Culinary Escapades of the Distant Future

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

An Idiocracy - inspired story of the dull, dumb future. give it a read :D

Ronald sat still in his large leather armchair, apple clutched in one hand and the Remote Console Pad holding up the other. The television in front of him blared something comparable only to masturbation for him: the Food Network channel. Idly, he tapped on the Pad's screen to the constant beat of an unheard song. He yawned, then -thinking to conserve time- he turned his yawn into a bite off the smooth unscathed green surface of the apple. With more energy than it should have taken, he tugged his head away to pull off the large, crisp, juicy chunk. He chewed with the rhythm he was tapping out on the Pad; and for a large orchestrated finale, he swallowed. 
Seemingly on musical queue, the Pad opened the main holographic display in front of him as his finger-drumming touched the "On/Off" button. The surprise knocked a bit of apple juice and saliva to the back of his windpipe and sent him into a flurry of body shaking coughs. The display screen was filled with the image of a cliche butler with a wisp of pencil-thin moustache.
  "Are you all right, sir?" Echoed the Pad-networked house from all directions.
  "Yes, fine." Replied Ronald between coughs.
  "As I am already momentarily activated, I may also add a routine Home Status: The time is nine o' three in the evening, March second, year Two-thousand-two-hundred-and-four. The weather -according to local news channel JetNews KMOF3, South Houston Metropolitan- is overcast skies with a ninety percent chance of rain. Although you are running out of milk, you're stored food would potentially be able to last you approximately twenty-one years. Your vital signs are all normal and positively sustained. Your Height Is six feet, one inch; your weight is-"
  "That's all, House" Ronald grunted as he shifted in his plush seat
  "Sir, I will now go into Semi-Active-Sleep Mode, I'll be sure to notify you if anything abnormal threatens to-"
  "Very well, sir."
  The long fading "Beeeyyooooo" sound associated with old powering-down televisions signaled the House's Pad system turning down. The small, yet audible "Bing" meant that it was still working and detecting for any disturbance.
  Ronald always felt a sort of jealous contempt for that hologram-butler. He hated the condescending manner with which he told him his weight and amount of stored food supplies: AI don't need to eat, AI don't get fat. Weren't those some of the rules in IRobot?
  With an incredible sigh that tired him out, Ronald pulled a lever on the side of the armchair, next to the original one that lifted out the foot rest. As he did, the chair was mechanically raised and the holothrusters engaged. A button glowed to life on the opposite side, beckoning to be pushed. He pressed it hard and it stuck inward. With a small motorized buzz a tray fell over him the same way a safety bar would fall over someone about to be flown off on a roller coaster. The tray carried a fresh meal of two hard-shelled beef tacos and an open can of Coke in the middle, and a joystick at full attention on the right side.
  He grabbed the joystick and shifted it right, left, forward and back about an inch each way as a little paranoid test he always did. With the same meaty hand he went in to grab a taco. With the quick ease that would be expected of a pro athlete in his element, he stuffed the taco into his mouth, chewed, and swallowed. The second taco went the same way. In a refreshing finale, he downed the soda fast as one would do when taking shots of some hard alcohol.
  'Alert Guiness' he thought, 'I believe I have set a new record.'
  Sighing and grunting, he let his stomach register, then settle over the quick feast. Again, he clutched the joystick, this time pushing only forward, toward the bedroom exit. Once the holothrusted chair had brought him out into the hallway he took a right and kept on straight for a solid thirty seconds.
  'Thirty seconds wasted to the slowest damn machine in the world,' Thought Ronald bitterly.
  With another right turn, he had entered the kitchen. In a typical advertised American home, his smiling, apron garbed wife would cook him meals along side the Pad Networked kitchen with it's mechanical arms waving about and poised with knives in graspers.
  However typical, Ronald was not the advertised American man with a long broad chin and thick wavy hair. The abs that could be seen through the Perfect Citizen's macho open shirt were only reflected onRonald as six flabby rolls of pushy fat, falling over his belt and out of the reach of his T-shirts and under-garment suspenders.
  The room itself was not like the common cuisines of old; no drawers burdened the wall, there were no shelves, no cabinets, no pans hanging from the ceiling. These features could all be seen painted in huge artificially-worn murals on the wall, along with a picturesque window that showed green rolling hills and a silhouetted windmill in the distance. On the far wall, at the top, the words "This is your Kitchen" were grandly set along a long flowing painted banner.
  Along with those words that made Ronald feel stupid after every annoyed reading, the far wall held a small bulky computer with an outstretched keypad, ready to accept any orders. If it had not been for his first preliminary tour of the house he would have had no idea of the capabilities of this little empty room. His meals typically came to him; he could not even remember the last time he came into his kitchen.
  With another push of the joystick, he was headed for the console on the far wall. Once at his destination, he rested a bit and stretched his fingers from their overuse.
  His rat-like beady eyes stared intently at the console, trying to come up with some wisp of creativity. What had his dream job been as a child? Some sort of cook? Yes, that sounded right. a cook. But not just a run-of-the-mill lunch room cook, he wanted to be a master chef. Like the ones he spent his numb days watching on the television. The ones that created recipes and prepared them, not had pre-made food drop down on trays.
