if he gave up religion cold turkey or if it came to him slowly.”
“What did he say?” Frank asked sipping his Scotch.
“He said because of his father he never felt religious, but the feeling of atheism came on him slowly. He says now that if he reads the Bible it disgusts him. Too much violence and injustice by both God and his Son.”
“I remember reading about a month ago some nuns in a convent suddenly gave up religion. They started a commune and the Church had to have them physically removed. Did you hear about it?”
“Yes, I remember hearing about that from my husband. He found it all quite funny that they had to be dragged out and carried. I did not see it in the news, but I don’t read three papers a day like my husband does. God, he can read fast.”
Frank smiled, “You are like me, I use God only as a way to accentuate what I want to say. Funny how an atheist can’t get away from religious profanity.”
Marianne laughed and took another sip. Frank did the same and then he took her by the shoulder and moved her closer to him. He kissed her first on the forehead and said, “What a lucky boy am I.” Then he kissed her on the mouth and the sexual action began all over again. While they were busy I picked up the glasses and washed them. I knew they would be thirsty again in a little while.
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