Droning On

By Eddie Fogler

The first one came on a simple, sunny Wednesday. Unassuming and dismissive. I did not know of its intentions when I summoned it; I just wanted my delivery, and I didn’t want to wait.

When the doorbell rang, I had been sitting on the couch for hours catching up on my shows. My legs had cramped from being crossed, and my eyes found it hard to adjust to anything other than a screen. I was grateful that I didn’t have to interact with any human because I hadn’t changed out of my pajamas.

“Package for Mr. Waddle,” the flying drone said, as I opened the door.

It was smaller than I expected, but it looked sturdy and new with its shiny, crisp metal exterior. I wondered how long it had been working for the delivery system, as I read its nametag: Model S10X. The sun sparkled across the propellers as they spun. It was almost hypnotic.

I put my hands out to receive the delivery. “I’ll take it.”

“I can carry it into the house for you.” S10X ignored my hands and shifted around to try and look past my shoulders. “I can set it down anywhere you’d like.”

It seemed trustworthy enough, and I was already tired from walking to door. I opened it wider and moved aside. “Sure. Just set it down on the coffee table.”

I followed S10X into my house. It left of a trail of “new car” smell behind it as it flew. I plopped back down onto the couch, scooting around until my body retreated back into its familiar indents.

“Would you like me to open it for you?” S10X hovered over the cardboard box, a few of its tendrils tickling the tape across the seams.

“Why not,” I said as I waved my hand and gave the drone the go ahead.

S10X quickly dismantled the box and pulled out my new shoes. They were just like their picture. Beautiful bright red sneakers. A bold step in my new style. I couldn’t wait to wear them outside. To hear the compliments from my snotty neighbors.

I gave a slight huff at the leftover packaging; cleaning was just more work and less time to make it outside.

“I will dispose of the packaging,” S10X said as it gathered up the cardboard. “Would you like some water?”

I felt it odd that the drone would go beyond its delivering duties, but I did want something to drink. “I could go for a beer actually.”

“Right away, sir.” A series of colorful lights flashed across its surface, as it started to fly away. The doorbell suddenly rang again. “Do not worry. I will answer the door for you.”

“Delivery for Mr. Waddle,” another robotic voice said, as S10X opened the door.

“Yes, place it on the coffee table.”

The second drone flew into the house and placed a six-pack of beer in front of me. It pulled out one of the bottles, popped the cap off, and handed it to me. I nodded at the extra bottles, and the drone scooted them over. I propped my feet up on the coffee table and chugged down the beer. The second drone promptly handed the empty bottle to S10X who had returned and gave me a new beer. A little spilt on my shirt, causing the colorful lights on the drones to flash. The doorbell rang once more, and S10X swiftly answered.

“Delivery for Mr. Waddle,” a pair of voices said in unison.

“In the living room.”

Two more drones entered the room carrying packages. They opened them and pulled out the contents. One of the drones unwrapped a new pajama shirt; it took the beer from my hand and removed the old shirt. It delicately placed the new shirt on me and gave me back my beer. The other new drone grabbed a stain removal pen from its box and dabbed the beer splashes. Great, I thought, now I would have to plan a trip to the laundromat.

Another ring of the door. I didn’t even see the drone lights flash.

“Delivery for Mr. Waddle.” There were even more voices.

Four drones carrying a large, square box entered the room. The drones undid the packaging, revealing a new washing machine. They plugged in the machine and threw in the shirt I had been wearing. I took another sip of my beer and tried to decide if the weather was good enough to hang the shirt outside once it was done. But then, that would require me to move again.

“Delivery for Mr. Waddle.”

Did the doorbell even ring?

More drones. More packages. A new dryer. A new clothes drying rack. I went to set my beer down to tell the drones they had gone too far, but couldn’t find a coaster.

“Delivery for Mr. Waddle.”

Finally. The coasters.