Drop #156: Robot

kitchen robot‘No need to weigh it separately,’ the woman in the apron says, pouring sugar rocks. ‘The bowl already acts as a scale—see.’

I’m standing next to the only man in the room. He’s handsome.

‘Once you reach the needed weight just press the home button again and read the next step on the panel here.’

One man, ten women, excluding the presenter.

‘One blade does it all. Whipping, mixing, and in this case grinding. This might be a little noisy.’ She pushes a button and though she warned us, the grating noise startles me. But it only lasts five seconds.

Dee-doo-dee: the machine let’s us know it is done. It sounds like the chimes before an airport announcement.

Almost half the women ooh as we are shown how the rocks have been ground effortlessly into fine powder. Almost half the others aah.

‘Your wife couldn’t make it?’ I ask the man softly, taking advantage of the pause in the presentation.

‘Excuse me? Oh, no, she’s busy.’

‘Nice of you to come in her place, use your Saturday and all.’

‘Now all we have to do is add the washed and halved lemons,’ the presenter carries on. ‘No need to peel them.’

‘You do any cooking too?’ I ask.

‘Sure,’ the man tells me.

‘Lucky wife you have. I’m the only cook in the family.’

At the touch of a button the machine jumps abruptly into action again, but with a softer sound, and for about ten seconds this time. The chimes again tells us it is done. Though identical, they now sound more like that off-key, somewhat disturbing arrangement from times past, when people still had land lines: Doo-da–dee: We’re sorry, there appears to be a receiver off the hook.

‘Lucky woman,’ I push on. ‘Are you going to buy her one?’

‘A kitchen robot? I don’t think so.’

The presenter pours lemonade into paper cups for us women and my male friend to try. ‘Of course this machine also cooks entire meals. It practically replaces your kitchen!’ She laughs, and I wonder if she always laughs that same way at this exact point in the script. ‘I’ll soon show you how to cook a main course, sauce and all, but let’s move straight to the best part: ice cream!’ Two-thirds of the women mumble in acknowledgement.

‘Bet she’d love it!’ I tell the man, after finishing my lemonade. ‘Make her life a whole lot easier.’

‘Wouldn’t in the slightest.’

‘Really? Machine like this? Haven’t you been watching? It prepares and cooks anything you can think of. Bakes bread and even makes cocktails. It’s incredible.’

‘Maybe, but I don’t like it. I was curious but it’s too impersonal. It removes the connection with food, it—’

The machine starts up again, zapping frozen fruit into a pulp. Dee-doo-daa.

‘It takes the fun out of cooking,’ he finishes. ‘I’d never put a soulless thing like that in the kitchen.’

‘But maybe she’d want one. Buy it for her.’

‘I couldn’t.’

‘Of course you could.’

‘No, I literally couldn’t. I have no income. I mean, since I’m entirely in charge of the cooking, I could ask her to buy it for me, but as I said, I prefer my knives, pots and pans. In fact, I think I’ve seen enough. I should get going if I’m to prepare a proper dinner before she gets back from her business trip. Soufflés don’t make themselves, you know, and a proper Bourguignon takes several hours on a low heat.’

By EM Vireo

Drop 155: Kids

park scene‘Have any kids?’



‘Sure do.’ She’s in her forties but smiles the way pretty girls smile at handsome dogs unexpectedly passing them on the sidewalk. ‘Just the one. She’s three.’

‘Nice,’ I say. ‘I have two. A girl and a boy. Six and nine.’


‘Yeah. The boy, Scotty, is getting so old already. We adopted him when he was barely one.’

‘Adopted! You don’t say. That’s wonderful!’

‘Yeah. He’s naughty, clumsy, greedy, messy and kind of chubby but we love him to pieces.’

‘Know what? Our Mandy is adopted too.’

‘Really! Wow, what are the chances?’

‘Yup. Saw her on a trip to Puerto Rico and just fell in love with her. Started the paperwork right then and there. Got her all her shots and documentation and made arrangements to get her back over here to live with us for good.’

‘That’s so great, so special!’

‘She was timid at first but she’s really coming into her own. She’s a real sweetheart, but by God is she food obsessed!’

‘It’s to be expected though, isn’t it? Our girl, Bella, is too. She’ll do anything for a piece of cheese. But isn’t it just so satisfying to watch them grow?’


‘Got a picture?’

‘I sure do.’ She whips out her phone. ‘Here. That’s my Mandy. Cutest little monster in the world!’

I take the phone and look, tilting my head. ‘Say, that’s a dog.’

‘Sure is.’

‘You’re showing me a picture of your dog?’

‘I sure am. She’s a border collie mix.’

