The Holiday - Breaking Point versus Point Break

Submitted into Contest #253 in response to: Write a story that contains the line, "I wish we could stay here forever."... view prompt


Funny Science Fiction Speculative

Percival Smart, who had a lifetime interest in robotics and AI, realized his secret was now public knowledge. From all the nudges and winks his work colleagues gave him, he realized that Brenda had, at the very least, told them about his home. At the most, she may have divulged that she had gone to Percy's for a date. He should have asked her to sign a confidentiality statement. Is this a thing you do after a date? Surely, Brenda should have realized that a date with a work colleague isn't a hot topic for gossip.

At home, Adam raced downstairs to grab the phone. Its urgent rings echoed and reverberated, seeming out of place in Percy's mansion. Percy, with a penchant for precision, had never rung so early in the morning.

"Good morning, Adam speaking. This is Percival Smart's residence. Can I help you?"

"Good morning, Adam Speaking. It's Brenda."

"How can I help you, Brenda? Actually, my surname isn't 'Speaking.'"

"It's a joke, Adam. I'm ringing about Percy."

"What about Percy?"

"He – he's treating me strangely. We had a great time the other evening. Do you think he could be embarrassed? I wasn't expecting him to pretend he doesn't know me."

"I see. Maybe he is embarrassed. I hate to say this, but he did tell me he didn't want to do it again."

"Do what again? He didn't do anything. He's got nothing to be embarrassed about. I kissed him . . . It was only on the cheek."

"Don't worry, Brenda. I'll talk to him when he gets home. Give me your number and I'll ring you back with some answers, hopefully."

'What do you think is wrong, Adam?"

"Just Percy being Percy. Leave it to me, Brenda."


Adam broached the subject after Percy finished his evening dinner at his vast dining table. It had been over a week, and Percy hadn't reverted to his old habit of eating dinner on his lap in front of the TV. This change in his routine was a testament to his growing self-awareness. He enjoyed the quiet and the banter with his AI butler, Adam, which had become a pleasant part of his evening routine.

"Guess who rang me this morning, Percy."

"I have no idea. Is there a message for me?"

"No, Percy. It was for me."

"Who would ring you?"

"It was Brenda."

Percy spluttered on his cup of tea, his surprise evident. "Brenda?" he said, his voice filled with a mix of confusion and surprise.

"Yes. And I couldn't see if she was fluttering her eyes or playing with her hair."

Percy's mouth hung open.

"If I didn't know you better, Master Percy, I'd believe you are upset."

"M – me upset? No! "

"Then you don't mind if I ring her back? She's expecting me to."

"Since when does my date want you to ring her?"

"Your date? Is she still your date?"

"I mean, we had a date. Didn't she like it?"

"I think it's more about if you enjoyed the date with her."

"The truth is, I bit off more than I can chew. She obviously likes me. She kissed me and said something at work! The expectant looks everyone gave me this morning . . . I was so embarrassed. What should I have done?"

"I'll give you the same advice you gave me."

"And what was that?"

"Don't worry about explaining. Just be yourself."

"She may get the wrong idea."

"How you have treated her at work has given everyone the wrong idea."

"I avoided her. I gave her no treatment at all."

"It has made her think you don't want to have anything to do with her. That something happened, or went wrong, on the date."

"Something did . . . I think Brenda enjoyed it."

"And you have ruined it by making her think you didn't enjoy it?"

"She talked about 'children.'"

"I'll tell you something about females. Many of them are maternal. Men think of the college costs and if they can afford to send their children. Females think of a cute little baby to show off to their friends. When they see anything like a child's toy, they equate it with a pacifier or a baby's rattle. It means nothing."

"Oh, I see. Brenda wants a baby?" Percy twisted uncomfortably in his seat.

"No! You are reading way too much into it. The next time she mentions anything like the word 'child,' please pretend she never said it. That's what men do. Same with any mention of a wedding. Ignore it. Don't ask me why. It's typical male behavior. Unless those things are not what they want."

"So, even though I know Brenda rang you, I must behave like nothing has happened? And it's ok for me to talk about babies and marriage because I don't want them anyway?"

"It's not that! Men who talk about those things with their girlfriends are entirely after something else. It's a cruel deception. When a man who wants S-E-X pretends he is committed to marriage and children, he only says what a woman wants to hear to get what he wants."

"That's not nice. I didn't know that."

"I'm glad you aren't like that, Master Percy. Brenda wouldn't like it either."

The next day dawned, and Percy left for work in his Tesla with a renewed sense of self-worth. Adam reminded him of the mantra, "Be yourself." Percy repeated it over and over in his mind.


