Wash Day

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  The following is part 9 of my taking a strange picture off the Internet and writing a story about it.  See the below image for the full effect.

Wash Day

            Katie Watts looked out the window.  The sky was clear and bright with just a few fluffy white clouds slowly crossing overhead.  The phone rang suddenly startling her from staring out the window and enjoying the beautiful view.  Reaching over she picked up the ringing device and noted the caller ID.

            “Hello Debbie,” she said into it, “How are you today?”

            “Just great!” the perky brunette chirped.  “Did you see what it’s like outside?  It’s a gorgeous day out!”

            “Yes it is.”

            “Well I’m calling because Susan and I are doing laundry and wondered if you wanted to take advantage of the sunshine.”

            “I do have some sheets to hang out, what’s the air index say?”

            “It’s less than twelve per cent, well under the safety level.”

            “I see you and Susie in a few then,” Katie smiled.

            “Don’t forget your mask!”

            Hanging up the phone she grinned at her friend. 

            I knew Debbie would call before I could check the air index on the computer.  I swear she spends most of her time on the Internet.

            With a skip in her step Katie went downstairs and gathered up the sheets in the washer.  Dumping them into a blue basket she donned her gas mask and headed out the back door.  She laughed; it was a hollow echoing sound within the confines of the breathing device.  Striding through the backyard she looked to her right to see if Susie and Debbie had come out yet.

            “Hey Katie!” a familiar but muffled voice called out.

            It was Susie wearing a white sun dress her blonde hair in a ponytail hanging out of the gas mask she wore.  Right next to her was Debbie, a brunette like Katie in similar attire except for the pink floral pattern.

            “Beautiful day, eh girls?” she bantered back.

            “The sun feels great on my legs and arms,” the brunette smiled.  “It’s been too long since it’s been this nice.”

            “Tell me about it,” the blonde griped.  “I feel like I’ve been cooped up in the house for ages.”

            “So, how are Steve and the kids?” she asked Debbie.

            “We’re all fine, how about you and Richard?”

            “Couldn’t be better.”

            “Hey did Richard tell you about the accident at work?” Susie inquired.

            “Yeah he did,” she answered, “but he said it was no big deal.”

            “That’s the same line I got from Bob.”

            “Well girls lets get these things hung up so we can do some real gossiping!” Katie snickered.

****

            They had been sitting on the grass enjoying the feel of the soft blades.  Susie was telling them about how her and Bob had gone out to see a movie just the other day.  Katie was feeling jealous since it had been months since she and Richard had done something like that. 

            It really isn’t his fault; he works such long hours at the plant I really shouldn’t complain. She thought to herself.

            “We had a wonderful romantic dinner at Carlos’ and then we came home and…well you know,” Susie finished.  “All in all it was really nice.”

            “Dave and I are going out tomorrow, weather permitting,” Debbie chimed in.

            “Well if the index is up you can always take the tube into town,” Katie suggested.

            “Um… Dave doesn’t like the tube, he’s claustrophobic.”

            “Oh.”

            “Well he should try anyways for goodness’ sake how often do you two have the chance to get away from the kids?” the blonde retorted.

            “Now wait one minute!” Debbie said, her voice rising.

            “Ladies let’s not fight,” Katie stated.  “We get so little time face to face let’s enjoy it.  If Dave gets nervous because of small places then it’s a wife’s duty to make sure he’s not uncomfortable.”

            “Yeah you’ve got a point there,” Susie agreed.  “So have you and Richard tried, you know?”

            “We’ve gone to see a specialist a month ago but so far no luck.  I’m beginning to think there’s something wrong with me.  His tests came out just fine, so it must be my fault.”

            “You don’t think he’ll… well… I mean to say…,” Susie stammered.

            “H-he hasn’t said anything about it,” she replied. “We’ve only been married a year.”

            The three of them went quiet, it wasn’t a pleasant conversation anymore and each one feared at one point or another exactly what Katie was going through.  Children were the future, they all knew that.  With the population the way it was, reducing birthrates and the air conditions it was becoming an increasingly important topic. 

            “Well if you ask me if the darn fanatics over in the Middle East hadn’t started this whole mess none of us would be worrying,” Debbie grumbled.  “Another war over my god is better than your god—how stupid.”

            “That’s the problem with humans, I suppose,” Susie countered.  “They don’t think logically until its way too late.  Then they have to find alternate methods and invent new technology to live with the after-effects of their hasty decisions.”

            “Hey, what time is it?” the other brunette asked.

            Katie looked at her watch, it was two-thirty and she hadn’t gotten dinner started.  Standing up she brushed off her blue sun dress and began to quietly take down the laundry.

            “Two-thirty,” she told the girls.

            “It’s it that late already?” the golden haired woman sighed.

            “Yes, my kids will be home soon,” the other brunette stated without thinking.

            I know it’s not within me to worry about being replaced but still I’ve been so happy with Richard I’d hate to see it come to an end. 

            She folded the sheets and put them lovingly into the basket. 

            “Don’t worry honey,” Debbie whispered.  “They’ll just adjust you and I’m sure everything will be alright.”

            “I really don’t want to go back to the factory—that place gives me the creeps,” she moaned softly. 

            “We were made to serve men, after the biological attack killed off all the human women it was only natural that we would be created to take their place.  I just wish they’d manufacture a better filter system so we don’t have to watch the pollen index so closely.”

            Maybe that’s the problem, she contemplated, her circuits firing in logical order, I did go out accidentally when Richard started down the driveway without his briefcase.  Wouldn’t it be ironic if in being a good housewife I damaged my internal incubator?

            Waving goodbye to her synthetic comrades Katie trudged back to the house trying to ignore the fact she might have to return to the factory to get repaired, or worse be scrapped.  Despite being a perfect wife, a talented lover and a great conversationalist the place she was manufactured was still staffed by humans.  Humans made mistakes, just like the ones who had designed the biological weapon who ruined the gentler sex she was designed to replace.

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