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Zenon Eyes II: "I'll Be Seeing You"
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The "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" Fanfiction Online Anthology

 +J.M.J.+

Zenon Eyes II:

I’ll Be Seeing You

By “Matrix Refugee”

Author’s Note:

There are so many loose ends in “A.I.” (like most Kubrick movies!) that I had to take up some of the slack involving the Swintons. Again, sentimental stuff (bear with me), but it gets tougher. Like “Zenon Eyes I”, I dedicate this to Laurie E. Smith, (Thanks for the review! I’ll rectify my previous lack of reviews for your excellent and inspiring work) and to “fom4life”, sorry I sat on your copy of the VHS of “A.I.” for so gosh darn long.

 

Disclaimer:

I do not own “A.I.”, its characters (especially not Joe!), concepts or other indicia, which are the property of the late Stanley Kubrick, of Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks SKG, Warner Brothers, et al.

 

 

“I can’t believe you let him disappear!” Monica cried into the phone.

“Mrs. Swinton, we made every effort to track him down. We even sent diving teams to search the sea bottom around the tower,” Allen Hobby’s voice replied. “We wanted him back as much as you do.”

She ground her teeth. “You don’t know how much I want him back,” she rasped. “He was my SON!”

She heard only silence on the other end of the line, then a choked sound like a sob. “We’ve all done all that we can. You’ll have to get on with life as best as you can from this point. As I do.” Another silence. “If you’ll excuse me, Mrs. Swinton, I have to be getting back to work.”

“Wait.” She breathed deep, recollected herself. “Was he alone when he came to you? He couldn’t have got to you all by himself. He wouldn’t know where to go or what to do.”

“No, there was another with him, another Mecha. The police ID’ed him as the same rogue sex-Mecha who escaped with him from the Flesh Fair in Barn Creek. A Companionates model, I believe.”

“Thank you, that’s all I needed to know.” She hung up the handset quietly and drew in a long breath. She leaned back in her chair and gazed at the one photo she had of David, a slightly blurry snapshot taken at Martin’s party, the day before she abandoned him…

 

She couldn’t bring herself to call Companionates to see if she could track down the Mecha who had been spotted with David. After all, the company specialized in THAT sort of Mecha. She tried to imagine David in the company of one of them, but her mind wouldn’t consider it. He was so small and innocent.

Weeks passed before she got up the courage to call, but when she did, she didn’t let the phone ring more than a few times before embarrassment got the better of her and she hung up.

A month and a half later, when Henry was at work and Martin had gone to a friend’s house after schoolwork (they had engaged the service of a teaching Mecha until he was strong enough to go back the school), she finally steeled herself: you won’t know what happened unless you call. She forced herself to pick up the handset, and press the buttons to dial out.

At first she got a secretary didn’t get what she meant and nearly transferred the call to the complaint department. But she made herself clear: she was Monica Swinton, the one who’d imprinted Hobby’s first child-Mecha, and she needed to know about the sex-Mecha in whose company David had escaped.

“I’ll have to transfer you to Dr. Zipes’ office, he’d know about it,” the secretary said.

The line clicked; tinny canned music played for a few moments. Then the line rang and picked up.

“Hello? Dr. Trask Zipes speaking,” a gruff voice said.

“Dr. Zipes? I’m Monica Swinton.” She paused searching for the words. “I think…one of your Mechas knows what happened to David…my son.”

“That would be Joe; he’s had quite a lot of attention since his adventures with the law, but I could arrange for him to speak to you. He probably knows more about what happened in Manhattan than any other being.”

An inhibition pricked her mind, but she ignored it as she had ignored the inhibition that led to all this. “Yes, oh…please, I’d appreciate it.”

“I’d have to speak with his owner; she’s one of the design chiefs here in Shohola. I’m sure she’d loan him to you for a little while.”

“Thanks, I mean, thank you. You don’t know what this means to me.”

Days passed into weeks. The rains of late autumn knocked the last of the leaves from the trees that shed and watered the ones that did not into rain forest lushness. Martin grew strong enough to go out to school on a regular basis, which left Monica alone during the day, alone with her chores…and her memories of David.

She still had his few—his last little love messages, boyish scratches in colored crayon on off-white paper, the rainbow letters neat and precise, Mecha-like yet childlike. To Henry’s annoyance she’d had them preserved in the new laminate polymer that bonded to whatever it coated, preserving it indefinitely. She read them over every day when she had finished her chores, as a reward for getting through another day. She had them memorized, but reading them still brought some pale comfort.

