The door recognized Samuel's face and slid open silently. Monica was there, waiting for
"You're late again. Why this time? Don't give me the usual excuses," she
"Stop whining," he retorted, brushing past her into the living room, whose
light came on.
"If you had been here earlier, I could have asked your help. Now it might be too
Samuel took off his shoes and stared at her. "What now? More problems with the
appliances? You know they're sensitive to abuse."
"Nothing so stupid, if you'd just listen. Little George wants to get married. He's
still my baby."
"Your so called Little George is, what, 25? Why shouldn't he get married? What's
the compatibility rating of this one?"
"That's just the problem. The computer must have made a mistake here. Remember how
it mismatched Martha and John? They fight almost every month. And . . ."
"God, Monica, get to the point. What were the ratings between George and this
"Here. This can't be right. Look."
Samuel scanned the compatibilities sheet. "Sexual Fantasies, 97.7. Parental
Techniques, 94.8. Money Management, 93.5. Social Status Valuation, 94.8. "
"Monica, this is a spectacular match. These two will never, ever fight about
anything. They'll always be passionate for each other, for goodness sake. George would be
a fool to pass up this womanand the Domestic Tranquillity Bureau bonus these two
will get will be astounding. The government has finally come up with the perfect marital
match, even better than that couple they paraded on the Tube last year."
"I should have known you'd be no help," Monica said.
"How does this woman feel about these scores? Has George met her yet?"
"She's only 22, Samuel, and obviously is head over heels in love with these
ratings, But Samuel, he's such a baby at heart."
"He'll be a sexual giant with her. And not like us, always bickering."
"That's so like you, not to take this seriously. I don't know what to do. I
suppose when George's father gets home he can try to talk some sense into the boy."
"And just when is your husband due home?"
"I haven't checked the sensor in an hour or so, but his ETA couldn't be before
six. And you know how slow the bullet trains are at this hour. We have plenty of time,
"Good," Samuel smiled, as he got up for a drink. He and Monica would have at
least two hours to fight over George, the money she spent on food that week, his clothing
habits, her weight, whether he should buy a new electronic air departiculator, and the
frequency with which each had sex with the spouse. Each was still enjoying frequent, wild
sex with the spouse, even after 15 years of marriage for him, and nearly as many for her.
Later, when the sensor tweaked its warning, they broke off their squabble about whether
dogs were better pets than cats, and arose, he from the deep chair facing the Tube, she
from the Exersuction Cycle. At the door, Samuel turned to her, and they exchanged a kiss,
tight and quick.
"Was it good for you? She teased, her eyes twinkling in the subdued Security Scan
glow. "Super, Darling," he smiled, looking away shyly. "You give great
Monica playfully swatted his chest. "You're still one hell of a grump yourself,
Sweetie. But hurry, before he comes. I have to shower and get into my Teddy."
Samuel barely heard: he was already at the elevator, humming to himself, and smiling
more than he should have, waiting for the elevator filled with similar faces glowing with
relief, eyes averted.