Adam rang up Brenda during the coffee break.

"Hello, Adam. Thanks for ringing back. Percy hasn't been avoiding me today. He's just been Percy. But it's like the date didn't happen."

"Don't worry, Brenda. He was embarrassed and the fact he is being himself is better than nothing. View it as professional behavior. Be patient."


Over the next fortnight, the topic of Brenda didn't come up. Percy asked his cleaning lady and gardener what they thought about his houseguest, Adam. His cleaning lady, Maria, definitely gave off vibes of finding Adam cute, despite not saying this in so many words. The gardener said Adam must be bored and wondered if Percy planned to go anywhere with his friend.

That gave Percy an idea. Now that he had become more aware of the need for a balanced life, he wondered if Adam's next test shouldn't be conducted away from home, like a vacation by the sea. Percy had never been away. Now that he had someone to go with, all in the name of science, he couldn't let go of the idea. He brought it up with Adam.

"Adam, we should go on holiday. I can take a week off work, and we can go to the seaside. What do you think?"

"That's a wonderful idea. Too much work can make a man dull. Many photos of the seaside are coming to mind. It's nearly summer. The weather will be great."

"We'll go shopping for beachwear and accessories. I'll fill in the forms to take time off work. You can research a place to stay. Saint Clair, on the Esplanade somewhere, will do."

"Do you think I could try some surfing?"

"Surfing? Is that dangerous for you?"

"I'm a fully waterproof edition. Master Percy. Balancing on a surfboard is just physics. I'll be a natural with my mass and shape, and buoyancy, surface tension, and hydrodynamic forces come into it. Look at me. Don't you think I'll suit the part?" Adam stood as if on a board, riding the waves. The blond hair and tan did give him an authentic aura.

"Yes, you probably will. I'll think about it, Adam."


As Percy had never taken a holiday from work and had hundreds of break days aside, he was given his week off, and they made him take another one.

"But what if you need me?"

"Percy, you need to take at least a fortnight's break. The rest of the team will cope. You have no deadlines. No one is indispensable."

Percy had always believed himself to be this, and he felt deflated.

At home, Adam reassured him. "It's a saying to make people view their position realistically and not sweat about going on holiday. I'm sure you are needed. Somehow, people cope when there's a death or sickness, but everyone is entitled to a stress-free break."

Percy didn't look convinced. He felt anxious already, sure that everything would fall apart at work.

Adam decided a shopping trip would impress this reality onto Percy. They disagreed on the place to go. Percy had only ever shopped at Macy's or Kohl's. Adam had never shopped but believed Costco would be economical and more appropriate for beach gear. Adam calculated how much time and petrol would be saved by shopping at nearby Costco.

Costco made Percy feel overwhelmed. The busy music filled his mind with decisive thoughts.

Shorts, togs, tees, beach towels, sunscreen, a beach ball, popup beach tent, picnic gear, buckets, and spades –

"Percy, what do we need these for?" Adam held up the buckets and spades.

"When my grandfather took me to the beach when I was little, we made sandcastles."

"I don't believe adults build sandcastles, Percy."

"I want to. What else will I do? Surfing isn't my thing."

"Can I please order a surfboard and get it delivered? I really want to surf."

"Sure. Why not. Leave the castle building to me."

They went to pay for their items.

"Are you together?" asked the operator.

"Yes, I'll pay for everything," said Percy. He whipped out his credit card. Adam placed everything on the counter. Afterward, he wheeled out the trolley.

"That was fun," said Percy.


The next day at work, Percy felt smugly content. Only management knew about his secret plan. That is until someone mentioned he wouldn't be there for a few weeks.

Brenda asked questions.

Percy responded by being vague. "Oh, I thought I'd take some time off work."

'But you've never done that before. Why now?"

"No reason."


That afternoon, Adam heard the phone ring again.

"Hello, Adam, it's Brenda."

"Hello, Brenda."

"Did you know that Percy is taking time off work? He's never done that before. It's strange."

"What can I say, Brenda. Percy needs a break. He's taking me to the beach. I've never been before."

"Going to the beach is a day trip. He's taking two weeks off."

"The truth is we are staying at Saint Clair. There's a place called Sandy Cove Inn on the Esplanade. We're nearly packed. I've never been to the beach before."

"Haven't you? That's kind of him."

"Percy is a very kind man."

"So are you, Adam. Thanks for telling me. Percy's been so quiet about it, I was concerned."

"Don't worry, Brenda. I told Percy that life should be more than constant work."

"That's excellent advice. Thanks, Adam. Bye for now."


The day they packed and drove to the beach, Adam commended Percy on his idea to build sandcastles.

