Larry and Janine move into their futuristic super house
|The Very Melodramatic House
By Stephen Lipe
Larry was thrilled with his new home. After all, it being 2023, it was time for him to finally take charge of his life and become a property owner. He had won the lottery a few years earlier, and money was suddenly no object. Larry and his wife were ready for as interesting a house as possible. This was a custom house, as it happened, designed by the eccentric artist Jonathan Daveston.
Larry and Jonathan had met and became friends a year previous at one of Jonathans art shows. Larry was impressed with the insane fun looking conceptual art pieces Jonathan had been able to come up with and told him so.
"I especially liked the painting where the bear and an atomic bomb become friends and the atomic bomb has legs and they're dancing." gushed Larry. He had never met a real artist and was overwhelmed.
"Whatever." said Jonathan, who was eager to point out that he didn't care if people liked him.
"Hey." said Larry. "I'm looking for an architect to design a house. To live in. For me, I mean. Have you ever considered focusing your art in that direction?"
"I hate houses. They terrify me. Too oppressive." said Jonathan. "But I'll do it."
A year and a half later, Jonathan walked through the doorway of the home for the first time. He had avoided looking at any of the plans, and refused to visit the construction site at all. He wanted to be surprised.
He had been struck by the appearance right off. The house was made of solid steel, except for the windows. The whole thing was grey and stood up at least five stories, Larry guessed. It looked sort of like a castle, but one you would find on an alien planet.
Larry's wife, Janine, was taken aback as well.
"Not exactly the kind of house you'd want to have friends over to play cards..." said Janine.
"Oh come on." said Larry. "It's cool. It's a cool house. I want everybody to come over and see it. The scarier the better. That's what makes it cool. Jonathan could explain it to you if he were here."
As soon as they walked in the front door, a giant mechanical hand with a long arm extended quickly out of the wall and began shoving them backwards out of the door. A computerized voice began yelling at them.
"Hey! You don't live here!! Get out!" yelled the computer.
"Whoa, hey!" yelled Larry right back.
"Dandelion! Dandelion!" came a frantic voice from down the hall, accompanied by running footsteps.
"System deactivated." the computer abruptly stated and the arm retracted into the wall.
Around the corner of the hallway came Jonathan Daveston.
"Sorry, the security system doesn't have you in it's system yet." explained Jonathan. "I'll enter you into it now. It just needed to see your faces and I'll tell it you're both okay. It uses facial recognition."
"Cool!" said Larry. "Any other cool stuff like that?"
"Oh, it's not cool at all." corrected Jonathan. "It's actually quite annoying."
"Um, oh." said Larry. "Well, anyway, Jonathan, this is my wife, Janine. Janine, this is our architect."
Janine extended her hand. Jonathan just stood there.
"Sorry I don't shake hands. I'm above conventional things like that. I'm an artist." Jonathan explained politely.
"Anyway Jonathan," said Larry, "Janine was expressing concerns about the freakiness of the house a minute ago. I was wondering if you might explain why this house is really great? I mean, since you're here."
"This is the worst house ever." said Jonathan.
"Aw, cool." said Larry.
"Hold on a second." said Janine. "Do you mean it's the worst house ever in an exciting fun way? Or do you mean it's the worst house ever in a serious way?"
"I mean it's the worst house ever in a ME way." Jonathan cleared up. "You see, I've always hated houses, and I designed this house in a way as to express how I view houses."
"Why would you do that?" asked Janine. "Why wouldn't you use your hate to design a house that was an improvement on all of the things you hate about houses, instead?"
"Because I'm an artist!" laughed Jonathan. "Not an inventor. Now leave me alone."
Jonathan began to walk out the door. He stopped suddenly and turned around.
"Oh, so yeah the deactivation word is 'dandelion' in case the security system fails, but I entered you in there and took myself out of it so you should be fine." Jonathan said. "Oh also, make sure you do deactivate it if that happens. Don't just ignore it. The second security measure is that the house stands up on mechanical legs and walks to the lake down the road and submerges itself to drown the intruder. So yeah, be careful."
"This house can freaking walk???" Larry asked, thrilled beyond all comprehension.
"Yes, but it will only do so to kill intruders." said Jonathan. "Not for any fun reason. Anyway, I'm leaving. If you have any questions, leave me alone and figure it out for yourself."
Jonathan walked out the door.
Larry turned to Janine.
"This is the coolest thing ever." he gushed. "I can't wait to find out about all the stuff!"
"I don't know if I'm comfortable with this place..." said Janine.
"Oh it's fine." reassured Larry.
Suddenly an alarm sounded.
"It's 4:30!" said a angry sounding computer voice. "Tea time! Report to the tea room for tea time!"
Another mechanical hand shot out of another wall and began lightly pushing them down the hall, in the direction of what must have been the tea room.
"It has a schedule built in and it even shows us where everything is!!! Awesome!" said Larry.
"I guess..." said Janine.