Jacob Haller (jwgh) wrote,
Jacob Haller

Happy International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day

I've never sold anything I've written, but I wanted to do a little something special today anyway. So here's a story I wrote a while ago ... I know that I've posted various versions of this out there before, but I don't think anyone's seen this exact version yet.

I've also made a recording of it for your listening pleasure, such as it is: 523 words and just under three minutes. The title of the piece is 'Plastic Fantastic'.

I wake up after a night of fitful sleep. My eyes flutter open. The retinal scanner is ready for me and it immediately searches my eyes for cataracts. The tiny mechanical bug that perches next to my ear chirps up and asks, "What would you like to do this morning?" I am silent. I have not given in to temptation for almost a month this time.

I try to just lie in bed for a while but I am all too conscious that the bed is repositioning its cushions to better match what it thinks will maximize my comfort as I wake up. Finally I get up, still half asleep. A long dormant habit rises and I take a step towards the shower. Automatic systems detect this move and the bathroom cranks up, the shower already running at the calculated optimum temperature and pressure. So that's out.

The bugs in my ears are asking me what I want to do again, so I try swatting them. They explode with nice little pops, but I know they're just humoring me, so I stop after a little while, unsatisfied. My personal environment perceptibly relaxes, thinking that it's at last gotten me to participate in an activity I enjoy. There's a slight whine as new arachnobots are generated and sent to monitor me.

They leave me alone for a bit, so I sit down at my desk and take some notes, using a code I don't think they've figured out yet. I lose myself in writing for a bit, but before long I notice that my chair is reconfiguring itself to improve my posture, and once again I'm aware of my surroundings.

The chattering increases. Despite their perfect engineering they have a real inferiority complex, and it really bothers them when I won't give them feedback on their services. Their anxiety increases. "Do you want some breakfast, Dave? Or maybe some television? Do you like the new wallpaper or should we try something else? Just _let us know_!" It's the endless chatter that always ends up getting to me; that, and the need to communicate.

For the moment I set that aside and have some breakfast. It's prepared perfectly and the presentation is a delight to the eye: as always, a disappointment. I try to go to the sink to do the dishes, but as usual before I can make a move my dirty dishes are whisked away. A sigh escapes me.

The digital readouts that cover most of my apartment tell me that it's a quarter past noon when I finally snap. I scream at them to just shut up and leave me alone. I'm eloquent on the subject. And loud. Very, very loud. I continue on the subject at some length, but finally I get hoarse and stop.

For a moment, there's silence. For a moment, I almost hope that it's worked this time.

Then, in one voice, they respond, "There _must_ be something we can do for you. We want you to be happy! Please, tell us what it will take!"

This time, I resolve, I won't speak for at least five weeks.
Tags: science fiction, writing

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