"I've looked into it. Apparently, there's a skill in getting the sand just right. Not too wet and not too dry. Saint Clair has great sand. The grains are irregular shapes, not smooth. Perfect for binding together with water. Also, as we don't think about time while building, it's a sensory, creative activity with intrinsic value. Perfect for stress relief."

"You don't say, Adam."

They arrived at the Inn in time for dinner at the restaurant. The forecast for the next day suggested a brilliant day for surfing and castle building.


After a sound night's sleep in their twin room, they trudged to the dining room for a continental breakfast. Adam planned to pretend to have a coffee. They went to the breakfast table to select their options.

Percy nearly fell over when he saw Brenda there.

"Good morning, Percy and Adam." Brenda smiled. A small boy stood beside her.

"What are you doing here?" said Percy, his eyes wide open.

"Adam told me you were coming here."

"He invited you?" Percy turned to Adam. "What were you thinking?"

"Why are you here, Brenda?" asked Adam.

"I took your advice. You said life should be more than constant work. The seaside is lovely at this time of year. I thought Steven would enjoy it."

They both looked at young Steven.

"You have a child?" said Percy.

Brenda pursed her lips. "We both keep secrets, Percy." She shook her head. "I wanted to talk to you, but you made it impossible. I decided the best way to discuss things with you is away from work. Adam told me you were coming here, so I also booked time off work. The truth is, I've had a complete crush on you for years. Everyone at work knew except you. When you finally asked me out on a date, I was so happy . . . until you came to work the next day and ignored me. All I told everyone is that your home is lovely and full of incredible robotics. You should be proud of it."

"And Steven?" said Percy.

"Steven's not mine. He's my sister's boy. My sister and her husband died, and I've looked after Steven since he was little. Me and my mother. Can you imagine how hard our lives are? Steven has no man in his life; he adores robots and only snacks on your robot cookies and crackers. We love your Emporium. Are you so heartless that you can't be nice to one of your little fans?" Brenda looked like she was about to cry.

Percy stared with his mouth open.

"Of course, he cares about his fans. What a splendid plan. The four of us should join forces and holiday together . . . Let's have breakfast for starters. What do you say, Steven? Come with me."

Adam put his mouth near Percy's ear. "She's here for you, Percy. Don't ignore this child or his aunt, please."


After breakfast, they gathered up their beach gear. Brenda went into a local Deli to stock up the new picnic hamper with food and drinks for snacks and lunch. Adam carried some towels and his surfboard while Percy took along the beach shade and other assorted bags. Steven trotted along carrying the beach toys.

They found a perfect spot not too far from the water but far enough back to enjoy the golden sand. Percy set up the shade, and Brenda stripped down to her bathing costume and prepared to sunbathe while reading a book.

Steven eyed up the buckets and spades. "Can we build a castle?"

"Sure thing," said Percy.

The sunlight streamed down, breaking up the water into shiny silver shards. Further out, the beach breaks formed. Adam stood scouring the surf conditions.

Percy watched him momentarily and then went over to stand beside him.

"How did it go with Brenda?"

"Better than I expected. I guess I forced her into doing this. I've been so thick. She's reassured me she won't say anything at work, and for now, I'll get to know Steven. She's agreed for us to just be ourselves. It's the best starting point. At the fortnight's end, if I feel like saying, 'I wish we could stay here forever,' we'll talk again. In the meantime, Steven and I have a lot in common . . . That's not likely to change.

"Well done, Master Percy. Eat dinner with her tonight while I child-mind."

"Ok, thanks, Adam. And here's some advice for you. With your mathematical ability, you'll have this whole surfing thing sussed and soon be charging. Refrain from surfing too well. You may be perfect at it, but with all the variables, people don't always get it right. They do fall off at times."

"Variables? The swell is angled perfectly, the wind is blowing out towards the ocean, the waves are diagonal, and it's the perfect time of day. I've also heard a sandbar is out there, so though this is no pipeline beach, I'll drop into some gnarly rides. I'll be ripped."

"I'm sure you will. There's little competition out there. Just have fun and ditch the board occasionally."

"Be 'human'. I'm sure I'll perform my wipeout and grubbing maneuvers just as capably."

"Is that what it's called? Grubbing? What next? Go break a leg!"

Adam looked at him and frowned.

"Not literally. Please, not literally."

"Percy, you are full of jokes these days."

The End

June 07, 2024 02:26

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Jonathan Todd
13:46 Jun 16, 2024

Love it! Can’t wait for the next installment.


