Friend 1 called Friend 2: “So, want to come over tomorrow? We can catch up on the last season of Sword Slash and make our predictions for the next hundred episodes before it comes back on Sunday.”
“I’d love to, but I have to wait for the plumber tomorrow – I’ve got toilet trouble.”
“Uh-oh, has it been naughty?”
“Very, and I can’t sacrifice any more gallons of water to its greed.”
“Need to use mine in the meantime? It’s usually not occupied.”
“Thanks, but between work and supermarkets I’ve got a system that should tide me over until it’s fixed.”
“Suit yourself. Maybe I’ll come over and wait for the plumber with you – it sounds fun.”
“It isn’t. I’m just afraid the call will go out to the rest of them and I’ll be doomed.”
“The rest of who, plumbers?”
“No, the rest of the appliances in the apartment. Once one goes, they all decide to break down; you know they all talk to each other.”
“Heh-heh, they sure do. When I was a kid, one summer the sprinkler system and pool simultaneously sprung unknown leaks so bad, my parents had to request rations of water from the reservoir for five years. I blamed my bad childhood on that, but I didn’t really mean it.”
“…Yeah, OK, bye.”
THE NEXT DAY
Friend 1 arrived at Friend 2’s apartment bearing chips for the wait and tissues for the tears. She knocked on the door, but it slid open after the first rap. There was a lot of noise coming from the living room; as she made her way there, she tripped over a cord.
“Easy there, toots,” a tinny voice addressed her.
“Hm?” She looked down and could only see a radio lying on its side on the floor, so she picked it up and set it on the kitchen counter.
“Thanks,” she heard the same voice say. Must be a random appropriately answering station.
In the living room, Friend 1 saw Friend 2 surrounded by all appliances great and small. Friend 1 was afraid that she was having a stroke: the appliances appeared to be mobbing Friend 2, who was writing notes on a clipboard and slowly rotating in a circle as she spoke.
“Now, Microwave, your settings are tied into your timer, so if that isn’t working then you’re really just no good to me.”
Microwave had a few choice words: “Fine! Wait forever for your dinner plate to heat up on the plain old stove!”
“I hardly ever use you now as it is, so that means nothing to me.”
“Now – Internet Modem!”
“What is going on with the network lately? I keep having to unplug you.”
“Hate to be the bearer of bad news, chum, but the time may have come for a factory reset.”
“Ewwwww! All right, I’ll settle that with a paper clip later.”
“You might want to unplug me from the wall one more time before you do that, if you know what I mean.”
“Excuse us!” Water Heater and Furnace were approaching from the hallway, with their various pipes entwined; Water Heater was the spokesmachine: “As you know, we’ve both been running steadily and under extreme conditions for 18 years and cannot bear to be apart; with your permission, we would like to go ahead and permanently break down together now.”
Friend 2’s face narrowed: “While I appreciate the romance behind that sentiment, your manufacturers clearly indicated a life expectancy of 20 years, so 20 years I will get and NOT A SECOND LESS!”
As the two trundled dejectedly back to their extended service in the utility closet, Friend 1 finally found her voice: “What all this?” Her supplies had long since been dropped on the floor and forgotten.
“What’s it look like?” Friend 2 snarked over the din of noisy machinery. “It seems that I have a mutiny on my hands.”
“What about the toilet, it was only just the toilet, what happened to the toilet???”
“We’ve reached an understanding.”
“Yes, Fridge – ”
“It’s Refrigerator, if you don’t mind.”
“Yes, Refrigerator, I know the freezer is completely iced over and the main section is a desert – I’m still sore about those lost leftovers – but the company said they’d send over someone any day now.”
“And you believed them, did you? If they’re not here by tomorrow, say good-bye to your ice cream.”
“Is that a threat?!”
“It’s a promise: simply nothing will survive the Ice Age that’s going on right now.”
“Fine, fine, I’ll beg them to come tomorrow. You do realize that if they don’t, though, then you’ll be replaced?”
“I withdraw my complaint.”
“Should I leave?” Friend 1 was back at the door with one foot outside.
“You don’t have to, unless you want to pick me up a new TV; this one’s absolute rot.”
“Next time don’t show me snow when I want to see anything but.”
Friend 1 tried again: “You seem to have things under control here, so I’m going to, you know, head out.”
“All right, go ahead, I’ll talk to you later.” A massive THUNK sounded from the utility closet. “Who was that?! Washing Machine or Dryer?!”
Silence for a few seconds, then: “Both.”
“That tears it!” Friend 2 slammed her clipboard on the floor; the surrounding appliances scurried back a bit. “I’m tired of having my life run by all of you!”
“Guess it’s a trade-off for the convenience,” Friend 1 said on the way out the door. “Imagine if they really knew their power over our lives; we could have a real dystopia of our very own!”
“Don’t give them any ideas!”