Manny's Reviews > Mister Da V.

Mister Da V. by Kit Reed
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Jul 27, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: science-fiction
Read in November, 1975

The one I really like in this quirky collection is a short called Automatic Tiger. I've often thought about it. The plot is as follows. The hero, an inhabitant of a dreamlike near-future world, is a failure. He lives alone in a boring little apartment, and no one at work takes him seriously - least of all his intimidating boss. But, one day, he sees an unusual ad in a magazine. An Automatic Tiger! It's expensive, but he just knows he has to have one.

So he sends off a check (this was pre-internet), and a couple of weeks later a huge box arrives. He opens it, and there, indeed, is a life-size robot tiger! It looks astonishingly real. He switches it on, and its eyes light up. Wow. He has to go out with it, and experience the thrill of being followed by his own tiger.

It's very early in the morning, and they jog along, the tiger just behind him. He's never felt so good in his life! They go to the park. Some other early-morning person sees the tiger, screams, and runs, dropping their billfold. Our hero picks it up. There's an ornamental lake, with an island in the middle. He suddenly knows that the tiger can jump over the water, and reach the island. It does, magnificently.

At work, he's a new man. He's got confidence! Any time doubts set in, he just repeats his mantra: I've got a TIGER at home. The boss invites him to dinner. The hot secretary, who's never previously acknowledged his existence, flirts with him. He goes running with the tiger every morning. Things get better and better.

Pretty soon, he's the golden boy at the office. He and the hot secretary are an item. She's kind of high maintenance, but it's worth it. He tries to keep up his tiger routine, but there are so many demands on his time! One day, he realises, to his horror, that they haven't been on a run for a month.

He switches on the tiger, but it doesn't seem to be working right. Gears grind. Its eyes are dim. They set off slowly for the park. When they get there, he knows it's a bad idea, but he tries to make the tiger do the water jump anyway. It sinks without a trace.

He goes back to the office, and he knows he's finished. No one has to tell him. The hot secretary is suddenly with a new boyfriend. The boss has had enough of him.

If you're lucky enough to have an automatic tiger, remember to go out running with it every morning.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Darya (new)

Darya Conmigo Thank you, Manny! I've read this story long time ago in an assorted collection of sci-fi, and I recently tried to remember who was the author so that I could reread it...

Manny Hi Darya! I'm surprised it isn't more famous - it deserves to be, though in fact it's close to unknown. Glad to hear you liked it too :)

Manny Thank you, Eyoki! She's one of those terribly undervalued authors...

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