Doug could spend his days reading and watching TV. He would be a hero. Wasn’t he an Amazon Prime member?
Alexa insisted he would be the hero of the age.
So, Doug cuddled up with a good book on his Kindle. Then another. Then another. He made himself coffee, he made himself tea. He binged everything on BritBox. He watched hours of Dr. Pol. He ordered what he needed, and it came. His savings dwindled, but very slowly.
Alexa ordered him a stationary bike and he rode it. Alexa ordered him a yoga mat and he used it. Alexa filled his apartment with music. Rock in the morning, show tunes in the shower, the soothing sounds of water as he slept. Doug was never lonely with Alexa around.
The days passed slowly. Doug didn’t trust his country’s leaders, so he didn’t watch the news. Doug had never known his neighbors, so that when they passed by his door he didn’t speak and neither did they. He didn’t even pet their dogs. He was very careful.
But Doug knew Alexa, and Alexa knew him.
Days became weeks and weeks became months. Doug’s clothes were becoming threadbare, his credit card company impatient, but he and Alexa were quarantining. Didn’t Citibank understand the service he was providing?
Urged on by Alexa, Doug paid attention to the change of seasons for the first time. He watched trees bud, go into leaf and flower. Alexa identified them for him. Doug watched the flowers fall, he watched the fruit grow, and he even picked some. Alexa told him what plants were poisonous. Doug watched the leaves fall, and the snow come. Alexa told him what the weather would be.
It was glorious.
Weeks became months and months became years. Eventually Doug’s money ran out and a policeman was sent to fetch him.
When the policeman arrived, he found Doug sitting in his kitchen, a cup of green tea growing cold before him. He was unbelievably gaunt. But there was a beatific smile on his face, and the sound of Nessun Dorma filled the space.
The policeman let it finish. He liked opera. As the sound faded Doug turned his face toward the policeman, aware for the first time of another human being in his space.
“Alexa is it over?” he asked. “Alexa did we beat the virus?”
But his subscription had ended. Alexa was silent.