‘Well, I’ll be damned. Here, look at my two babies.’ I pull up a pic.

She licks her lips while she looks. ‘You’re kidding me!’

‘Yeah, Scotty is obviously a Scotty, and Bella is some kind of terrier mix.’

‘Oh they’re gorgeous.’

‘So is Mandy. We should organize a play date.’


By EM Vireo

Drop #154: Forex

forex‘I’m so happy, I did well on the Forex market today.’


‘Yeah, I’ve been playing around and I finally made some real cash.’

‘Great, how much?’


‘USD! Wow, that’s pretty good.’

‘Damn straight!’

‘So you can buy the next round.’

‘With pleasure. Yeah, I’ve been applying these techniques I read about and it finally paid off.’

‘Sweet. Seems a good deal. You ever lose any money before making some?’


‘Oh yeah? How much?’

‘Around 23K.’

‘USD? Know what? Beers are on me.’

By E.M. Vireo

Drop 153: Napkin

orchidThis post is not suitable for children. You have been warned.

‘It’s kind of refreshing,’ she said, looking at him across the table and smiling softly, ‘to be out with a nice guy for a change—you are a nice guy, right? I mean, it’s our third time out and you haven’t made a move beyond that one short and careful kiss. You haven’t grabbed me, made any crass comments, acted macho, even stared openly at my breasts.’

‘Because I respect people, and women especially.’

‘I see that.’

‘And yes, I am a nice guy, in terms of: I would never prey on insecurities, coerce or manipulate a girl into doing anything, or make it seem like she has no option, or is flawed if she doesn’t, or use alcohol or promises to seduce her; and sure, I only kissed you that once, and gently, and I haven’t tried to sleep with you, and I’ll always value a woman’s wishes and comfort as I try to do with all people.’

‘Yes, that’s clear.’

‘But, if I may speak frankly?’

‘Of course.’

‘In truth, my urges are not so polite; I just manage them skillfully. For instance, if I knew for sure you’d want it, I’d be under the table in an instant, teasing your panties aside and gobbling up your pussy as if it were an impossibly ripe mango, then ripping them and diving so deep down that snatch I’d almost drown. Yes, if I had a green light, I’d be under this table tonguing your asshole till it shone like a star, wearing you like a warm winter hat before filling you up with my footlong sub. Of course, I always put subject above object, even though, if you gave the word, I’d straight up beast on your delicious pink, plain revel in that stank. I’d snort coke off your clit, film it all so I could jerk off to it later, record your squeals and use them as the ringer for my phone—the higher ones to alert me of a WhatsApp message. I will always respect the person first and foremost, even if I want to deconstruct her into options, objects, holes to abuse. Always! But damn, girl, I’m less man than epic throbbing cock for you by now!’

She was silent.

‘Forgive me, have I shocked you?’ He looked at her meekly and topped up her wine. ‘Have you nothing to say?’

‘Oh, sorry, yes,’ she said, adjusting herself slightly on her chair. ‘It’s just that I dropped my napkin under the table and was wondering if you’d be a gentleman and get it for me.’

By E.M. Vireo

Drop #152: Brunch

sesame balls‘Oh my goodness,’ he said, scratching his beard, ‘it was incredible! They had all different kinds of potatoes, even blue ones, done all different kinds of ways! Roasted, mashed, fried with truffle salt, and even turned into pancakes with sour cream, salmon and caviar on top—caviar! Why thank you comrade! Then there was two wooden boards big as a submarines with cheeses from all over the world—I’m talking French, Dutch, English. There was one, I forget the name, from some special region in the Italian Alps, and another that was kept in a cave for more than a year like some prisoner of war. There was goat and sheep cheese, blue and flavored cheese, and some kind of cheese that oozed out onto the board like demon semen—I’m telling ya! And they had must have been twenty kinds of breads and rolls and loaves. And international! Let me tell you: there was an Italian station where you could choose your noodles and sauce to be cooked right in front of you any way you wanted, a Chinese one with endless dim sums in bamboo steamers and served on fancy porcelain spoons, a Japanese station with sushis and whatnot, and an Indian station with who knows how many kinds of curries, and flatbreads cooked in clay ovens. There was a full carvery with ham and brisket and beef–and oh my lord, you should have seen the seafood—what they called the raw bar. I’m talking crab claws the size of human arms, and ruby red prawns, and rainbow colored crawfish staring up at you, and all different shapes and sizes of shrimp and mussels and clams and oysters, all on ice and ripe for the plucking! They even had lobster already cooked and cracked open so alls you had to do was scoop out the sweet as syrup flesh and guzzle it up! Just phenomenal, and with all the French Champagne you could drink too, mind you, and thank you very much! And oh my word, I haven’t even mentioned the best thing! They had a fountain made of—get this!–chocolate! Liquid chocolate, just like Wally Wonka himself had in his factory. Almost stripped to my boxers and took a dip myself is what I almost did.’

