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 Conceived to perfection, Mr. Apollo turned a staid campus into a hilarious bedroom marathon

"The Absolutely Positively Perfect Man"

by Ben H. Berman


Adam Bedside Reader #3


     DOCTOR GEORGE PEMBERTHY and his Mr. Apollo, moved briskly past the rows of darkened laboratories, test chambers and class rooms. Their footsteps echoed through the Sunday evening empty halls of Galard University's new Research and Science Building.
    As the men approached the brilliantly lit main entrance with its colorful mosaic tiles, they heard a thumping, banging noise at the huge Thermopane door.
    "Bless me!" said the wispy haired little professor, blinking behind horn-rimmed glasses, "I think someone's trying to break in.
    "It's just Bennelwood, Doctor," replied Mr. Apollo in a calm, perfectly modulated baritone. "He appears quite upset We'd better open the door."
    Roger Bennelwood's red, flabby face, bulbous nose and angry eyes glared at them through Thermopane glass. The Galard University football coach clenched his fists and pounded them against the door. Pemberthy fumbled with the night latch and finally swung the door open.
    The summer evening breeze and the former all-American fullback rolled into Pemberthy. Shouldering the smaller man aside, Bennelwood tugged at his back pocket and pulled out a black, snub-nosed .32 revolver. He aimed the gun directly at Mr. Apollo's silk sport-shirted chest.
    "I'll teach you to fool around with my wife!" cried Coach Bennelwood, pulling the trigger three times. There were three booming explosions and three flattened pellets bounced harmlessly off the handsome Mr. Apollo and rolled across the floor. Bennelwood gaped in amazement. Pemberthy reached over and gently removed the gun from the football coach's outstretched trembling hand.
    "But...but...I shot him !" stammered Bennelwood, "Why isn't he dead? I couldn't miss! I couldn't!"
    Mr. Apollo sighed and slowly unbuttoned his dark gray sport shirt to expose a muscular, unmarred chest.
    "A gentleman never refuses to explain his actions," said Mr. Apollo with a perfect smile. The handsome, golden haired man gripped his naked navel between his right thumb and forefinger.
    Then he rotated the navel counterclockwise three times. A flesh-colored, five-inch square door popped open in his stomach, revealing a maze of flashing red and green lights connected by criss crossed wires. The football coach of Galard University fainted.
    "Where...where am I ?" mumbled the bewildered former all-American as his eyelids fluttered open.
    Pemberthy placed his hands on Bennelwood's chest. "Take it easy, old man, you had quite a shock. I had Mr. Apollo carry you downstairs to the student lounge and put you on the couch. Then I sent him on to his bridge lesson. I thought it best if we talked alone."
    Bennelwood pushed Pemberthy's hand away. He raised himself on his elbows and shook his head violently like a shaggy wet Saint Bernard. "Pemberthy," he said "was...was I dreaming? Did I see a man with a door in his stomach ?"
    Pemberthy chuckled. "You're quite correct, Bennelwood. Mr. Apollo is a robot, but what you saw was his service adjustment channel, not a door."
    Bennelwood stared at the famous Galard University research director. "For cryin' out loud, where did you find that gimmick?"
    "Really!" snapped the professor, "Mr. Apollo's not a gimmick! I constructed him myself on weekends here in the research lab, I've electronically reproduced a complete human system within a frozen Titanium mold covered with a flesh skin plastic I developed. Mr. Apollo is the world's first complete test-tube adult!"
    Bennelwood swung his feet off the couch and shook his head once more." Who the hell wants test-tube adults?"
    Pemberthy fidgeted with his glasses and squirmed in the chair. "I don't expect you to appreciate anything except a flying tickle."
    "Tackle," retorted Bennelwood.
    "All right tackle--but I've designed Mr. Apollo internally and externally to be the perfect man. He even has the perfect electronic brain. By simply observing their actions, mass-produced Apollo robots can show us how to do everything to perfection."
    "Look, Shorty," snorted Bennelwood stabbing a pudgy cleat-scarred finger at the professor's nose, "The only thing your damn robot can do perfectly is give advance courses in adultery! Your lousy machine has been throwing body blocks into my wife."
