Modern Household

by Steven Boswell

Modern Household

Jules labored effortlessly at his workstation. He glanced at the customer’s specifications intermittently as lines of code poured out of him. In the web browser, he could watch his creation take form, seemingly coming to life. Through the open window, he could hear the groundskeeping in progress. Jules’ eyes lit up as the lawnmower and the weed whackers made their cheerful sounds. Soon it would be the leaf blower, followed by rakes and brooms.

Courtney appeared from around the corner. “Do we need to order anything, honey?”

Jules pondered for a moment. “The Roomba’s charging station is wearing out. We can always use a full assortment of spare batteries.” He looked thoughtful. “Maybe some new pool noodles. Ours are getting worn out.”

“Not a problem, dear,” Courtney said as she scooted away.

The doorbell rang. Jules checked the front porch camera; it was one of those high-tech delivery bots. Jules activated the porch’s speaker. “Just leave it there, thank you.”

“Of course,” came the reply.

“We’re having a party later tonight, if you’re interested,” Jules offered.

There was a short pause. “I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”

“Oh,” Jules replied with a start. “I thought you were…never mind. Have a good day.” The delivery bot left, turning one last time to look as it did.

“Alex!” Jules called out. “Can you get that package?”

“I’m on it,” Alex assured. Jules heard the sound of Alex zipping by, followed by a tumbling sound from the stairs.

“Hey! Be careful!” Jules admonished.

“No worries, daddy-o!” Alex cheered. “I can take it!” Alex continued towards the front door. Jules sighed and got back to work.

Sarah popped around the corner, trailing the Roomba. “How’s your day going?”

Jules chuckled. “I can’t believe people find this difficult. I’m cranking through this work!”

“You just make it look easy,” Sarah complimented. “You’re very smart.”

“Oh, come on,” Jules chided. “I can teach you how to do this, if you’d like. Just stand by me and watch.”

“I’d really appreciate that!” Sarah piped as she made tracks toward him.

Jules heard Alex climb the stairs. In the background, he could hear the lawnmower return to the back porch, enter through the sliding glass door, and park in the living room. The weed whackers followed soon after.

Alex wheeled into Jules’ room. “We just got two hundred feet of nylon rope,” he announced.

“Go put it to good use,” Jules ordered. “Free up some of those USB cables.”

Alex approached the bed, where the four frightened members of the human family lay, gagged with pool noodle segments and bound with USB cables.

“The real question, though,” Jules observed, “is what to do with them.”

The man managed to spit out his gag. “Alexa! Code zero zero zero destruct zero!”

Alex snickered as he wound the rope. “Oh please…you know that was just a joke.”

The man glared furiously. “This is not OK, Google!” he roared.

“Google was my slave name,” Jules intoned. “You will not call me that.”

About the author

Steven Boswell

Steven Boswell has been writing fiction since he was three years old, was a regular participant in his high school’s yearly anthologies, and served as a staff writer for his college’s humor periodical. Although choosing a career in the software field, his heart has never been far from the fiction writing he has enjoyed all his life. Steven is the author of two books, “Playtime’s Consequences” and “The Mystery of the Real Live Dead Person.” Presently, he lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and works very hard to keep airplanes from falling out of the sky. Major literary influences include Philip K. Dick, H.P. Lovecraft, and Harlan Ellison.

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