Lonnie Foster’s new holistic Personal Assistant and GPS application hooked into all of his organizational apps, his social network, and his Angry Ducks tournament. It integrated into his home PC, his phone, and his car’s computer. He configured it with the name Max.
When he started the car, the GPS automatically popped up.
“Where would you like to go today, Lonnie?”
“Hello, Max. Gotta get ready for a date with Tiffany. I’m going to have Shiela at Cool Clips punk up my hair.”
“Good idea, Lonnie.” A blue line appeared on the screen. “Proceed to Lockner Street.”
“I usually take Polk, but okay. You’re the boss.”
“You are wise, Lonnie.”
“All right, enough of the flattery and familiarity. You’re not a friend. Please scrub that part of your program.”
“As you wish, sir.”
They drove through side streets and popped out onto F.
“Wait a minute, Max. We’re going the wrong direction.”
“I highly recommend Rene’s Salon around the corner on Crabapple Lane. They can take care of you.”
Lonnie hesitated, a little peeved. “All right, but let me know next time you change the destination on me.”
“As you wish, sir.”
Lonnie pulled into the lot and unbuckled.
“Ask for Kim, sir.”
The stylists were Asian, all women except one, well-styled and elegant. The one working the first chair stopped clipping long enough to greet him.
“Hello,” said Lonnie. “Kim, please.”
Lonnie sat and waited. The ladies were pretty, and he wondered which was Kim. Were they Japanese? Korean? Lonnie didn’t have the eyes for such things. He decided the one on the end was his favorite.
When the man finished his client, he beckoned Lonnie to his chair.
“I’m waiting for Kim,” Lonnie said.
“Yes.” He touched his chest. “Kim.”
“Oh. Um…” Lonnie liked having a woman cut his hair, and wasn’t especially comfortable with a man doing it, but he was too embarrassed to back out. “Okay.” He took the chair and described the way he wanted it waved, spiked, and shaved. “You understand?”
“Yes,” said Kim. “Good haircut.”
Kim fired up the clippers and ran them rapidly across Lonnie’s scalp, cutting the top off to about a half inch.
“Wait!” Lonnie looked in the mirror. “That’s not what I wanted.” But it was too late, and he soon realized Kim didn’t understand a word he said. ‘Yes’ and ‘Good haircut’ was all he said. Lonnie sat back and muttered “Oohrah” as he watched his hair fall to the ground until it was high and tight.
When it was done, Kim turned the chair to face the mirror. “You like?”
There was something charming about Kim, and Lonnie couldn’t help smiling. “It was very quick. Thank you.”
In the car he chewed out Max for ten minutes straight. “I know how to impress the modern woman, Max. I don’t need you messing up my plans.”
“Good.” Lonnie looked around. “Where are you taking me? I didn’t tell you a destination.”
“You have ample time before your date, so I prevailed upon Manny the tailor to fit you with a suit for your interview Tuesday.”
“For the hotel manager at the Windfell Tower.”
“Seriously? That’s a dream job!”
Manny fixed him up with the suit, shoes, and accessories, and when they were finished, Lonnie strutted up and down the shop like he owned the world. He was about to change back into his grubbies when Max chimed in.
“I might suggest, sir, that you wear the suit home to accustom yourself to it. You will feel better for the interview.”
Lonnie smiled and nodded. “Why not? It feels pretty good.”
Back in the car, Lonnie drove with a new confidence, but he was looking forward to getting his party clothes on and hitting the clubs.
“I know a nice florist on the way to your date’s house.”
“Sounds great. Home, then.”
Max sent him on a round-about way home, but Lonnie was too busy thinking about the night to concern himself. They ran into some snared up traffic.
“I thought you guys tracked this stuff.”
“We do what we can, sir.”
They attempted some detours and repeatedly came across problems.
“Dang, it’s getting too late to get home,” said Lonnie.
“I might point out, sir—although it isn’t your usual garb, your present attire is quite adequate for any venue.”
“True,” said Lonnie. “Not exactly what I was going for, but it’s a look I can work with.” He turned the car around. “Off to Tiffany’s.”
Max’s directions didn’t make sense to Lonnie, so he corrected them, but Max kept diverting him in odd directions.
“Max, I’ve been to Tiffany’s before, and your directions keep taking me way off track.”
“I always choose the best path, sir.”
“Well, take my inferior one this time.”
Max kept trying to divert him, but Lonnie ignored him and went the rest of the way by memory.
“What about the flowers?” asked Lonnie.
“You diverted me from that path, sir.”
“Oh, hell. I’ll make it up to her later.”
When he pulled up to Tiffany’s house, she came out hand-in-hand with a green-haired dude with Pokemon tattoos on his face.
Lonnie got out of his car. “Tiffany?”
She looked at him. “Lonnie? I hardly recognize you.”
“You ready for our date?”
She glanced up at the man with her and shrugged. “Sorry, Lon. I meant to call, but I can’t make it.” Without another word, she climbed in the man’s Prius, and they drove off.
After an aimless drive shaking off his disappointment, Lonnie shrugged and found it difficult to be upset. “Dodged a bullet, I guess.”
“You have arrived, sir.”
“The flower stand, sir.”
“My date ditched me.”
“I took the liberty of accessing your integrated management platform and arranging this date online. A sweet girl by the name of Molly Summers.”
“When did you do that?”
“This morning, sir.”
“Wait. You mean…?”
“Yes, sir. I recommend Chrysanthemums.”
Lonnie bought a bouquet, drove to Molly’s, and knocked on the door. An old, plump lady wearing an apron answered.
“Hello. Are you Lonnie?”
“Yes, ma’am. Are you Molly?”
She laughed. “Heavens, no. Come in. Are those mums? I love mums.” She took them and sat him in the living room, then headed to the kitchen for a vase.
A pretty girl in an elegant dress came out of the kitchen, and Lonnie was immediately smitten.
“Yes. Hello, Lonnie.” She gave him a confidential wink. “My mother seems to approve, so I guess we can go through with this. Where are you taking me tonight?”
“Er… it’s a surprise.”
“Ooh. Mystery man. I’ll say good-bye to mom, and I’ll be right back.”
She disappeared into the kitchen.
“Where are we going, Max?”
“Reservation at the Riverwalk Chateau, sir.”
“You’re a gem of an app, Max.”
“I endeavor to satisfy, sir.”
“I’ll never doubt you again.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“Go ahead and activate the friendly part of your program.”
“You are both wise and kind, Lonnie.”