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The Wilson Manifesto

March 14, 2002

Adam Wilson

* batteries not included 2

bruce and Tammy were regular people. They'd been married for five years, and were more concerned about saving their money and moving out of their apartment than they were with procreating. There was no pitter-patter of little feet in their lives.

They worked from Monday to Friday, nine to five, day after day, week after week. They only saw each other when they came home from work, and then, it was only over quiet dinners and while they sat in front of their television watching re-runs of Home Improvement.

They had a healthy relationship, except for the fact that they didn't talk much, they didn't touch much, and they didn't like each other all of the time.

They decided (through notes and e-mail) that they needed something new in their relationship. Bruce suggested a third person in the bedroom. Tammy suggested a pet. Bruce caved because he knew he'd never get what he wanted.

When he came home from work on Friday, there was a dog sitting behind the door waiting for him. But this wasn't an ordinary dog. It was a robotic dog. You know, one of those moving Tamagachi things that bark and learn tricks and whatnot.

Bruce laughed when he saw it. Tammy laughed with him. They stared down at their little animatronic pup. The little silver dog sat before them, eagerly looking up at its new parents. It whimpered a little, let out a little yelp just to let Bruce and Tammy know it was there. It's tail wagged and a little tongue poked out of its metallic mouth.

'Pet it,' Tammy said, motioning towards the small dog. Bruce gave his wife 'you've got to be kidding' look. She sternly looked back at her husband.

'It wants to be pet,” she said. 'You need to do it. It'll keep us up all night if you don't.'

'You're joking, right?' Bruce said.

'No. This is our pet,' Tammy said, putting her fists on her hips. 'I've named him Wires.'

Bruce looked at his wife, and she met his gaze until he finally gave in and knelt down in front of Wires. He looked at the pup and it looked back at him, tilting his head slightly to the side. Bruce reached out and lightly put his hand on Wires' head. The dog pressed its head into Bruce's hand. Bruce's fingers reached down and began to scratch behind Wires' ears, who wagged his tail excitedly.

Bruce looked up at Tammy, smiling. She smiled back at her husband.

'Welcome to the family, Wires,' she said.

So Bruce and Tammy took Wires into their family.

And, despite Bruce's words, the dog did actually grow. Not in size, but in terms of personality and charisma. Wires was like a real dog.

And Tammy and Bruce loved their pet. It was there for them when they got home from work. It was there when they were leaving in the morning. It would play fetch and it would lick them on the cheek if they slept past their alarm clock in the morning.

Wires became like a child to Bruce and Tammy. Wires was there waiting for them the day they came home from the hospital when Tammy found out they couldn't have children. Tammy was sad, and Wires knew it. He hopped up on her lap and curled up into a ball, whimpering while Tammy cried and Bruce watched Sportsdesk.

During this time, Bruce and Tammy's relationship, what little there was of it, crumbled. They rarely talked to each other. They made little eye contact while they ate dinner. The only time they spoke to each other, or made any recognition of each other, was when they were talking about, or playing with, Wires.

The dog relished in his attention. He went from mother to father, demanding pets and ear rubs, which Bruce and Tammy gladly dished out.

But when Wires took an early bed, Bruce and Tammy sat in silence. They watched their sitcoms and didn't laugh when the laugh track told them to. They watched romantic movies, and didn't cry when the man and woman connected in that magical way at the end of the film.

There came a day when both Bruce and Tammy realized that the only thing that really kept them in the same place together was Wires. This little robotic dog, with the slick metallic tongue, and the copper smelling breath, kept them together. They were happy together when Wires was with them and unhappy whenever he wasn't.

There was a void in Tammy though. She loved Wires, but yearned for a child. She knew she could never give birth, because the doctor had said there was something wrong with her ovaries. She wanted a child so bad that she began to think there was no reason to continue living. She'd thought about ending her life many times. But the image of Wires waiting for her when she got home always turned her mind back to having at least one thing to come home to. Her void didn't grow, but always hung empty over her head.

And in Bruce there was a void also. Lack of communication between Tammy and he had led to a total breakdown in every aspect of their relationship. He wanted to have a child as well, and knowing that Tammy couldn't bear an heir to his name, he impregnated a woman from his work. They worked closely every day, ate lunch together and played at a $25 a day motel when they would leave work early. He was happy that there was at least one woman in his life who could give him what he wanted. He even got to the point where he had divorce papers drawn up, but Wires came into his head, and he couldn't go through with a separation because of the dog. He stayed with his wife for Wires' sake, and much to the chagrin of the woman he was having an affair with.

She later aborted the baby after Bruce wouldn't leave his wife.

So, because of Wires, Bruce and Tammy stayed together. Not happily, but out of convenience. And because they always shared a mutual love for their robotic puppy.

And there came a day when Bruce came home from work to find crying Tammy. She was kneeling on the floor beside Wires, who was lying on his side.

Bruce looked at her and then at Wires.

'What did you do?' Bruce asked.

'He was like this when I came home,' Tammy said through sobs. Bruce knelt down beside Wires, who slowly turned his head to look up at him. His little legs kicked slowly and there was a grinding, whirring noise coming from inside of the dog. His bright red eyes shone dimly and then slowly faded away to black. Bruce looked up at Tammy, tears in his eyes.

'He's gone,' Bruce said. Tammy hung her head, crying. Bruce silently sobbed as well. He reached down and rubbed Wires' head for the last time. Tammy cried as she reached out and stroked the dog for the last time. Tammy looked up at Bruce and he looked back at her.

'Well,' she said. 'What are we going to do now?'

All Good Things ...

i remember being 10-years old like it was only thirteen years ago.

Ten years old was a grand time. Any child will tell you so. There's nothing to worry about. You don't need to worry if you're going to make enough money to pay your bills or if you're ever going to find anyone to love. All you needed to worry about was where He-Man's axe got to and when Transformers was going to be on.

Being ten was great. You had your toys and your friends and your bike and amazing cartoons and it was never going to end. Ask any 10-year-old kid, and they'll tell you they never want to grow up. They never want to leave home and they don't want to get rid of their toys or their Atari.

Little do they know that within 3-5 years, those toys they loved so much will be shoved into a box and stuck in a room where they will be sold on E-Bay or in a garage sale where they will make way less than they're actually worth.

More important things will happen. They'll notice the opposite sex and they'll start watching grown-up shows on TV. The Saturday morning cartoons will suffer dearly. Instead of playing that cool old Atari, they'll get their PlayStation 2s or they'll just stop playing video games all together. They'll start hanging out at bowling alleys or “friend's houses” where some will eat chips and drink Coke, but the odd one will sneak in three of his dad's beers and get drunk for the first time.

Ask a 10-year-old what they think their life is going to be like and they'll tell you that the rest of their lives will consist of their favourite action figures, cartoons, Spaghetti-Os and having their mothers dress them.

They have no idea puberty is on the way...

What am I rambling on about? What am I trying to say?

All good things come to an end. Whether you want them to or not.

And then I heard that the Matthew Good Band broke up...

Adam Wilson is the author of some incredibly bad poetry, many pieces of short fiction and a novel, all of which, you haven't read. Adam Wilson encourages you to write because he would rather hear from you than get another rejection letter.

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