‘But we already have a Granny,’ the children wailed in tonal unison.
‘I know’, said their father, ‘but this one is better.’
‘How?’ asked Anyetta, the eldest of the two.
‘This one can vacuum at the flick of a switch,’ the father said, plucking the first benefit that he could think of and offering it up as evidence, ‘she can clean the house while going about her business’.
‘Nope,’ said Bertha, the youngest of his daughters, ‘I’m not convinced’. She crossed her arms in the way that only four-year-olds can.
‘She can be controlled from either this remote control,’ their father brandished a shiny gizmo replete with holographic perambulation-manipulator, ‘or any of the newly installed wall-mounted devices,’ his hands swept back like a Vegas showgirl assisting a cut-price magician, ‘and she recognises over a thousand spoken word commands.’
Bertha huffed loudly. ‘I like the Granny we have!’
Father’s brow folded in on itself – the skin far less elastic than it used to be. His daily duties called on him to negotiate with the managing directors of some of the world’s largest conglomerates and he did so without breaking a sweat, but winning over young Bertha would be a far greater task.
‘Bertha,’ Father said lovingly, but slightly exasperated, ‘you know that the new Granny is the first release from Daddy’s company since Daddy took it over. If Daddy doesn’t have one and the vid-papers find out there will be a huge fuss.’
Anyetta peeled and inserted a whole tangerine into her mouth and then ate it loudly. Bertha was clearly the pre-agreed spokeswoman for this issue.
Bertha gingerly approached the proposed new Granny. She was tall, slender and chrome-plated. The Cope Industries logo was embossed on her sleek frontis panel, and her barcode stamped on both shoulders, proudly displaying the model number 4139.
‘What model number is our current Granny?’ Bertha asked.
‘I don’t know,’ the father said, wondering if he was making any headway in this battle, his daughter’s poker face being the best he’d ever encountered.
The old Granny trundled in to the kitchen, and instantly observed the whole fruit Anyetta had in her mouth.
‘Anyetta,’ the old Granny said, ‘it is considered good manners to eat tangerine segments individually.’
Anyetta scowled and nodded towards Bertha. Bertha nodded back.
‘OK Daddy – we’ll try the new Granny. This one is getting a bit old and has begun to exhibit possible software faults.’
Their father pumped his fists in victory.
Just as well, too, he thought to himself. What kind of CEO would he be if he couldn’t even depose a ninety-three-year-old woman?