‘Swell,’ she said, getting up. ‘Be right back. I just have to get something from the kitchen.’

Gary was sitting at the kitchen table. ‘Hey there, Jane,’ he said, smiling the way he does: all squint, no lip.

‘Hey. So, last night with visitors, right?’

‘Yup. They’re off in the morning.’

‘Good brunch?’

‘Eh. Nothing too special. Same as any decent hotel on any Sunday anywhere in the city.’

‘I hear you.’

By E.M. Vireo

Drop 151: Infidelity

A‘He kept saying how sorry he was, but what does that help now, after the fact?’

‘Does no good at all, honey.’

‘Said he just couldn’t help himself,’


‘That I was always at work and it was just too tempting!’


‘Not just one, hey, but five. Five!’

‘I’m so sorry, sweetie. You must feel awful.’

‘I feel so, so, cheated. What he did, it’s just wrong.’

‘I know, love. I’d hate if my Bernie did something like that to me.’

‘And the lying! He only came clean last night.’

‘It’s just terrible.’

‘He took our thing—our special thing, and ruined it—and for what? Greed. Selfishness. Instant gratification.’

‘Just terrible.’

‘Unforgivable, is what it is.’

‘What a rat.’

‘I know.’

‘And Sense8 is such a good show, so gripping. I can’t believe he watched all five final episodes of season one without you.’

‘I know. I’m devastated!’

*please feel free to exchange Sense8 with Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Orphan Black, Ray Donovan, or whatever floats your insatiable boat, or reach back and go with Lost, Six Feet Under, or Deadwood.

By E.M. Vireo

150 and Counting

leaf dropletsI just posted my 150th Drop.  When I started writing these little guys three years ago, I didn’t know how long I’d carry on.  I was too ambitious at first, trying to post them too often, then lost interest and motivation for a while, before picking up again and finding a good rhythm in posting one every week or two.  I had to remember that as well as being productive, and creating something worth reading, this project, this blog, is supposed to be fun too.  And it has been.  And I’ll keep doing it for the foreseeable future since the ideas don’t seem to be running out.

Anyway, it’s cool to see people all over the world reading them, and always rewarding when they mention one or say they enjoyed one in particular.  OK, I’ll stop blabbing now.  I’ll just link a selection from the last 50 Drops posted below.  See what you missed, or read them again.

Till next time, with love and an ongoing stream of very short fiction,


116: Lunch

119: Cup of Tea

124: Leopard

106: Moth

138: CAB

140: Cough

143: Pressure

147: Invitation


Drop #150: Beach

beachHot day at the beach. We rent two sun beds, pay cash. They’re a bit expensive and a little far from the sea, but they’ll do. After a while two attractive women take the beds beside ours. Tim quickly strikes up conversation and soon we’re all chatting and laughing and learning superficial things about each other. They are cousins from Sweden, traveling through Europe together. One is a teacher, the other is in marketing. As usual, Tim tells the story of how we became friends: two guys who grew up in the same small town, but only met in a far away big city years later.

The sun is relentless, the sky cloudless. We suggest a swim but the girls want to tan some more first. ‘We’ll watch your bags,’ they say.

We thank them and head off over the hot sand. Takes a good five minutes to reach the water’s edge. The water is clear, calm and much colder than expected. Waist deep, the thought first strikes me, and I say it out loud: ‘You think those girls can be trusted?’

‘What?’ Tim asks.

‘We just met them, and we’re pretty far away. They could easily steal our shit and be long gone by the time we get back.’

‘They didn’t seem the types.’

‘We have all out stuff in those bags.’

‘I’m sure it’s fine,’ Tim says, doing breaststroke in a small circle. ‘We’re kind of broke, anyway. Not that much cash in there to steal. Couple hundred, max.’

‘Dude! What about the credit cards and IDs?’ I’m still standing in the same spot, with arms folded over my dry torso. ‘My passport’s in there too. Think about it, it’s a perfect plan. Two hot girls make friends with two guys, charm them–’

‘Thought I was doing the charming!’

‘Gain their trust, wait for them to leave for a faraway beach, stay behind and suggest watching their bags–’

‘They did suggest that, didn’t they? And they did choose those seats.’

‘They could have sat anywhere. You really think it was because of our good looks? Come on, I’m getting paranoid. Let’s head back.’

‘OK.’ Tim makes an immediate move for the shore. He’s a good guy.

