Stories From 2525: Eating At Simm’s Burgers

Stories From 2525: Eating At Simm’s Burgers
By Chongchen Saelee

Promptly at 3:34pm each workday, I take my 30 minute break for lunch. I take a brisk stroll through the empty metropolitan streets just a couple of blocks away from The Cube, where I work. The streets are empty because most citizens are locked in their cages at home piloting their drones. And those personal drones scatter throughout the city like giant pests. I’m headed for Simm’s Burgers for lunch. Thank god Simm’s doesn’t allow drones.

Simm’s is an old-fashion food vendor. Back in the day, they called their type of service “fast food”. I don’t know why, the automation food preparation system behind the kitchen viewing glass seems to move quite slow. On average, I receive my meal in an agonizing 30 seconds or longer. It irks me to have to come up with some kind of conversation in those 30 seconds to spare with the zit-faced kid at the front counter.

“Hello, general consul, sir. What would you like today? Your regular order, sir?” mumbles the zit-faced teenage boy at the front counter.

“Why, yes, young man. 25-25-50 ratio.” I reply.

“Coming right up, sir! 25% protein, 25% fiber, and 50% enhanced Joost.” mumbles the boy as he punches the order into the computer touchscreen. “Will that be all today, sir?”

“Yes. Quite.” I sneer at him for the audacity of asking.

Meanwhile, I step aside and watch the machines in the back kitchen through the viewing glass prepare my order. It looks like an operating room. There are robotic ninja arms swinging and slicing at every angle all dangling from the ceiling, floor, or rolling wheels.

The extruder machine produced the spongy fiber-rich carbohydrate loaf. Another extruder machine produced a moist golden brown succulent protein-rich patty. And all that goodness was covered with beautiful blue glistening nutrient-rich genetically enhanced Joost sauce. Mmm-mmm! It’s my favorite. And the whole meal is prepped in approximately 30 seconds without touching a flame. Back in the day, I heard stories about how meal preparation would require spending so much energy utilizing heat from combustion, fire, flames, microwaves. Thank goodness for nano-technology and chemical reactions, we’re eating faster and better.

I receive my meal on a carbon-fiber reinforced disposable cardboard tray and I bring it to a quaint booth in back of the restaurant to enjoy. There were very few patrons there, a father and his young son, an overweight elderly man, and some young scruffy looking man who appeared to be the manager taking his break smoking a cigarette.

I took a big whiff of my burger and the intoxicating smell of formaldehyde and sulphur made my nasal tissues dance. I was salivating and took a big bite. Oh, yes, heaven. It tastes just like it did when I was a child growing up in our privileged gated communities. If only the riff-raffs of society knew what real luxury was, eating this is hedonism. I think I’ve only ever went slumming once and all those rats eat are sludge meals in pouches. They still use fire and microwaves. Disgusting. Uncivilized.

So without ruining my delicious and power refueling lunch thinking about scum on my shoes, I wipe my hands with the cardboard tray and throw it into the incinerator to be recycled.

As I’m leaving the building, the ugly boy at the counter waves bye to me and utters, “Thanks for coming in! Come back again!” I didn’t acknowledge him.

As I hit the open empty streets, the smell of gasoline and metal and plastics fill my lungs and remind me how wonderful a world we live in. Technology. Good food. No lazy poor people in sight. It is indeed a utopian dream. I think I will take my sweet time walking back to my office on the 152nd floor of The Cube.

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