And then another message came in her e-mail.

 

From: traskzipes @ companionates.com

To: monicaswinton @ doverfieldmail.com

Subject: The last being to see David

Dear Mrs. Swinton,

I have consulted with Serin Masters, who owns the lover-Mecha who was the last to see David and she has agreed to send Joe up to you later this week or early next week. Please let me know when is the most convenient day and time you could receive him.

Thank you for your request and your time. I hope this will be of benefit to you.

Sincerely,

(Dr.) Trask Zipes

 

She replied immediately, arranging for the meeting to take place at her house, Friday at noon.

Right after she sent the message, the realization set in. This Joe, after all, was probably a prostitute model. Should she even let it…him…into the house? Concerns piled up in her mind until she nearly sent a second message canceling what she’d said in the first. She should have consulted Henry first. But what if she had? He wouldn’t approve. He’d unspokenly accused her of imprinting David too soon. What would he say about her inviting this machine designed only for pleasure into their house, even he…it…knew what had happened to David?

“You’re doing the same things you did when Martin was in stasis. David was only a machine: you have to let it go,” he’d snapped at her in desperation one night. “You may as well mourn a broken radiation cooker!”

“David was different; David had feelings,” she argued.

He looked into her face, but his eyes did not meet hers. “He was programmed to appear to have feelings; that’s what he was designed for. That was his function and he served it.”

“Served what? Tiding me over until Martin got better?” she snapped back. Henry clamped his lips and dropped his gaze; she needed no other answer.

She reached for the data scribe tablet and prepared another message.

 

From: monicaswinton @ doverfieldmail.com

To: traskzipes @ companionates.com

Subject: Is it safe?

Dear Dr. Zipes,

Thank you for your message; I’m eagerly awaiting the day I’ll be able to speak to Joe. However, I’m a little concerned: I am married, and I want to know how safe this lover-Mecha is around women?

Thank you for your time and for arranging for this interview.

Sincerely,

Monica Swinton (Mrs. H.)

 

Thursday morning, she got her answer.

 

Reply-to: monicaswinton @ doverfieldmail.com

From: traskzipes @ companionates.com

Subject: Re: Is it safe?

Dear Mrs. Swinton,

You have nothing to fear from Joe. His owner had him reprogrammed to be a domestic partner. The only thing to fear is fear itself and your own responses to him.

I hope the interview goes well.

Sincerely,

Dr. Zipes

 

After she read this message, she had to laugh at her own apprehensions. Of course he—it—would be harmless! But she should keep herself on a short leash, which wouldn’t be easy. She had withdrawn from Henry, only half-heartedly giving him much more than the most perfunctory hugs and kisses.

Friday morning, after her boys had left, she found the dirtiest work she could think of to get herself good and filthy, less likely to trigger something in her visitor’s programming and reflexes. Rain had moved back in that morning, which prevented her from doing something simple like beating rugs in the yard. She went up to the attic storage level in the top of their unit in the gated community where they lived, and swept the floor, more to get herself dusty than to really clean it.

Noon chimed on her watch. She gasped: he—it—would be here anytime soon. She looked out the window and down to the front gates. An unfamiliar cruiser had pulled up to the gate.

She ran down to the first floor, to the elevator shaft that was their front entrance. The intercom beeped; she pressed a button.

“Mrs. Swinton? You have a visitor; he says his name is Joe and Dr. Zipes sent him to you,” the guard announced.

“Send him up,” she said, dry-voiced, trying not to tremble.

“Are you sure about this? He looks Mecha.”

“Yes, I’m sure.” Her hand brushed some of the cobwebs from her hair; she immediately scolded herself.

She stepped back from the shaft. Motors hummed; for a moment she found herself back on that first day, months ago, when Henry first had brought—no, when David first came to them.

The elevator car halted in the shaft with a low pneumatic whisssshhhh. A soft click and then the door slid back.

Against the diffused light from the back panel stood the shadowy figure of a tall, slender man. The form shifted and stepped toward her. She caught herself stepping back as it moved in closer.

Then it…he stepped into the room. He looked like he might only be in his late twenties. His narrow face with its graceful features made her think of a film star’s air-brushed publicity shot: perfect features, too perfect, something too glossy about the skin. No indication of bristles on the jaw—there should have been, his hair was so dark.