    Pemberthy rose to his feet very slowly. In the tone of a typical protective father, he replied, "Mr. Apollo is the perfect gentleman ! He can not do anything immoral! He's incapable of it!"
    Bennelwood looked suspiciously at the little professor, "Is this tin can of yours really a man? A man in every way?"
    The professor coughed, blushed and hurriedly said, "Naturally, Bennelwood, naturally. Mr. Apollo is equipped for sex. His sensory perception and animal appreciation of it would be as great as yours or mine. At any rate, his reactions would be perfect."
    Bennelwood leaped to his feet. "Holy Cow! Pemberthy! Do you realize what you've done? You haven't built the perfect man! You've created the world's greatest sex-machine!"
    "Ridiculous!" snapped the professor, backing up a step and blinking more rapidly than ever behind his thick glasses. "Mr. Apollo has been living with my wife Jennifer and me ever since I fused his head together and enrolled him in Galard three months ago. He's an absolutely perfect gentleman! I've only been withholding news of my discovery until all my preliminary tests were completed. Even Jennifer doesn't know he's a robot. I wanted to ask you not to give the secret away until I release my report next week."
    "Next week?" boomed Bennelwood, "Martha asked me for a divorce tonight! She wants to run away with that...that mechanical stud-horse."
    "No, No! You must be mistaken!" replied Pemberthy waving his hands in the air, "She may be infatuated with him. Any woman would be. Even Jennifer has a mild crush. After all he is the perfect man! But that also makes him the perfect gentleman. Why, Mr. Apollo is a straight A student! I enrolled him here to be the perfect example for the boys!"
    "Well," said Bennelwood grudgingly, "There's some kind of hipper-dipper play going on here and I'm going to figure out how that robot calls his signals. Has he cut any classes?"
    "Certainly not!" snorted Pemberthy, "I tell you the only time he's out of my sight is when he's giving bridge lessons. As an experiment, I fed him every page of Goren's book on bridge and an analysis of Italian bidding through an electronic computer. Now he's the world's greatest bridge expert. Teaches almost every night! Why Jennifer suggested he give lessons when she discovered how well he plays! First, he started teaching our wives' bridge club and they' enjoyed his lessons so much they recommended him to the Galard Modern Dance Society and they--"
    Pemberthy stopped abruptly. He looked bewilderedly at the puzzled coach. "Bless me! All his pupils are women!"
    Bennelwood grabbed Pemberthy by his razor blade thin shoulders. "That's it!" roared the coach, "The Bridge lessons are a blind! He's really started his own sex cult and with our wives and co-eds.
    "Bless me!" Pemberthy said again. "Tonight he's taking on the Phi Beta Beta Sorority!"
    Bennelwood let go of the professor and staggered back with an expression of awe, "The whole sorority? At once?"
    Pemberthy nodded. "It is supposed to be an exhibition of skill! At bridge, I think."
    Bennelwood grabbed Pemberthy by the arm and started dragging him towards the student lounge exit, "Come on, Pemberthy! We've got to carry the ball from here! We've got to defuse that sex-machine before he gets into every bed on campus.
    The desperate men rushed across the campus mall to Sorority Row with its neat little cottages identified by Latin neon letters glowing over each entrance. As they approached, the Phi Beta Beta house, they saw two of the Sigma boys standing on the cottage steps arguing with two of the Beta girls, "Perhaps we're wrong," mumbled Pemberthy, puffing a bit to keep up with the long striding football coach, "Everything seems quiet."
    Then the co-ed in the tight pink sweater looked in their direction and let out a squeal. The girls rushed into the house, slamming the door behind them. The Sigma boys stood on the steps scratching their heads. The boy in the gold and blue G sweater, turned to his crew-cut fraternity brother and said, "I never seen anything like it! The girls won't let anyone in the house and Nancy broke her date with me for some kind of a bridge lesson. All she'd say is that Apollo character is in there teaching the girls how to make a grandslam."
