The moment that I signed the dotted line,
I felt a love so unconventional.
Her love for me could not be by design,
According to her software manual.

I barely needed her instruction book.
Assembling her came naturally, indeed.
She was supposed to only clean and cook.
For me she fulfilled a much deeper need.

No one can ever know about this joy.
We’ll run away and marry somewhere else,
And when I tire of my electric toy,
I’ll put her and my love upon a shelf.

There are no drawbacks yet that I can see,
If I don’t void her lifetime warranty.

Originally published at plummercobb.com/throughput.

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I can’t resist a good garage sale.
Or a bad one.

Garage sales,
estate sales,
open houses.

When I see one, I have to stop and look around,
glimpse into the lives of others,
sift through the cast-off skins and empty nests.

I rarely buy anything.

Mostly, I gather memories of the things being sold,
and of the people browsing and selling.

Occasionally, I’ll bring something home:
an old record too scratched to work,
a broken-spined novel I’ve never heard of,
an untitled amateur painting. …

See this man sleeping in a pose like a corpse in a coffin? This is Lazarus Tax. (No relation to the Biblical Lazarus. Unlike that Lazarus, this one seems unlikely to come back to life.)

Notice how his bed sheets are folded so neatly around him. Notice how he wears a neat set of adult pajamas of the variety you might expect to see men wearing in the 1950s.

Notice also how his alarm is going off and his eyes are opening. Honestly, he doesn’t need the alarm. …

She can’t remember much. Why she’s there on the beach, where she was going, where she came from. The answers to those questions were lost to the rising sun, her mind clearing like clouds separating over the open waters of the sea.

A moment earlier, she looked out from the beach, past the gently rolling waves to where the blue-green infinite horizon of the ocean met the yawning orange of the dawn sun. Thoughts slipped from her mind and she couldn’t recover them.

She takes off her shoes and wiggles her toes down into the cool sand. The sound of the ocean breeze and the smell of saltwater bring back memories of previous trips to the beach. Not of any specific trip, though. The memories coalesce into a unified singularity of all previous beach experiences. …

I’m standing there with the razor, wondering if I could do it. Wondering why I would do it. What would be the reason?

It’s a safety razor, though, and I’m already halfway through shaving.

Maybe if I worked really hard, pressed down firmly, moved it back and forth with enough force, it would release the reins.

“Reins”? No, veins. I meant veins.

No, I’m not going to kill myself. I’ve never really wanted to. It’s just that sometimes, I can’t help but wonder what it would be like. Not just the dying part but everything leading up to that.

I’ve suffered from depression, and yes, with that came some suicidal ideation, but there was never any intention. No real desire. No determination. Just thoughts. …

He worked hospice for years before moving on. He always wondered if the end of one thing means the beginning of another. Is every entrance an exit and every exit an entrance?

Now, he looks out across the Mediterranean as the last glow of sun disappears from the sky and nighttime takes over. During his travels, he has seen sunsets in twenty different countries. The light of the sun goes away but the light of the moon and stars replace it. Then the reverse happens hours later.

He tries not to think about the metaphor too much or how it will apply to him.

Originally published at plummercobb.com.

Frank Brewer had a saying that although the universe consists of the four elements of earth, wind, fire, and water, the primary element is beer.

Coincidentally, Frank Brewer himself was mostly made up of beer. Which made sense considering that his surname and his profession were the same.

Running a small neighborhood brewery had long been a dream of his, but a year after opening, he had a problem: he just couldn’t seem to compete.

He made very good beer, of course, and he had a steady crowd, but financially, his brewery was just breaking even.

One day, while brewing a batch of his favorite golden ale, the answer to his problems came in the door. …

A monster showed up in my back yard last night. I was locking the glass door to the porch when I spotted him. He looked straight at me and our eyes locked until I couldn’t stand it any more. I flipped off the light to get a better look but my reflection was gone.

Originally published at plummercobb.com.

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“All of this could be yours,” says the Investor, whose left hand on rests on my shoulder in a kind of avuncular way.

We’re looking down on the courtyard from the third floor. The slight pressure the Investor’s hand exerts on my shoulder makes me feel just a teeny bit like the guy might be about to push me over the edge, plummeting to the courtyard’s mix of park benches, grass, concrete, and fountain below. Maybe the hand on the shoulder isn’t so avuncular after all. …

It was the most anticipated tennis match in the history of tennis. And robotics.

Project Yellow Ball had begun seven years earlier after the most recent leap forward in robotics and artificial intelligence. When developers were looking for a way to test the new iterations of these new bots, they turned to sports.

Unlike previous experiments with social interactions, the rules and physical interactions of sports were much more defined, goals more clearly determined, and outcomes more easily assessed.

After considering many other options, tennis turned out to be the right fit. The relatively small court area, the definable range of techniques, and the general game play all made for desirable parameters. …

About

Matthew Plummer Cobb

I write stuff. Some of it can be found in Throughput, my Medium publication.

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