Drops of water gleamed on his hair and the shoulders of his knee-length black leather jacket, well cut to his sensuously slim frame. She scolded herself inwardly for glancing below his waistband.

She felt something bore into her. She looked up into the eyes—

His eyes.

Despite the Mecha impassibility, despite the cool green of the irises, they seemed lit with an inner fire all their own. She fought to look away from those eyes, but she lost the fight.

“Mrs. Swinton?” he asked, his low tenor voice gently tinted with a British accent.

“Joe, uh, hello.” She put out her hand to him and nearly drew it back. He took it in both of his and pressed it. She felt faint warmth in his…flesh. “Pleased to meet you.”

“Yes, the pleasure is mine,” he replied.

She felt at a loss for words as he released her hand, the way she had felt with David the first day…but this was different. If she said the wrong thing, would she trigger something in his circuitry, some inappropriate response?

“Well…shall we sit down? Maybe in the parlor?”

He gave her a slight smile. “Lead the way, Mrs. Swinton. I’m at your disposal.”

She led him into their sitting room, what Martin rightly called “the clean room”, since she didn’t allow any clutter in there in case any company came. She’d hardly used it in the last five years, only a few times recently when a few friends made courtesy calls. She decided he counted as a guest.

“You have a beautiful home, Mrs. Swinton,” he said. She nearly jumped at the spontaneity of this remark. It sounded so like the comment of a well-bred gentleman. He added, “But not so beautiful as the woman who dwells in it.”

“Thank you,” she replied, not looking at him. But she saw his reflection in the ribbed glass in the wall panels and doors, saw those piercing eyes reflected a dozen times in a dozen sliver images. “But please, just call me Monica.”

“As you wish then…Monica.” The three syllables of her name rolled off his tongue like a waltz beat.

She proffered him one of the simuleather love seats, but he did not sit down until she had sat down. Not many of Henry’s friends bothered with that kind of courtesy when they came to call on him, so she hardly expected it from…

In an effort to escape that gaze, she glanced down the hallway toward the little nook where David had “slept” on a white divan in the days after Martin’s return. She had hung the old mobile over it for him; the little silver silhouette of a woman danced on a passing air current. She hadn’t removed it since…

“You are troubled, Monica,” a soft voice said. She jerked back and tried not to look the Mecha in the eye. “What is troubling you?”

“I was thinking of David. You…knew him?”

He nodded. “Yes. Yes, I knew him. Perhaps I knew him best.”

“I knew him better; I was his…mommy.”

A razor-thin smile curled the other’s lips. “You simulated being his mommy. He wanted to be real for you, so you would show him real love.”

 “I loved him as best as I could; I couldn’t focus solely on him. I have Martin to care for, too.”

“Your ‘real’ son?” She could hear the quotation marks click around the second word.

“What?”

“David called Martin your ‘real’ son. He wanted to be like him, if only to win your love.”

“What else did he tell you?”

The adult Mecha sat silent a moment. She let herself look at him. He sat back in the love seat utterly at ease: his shoulders against the cushioned back, one elbow laid gracefully on one arm of the seat, the other hand in his lap, his long legs gracefully crossed at the ankles.

“He told me that Henry didn’t like him…I gather that Henry is your…husband?”

“Yes.”

“He told me that Henry didn’t like him because Martin came home.”

“Martin had been sick, he was in stasis for years and we didn’t expect him to get better. Henry brought David home in case…in case…”

“In case Martin healed and so to ease the blow.”

“It wasn’t like that. At first I wasn’t sure, but then I wanted David to stay. But Henry thought he’d outlasted…outlived his purpose. And he was causing trouble for Martin.”

“Was David only useful to you? Or did you truly ‘love’ him?” Again she could hear the quotation marks. Had this thing been programmed to be sarcastic?

“I suppose in a way, he was useful at first. But it was so hard not to love him. He was so real.” She caught herself trying to read the Mecha’s face. The eyes had cooled slightly. Had she angered him? What was he capable of doing if angered?

She took control of the situation: try distracting him. He seemed vain, so why not get him talking about his end of the story? “But you saw the last of him. How did it end? Where did he go? How did you even find him?”

