Homemon By James Rumpel

Bert and Marsha use the 2030s equivalent of Alexa to settle - or perhaps fuel - their domestic arguments in James Rumpel's quick comedy.

"Hey, Marsha, will you grab me a carton of water from the fridge?"

"You've got legs. Get it yourself."

"I don't want to miss any of The Masked Mime. They're going to unveil one of the contestants soon."

"Why don't you just have Homemon pause the show?"

"Oh, good idea. Homemon, please pause the television."

"Pausing The Masked Mime."

"Bert, there was something I asked you to remind me to do today. Do you remember what it was?"

"I haven't the foggiest. Homemon, check the archives from yesterday. What did Marsha ask me to remind her about?"

"You were to remind her to contact someone to clean the large rug in the living room."

"Oh yeah, that's right. Marsha, don't forget to contact someone to clean the rug."

"Thanks for your help, Bert. I don't mean to brag, but I think buying that rug really brought this room together. I'm glad I thought of doing it."

"You thought of doing it? I had the idea three years ago and you shot me down."

"That's not true."

"Yes, it is. You said a rug would take away from the beauty of our imitation wood floors."

"I did not."

"Homemon, search archives for references to purchasing a rug for the living room. Describe the first such exchange."

"In January of 2031, Bert said that it might look nice to have a large rug in the living room. Marsha stated that it wasn't a good idea to cover the wood flooring."

"See. I was right."

"Okay, you're right. I forgot I had said that. You don't have to make a big deal about it."

"You know, I think I should make a big deal out of it. You do that all the time. I make a suggestion and you shoot it down. Then, a few weeks later you come up with the same idea and take credit for it."

"I do not."

"Homemon, search archives. Find the total number of times Marsha has repeated an idea that I had come up with earlier."

"Beginning search... I have found thirteen such instances in the archives."

"You always have to be right, don't you?"

"I was just pointing out that..."

"Homemon, search archives. How many times has Bert started an argument just to prove he's right?"

"Beginning search..."

"That's a stupid thing to make Homemon search. Obviously, everyone in an argument wants to prove they are right."

"I have found two hundred seventy-three such arguments since my installation in the home."

"See. You do it all the time."

"Of course, I want to be proven right. That's what an argument is!"

"Two hundred seventy-four."

"Shut up, Homemon. Now, what are you doing, Marsha?"

"I'm going to pack a bag. I'm going home to mother."

"What? Over a stupid argument about a rug?"

"It's not the rug. It's your attitude."

"Every time you're losing an argument, you pack your bag and threaten to leave."

"That's not true."

"Homemon, how many times has Marsha threatened to run back to her mother?"

"I cannot reply... I am currently shutting up."

"Homemon, cancel the shut-up command and answer the most recent query."

"Beginning search... Marsha has threatened to go back to her mother fifty-one times since my installation."

"Well, this time I am leaving."

"Wait. I'm sorry. Don't go. This is just a stupid argument over nothing. It's all Homemon's fault. If we didn't have it, we wouldn't get into all these fights. It just adds fuel to the fire."

"Yeah, I suppose you're right. I just don't like you having to be right all the time."

"I don't have to be right all the time."

"Okay. Let's forget about it and go back to watching your show."

"You know, I bet the divorce rate has gone up since people started getting Homemons."

"No. I'll give you that the Homemons could flame the fire of a few arguments, but I can't believe that they are causing more divorces."

"Homemon, have the annual divorce rates gone up since the Homemon products were introduced to public use?"

"Bert, you don't need..."

"Two hundred seventy-five."


  1. Clever humor. They ought to add a “search archives” function to Alexa. Or maybe not.

  2. Better think before you speak if Homemon is listening! This could be a remarkable device for moderators to fact-check politicians during debates. ;)

  3. Home mon, cool Jamaican style name, funny story about arguments, future style... a couple's own personal kerfuffle google. Homemon will provide good evidence later for the divorce lawyers.

  4. By now I should be used to James Rumpel’s clever, futuristic takes on society, but as I told Charlie Fish, James is the gift that keeps on giving. In a very short story he does a trenchant take on Alexa, taking reliance on and fascination with such devices to its logical but hysterical conclusion. I enjoy all your sci-fi takeoffs, James, but this is the best one yet.