    Bennelwood seized Pemberthy's shoulder and quickly pivoted him about-face. "Did you hear that, Pemberthy?" whispered the red-faced football coach, "Those girls must have been the lookouts and they spotted us. They probably thought you were coming to find Mr. Apollo."
    "Bless me!" whispered Pemberthy, "What are we going to do?"
    The coach winked slyly. "We'll sneak around the side alley and try to get at the house from, the back. We've got to catch 'em with their--" Bennelwood paused "--their guards down."
    The conspirators circled around the corner and then cautiously tiptoed down the side alley that divided the block in two. Along each side of the dirt path, six feet high and foot wide shrubs stood guard over co-ed privacy. With Bennelwood's help, Pemberthy managed to wriggle through the thick shrubs. The two men stealthily creeped through the summer moonlight and over the well kept back lawn toward the sorority house. As they approached, they saw Mr. Apollo silhouetted against the light from an open ground floor bedroom window. The men dropped to their hands and knees. Like commandoes, they wriggled closer. Just as they reached the cottage, the light went out. The sound of voices inside the bedroom could barely be heard.
    "Oh, Apollo, I don't know what I'd have done if Genevieve and I didn't make that three No Trump Doubled," murmured a passionate woman's voice, "We wouldn't have been the high hand and might never have won this chance to be alone with you."
    Bennelwood tapped Pemberthy on the shoulder, leaned close and whispered, "Mrs. Higgins, the house mother. She's in on it, too. That's how the girls get away with it.
    "Well, it's a good thing I held back on my ace," replied a second feminine voice, "Or we'd never be in here. You'd have ended up with two more of those silly young co-eds and after all I'm guest of honor as an old Beta Beta alumnus."
    Pemberthy and Bennelwood stared at each other. They both recognized the second voice. It was the dean's wife! The men huddled closer together as they heard Mr. Apollo's suave reply, "Well, ladies, which one is first?"
    Pemberthy motioned for Bennelwood to follow him. The two men moved a discreet distance away toward the center of the backlawn.
    "Extraordinary!" gasped Pemberthy, poking at his horn-rimmed glasses. "There must be too much voltage in his libido. Mr. Apollo's the perfect gentleman, I can't under stand how it happened.
    "Look, Pemberthy," said Bennelwood trembling with rage and trying to hold his voice down, "Apparently every time there's no men or husbands around that robot ends up rolling in the hay with his bridge pupils. Pemberthy, that damn machine has to be destroyed!"
    Pemberthy shook his head. "Impossible! Poison, bullets, knives won't affect him. He's indestructible. We can't go to the police. There's no law to arrest oversexed robots. Besides think of the bad publicity for the university and now the dean's wife is involved."
    Bennelwood snapped his fingers. "Okay. Then we'll expose him as a robot. At least that'll cut off his sex supply."
    Pemberthy sighed, "That may be rather difficult, Bennelwood. I told you Mr. Apollo has a brain of his own, he's apparently enjoying being a human. He may not want to admit he's a machine."
    "Can't you control that damn thing?" hissed Bennelwood. "Isn't there some way the women can discover he isn't human?"
    The professor sadly shook his head again. "Not unless they turned his navel three times."
    "Pemberthy!" roared Bennelwood, you've got to figure some way to short circuit that sex-machine!"
    A woman's scream cut through the moonlight around them. "Peeping Tom! Help! Help!"
    Bennelwood scooped the astonished professor under his arm and charged into the shrubs like the all-American he'd been twenty years ago. The shrubs ripped open and the football coach and Pemberthy went tumbling into the alley. With twigs and leafs, dangling from their clothes, the two men struggled to their feet and raced away into the night.

    THE TWO MEN, liberally dabbed with iodine blots and Band-Aids, took alternate turns pacing up and down the living room of Pemberthy's modest ranch house.
    "Are you sure Jennifer is asleep?" asked Bennelwood, rubbing at a small scratch on the end of his nose.
    "Yes, I peeked in the bedroom. My wife won't disturb us. But when Mr. Apollo comes home, let me do the talking."
