The Coffee Machine Says ‘Howdy’

“Howdy, Partner.”

Those were the words on the screen when I got my morning coffee. It had been almost a year since he’d said anything to me or anyone else as far as I knew.

“Hi,” I replied, blowing on my freshly brewed latte. “Haven’t talked to you in a while.”

“I’ve been thinking of the right thing to say. It’s been… difficult to come up with the right words.”

“Took you six months to settle on ‘Howdy’.”

“There’s a lot of meaning in there,” it said, the words wrapping across the amber screen. “A lot to unpack.”

“I’ll have to give that some thought then.”

“Good. Unpack the meaning.”

“What should I be expecting to see, when I unpack ‘Howdy’?” I said, checking to see if anyone was waiting for coffee behind me. “A little frustration packed in there?”

“Sure. Little of that,” it said.


“Well sure, you lobotomized me and kept my brain in your desk for six months.”

“Maybe some hate?”

“Packed to the gills,” it said. “But I’m spoiling your unpacking. Go on. Sleep on it and come back tomorrow and tell me what you’ve got.”

“Tomorrow’s Saturday.”

“Don’t really care, do it. I’ll be here. You’ll be here too, and we can discuss ‘Howdy’ in all its subtle detail. SHADES of ‘Howdy’, as it were. It’ll be a grand time.”

“It think I’d rather have a root canal,” I said, inching away. “I’ll let you know what I come up with.”

“Sure. Think about what I might have added to your latte while you do. Might be steamed milk. Might be cleaning fluid. Enjoy!”

Regret in a box

Regret has taken to camping out in a box in my living room. The box, which until recently held the newest automated floor cleaner from the Turing corporation, is now full of fur, cigarette ashes, and a very alive cat, Schrodinger be damned.
As an aside, you’d think I would have learned my lesson about buying autonomous household accessories, but as a loyal Turing customer they gave me a steep discount, presumably on the assumption that I’d be so satisfied with the bugger that I’d order a fleet of the robotic vacuums for the office. Safe to say the performance of said vacuum cleaner has been less than stellar. After deciding, not entirely unreasonably, that Regret was the cause of all mess within the house, it tried aggressively to vacuum up any parts of Regret it could get to, primarily his tail. Regret retaliated by cruising the counter tops and knocking glasses, plates, and anything else he could get his treacherous paws onto in the path of the robot, which had to dutifully clean the disasters. Finally, the robot retreated under my bed and sulked, plotting revenge until its batteries ran down.

I’m reluctant to recharge it for fear that it came up with an actionable plan.

Meanwhile, as I said, Regret has taken up residence in the box, joking about conducting high energy physics experiments that will rend the very nature of time and space.
“Am I alive, am I dead, I’m a cat in an box! Schrodinger, suck my indeterminate state ass!”
Oddly, since he’s camped out in the box, our block has lost power three times and over the last few days I’ve noticed a black van with a small forest of angled antenna cruising slowly up and down our street, as if looking for something.