Friday, December 30, 2011

The Extension, Part 6

I glanced toward Marge. “Hey, hun, Janie's meeting somebody today... a Mr. Michaelson? Do you know who that is?”

Marge spent another ten seconds buried in her literature before she looked up to answer. “Yeah, that's her PET Mentor. They've just been assigned, and they're having their first meeting tonight.”

“Wow, already? They didn't do that with us until we were 11!”

“Well, he's 12, dear, and yes, they're doing it earlier these days. Kids want to be prepared as early as they can be.”

I set the Tablet down; I had no interest in the day's news, nor in what I was reading at the moment. I got up and started digging through my wardrobe, which was lean, but versatile and effective – Marge and I had put a good deal of time into licensing just the right articles, cultivating a variety of colors and styles, so we always had a range of different outfits. I tried on a pair of stained jeans, and then threw a synthetic t-shirt over my hairy chest; after a few seconds, I realized the jeans looked too artificial with the t-shirt, so I switched out into a more modest pair of khakis. Marge's comment put me in the mood to wear that tweed jacket, and she was right – the hat was a great little accessory at the top of the ensemble.

Marge, perhaps inspired by my perkiness, decided to get herself out of bed as well. She put on a robe, her old standby for lounging around the apartment, and picked up a plate of pastry shells she had made the previous night. I heard her take them downstairs to the common area of the building, where she could have some people try them and give their opinions. She said she liked the social energy down there; I suspected she also liked the occasional bit of attention from passers-by. Left alone, I put on an audite-book called The Dismantling of Private Transit: A Story of Reclamation, and took notes on my Tablet while I listened.

I was still listening when Janie arrived home a little after four. She changed into a more comfortable outfit and picked up her Tablet almost immediately. I switched off my audite at the end of a paragraph.

“Getting started already?”

“Yeah! Come on over. I want to finish my core subjects before dinner.”

“Very enterprising! Are you going to have anything left for your meeting after dinner?”

“No, dad, that's why I'm getting started now. It's not supposed to be a study session or anything... just an introductory meeting.”

I sat down next to her at the table. She was pulling up today's sub-lecture and assignments in differential mathematics. “Well, it sounds exciting,” I said to her as I synced my Tablet up to hers. “So let's get this out of the way, I guess!”

(The RSS for this serial fiction can be found here.)

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