The smile returned, betraying…amusement? “You can’t say I found him: rather, he found me. He saved my life twice when our antagonists threatened both our lives.” He went on to describe that evening, starting when he had discovered the body of Samantha Bevins and leading to when he first spotted David in the woods among the other derelict Mechas foraging in the scrap heap. “At first it occurred to me he might be a stray Orga child, but something about him seemed too un-Orga. I suppose you could say it takes one to spot one?” She obliged him with a light chuckle.

He continued with the wild hunt, with their separation and his own capture, with the moment he spotted David again in the pit at the Flesh Fair. So it was true…David had ended up on one of those…She’d hardly believed Hobby when he had told them what he knew about David’s journey, but now that she heard it from a witness, albeit a very partial one…

“He cried out for you in the midst of the mob, ‘I’m David! I have a mommy!’, words no Mecha could ever rightly say, am I correct?”

“True,” she agreed.

“Those who would have yelled for our destruction were thus obliged to free us, or risk their own destruction. In the confusion that ensued, he took my hand and we fled to freedom.”

She listened half-heartedly as he described their sojourn in Rouge City. That David had to pass through that place was nearly worse than his having to run the gauntlet of the Flesh Fair. Her ears pricked up when he went on to tell of David’s stealing the police amphibicopter and thus saving his own life and that of his…friend. She had hoped David would make friends, she had just hoped they would be about his own…

Well, at least they were the same species. This thing really wasn’t much different from Teddy: an adult Supertoy. The comparison made her wince. Wait, mustn’t show emotion; he picked up on it. He’d probably been programmed to respond to emotional reactions.

She winced again, outwardly, when he described David destroying the mirror image David in Hobby’s office.

“That troubled you? There is fear in your eyes, though I cannot blame your fear: your ‘love’ brought him to this.”

“Henry once told me if… a Mecha could love, then it could also…hate.”

“It is exactly what would happen: love and hate are but the two sides of the same coin.”

She wanted to dismiss this as the cynical observation of some programmer who had scripted it into this thing’s memory banks. But it was the truth, regardless if an Orga or a Mecha spoke it.

She focused her whole attention toward the end.

“I saw him fall, watched him drop into the water, of a purpose. No Mecha does so deliberately, only Orga try to end their own functioning. He couldn’t stay down there: the salt water would corrode him, a fate unworthy of one so unique. So I dove the amphibicopter under the water.” He fell silent. His eyes had darkened and grown distant.

“Did you find him?” Hope against hope.

“I brought him to the surface, drenched and dripping, but he insisted he had found where his Blue Fairy dwelt, under the water.

“But our pursuers had caught up with us again. A police ‘copter hovered over us, a magnet on its underside. My purpose had played itself out, so it seemed—“ a hint of an ironic smile there—“He had to fulfill his chosen purpose. I had just enough time to set the submerge sequence before the magnet pulled me into its clutch.

“The last I saw of him was the amphibicopter descending into the water as I ascended to whatever fate awaited me.”

He fell silent, his story told out.

“But you knew him better, though not well enough, in ways the likes of me could never know,” he added.

A disarming tactic? she wondered. Well, he was David’s ‘friend’, the only one he had ever made on his own, the last to see him alive. Perhaps she could stop the needles of cynicism.

She let herself tell this stranger about the too-brief happier times, of her initial fears, of the day when she finally let down her guard and let this little stranger into her heart, of his early explorations in the world around him, of his early simple triumphs and then, after Martin returned and upset the paradigm, of his accelerating setbacks. The other sat in silence, a thin smile on his face. She wondered if he was really listening.

“You have to understand: I didn’t want to let him go. Everything that happened left me no choice but to bring him back…but I couldn’t. They would have destroyed him. They would have destroyed him in the Flesh Fair, but they wouldn’t know what they were doing. They wouldn’t be killing him with kindness, the way the technicians at Cybertronics would be. To them, he’d be a project that went wrong that had to be rebuilt or redesigned or whatever they do with prototype robots that don’t work quite right. I couldn’t let them do that; I couldn’t stand by and watch them take him apart. Maybe they’d be gentle about it, but killing someone with a caress is worse than killing them with a blow. I just couldn’t let them do it, I just couldn’t!”

“’The coward does it with a kiss/The brave man with a sword”, your Oscar Wilde has written,” he replied calmly. She wondered what he meant in saying this. A rebuke? Or a neutral observation?

Silence fell over the room. She dropped her gaze to the floor, not sure what to say.