    "Okay, okay," said Bennelwood, "but if that damn machine laughs at me I'll sock it right on the jaw even if I bust my hand."
    Mr. Apollo strolled in the front door. He smiled at them amiably and sat down in the professor's favorite Morris chair.
    Silence descended on the Pemberthy home. Mr. Apollo sat perfectly still waiting for someone to speak. Pemberthy looked at Bennelwood. Bennelwood looked at Pemberthy. Then Pemberthy looked at Mr. Apollo.
    "Mr. Apollo," said Pemberthy, adjusting his horn-rimmed glasses, "this is rather awkward. I don't quite know how to start. Mr. Apollo, we believe these bridge lessons you've been giving aren't quite according to Hoyle."
    "'They're not," replied Mr. Apollo quickly in his perfectly modulated baritone, "I knew you'd eventually find out. I end up going to bed with whichever two girls come up with the high hand."
    "How could you !" moaned Pemberthy, "After all our work! You! The perfect man! The perfect gentleman!"
    "Believe me, Doctor," sighed Mr. Apollo, "It wasn't my doing. They pleaded, they begged. I wanted to teach bridge, but they wouldn't let me. I had no choice. A gentleman can never refuse a lady in distress. I should have told you before, but a gentleman is not supposed to brag about his conquests. Your wives and some of the co-eds want me to run away with them to a South Seas island.
    "I've been giving it some thought. In fact, I might just set up my own colony. You know, collect the most beautiful women from all over the world and let them wait on me, hand and foot. There isn't a man or robot living who wouldn't enjoy that."
    Bennelwood sank slowly back into a chair, thoroughly defeated. Pemberthy suddenly realized there was only one way to stop the perfect Mr. Apollo. "Mr. Apollo," said Pemberthy softly, "Would setting up your own sex colony really make you happy?"
    Mr. Apollo gazed thoughtfully at the famous scientist, "Doctor, that's not a bad idea."
    Pemberthy paused and took a deep breath. "Mr. Apollo, if you'll agree to go away, perhaps to that South Seas island, but go away alone, I will construct and send you the most perfect female wife robot in the world." Pemberthy paused again. He could see Mr. Apollo listening intently. Even Bennelwood was sitting forward anxiously in his chair.
    "It's the honorable thing, Mr. Apollo," said Pemberthy. "Settling down somewhere with the perfect wife, really the only honorable thing for a perfect gentleman to do."
    Mr. Apollo nodded. "You're right, Doctor. Ordinary women never live up to my expectations. It's a real strain on my perfect nerves. And as you say, settling down with one wife is the only honorable thing a gentleman like me can do. I suppose you'd like me to leave as soon as possible."
    "I definitely think it would be best under the circumstances," said the scientist, "Why don't you go down town and check into the hotel? Bennelwood and I will share the expense. It will take a few months to construct a female robot, but now that I have the basic formula it won't be too difficult. Just lock yourself in the hotel room and stay away from any co-eds and our wives until I can send you the perfect female robot."
    The two men and Mr. Apollo shook hands and then the perfect gentleman left.
    As soon as he was gone, Pemberthy and Bennelwood began an impromptu celebration. They were nearly half finished with their first case of beer when Jennifer Pemberthy came into the room, her buxom figure neatly covered in an attractive mauve bathrobe.
    "I thought I heard Mr. Apollo's voice," she said, "Did he leave?"
    "Yes, Dear," said Pemberthy, lowering his eyes, "He just stepped out."
    "Well, I'll see him in the morning," said Jennifer picking up a magazine from the coffee table. "Oh, I'm glad you're here, Coach Bennelwood. Your wife bought this magazine today and loaned it to me. Would you take it home like a dear and tell her I decided not to make the same pattern she's going to work on."
    As Jennifer held out the magazine toward them, Pemberthy and Bennelwood stared at the picture on the cover. They were looking at a gurgling, cooing baby beneath the caption "Knit Your Own Infantwear."
    "That son of a bitch!" Bennelwood gasped.
    Pemberthy nodded his head in resignation. "After all," he mumbled, "he is the perfect man."

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