  More on impulse than deliberation, Ronald tapped "Start" on the keypad. The noise of buttons clicking nicely down was a satisfying change from the flat touch screen of his Remote Console Pad. The screen instantly blared to life and a hard drive could be heard buzzing inside. Three options were displayed in three panels set vertically down the display. "1: Ingredients/tools search" "2: Browse available ingredients" "3: Recipes" Ronald held out an index finger and scanned over the keypad to find "1" and he pressed it inward, smiling at the click it made. Another window dropped down over the three options. At the top, written in classic Times New Roman font, was "House Search, Powered by Google.Local.Residential" below that was a simple little empty box with an iconic magnifying glass jumping rhythmically next to it.
  Ronald found the appropriate keys on the keypad to spell out (as best as he could) "Nives, Karrots, Potss." He clicked in "Enter". A menu dropped down with many pictures -which pleased Ronald; pictures didn't even need to be spelled out phonetically to be understood- and names to describe them. He found the largest knife he could, a meat cleaver, and pressed enter. A little infobox appeared, "Placed On Queue. If finished click HERE" The same followed with the prettiest orange carrot and the widest ceramic pot.
Following the instructions, Ronald clicked "HERE" and waited. The screen went abruptly black, followed by a dull display of an hourglass and the words "Please Wait."
'What now?' thought Ronald, 'Where's my fancy machinery?'
As if heading his call, the room in all its entirety began to vibrate. Ronald, startled, pushed back into his seat, as if to force it's plush, leather safety and comfort.
  In betrayal, the seat itself moved, pulling back away from the console with a demon blast of the holo-thrusters. Ronald felt his heart skip a beat and clutched it dearly, not a good time for a heart attack. not a good time at all. But, like an expert drummer accidentally caught off-rhythm, his heart started pumping right back to normal again (thanks to several prosthetic heart implant devices). He sat back up, still flustered in the vibrating room, to examine the rapidly changing kitchen.
  The console he had been previously typing on retracted back into the wall and was closed in by two sliding metal panels. Where Ronald's mobile chair had been hovering, a perfectly rectangular opening in the floor was now visible, exposing a menagery of wires, cogs, and other mechanical guts. From the opening, signaled by the clanking of gears engaging, came an off-white cream colored, wood panneled block, capped with a layer of polished granite. And on that black shiny granite were three things: a carrot, a knife, and a wide ceramic pot.
  After raising to about three and a half feet, the counter top fell about a centimeter into place, setting solidly as if it had always been there. Along with the counter's stopping, the vibrating ceased and left Ronald feeling numb and overly still. With empty eyes he stared at the three objects, evenly spread out on the shiny dark granite countertop.
  Adrenaline alone lifted his arms up. Hands buzzing with excitement, he wiggled his fingers to make sure they were still his. With a strong inhale, he let his hands find their way to the knife and the carrot, slithering towards them like chubby little snakes moving of their own accord.
  Another excitement fueled lift brought his hands up, laden with an orange carrot and a sharp cleaver. Up they went, grasped in his fat mits, to make an abrupt stop in front of his eyes.
  Intensely, he examined the two objects, making himself familiar with every ridge, every bump, every part of their physical being. Once finished with his inspection he slammed the carrot on the table with the force expected of a man who didn't have the strength to hold it up (which was fitting).
  After a quick breather, Ronald was ready to do some cutting. With a hand still sore from use, he braced the carrot in place. With the other, he directed the knives point to rest behind the carrot, as the chefs on television had so graciously shown him.
  'Here I go!' he thought, sweating with anxiety 'get the camera's rolling, Food Network!'.
He pushed downwards with his full strength, even leaning himself forward to press the knife down with his immense weight. Sweat was pouring in streams down his face when he felt the worst pain he had ever felt pinch directly into thumb, the knife had nipped into his flesh.
  The accidental injury's pain caught Ronald off guard and made him jump. With that reflexed jump, he fell forward onto his hand, pushing the knife down with his complete and full weight further into his thumb, sheering through it to the bone.
  At first Ronald was too stunned to make even a small noise, but then, like a pinched hose, a terrible scream forced its way out of his vocal cords, spurting out in release and traveling through the stale kitchen air. The yell went on for an astounding fifteen seconds, ended by a near-gagging cough.
  The wrenching cough had created enough momentum to knock Ronald into full-roll off the counter, landing him hard on the floor. He heard an audible pop as his displaced weight landed just so, pushing his shoulder blade out of position. A yell came much like the one before, this time starting as a loud "SHIT!" but fading out, never finishing with the letter "T."
  Ronald felt as if his brain was being stirred around with a stick, and draining out through his ears; leaving an extreme light-headed feeling. The warm feel of blood soaking through his shirt and the cool wetness of the massive amounts of sweat he had been excreting the whole time did little to stimulate him back onto his feet. He tried yelling again but found no sound could be produced, as if his noise gauge needle had gone to "E", drained by his panting and previous screams.
  The lights seemed to run out of the room, frightened by the bloody spectacle, leaving Ronald in the dark.
  They rushed back in when he forced his eyes open, staring forward again at the television, with it's friendly food-network cook cutting carrots for a stew. Next to the happy chef was a big ceramic pot of bubbling water, gaping open to accept the fresh cut carrots as if they were coins for a parking meter.
  "Feeling alright, sir?" Rumbled the house from all directions.
  "It would seem you got a rather bad cut. I would advise you to stay clear of the kitchen for a bit, at least until you have recovered."
Confused, Ronald replied with a simple "Thanks, house."
  Then, with a small, dull bit of second thought, "And could you make me some tacos? That would be good. Good as..."
  He trailed off, staring with empty eyes at the television cook preparing some sort of stew.
  "I'll have it right out, sir" finished House.

Submitted: March 22, 2011

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