I wake. For a moment, I stare at the ceiling trying to remember something. Something important. Something important happened last night, but the details escape me. Something fascinating yet sinister, like touring the CIA offices. Something exotic yet somehow familiar, like putting hot sauce on meatloaf. I wonder if I have a hangover. I wonder why I am thinking about the CIA and meatloaf. I roll onto my side.
There is a strange woman in bed with me.
A lot of things happen at once. First, I realize that this is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, and I am a lucky, lucky man. Second, I realize that this is not my wife, and I panic. Third, I realize that she's awake, has been watching me sleep. Fourth, before I can really react to thoughts 1 and 2, she smiles at me and speaks with a lovely accent I can't quite place: "So. You like new wife, yes? Yes. Up now, I make breakfast."
She gets out of bed and stretches, perfect curves sliding under silky lingerie and momentarily making me forget about breakfast, meatloaf, and whoever it was I was married to before last night. She seems to know this, and smiles at me again, but apparently she's serious about making breakfast. She turns and strides confidently from the room. As she does, I see for the first time the large Microsoft logo splayed across her back. My stomach lurches as I suddenly remember everything.
Windows Vista. I bought a new computer yesterday... and it came with Windows Vista.
I feel sick, but there's nothing for it but to get up. I step into the hallway and realize that she has remodeled the entire house. I really like the bathroom, it's very modern and artistic. As I shower I discover that the acoustics are absolutely perfect. I dry off with a giant fluffy towel and think to myself that this can't be all bad.
I return to the bedroom to dress. She has set out clothes for me. I am startled to discover that they're fresh from the dryer, warm and soft and smelling faintly of fabric softener. The jeans and shirt are a new style for me, but they feel fantastic as I pull them on, comfortable and loose in all the right places. As I look myself up and down in the full-length mirror, I realize that I look really good dressed like this. You hardly even notice the logo.
It takes me five full minutes to realize that my wallet and glasses are missing. They're not on the nightstand or the dresser. Well, maybe she put them someplace when she exchanged my clothes. I head downstairs to ask her.
The question dies on my lips as I reach the foyer. First off, my house now has a foyer. Sunlight streams in through thousands of cut facets. There is so much glass I almost wonder if there are walls. White tile stretches across the floor, forming a beautiful backdrop for stunning furniture and art. My house now has art in it. And there, by the front door, stands my beautiful new bride, smiling fondly at me as she silently throttles the paperboy.
The world goes dark and my vision becomes a tunnel. I see the paperboy, pinned to the wall. Her impossibly strong hands around his throat, squeezing. His feet are kicking--she has lifted him off the floor by his neck. He looks desperately at me, eyes wide in terror, mouth opening and closing but unable to make a sound. My lovely wife smiles again and says, "This paperboy needs your permission to continue."
Numbly, I nod my head. Instantly she releases the paperboy. He coughs once, then stands up and smiles as if nothing has happened. He hands me the paper and leaves. Still dumbfounded, I watch silently as she pads softly to the kitchen and begins cooking.
After several minutes I realize that I am just standing there, watching her. I am still shaking, but she is so beautiful... so beautiful it makes my chest ache. I continue staring until the shaking goes away. Eventually I drag myself from my reverie, but it is not easy. I decide to try conversation.
"Oh, when I was dressing, I noticed that my wallet and glasses are gone. Did you move them? Where are they?"
"Glasses?" she asks in reply. "...wallet?"
"Yeah, so I can do stuff."
"I can do stuff," she says. "With me, you can do more."
"Uh, yeah... but I really need my glasses."
She smiles at me thoughtfully. I smile back, but slowly I realize that she's not going to answer me. After several seconds of standing there looking beautiful, she turns back to the stove and resumes cooking.
"Okay," I announce. "I'll find them myself." Immediately she jumps in front of me.
"You would like help finding something? I have many new ways to search."
Ooookay. Kind of creepy, but... "Yeah. Where are my glasses?"
"Yes. Oh, okay. Look, what I want is to see the screen resolution."
She turns and goes straight to a cupboard. "Resolution is in cupboard seven. Appearance and Personalization, Adjust screen resolution. Also in cupboard nine, Ease of Access Center, Adjust screen resolution for reading."
"Oh, I see. It used to be I just right-clicked anywhere on the desktop and chose Properties. Cupboard seven, I guess. I just want to see what the current resolution is."
She listens dutifully but stares at me blankly.
"Well? Let's have a look. What is the resolution?"
She looks into cupboard seven. "You are using Gateway Widescreen LCD monitor and Norwood Micro LCD. I have set best resolutions for them. Would you like breakfast?"
"No, I want to know what the resolution is."
"It is the best for these monitors. They are side by side now. I can duplicate the same image on both of them if you want--"
"No! Just tell me what the resolution is! It's a brand-new monitor and I want to know what the native LCD resolution is! I don't want to change anything, I just want to know what you're doing with it!"
She continues to smile beautifully at me, but does nothing. It's as if she doesn't realize how frustrated I am. Or perhaps she cannot conceive the possibility of not satisfying me, of not being beautiful enough. I realize this is getting nowhere. I march past her and peer into the cupboard.
It is full of beautifully polished tools and devices, laid out in an aesthetically pleasing pattern. The pattern is strange to me but I can see that once I learn it it will be easier to find and use the tools I use most. It's annoying now, but I can already start to see how I could get used to this. At last I see my glasses on a back shelf, tucked out of the way. I reach in and pull them out.
Suddenly the world goes dark again. She has turned me around, her beautiful gaze locked with mine. I cannot breathe, and realize with horror that her perfect hands are closed about my throat. The world, so full of sound, goes eerily silent. I claw at her hands but they are unyielding. She smiles, as beautifully as always, and says, "Display Properties needs your permission to continue." Somehow I manage to nod or squeak out an affirmation, and she lets go. Color and sound return to the world as I fall to me knees, gasping for breath.
I stay down for several minutes, not daring to look up at her. She resumes cooking. I don't look up until I hear her setting the table. At last I climb to my feet and ask the only question I can think of.
"What's for breakfast?"
She smiles that perfect smile at me again and replies, "Meatloaf."
I look at the meatloaf. I look at her. I rub my neck and think of the CIA. I look at her again. She really is gorgeous.
"Oh, what the hell," I say as I sit down and grab the hot sauce. "I can get used to this."