“It’s not like I’ve tried to act like he never happened to me. I wouldn’t have sent for you if I didn’t care to know what happened. I still have a few little letters he wrote to me. Would you like to see them?”

“If you care to share them,” he replied.

She got up and went to her room to fetch the folder she kept them in. She hoped that, in so doing, she could break free of that relentless gaze, but she felt its touch work its way to her very soul. For a brief moment, she considered hiding here in the hope that the visitor would go away of his own volition; but she realized he would not unless bidden or threatened. She thought of threatening him somehow. Perhaps his experiences in the Flesh Fair and seeing David tear into the other child-Mecha would suffice if she threatened him. But he was larger than she was and if he was designed for…embraces…perhaps he could do worse.

She had to give him some show of politeness. A simulation of hospitality for a simulation!

She found the blue velvet-covered folder and carried it back to the sitting room.

He had turned on the love seat, looking in the direction she had left, his eyes quietly intent. He looked down at something that occupied his hands: an artist’s pencil and a leather-covered notebook. He seemed to be…jotting something. He looked up again and his eyes warmed as she approached. He thrust the pencil into a holder on the spine of the notebook and slid it into an inner pocket. He rose as she stepped close to him—she kept a careful distance between herself and him—as she handed him the folder. He resumed his seat only when she had sat down. So strange that a machine displayed more courtesy than most humans; it was like having your coffee maker greet you more cheerfully and sincerely each morning than the members of your family!

He flipped open the folder and pored over the pages in silence, his eyes quietly intent. He looked up at her. “You were his world,” he pronounced at length. “You were his sunrise and his noonday light and his sunset, his moonlight and starlight.”

“I know,” she said, quickly to avoid the harsh truth she knew would follow. “You…you can have them if you want them.” She immediately regretted saying this.

He handed the folder back to her. “I cannot keep them. You need them more than I, to help you remember.” He leaned forward without rising, holding the folder out to her. “We Mecha have an advantage over you Orga: we remember things precisely as we see them. I have only to reach into my recall and I can see his face as if it were before me. And if David survives his watery sojourn, if he finds his Blue Fairy and she grants him his wish, he will remember you better than you will remember him. Let’s hope his transformation, should it occur, does not change him for the worst.”

Did he say this to scald her soul or was it just an observation? She took back the folder with fingers that trembled. “Thank you. I mean…I can barely remember what he looked…looks like. I don’t have any good pictures of him.”

He looked deeper into her eyes. She felt that gaze caress hers. “Think of events, or things he did, and you will then see his face most clearly.”

She thought of the first day she laid eyes on David, of his quietly exploring the house, of the awkward “Hide and Seek” they unwittingly played that first day, of imprinting…of the look of confusion on David’s face when Martin came home…of his little face retreating, eyes forlorn, reflected in the rearview mirror…

She started crying, but she knew not why. At her own loss? At David’s probable demise? At her faulty recall? At the frustration that this…this…male-shaped artificial whore with a hundred miles of fiber inside it would remember David better than she could?! She was David’s mommy! For a moment she wished to God that there was some way she could become a Mecha; even if David couldn’t become Orga, then there would be a way they could never be separated, not by time, not by memory, not by species.

Hot tears poured down her sweating face. She heard herself crying out curses but they seemed to come from the lungs of another woman; she didn’t give a damn what this ----ing thing made of her outburst. She hoped her animal screams triggered some sort of alarm in its system and sent it fleeing out of her home and away from her.

Why couldn’t she have been stronger?! Maybe hers would have been the last eyes David gazed into before the technicians removed the batteries from his torso. Or maybe…had she been stronger, she would have stood up to Henry and kept David with them.

She wept silently now, until her lungs burned and her head throbbed. She had sunk down on the couch and lay on her side, her soul overflowing through her eyes. She swore tears of blood fell from her eyes.

Something turned her onto her back. Someone touched her cheeks very gently, wiping away the tears. A dark shadow moved over her. Soft lips caressed her brow, running down the side of her face, along her temple, down her cheekbones.

She peeled open her raw eyelids and gazed up.

Joe’s face hovered over hers, his green eyes inches away, gazing deep into hers with…pity? Concern? Compassion? … Lust?

“You did no better and no worse than any other Orga woman in the same position,” he said, his soft voice more velvety. “You chose a hard road you wanted not to choose, but that is no reason why you are not deserving of comfort.”

