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Split Decision by David Perlmutter

Split Decision

by David Perlmutter
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Page 3

“Even friends have to tell each other the truth sometimes, Jefferson! She’s also just as powerful as you are. And a lot more humane…”

“Humane? She’s a robot!”

“She saves people from peril without thinking of herself—something you are only rarely capable of doing!”

“I assume,” Jefferson said, “that you’re not going to help me kill her then…”

“No!” said a firm but clearly appalled Hamilton as she turned heel on her friend. “More than likely, you’d be the one killed. And, honestly, that’d be an improvement over how you’re acting right now!”

“Fine!” Jefferson snarled as Hamilton walked off. “I can take care of her myself, traitor!”

And she stalked on home to prepare to do just that.

III.

There was a flourish of activity on the tennis court grounds—including the presentation to Jody of a trophy nearly as big as she was, which she faked groaning under to look “good” and preserve her secret robotic identity—before Jody had a chance to change via her programming into street clothes and confide her fears to somebody. Like Jefferson Ball, she had only one “somebody” to do this to, and his words mattered more to her than anything else in the world.

Samuel J. Poodle, familiarly known as “Sam”, was Jody’s classmate at Hudson, and they had become firm friends ever since Jody had publicly defended him from bullying. This bullying had come about because Sam was homosexual, as divisive a thing to be in this future time as it had been in the past. Jody, however, felt it made him more accepting and understanding than the other boys, especially regarding her own “status”, and accepted him as a friend purely for that reason alone.

Sam also, however, had a more serious job in Jody’s life than merely being her companion. As she was the creation of the Robotics department of American Intelligence, Jody’s activities were required to be examined on a regular basis so that she could not use her robotic abilities to betray her masters. That exact situation had happened with two of her prototypes, and, from the evidence, needed to be avoided at all costs. Thus, Jody, after meeting Sam, had volunteered him as her monitor, who would report her activities faithfully to the higher ups when requested, power her up when the electronic circuitry supplying her super—canine abilities began to wane, and discipline her when she had actually or conceivably breached protocol by using the exact same circuitry by which she was powered against her. Sam did not especially like this latter aspect of the job at all, as he was an especially sensitive boy, particularly to the suffering of friends like Jody, but he still did not hesitate to discipline Jody if she got on his nerves. Which was more often than you might think.

He was, naturally, waiting for her when she emerged from the lockers, now, her true strength asserting itself as she handled her heavy trophy just like the lighter tennis racquet she had handled earlier. However, she expressed none of the gleeful joy of the champion, but a surprisingly downcast expression, as if, somehow, she sensed she was being watched by invisible eyes. He saw this in her immediately. Just as she noticed that he was (again!), despite her best discouragement, wearing the maroon-colored skirt he usually favored rather than pants, along with a sweater of the same color, with a large “H” prominently displayed on both parts. For, when he and Jody were not engaged in derring-do as secret agents, Sam was cheering on in her athletic endeavors as the formidable head of Hudson’s cheerleading squad.

“Are you down again, J.R.?” Sam asked. “After what you did today?”

“Dial it down, Sam,” Jody answered, handing him her trophy. The weight of it buckled his knees and he fell to the ground, reflecting the fact that he did not possess anywhere near her physical muscle power. However, he spryly got to his feet again once she took it back.

“I’m not down,” Jody continued. “Far from it, actually. But I am feeling suspicious about something.”

“What?” Sam asked, with the genuine concern she appreciated, although he also crossed his arms and lowered his eyebrows suspiciously as he said this.

“All through the match,” Jody said, “I could swear I heard someone cursing me. And goading me to come up and fight her!”

“Which you obviously didn’t do,” said Sam, “owing to the fact that you haven’t a scratch on you.”

“Please, Sam!” Jody said coyly, batting her eyelids in a flirtatious way, knowing full well Sam wouldn’t potentially harm her for doing this. “I was otherwise engaged! Besides, I couldn’t possibly find that one person right out in the open, in such a big crowd. It wasn’t like she was sitting in the front row…”

“She?” Sam asked.

“Oh, don’t be so surprised, Sam! I have girl rivals. Just like I have boy enemies…”

“But not too many away from the fields of glory, J.R. And, when you go on red diaper patrol,”—here Sam referred to Jody’s superhero suit, a monogrammed one—piece red swimsuit—like garment—“you gotta admit that it’s pretty much a sausage fest…”

“What about Gabagool, the witch queen of Pluto? We had to dethrone her, remember?”

“Okay, her. But she was an old crone. And you and she didn’t exactly scrap in the ring, if I remember correctly,” Sam said as he threw a mock “punch” at her. “You shot your lasers at her, and she threw spells at you and me, and then you lifted up her castle and dropped it down on top of her to kill her off…”

“Okay, okay! Stop reminding me about me being a female Hercules, will ya? I embarrassed myself enough today as it is with that last shot. And, if you’re implying that I couldn’t square off in the ring with a girl…”

“Not at all! I only mentioned it because you yourself said that the mysterious voice taunting you on the court was female in nature.”

“Hang on, Sam! I couldn’t hear her very well ‘cause of the crowd—if it was a “her”. It easily could have been a member of your tribe, for all I know…”

“There are some of us who are like that,” Sam mused. “Only they usually have butcher voices than mine!” He held his paws together and mooned like a teenage girl thinking of a crush—until Jody flicked him on the nose.


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About the Author

David Perlmutter

David Perlmutter is a freelance writer from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Story Discussion

Stories by David Perlmutter

Split Decision by David Perlmutter

Split Decision

He was a male dog like Sam himself, but there the similarities between them ended. The stranger’s fur was white, as opposed to Sam’s light gray, and he was both taller and more powerfully built than the Hudson High cheerleader. This meant that Sam would likely lose if he chose to fight him—though Sam was not much of a fighting guy, anyway. But what was most odd to Sam was the stranger’s dress—a cape, speedo and boots, all red, with a white “R” insignia prominently displayed on all of them. At first, Sam wondered if his reputation had preceded him, and that this was a member of his “tribe” (as Jody had called them) who was after the particular brand of “loving” only he could conceivably supply. But that idea quickly passed—Sam knew full well that his “kind” didn’t advertize themselves that flamboyantly in public. Only beings who mocked them publicly, in the subtle racist fashion of the times, did that. So Sam decidedly to deal with this fellow purely based on what he clearly was: an invader of his personal sanctity.

“Who are you?” he demanded. “And how did you get into my house? I have a deadbolt!”

“I expected that from the likes of you,” answered the stranger curtly. Then, in mocking stereotypical “gay” tones, he added: “Even though you’ve likely seen some royalty in your time, huh? Just not me, sugar—not ‘til now!”

“And you are?” Sam prompted angrily.

“Remus The Twenty-Third,” came the reply, as the stranger switched back to his normal, commanding heterosexual tone of voice. “I’m the King—KING, mind you—of a little plot of land way out there in the farthest regions of space. Some place that you could only dream of visiting!”

Sam, calling on his speed in place of his limited strength, tried to rush past Remus and escape him, but Remus caught him mid—sprint, and, with a powerful thrust, threw him backwards into a conveniently placed chair, from which the seemingly invincible monarch continued to pontificate down towards the secret agent/cheerleader, whom he clearly regarded as a very inferior being.

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