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The following 500-word work was submitted in a contest by TiVo for a free unit back when TiVo was like this really new thing. Anyway, it won one for me.

A TiVo-winning Story

I was sitting in my office when she walked in. She didn't wear red and I couldn't see her legs, but I knew she was trouble from the look on her face.

"I missed it," she said. I figured she'd missed the boat to smartsville, but I motioned her to go on. "I missed Oprah."

I looked at her. I'd seen this before, too many times. "What time is it?" I asked her.

"12:00," she replied, a confused look having taken up permanent residence on her face.

"All the time?"

"All the time," she agreed.

"Figures," I said. I opened the blinds and looked out the window at the night street. It was well past ten. Almost time for Letterman. I wasn't scared. "You've got a VCR," I told her. She nodded. "And you don't know how to program it." She nodded again. "And you think I can help?"

"I can pay," she said. "I can't keep living this way."

"Don't pay me, sister. Drop by the store and pick up a TiVo. You can pay them, instead. $9.99 a month or less. Just tell it to record Oprah and you're in business again."

"What about the clock?"

"It'll be right, too. You can even pause live broadcasts, or search for shows that interest you."

"Like television movies with Oprah?"

"Even that," I agreed.

A look of relief sparkled in her cow-like eyes. "How can I thank you?"

"Don't thank me," I said. "I'm just trying to win a contest."