For my 88th birthday, I celebrate with a bottle of bourbon. I fumble with the anti-intoxication meds my doctor insists I take, the dispenser flying out of my hands and across the kitchen table. “Goddammit!”
Chrissy walks in, putting her hands on her hips in disapproval. Her face is her mother’s, but when I look for my eyes, all I see are the blank, grey eyes of an android. Not my daughter, only her avatar.
“Is it so hard to ask for help?” she snaps. The avatar has a faux personality—based on Chrissy’s—but the motherly tone in her voice tells me my daughter is sitting halfway around the world, jacked-in.
“I’m an old man,” I say, reaching for the bourbon. “Why bother?”
She walks over to the table, deftly dispenses a tablet, and pops it into my mouth. Sitting down in a chair beside me, she pushes two glasses my way.
“Do you at least have a glass of something where you are?” I ask, filling both glasses.
She chuckles. “It’s morning over here, Dad. You know that.”
“I know,” I say, washing the pill down with the bourbon. “I was just testing you.”
“Sure you were.” She follows my lead, downing the glass.
I fill them both again. “You know I’m just going to empty your stomach reservoir and drink it, right?”