Melissa Destiny

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Chapter 2.2

Melissa woke up as the car came to a stop in front of Lee's house.

"Shall I pull around to the side?" Suky asked.

"Okay, why not?" she yawned.

Suky took the car into the narrow driveway beside the house. "So this is Lee's famous place, huh?" Melissa said as they stepped out of the car.

"I have little doubt," Suky said. "1919 Priscilla Court, correct?"

"Uh-huh." Melissa knocked on a side door near where they had parked. She was answered by a skinny guy with glasses and a few days' growth of beard.

"Hey, Mel!" he said.

She threw her arms around him. "What's up, Lee-Bo!"

"Not much," he said, patting her on the back. "Come on in."

"Excuse me," Suky said. Melissa turned around. The robot was having trouble making his way up the steep concrete steps.

"Here, Suky. Let me help you..."

"Not to worry," he said. "Just hold a minute." Suky squared up momentarily, then unwrapped in a new configuration with extended arms and legs. He took a running start and mounted the steps quickly, letting momentum compensate for his lack of balance. Melissa caught him with her hand as he ran up against her knee.

Lee's house was a single large room. The side door led into a kitchen area, which he had partially set off with some shelves and a bread rack full of wines and Scotches. The walls of the main living space were filled with books. There was a small TV, with books stacked on it, in front of the couch. There were two desks strewn with papers, and more tall stacks of papers on the floor.

"This is Suky," Melissa said.

Lee pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose and looked down at Suky. "Pleased to meet you," he said.

Suky tottered out from under Melissa's wing, squared up, and returned to his normal shape. "How's it hanging," he answered.

"Uh, fine." Lee said. "It's so cool y'all are here."

"It's great to be here!" Melissa hugged him again. "God, you look...busy."

"I'm working on a paper."

"Ooh. I hope we're not bothering you."

"No, no. I have to eat, anyway. Do you guys want a beer?"

"Sure," Melissa said.

Lee took two Fat Tires from the fridge and handed one to Melissa.

"Cheers," she said.


"So, what's your paper about?"

"Umm..." He ran his hands through his hair. "It's philosophy of A.I."

"Mmh," Melissa said, pulling the bottle away from her mouth. "I bet Suky would be interested in that. Oh, you know, I forgot to have him call for reservations. Hey, Suky?"

"Yes?" The robot was standing in front of the bookshelves, scanning them systematically. His head turned slowly from side to side as he spoke.

"Could you call the barbecue place and make reservations for us?"


Lee laughed. "You don't need reservations for a barbecue place. Where are we going?"

"Goode Company."

"Yeah, don't worry about it. It's cafeteria style. No big deal."

"Oh, okay. Well, never mind, Suky. What are you doing, Suky? Don't you want to come over and get to know Lee?"

Suky turned away from the shelves and came to stand next to Melissa's chair.

"How do you like Houston so far, Suky?" Lee asked.

"I'm glad I don't have to breathe," Suky answered.

Lee smiled. "True."

"He's joking," Melissa explained. "It's very beautiful here."

"No, I'm not," Suky said. "It's just an observation based on routine air toxicity readings. Of course, I'm still susceptible to corrosive effects over a longer period, but I didn't think it worth mentioning since we're only here to visit." Suky flexed his legs and sprang onto the sofa next to Melissa.

"Right," Lee said. "Well, listen, how long are y'all going to be in town? Do you have a place to stay?"

"We haven't really found a place yet," Melissa answered.

"You should stay here."

"Oh, I don't want to bother you while you're writing your paper," Melissa said.

"It's no trouble, really. It'd be fun."

"Are you sure?"


"Cool. Well...are you starving, Lee? I assume you've been writing all day without food...?"

"Yeah," he said. "Let me just get my shoes and we'll go."



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