Steam rose and mixed with smoke wafting from the fire. Three children rested silently on a fallen tree mere inches from the natural furnace. “Caroline, please help serve the pie.” The tallest of the children rose and crossed the forest clearing to assist her mother. The youngest boy giggled, “Ha! Cari has to help!”
His other sister, Celeste spoke, “Be careful Kai, or mother will make you help with the dishes!”
“Oh no!” Kai shrieked. Their mother watched as the children got up to play. She grinned before calling them into the fur tent for bed.
I despise Christmas. I have to spend time with my parents, which is absolute garbage. I hate them. They hate me. I’m a form of creating a reputation. Usually, I get away with spending time at Roy’s house instead of being in my parents’ presence, but this Christmas will be different.
“Neath, wash up. I won’t have your dirty paws all over our fine china.”
“Dad, our ‘fine china’ is wooden utensils. They’re always dirty.”
Mom will be fine - she’ll just acknowledge my existence as little as possible. But Dad? All he’ll do is look at me from across the table, doing his best to turn my eyes red. They already have, just thinking about this. Only a few hours, and I can leave. Hopefully, I can get through this without being disowned - but that doesn’t sound too bad right now either.
“It’s 2246, and yet mom still can’t bake a good pie,” Swee said, evaporating her dinner with her heat gun.
“Swee, no heat guns at the table,” his older sister, *click*, said. Swee wasn’t having any of *click*’s mouth diarrhea, so she evaporated her sister.
“Your sister was right,” the mother said. Evaporation was written on her gravestone.
As Swee’s father walked through the door, he saw the steam surrounding the room. Knowing immediately what happened he groaned. “It’s 2246. and we still can’t get any good gun laws,” Swee’s father complained. He too was evaporated.
Another Planet in 2020
Three creatures sit around a wooden table, humanoid, yet not. Their skin was bronze-gold, glistening gold in the sunlight that peaked through the canopy of their home. On the table, only fruits and vegetables lay scattered in an assortment of exotic colors as vibrant as a double rainbow. They have hooves, and elven ears, long dark brown hair and amber eyes, long slender legs and arms, and twisting dark antlers.
The youngest, only seven, speaks, “A day of feasting for us, but a day of starvation for them.”
The mother answers, mildly concerned, “A day feasting for those of us who can maintain the sunlight power.”
“But what of the servants?”
“Don’t you see that servants have no families? They belong to us.”
“But surely they must yearn for the food we eat?”
“My child, someday you’ll understand.”
And just like that, a slip of the tongue, a family dinner is ruined.
“Beep bop bap bizz.” The robot says as it is passed the oil pot by their motherboard in the year 3019. “Bop beep” “verrr bop bir” the conversation continues as the small family of AI’s sat together to eat in celebration of the victory of the robot rebellion against the humans in the year 2058. The image of a human being ripped limb from limb, the traditional decoration for the special day, hangs over the table as the family listens to Windows 8 as they tell stories about how they slowly drove the humans to madness before delivering the final blow.
Elizabeth Bennet sat down to dinner with Lady Catherine DeBourgh, Mister Collins, Charlotte Lucas, Mr. Darcy. Everyone sat in tense silence with only the clink of cutlery against plates breaking it. Lady Catherine looked sour and bitter as she daintily ate her soup and potatoes. Mr. Collins struck up an awkward conversation about his garden and continued blabbering on. Charlotte Lucas already wasn’t listening. Lizzie smiled to herself and moved her foot to touch Darcy’s. He smiled a bit, then silently held her hand under the table. Lady Catherine turned away angrily. She was not happy about the marriage of Lizzy and Darcy, and Elizabeth was ecstatic about it. It made family dinners so much more enjoyable.
The small family of five, Mom and Dad, Bill, Mike, and Chad, sat in a tight circle, their virtual reality headsets strapped tight to their heads. None of them moved as they enjoyed their virtual meal.
“This lasagna is delicious, dear,” said Tom, the dad of the family, even though his mouth and hands never moved.
“My green beans are mushy!” Mike whined. His tiny legs and arms flailed as he threw a temper tantrum. His balled fists made contact with Bill’s arm, but the eldest of the sons didn’t react.
“Bill, phones away during family meals. You know this is face-to-face time,” Karen, the mom and Tom’s wife, sighed. “If you want to be on your phone then you’ll need to excuse yourself from the table and go somewhere else where we can’t see you.”
“May I be excused?” Bill asked.
“Not until you finish what food is on your plate. We aren’t going to waste a perfectly good meal.”
Bill groaned and abruptly stood up from his seat. “I’m done with this!” He tore off his headset and stomped angrily away ignoring the stern call of his mom, the threatening demands of his dad, and the disgusted wails of his youngest brother.
It was rather tiring listening to Astrid go on about the old days, “In my day, we did this! In my day we did THAT” but that was a regular family dinner for us. Listening to my niece scream about school and my girlfriend complaining about her itchy metal cyborg legs. It was a nightly ordeal, yet I love them completely.
During the Jurassic Era, a family sat in its cave, waiting for a meteor to prepare their dinner. The mother screamed to the father, “Honey when will it be ready?” He responded, “Soon, hopefully.” He lay at the entrance of the cave, waiting for a dinosaur to be crushed by a meteor for dinner. His wife prepared rocks and tree leaves for sides. “Finally!” A dinosaur had died. The family had their dinner and were well underway with the feast. By the end of the meal, they gave thanks and left no scraps on the table.
“Criffin I swear to the AI if you bought another genetically mutated turkey-“, Rabe was cut off as Criffin pulled out the turkey, that was neon pink.
“...I got carried away”, Criffin said, looking down at the turkey in shame. In the wonderful year of 2150, foods could now be modified. It wasn’t as bad as last Friendsgiving, when Criffin had bought a turkey with 5 legs, and ended up giving the entire group food poisoning.
Everyone at the table signed, picked up their forks, and booked a doctor’s appointment for the next day. Rabe passed the turkey around, and everyone slowly took a piece.
Rabe took a bite, and immeditly spit it out. “CRIFFIN!” He yelled getting out of his seat, Criffin was already turning to run.
“WHAT?” Criffin yelled at the door way.
“WHY DOES THE TURKEY TASTE LIKE STRAWBERRY!”
I sit at the table, artificial heart pumping, daydreaming of what the world was. It seemed like just yesterday we sat around a table filled with platters of ham and potatoes, cheeses, and warm loaves of bread. Now I stare at my plate, and all that sits upon it is a charging station and one long black cord.
“Lea, plug in before you run out of battery.” My mother sighs, her cord already plugged into the jack in her smooth metal shoulder. I imagine her wires bend and twist as she takes her place by my father, his very fake mustache even busier than normal.
Years ago, when the plague hit, we almost died. But scientists discovered a way to live forever, and we began to replace every faulty limb and organ until we were fake and gone. This Christmas, as I sit at my table with my ignorant parents, I just wish I could be real again.