She tried to object, she garbled some reply, but he moved in closer. She felt breath fan her cheek; a warm, heady wave of pheromones and androgens washed through her aching sinuses, scouring them, leaving her giddy. She trembled; what was happening?

He lowered his face; his lips covered hers. She tried to tighten her mouth as she felt him withdraw for a split second, but her jaw relaxed itself, parting her lips, letting the tip of his tongue penetrate. He withdrew for an instant, only to move in once more, exploring deeper.

She felt his hands on the side of her head, smoothing back her hair, down the sides of her neck to the pit of her throat, his fingertips sliding under the collarless neckline of her jersey. She felt her heart hammering, pounding in her temples. What was happening?! She realized he lay on top of her, his chest against hers, and the throbbing she felt came from within him.

His knee had separated her thighs and she felt…him…against her groin. Her pants only had an elastic waistband…

She arched her back under him. He pulled his face away from her.

“Mrs. Swinton, Monica, what is it?” he asked.

She found leverage for her feet and elbows and pushed him away. She jumped to her feet as he sprawled on the floor with the soft thud one would expect if a human had hit the floor. He gazed up at her with a puzzled, almost wide-eyed look…like David’s.

He started to rise. She backed away from him. “Keep away! Keep away! Don’t you come any closer!” she cried, hands raised, ready to counterattack.

He stared at her, passion vanishing in his eyes, replaced by confusion and…disappointment? She saw David’s face in the woods.

“I meant you no harm; I meant only for your consolation,” he replied, mild-voiced and guileless, his hands at his sides spread out slightly.

“Get out of my house! Don’t come near me again!” she cried, pointing toward the door.

His face relaxed into calm resignation. “As you wish it,” he replied with a shrug of one shoulder. He turned and started for the hallway.

“Joe?” she croaked.

He stopped in his tracks and pivoted on his toes. His face had resumed its default look of gentle seduction, but she dropped her gaze.

“Yes?”

“I just wanted to…thanks for telling me about David.”

“It was my pleasure.”

She couldn’t take it any longer. “GO!!!” she screamed and fled to the safety of her room.

Once there, she locked the door and flung herself face down on the bed. Through her sobs, she heard the cruiser below pulling away toward the gates. She wept bitterly. Because she felt violated? Her body and senses had responded as they never had toward Henry’s advances. It wasn’t a violation: he had only done what he was programmed to do. She had violated herself by letting down her guard.

 

When Martin came home, he found Mom all red-eyed and weepy again, like she was most days. Her clothes were all dusty from cleaning—she went crazy cleaning lately—but her face wasn’t dirty. She must have cried that much. She did that a lot lately, especially with him back to school. He tried to stay out of her way, because it made him feel just as bad. If he hadn’t tried screwing with the Mecha-kid’s processors, if he hadn’t let the guys mess with it, none of all this would have happened. David wasn’t such a bad…kid after all.

 

She could hardly wait for Henry to come home, but at the same time, she feared him. She wanted only him, to absolve herself in his arms and wash away the memory of that touch, that simulation that felt more real than reality.

She got her chance much later that night, which startled Henry, who inwardly had been resigning himself to a celibate marriage. Maybe the tiger-lady act she’d pulled was a good sign, that she’d finally gotten over David…

But what was this talk he heard from Maxfield, the gatekeeper, who’d told him about some lover-Mecha that had come through recently? The Tappersons in the next unit told him they had heard Monica screaming that day.

He wasn’t sure what to make of it. Monica had said nothing about any visitors, human or Mecha. They’d had enough Mechas around messing up the life they’d built.

 

 

Afterword:

I should add that I went a little off the mark when I said the stories in this triptych didn’t necessarily form a linear series; the time frames of each story tend to overlap each other.

 

Literary Easter eggs (For some reason I tend to insert these small literary/personal references when I’m writing):

Monica greeting Joe—I based this on the somewhat jittery exchange I had with the “Chatbot” on Warner Brothers’ “A.I.” website. Artificial intelligences make me a little nervous.

The Oscar Wilde quote Joe references—This comes from Wilde’s “Ballad of Reading Gaol”; somehow, I can imagine Wilde would be one of Joe’s favorite poets, must be the air of innocent decadence.

“Think of events…”—This was an unintentional veiled reference to another Spielberg movie, Saving Private Ryan, the part where Ryan has trouble remembering what his brothers looked like and the captain tells him to think of something they did together to help him remember.