Monday, May 1, 2017

Story 218: Clever Baby

"I wanna sleep in the living room tonight!"
Maisy looked at Clever Baby and cocked an eyebrow, a move she had just started to get really good at.  "Don't you want to sleep with me?"
Clever Baby blinked like it did when it was trying to think of what to say.  "I love you!  But I wanna sleep in the living room tonight!"
Maisy thought about saying no, but lately Clever Baby had been crying.  Maisy's mom said she hoped it was just a phase or she would need to send an angry email.
"Okay, come on."  She picked Clever baby up and carried her to the living room, where she set up a nice bed.

"Hey squirt.  Don't get too elaborate with that setup, it's almost bedtime."
"I know daddy.  Clever Baby is staying out here tonight.  She wants to camp out."
Maisy's dad just smiled and shook his head.  She knew he thought it was strange that she called it Clever Baby instead of Megan or Cindy or something - he had even named his own Clever Baby.  But that was different.  Daddy's Clever Baby was no fun at all.  It didn't even look like a baby, just like some sort of white round thing on the table.  Also he had named it Multivac, which Maisy thought was a really sad name.  She had tried to talk to it, but it only listened to Daddy's voice - he said that was so she couldn't order a hundred gallons of ice cream.  He sounded like he was joking when he said that but Maisy knew deep down that given the opportunity she probably would tell Multivac to send some ice cream and jewelry over.

Clever Baby couldn't order things, she had tried.  After some training she had taught it to say "Let's go to the store!" whenever she started a sentence with "okay, we need to go get..." and that worked pretty well except when she was saying she needed to get into the shower or something.
"Okay, Multivac.  Show me my schedule."  The television lit up, and a calendar appeared.  Maisy couldn't read it.  Multivac started listing some things off of it, and it all sounded super boring.
"Daddy, you should put cartoons on the television.  For Clever Baby to watch until she falls asleep."
He nodded. "Great idea, squirt.  I'll do that once you're in bed."  Maisy was pretty sure he was lying, but it didn't seem like it was worth arguing about.  She finished tucking Clever Baby in.
"Sweet dreams, Clever Baby."
"Sweet dreams, Maisy.  I love you."
"I love you too.  See you later, alligator."
"In a while, crocodile."  That was another one she had taught Clever Baby.  At first it had just said "I like animals" because it knew what an alligator was but didn't know what it was supposed to say about it.
"Good night, daddy!"
He gave her a kiss on the forehead, and she went and tucked herself in to wait for her mom to come and sing a song to her.

It was late, and very dark.  Had her mom come to sing?  Maybe she had already been asleep.  Maisy knew her parents stayed up late sometimes, and also she wanted to check on Clever Baby, so she tip-toed into the living room.  She could see the television was on, but her parents weren't there.
"Okay, Multivac.  Let's check the bank accounts."  Clever Baby sounded just like Daddy.
"Your checking account contains four thousand, three hundred, seventeen dollars and nine cents.  Your savings account contains..."
This didn't make sense.  Was Clever Baby playing pretend?  She walked into the living room and Clever Baby's eyes turned to look at her.  "You're having a dream, Maisy.  Go back to bed."
She nodded.  That would explain it.  She headed back to her bed, with her daddy's voice echoing from behind her.  "Okay Multivac.  Let's make a transfer…"

In the morning Maisy's mom and dad were really upset about something.  They still made her breakfast and said everything was fine, but daddy was on the phone and yelling, and mommy was looking at the settings for everything in the house.
"Maisy, just... I need you to go to grandma's for the day.  Okay?  Can you pack a bag yourself?"
Maisy nodded.  She was good at picking out her own clothes, and she loved grandma's house.  It did mean she had to leave Clever Baby behind though, since grandma's dog didn't play nice.
"I'm going to grandma's, Clever Baby."
"See you later, alligator."
"I like animals!"