I hope this thread is not buried already amongst 8,000 others.
I do some freelance writing. Primarily humor. I've been in some magazines as well as online. I thought it might be fun to share. So, on that note, here is one of my older works that was published in a cooking magazine. They had a call out for column writers and, since I cannot make even an icecube, I knew I would be perfect for the job.
Imagine my surprise when they hired me. All I had to do was write about what I knew best in the kitchen......nothing.
"The Joshua Project"
The new dishwasher was installed the other day.
I woke up yesterday morning and sat at the table for an hour, quietly smoking a cigarette while eyeing it with a curious gaze. It was almost as big as that Mega-nator that blew up my kitchen last month. I still wasn't quite sure what to think about that.
Setting aside my cup of instant coffee, I reached forward and pulled the instruction manual towards me.
"Wipe-O-Matic," I mumbled aloud.
I flipped to the index and perused the contents.
The Wipe-O-Matic will wash dishes, toilets, grout, delicates, cars, that man right out of your hair and more!
Neat. And it came with yet another remote. Yahoo.
I rose from my chair and approached the metal behemoth. Bending down, I peered at it.
No doubt about it, this was a sleek little sucker. It even had a small computer screen mounted into the top upper quadrant. And a keyboard. Well, if I knew anything, I sure knew keyboards. This nifty appliance might actually work out for a change.
As I hovered there, checking things out, I noticed a series of numbers and letters in the bottom corner of the washer.
"US GOV X-5 CODE RED - PROJECT JOSHUA"
How cute. They'd even named it.
I ran my finger along the name, and let it trip softly off my tongue.
As if awakened by the sound of my voice, there was a crackle, a hum and then the distinct sound of a modem connecting.
I hopped back and clutched my hands to my chest.
The dish washer had sprung to life. The computer screen took on an eerie hue and a pattern of numbers in a bright, lime green began to scroll wildly across it's perimeter. I stood dumbstruck and peered around me, at a loss as to what to do next.
And then there was a voice.
The dishwasher was talking to me. The corner of my mouth twisted up into a wry smile and I blinked a time or two before I found the nerve to answer.
"Hello. Um, Joshua? It's nice to meet you. I think you'll like it here. We always try to scrape our dishes first before we wash them. We're pretty neat that way"
After my polite greeting, Joshua sat silent and insolent. Perhaps it needed an offering, some form of encouragement?
I grabbed my coffee cup from the table and hurried to the sink. I made a big production of turning on the water and then rinsed the mug out, smiling at the dishwasher all the while, seeking it's acknowledgment.
Holding the now clean cup in front of me, I stood back in front of Joshua and held it aloft, just like one of those Beaver Cleaveresque moms in a cereal commercial.
"See? All clean! If you don't mind, I'm going to put this in you now, okay?"
I took that as an okay and prepared myself for some dish washer loading.
Stepping forward, I looked for a latch to open the machine. Nothing. Not a thing. Was there some trick to this I couldn't figure out? I couldn't possibly be too stupid to operate a dishwasher, could I?
I checked the manual and searched for a diagram, which indicated the latch was in the very front, near the top.
Holding the manual open in one hand, with the cup clutched under my chin, I groped along the top of the machine and searched for the trigger.
Frustrated by my apparent stupidity, I tossed the manual on top of the counter with a sigh and prepared to wash my dishes by hand. With a solid thump, the book landed upon the keyboard and Joshua whirred to life once more.
"Shall we play a game?"
A game? What? Like hide the saucer? I was stupefied.
The screen paraded a series of numbers and sequences and a panel appeared, offering up a selection.
I raised my eyes and scoffed a moment. Games in my dishwasher. What an epiphany of design and creativity. How cool was this? I could rinse and Minesweeper in one fell swoop. It was nirvana.
Pulling up a chair, I settled down and put the keyboard on my lap.
"Okay, Joshua. Minesweeper it is."
I raised a finger in order to press a button, but Joshua beat me to it. Minesweeper highlighted in a bright block of green, and the program began to upload.
"Select Minesweeper location," Joshua intoned.
An empty bar appeared and the cursor flashed, prompting me to enter text within the vacant space.
Select a location? How stupid was this? At the office, Minesweeper just popped right up and I could play instantly. I never had to enter a location.
I pondered my quandary for a moment or two and decided that, perhaps, Joshua needed to link to the Minesweeper in my office. Maybe it wanted to know where I currently played the game, so it could somehow gather information from my previous Minesweeper attempts?
Placing my fingers on the keyboard, I tapped in my office address, complete with zip code and, once finished, punched the "enter" button.
The screen sparked and was immediately awash with a flurry of activity. Command prompts appeared and then in zoomed a grainy, white video, complete with cross hairs, that resembled something I thought I had perhaps seen in a Clint Eastwood movie once.
Perplexed, I leaned back in my chair and watched as a variety of still-lifes began to flicker across my screen. I thought I saw the corner library, my grocery store at up the street, and then the Texaco right by my office appeared.
The picture swiveled and turned and suddenly my office building emerged from the shadows.
Holy smoke. This was some data collector.
On the screen a car pulled into view, and I was astonished to see a pixelized version of my boss as he exited his automobile. My mouth hung slack as I watched him gather his briefcase and coffee mug. He then headed for the entrance to the building.
He juggled his accouterments and began poking at the lock with his keys when there was a sudden, smoky flash and a crackling of static on Joshua's monitor.
A moment or two later the haze began to clear and I bore witness as my boss hopped about the parking lot, attempting to extinguish his now blazing mohair sweater with a manilla folder as the remaining contents of his briefcase blew about the asphalt like parade confetti.
My hand inched to my mouth, and I stared in wonder as the realization of what I had done dawned on me.
I'd just blown up my office.
Oddly enough, I emitted a hiccuping chuckle. I tipped my head to the side as my tiny boss skipped around his automobile, car phone in hand, no doubt attempting to contact the fire department.
I was sure that, if he found out about this on Monday morning, he was going to be pissed. I'm not sure what the Employee Manual said about nuking your work establishment, but I was willing to bet it wouldn't be good.
I felt dejected. I really liked my job. I really didn't want to get fired. If he called the police and they did some tracking of some sort they were bound to find out that I was involved. Hello, unemployment office. Here I come. And then it dawned on me.
I had asked for the next Monday off so I could catch a really neat sale at the Linen Outlet and my stuffy, workaholic boss had turned my request down. I never had cared for him much anyway, so it's not like I'd miss him or anything. As I watched him scampering around his Mercedes, his hair still smoldering, I decided that the fact that I wouldn't miss him could only mean one thing.
It was time for a rousing game of Hangman and, if I was really lucky, I might be moving my potted Begonias into his office by Tuesday.