A Bottle of the Good Stuff
by Zack Conley
When it was Abigail's birthday, I bought her a full bottle of the good stuff. It was a blue glass bottle, of a tepid color, with the yellow stuff full to the top inside. I wrapped it in red paper to mask the gentle yellow glow.
She didn't notice at first, it was just another present amongst the several odd shapes sitting on the table. We didn't even open presents until later. First she was woken up by her favorite song echoing down the hallways. The stone walls were letting the vocals bounce around as the overhead bulbs slowly flicked on one by one. The rest of the family groggily awoke, grandfather complaining about the vocals. But they all made their way out of bed, some of them stumbling over wires as they made their way to the central keyboard where I was pulling up the video. All of the screens in the house came alive with dancing animals, letting Abigail dance her way down the hallway.
Then it was time for breakfast and she wanted potatoes. I had gone to the garden and pulled a few overhanging spuds, while checking the chemical meter on the nearby dial. Based on the readings I needed to get more potassium but it could wait until tomorrow. It was Abigail's birthday after all.
After breakfast she tried to hide just how excited she was. She was playing games on one of the screens in the living room, while we sent out e-mails, made phone calls and did the normal business we had to do. But I could see from the way she kept watching the clock flash that she was waiting for it to start.
I finally took pity on her and told everyone to gather in the floor. She eyed the pile of brightly colored packages in the dim light like a dragon surveying its jewels and plunged forward. There were games, and other programs, but I kept shifting her away from grabbing the bottle. I didn't want to steal anyone else's thunder. But then she finally came to it and everything stopped. She knew what it was. We all knew what it was, and she eyed it like liquid gold.
"How long?" was all she asked.