You are in the midst of enjoying your favorite web-based program, the aptly named Women Screaming at Cheese, when the hunger hits you. It does so at almost regular half-hourly intervals but absorbed as you tend to be in the web, you are nearly always surprised when your stomach rumbles. You tap the spacebar on the entertainment viewscreen’s keyboard, interrupting a particularly stunning blonde emptying her lungs at a wheel of gouda, and switch to your feeding panel.
You begin with the pre-rinse as you always do, a small 24-oz gulp of Fructo-Sludge cola just to clear the pipes out. The brown, viscous substance can hardly be called soda at all: it’s closer to solid than liquid, really. Mmmm, you think as the sludge inches down your gullet, corny.
You press the cheeseball button and the feed spout drops from the ceiling above you. The food chute door dilates to the open position as you open your mouth, tongue hanging lazily over your lower lip, ready to receive the crunchy cheese snacks. A dry puff of orange dust shoots out of the tube, teasing your tongue with a light shake of artificial cheese flavoring. You wait; the cheese balls do not come.
“What the fuck?” you ask aloud. The viewscreen, hearing your inflection on the four-letter-word, brings up a selection of pornography and begins to play the entry most relevant to your previous choices. The viewscreen knows you well and you are indeed turned on, but your arousal is quickly stamped out by your lingering hunger.
Frustrated and hungry, you begin to write and wiggle in your pod, making strange grunts not unlike a sea lion cub asking its mother to nurse.
“Frank,” you hear a voice from outside the pod call out, “check out 12173, he’s freaking out about something.”
Distant footsteps grow nearer before stopping what sounds like right next to your pod. You hear various clicks and slams as the technician checks your pod. “Here’s the problem. Cheeseball reserves ran dry. There we go, all better.”
The still-open feed tube releases a cascade of cheeseballs into your open and waiting mouth. You are sated, for now.
You return to the program you left before the need to feed interrupted you. The blonde finishes her tirade against gouda, and the viewscreen switches to a slight Asian girl belittling a Kraft single.