We hurry back, nervous, fearing the worst. Of course they are still there, all smiles, blonde hair and tanned legs. They both really are quite beautiful. Relieved, we buy a round of beers that go down way too easy in the sun as we chat and flirt.

‘Our turn to swim,’ the taller one says, fanning herself with a magazine. ‘You coming?’

‘Nah. Too lazy.’ ‘Keep an eye on our bags?’

‘Of course.’ We watch them walk off, mostly watching their lovely behinds.

As soon as they are out of sight, Tim motions towards their bags. ‘You thinking what I’m thinking?’

‘You read my mind, buddy. I figure we have a good ten minutes. We can be gone in three.’

‘Good. Let’s roll.’

By E.M. Vireo

Drop 149: Pimp

pimpAfter three months, I was excited to see the gang again. I’d lost 12 pounds and was toned from all the running and working out, had a new hairstyle that really looked good, had finally fixed my teeth, and was tanned for just about the first time ever.

I arrived and they all greeted me cheerfully, but mentioned nothing about my looks.

I sat down and ordered a coffee. Still nothing.

Finally Tom stared me right in the face and said: ‘Jesus, buddy, look at you!’

I smiled.

‘You’ve been busy since we saw you, haven’t you?’

My smile grew.

‘Busy growing a zit! Spent the whole summer on the task by the looks of it.’


‘Yes, very impressive,’ Paul added. ‘A beast.’

I stopped smiling. Christ, of all the things they’d noticed, it had been the pimple between my eyes. Whatever, I only cared what Sally, who wasn’t there yet, thought anyway.

Just then she arrived, hugging me warmly, stirring my insides with her scented softness. God I’d missed her.

‘Wow!’ she said, grabbing me firmly by the shoulders to look me over. ‘Check this guy out!’

I got excited again.

‘Someone splice some rhino genes into your DNA over the summer or what!’ She laughed. ‘That thing is huge! You’re more unicorn than man at this point. Shall we order you a nice bowl of rainbow-colored grass?’

By EM Vireo

Drop #148: Happy Ending

on the roadAn hour from the hotel she said she had left her mobile there and we had to turn back.

‘Did you check everywhere?’

‘Yes. Everywhere.’

‘You sure?’


We were already late and this meant a two-hour round trip delay, at least. We’d just finished a lengthy stretch on a mountain road so terrible it felt like it had been laid right out of Satan’s anus. Getting off it onto tarmac was such bliss, like taking your shoes off when they’ve been killing your feet for hours. Now we’d have to do it again, twice.

The road back had further unexpected delays: in a gruesome accident, a sheet of sheet metal had skidded off a truck and beheaded a man on a moped. Ambulance. Indifferent cops. Blood stained sheet.

Shortly after, we got a flat. I changed the tire in the rain, which had just started.

We arrived to find the front desk deserted. They hadn’t picked up the phone on five attempts either. We were already so behind schedule to reach Sam and Trudy’s wedding, still hundreds of miles away, so, when no one answered our shouts, I went behind the desk to see if the mobile was there. A quick rummage found nothing so I opened the door to the little room behind the desk and went in, hoping to find it in there, or at least find some incompetent sleeping person I could put on the case. Nobody home, but as I was snooping around, I heard a man’s voice: ‘Hey! What the hell are you doing?’

‘Oh, just looking for my wife’s phone. Did you guys find a phone?’

‘Never mind that. You can’t be trespassing in there.’

‘Oh, sorry,’ I stepped out of the room and moved to join my wife, but the clerk—a large man we had never seen while staying there–grabbed my arm saying he had to call it in.

‘Get off me,’ I said, trying to shake him off, and he got angry, grabbing me harder and pushing me against the wall.

‘Get off him,’ Sarah echoed, but the guy only got rougher, pinning my arm aggressively behind my back. ‘You’re hurting him!’ she said, stepping towards us.

‘You just stay right there, missy,’ the ogre threatened, pulling out his phone.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: that the irony is that she’d had her mobile all along, having overlooked it in her bag, or that it was on the car floor. That we had gone back and suffered all those delays, setbacks and conflicts for nothing.

No. I wish.

It was gone, perhaps stolen, with all the photos and videos from the birthday party the night before: Grandpa Smith’s 100th and maybe his last. Turns out we were also the only ones who’d fully filmed his epic speech—probably also his last. Sam and Trudy are pretty much our best friends but we never did make it to their wedding since I was arrested and held overnight. I have a court date in a month—oh, and it turns out the guy fractured my wrist so I’m in a cast. Not ideal for an illustrator with crazy deadlines. So no, no irony here. Just life doing it’s best to be a pile of shit.

:-) By EM Vireo :-)


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