Tim asks, “What are you doing in the dark?”
John says, “Writing a love letter to Anita on my laptop.”
“I don’t remember an Anita. Do I know her?”
“I don’t know. You both come from the same place.”
“Well, this is what I have so far.”
My Dearest Anita,
As I tinker with my motorcycle, oiling its gears and tightening its bolts, I cannot help but think of you. You are the lubricant that keeps my heart running smoothly and the wrench that tightens my soul.
John makes the corrections suggested by the AI-connected Spell Checker.
Tim says, “Is Anita a woman or a form of transportation?”
“Haha. The motorcycle is a great metaphor for love.”
“Right, Shakespeare used it all the time.”
An ad on the side of his letter reads, “The five beneficial foods for people with schizophrenia.” John ignores the ad and continues reading.
Just as a motorcycle needs regular maintenance to keep running at peak performance, my love for you must be nurtured and cared for. And just as a motorcycle can take me on the most exhilarating journeys, my love for you takes me on the most thrilling ride of my life.
A notice pops up, “Saving to cloud…” and then disappears.
Tim asks, “What kind of motorcycle do you have?”
John answers, “I don’t have a bike.”
“Have you ever ridden one?”
“Well, not a real one.”
“What other kind is there?”
“Well, I mean, I’ve thought about it. Just never gotten around to it.”
“Okay. You can make the analogy that riding a bike is like riding a woman. Not sure that is how I’d phrase it in a love letter, though. Is she a biker chic? Does she have a lot of tats and wear leather?”
“No. She’s kind of.” John tries to picture her in his mind. “Not as strong as I thought. I can’t remember any more.”
Tim offers, “Oily and smoky?”
John grimaces. He looks up at Tim but doesn’t see his face in the dark. He turns his attention back to the screen.
He sees another pop-up advertising twenty-four-hour-a-day psychiatric treatment and says, “What is with all of these ads I keep getting for mental health treatment and medications. So annoying.”
Tim chuckles, “Maybe they are trying to tell you something.”
“Very funny.” He dismisses the pop-up and continues his reading.
I will always be your mechanic, constantly working to keep our love in top condition. And just as a motorcycle can withstand the toughest of roads, our love will weather any storm.
Forever yours, John.
John types in Anita’s address and hits the send button. His email application responds with, “No address found. No suggestions.”
He air-swipes at the monitor, “Worthless machine. How can you not auto-complete the email address? I write to her all the time.”
Tim says, “Don’t you have a younger sister named Anita? What happened to her.”
John clutches his temples and crumbles into a ball, whimpering.
Tim continues accusingly, “She died in a motorcycle accident, didn’t she?”
John whimpers, “No. No. No. No.” He is crying. He wants to beat on Tim. He runs over to the wall and turns the light on. The room is empty. The door is locked from the inside.
He pulls on his hair. He wants to destroy something. He picks up his laptop. The webpage says, “Experiencing a mental health crisis? Call the hotline for immediate care from one of our mental health care professionals. Now. John. Here is the number.”
John puts the laptop down and pulls out his phone.
He makes the call.
Author’s note: ChatGPT assisted. Ironically, the AI wrote all the crazy parts. Art by Craiyon.