Written by Guy Anthony De Marco / Artwork by Holly Eddy
Smeerf Hunting

Robin slapped a large chunk of bloody red meat down on the ceramic skillet, splattering juices on the backstop. As the tiny
kitchen disinfecting bots deployed like ants to attack the offending mess, Robin considered what to do about the update that
appeared on the digital calendar by the refrigeration unit.

“Going smeerf hunting this weekend,” Robin muttered to the bots. “Saturday is our anniversary, you stupid jerk. But no,
you’re going smeerf hunting with your friends. I don’t even know what the hell a smeerf is; let alone how to cook one.”

The bots finished and streamed back to their storage unit plugged into the wall without a reply.

“Stupid cleaning bots. We should have a full size maid-bot,” said Robin, jabbing the tines of a large fork into the meat as
though it had participated in the ruination of the weekend’s romantic plans. “We’d have one if you didn’t drink so much
beer.” Robin twisted the knife for good measure.

The calendar chimed, signifying a new update.

“Oh, maybe the jerk remembered…”

Robin swore in several languages, glaring at the blinking note:
Sorry, Honey, but I’m getting a beer with the usual guys
after work. Be there after seven.

The meat sizzled on the pan, echoing the sound of furious anger playing in brainwave time. When the cat ambled over and
almost tripped Robin, it was too much to take. With one quick swoop, the pan was off of the stove and the steak smacked
the cat in the face. She puffed up her fur and hissed, then realized the bounty that had fallen from the cat gods. Growling, she
dragged it across the floor to the corner to feast. The cleaning bots streamed out of their box, doing their best to clear the
slimy trail.

Pan still in hand, Robin stood in the kitchen door, fuming and coming up with different ways to greet
that stupid jerk.

The front door rattled, and Robin held up the skillet as though it was a cricket bat.

Melinda poked her head in the front door, smiling. “Hiya, Honey. I have a surprise for you.”

“I have a damn surprise for you too. Come over and get it!”

Melinda pushed the door so it opened all the way. Behind her was a large wooden crate from the Matsu Robotics
Corporation. “I know you’ve wanted a maid-bot, so I’ve saved my beer money for the last few months to get you one.”

Robin’s arm fell down to his side. He felt a couple of cleaning bots tickle his ankle as they swarmed over the drippings from
the pan. “What?”

“Don’t tell me you forgot it’s our anniversary!” said Melinda with a wide smile, her adorable dimples glowing. She put her
work briefcase on the sofa and tilted her head.

“I thought you forgot. What the hell is a smeerf?” Robin felt embarrassed that his eyes were welling up with tears.

Melinda laughed. “I don’t know, I read it in some science fiction novel.” Strolling over to Robin, she wrapped her arms
around her husband and squeezed. “Something smells good. What’s for dinner?”

Robin looked down at the skillet in his hand, then let it drop. He looked deep within Melinda’s eyes and melted. “Me!”
Smeerf Hunting