20:15 Jun 16, 2024

What have I started? May do. Thanks for the read and affirmation.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Daniel Rogers
01:15 Jun 13, 2024

It's fun to see Adam and Percy become more human. It may become difficult to tell the robot from the man. It's vital to see character growth and you're doing a great job.


03:01 Jun 13, 2024

Thanks Daniel. Lovely comment.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Kristi Gott
05:24 Jun 12, 2024

I love these fun stories! Please keep it up. You have a talent for humor. Witty dialogue and funny moments make this story very entertaining! The concept of the robot and human is a good one for setting up comedic situations.


09:58 Jun 12, 2024

Thanks for enjoying, Kristi. I may go back to these characters sometime but this week I worked on a regency romance/scandal story. Just for a change.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
McKade Kerr
14:07 Jun 11, 2024

Another great story with these fun characters! I hope to see more of them soon!


01:55 Jun 12, 2024

Thanks, McKade.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Helen A Smith
17:01 Jun 09, 2024

I’m really enjoying these AI stories with a twist. I especially like how it touches on the confusion and misunderstandings between men and women especially when it comes to dating. Is it wise to date someone from work? Probably not, but it happens all the time. Or it used to. A fun read. Keep up the good work.


19:29 Jun 09, 2024

Thanks for reading and commenting, Helen.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Jim LaFleur
09:31 Jun 08, 2024

Kaitlyn, your story is a delightful blend of humor and heart. The characters are endearing, and the dialogue is lively and engaging. I particularly enjoyed the dynamic between Percy and Adam, and the twist with Brenda adds a lovely depth to the narrative. It’s always a pleasure to read your work! Keep creating these wonderful stories. 😊📚


10:33 Jun 08, 2024

Thank you, Jim. I enjoy reading your stories too.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Daniel R. Hayes
20:59 Jun 07, 2024

Hi Kaitlyn! This was a fun read. I thought it was very well written and easy to read. I love the name, Percival Smart!! I always have a hard time coming up with character names and this name made say out loud, "That's a cool name!" I loved how the dialogue moved the story along at a fun pace. So lively. I also liked your take on how guys and gals have different perceptions when it comes to having kids or marriage. I think in some cases that is very true because most guys have two brains and only use one, hahaha! (I'm joking) but hey, some...


22:33 Jun 07, 2024

Thank you for your comments, Daniel! I read your comment to my husband because it is such a great comment. It epitomized wonderful feedback. My husband reads my funny stories and they're really not his kind of humor. So, he wonders what I'm doing this for. Before Reedsy, I never wrote short stories. Anything short was for legal documents or letters, assignments, or carefully worded letters when friends were in difficulties. Never knew I had so many stories in me.


Daniel R. Hayes
05:51 Jun 10, 2024

That's wonderful, Kaitlyn! I know exactly what you mean. I never wrote stories before 5 years ago and I guess I got bit by the creative bug. I remember writing a lot of scholarly papers in college, but nothing like this! I guess I got bit by the bug. Now, I'm finishing up my second novel and if someone had told me that 6 years ago, I would have said they were crazy!! Keep those stories coming, you are really great! :)


11:46 Jun 10, 2024

Aw, thanks.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Alexis Araneta
18:33 Jun 07, 2024

Such a fun story. Glad Percy did get a date with Brenda. Lovely work !


22:25 Jun 07, 2024

Thanks Alexis!


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Mary Bendickson
03:38 Jun 07, 2024

They are both outgrowing their awkwardness.


09:19 Jun 07, 2024

Thanks, Mary. Progress is being made. It was Jonathan Todd who suggested a follow up. I did my best.


Mary Bendickson
13:16 Jun 07, 2024

It was good. happy to see him trying to date.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Joe Smallwood
03:18 Jun 07, 2024

This was fun. I laughed a few times. I could see a series of stories: Adam as best android at Percy's wedding and having to come up with ribald jokes at the reception? Can an android understand double entendre? Etc Good job. Thanks.


Show 0 replies
Joe Smallwood
03:13 Jun 07, 2024

Proofreading is fun.


09:01 Jun 07, 2024

How kind of you. Will work on it. I didn't like nearer Costco or Costco which was nearer but nearer needed to go in somehow. I wasn't sick this week but the rest of the fam. were. Hard to find time. Grammarly premium (I don't swear by it) passed those three.


Joe Smallwood
13:32 Jun 07, 2024

You use Grammarly Premium too? I absolutely swear by it. So yes I am surprised too. I find it definitely doesn't do quotation marks well, (if you forget one it won't correct) but everything else is usually fine.


22:25 Jun 07, 2024

Interesting. I have noticed little things after running through Grammarly and wondered how they could have been overlooked.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in Reedsy Studio. 100% free.