“Zoanna Teele! Zoanna Teele! Zoanna Teele!” Zoe groaned in irritation and pulled the covers over her head. The incessant squawking of her surround sound alarm system only grew louder.
“Zoanna Teele, are you awake? Voice activation please.” Zoanna mumbled the five-digit password into her pillow, not quite loud enough for the system to process.
“ZOANNA TEELE!! ZOANNA TEELE!!” The computer resorted to its highest volume setting. Zoanna let out a short screech in shock and covered her ears.
“2 2 0 6 3!” She hollered over the systems’ wake up call. The robotic voice immediately seized its crowing.
“Good morning, Zoanna.” The lights around her turned out automatically. Zoe stumbled out of bed, mumbling unintelligibly. She cursed at the computer for depriving her of an extra 5 minutes’ sleep. Zoe slumped into the chair of her chrome colored vanity, a bright and shiny contrast to her mood. She stared at her reflection through bleary eyes and grimaced. Her hair was a tangled mess on top of her head, and red splotches from her new face cream were spread across her cheekbones. A new, bright red zit had appeared on her chin.
Zoe’s reflection frowned back at her through the glass as she thought and finally spoke through a yawn.
“Computer, activate Gadgets 612 and 318.” Zoe stretched sleepily as she awaited a reply.
“Activating Gadgets.” Zoanna smiled faintly as Gadget 612 went to work on her hair. She thought back to when the GADGET series of robots had first come out about a year ago. She had begged her father to buy them for her.
“Please, daddy? Just a few!”
“I said no, Zoanna!” His voice had rung with finality. Zoe had pursed her lips in anger, but they soon thawed as a new course of action came to mind. She rearranged her features to form a flawless forlorn expression and sighed heavily- the sound filled with longing and reluctant surrender.
“Okay. I’m sorry, daddy. Really, really sorry. It’s just...” She paused to peek up at him, to make sure he was listening. He was. “I just...well, I was looking through the pictures of mom the other day...and she had such beautiful hair. It was so pretty! And I...well, I just wanted to look like her. That’s all.” She had walked away sulkily and her wait did not last long.
The next day, both complete HAIRSTYLIST-GADGET600 and COSMETICIAN-GADGET300 collections were laid out on her bed, next to a note saying ‘Your mother would have wanted you to feel beautiful.’
Zoe could not remember ever feeling guilty after playing the dead-mom card. She supposed she should have felt something, but it was hard to feel bad about getting everything you ever wanted.
The HAIRSTYLIST set came with 99 silver spheres, each with a tiny red button on the top and a number across the middle. Push the button and a holographic image of the hairstyle it created lit up the room.
Today, Zoe used Gadget 612- a curling sphere. It waved her long blonde hair and swooped half-back with a sophisticated, crystalized clip. The 300 Collection worked the same way, only with cosmetics. Sphere 318 was called “Pretty in Pink”, adding a rosy glow to the lips and cheeks of anyone who used it. Zoe did not sit in her chair longer than two minutes. The spheres worked much faster than any human could. Zoanna stared at her reflection from a multitude of angles, admiring her look. She tossed her hair over her shoulder and smiled at the two floating orbs, buzzing as they awaited her next command.
“Gadget use complete.” Zoe spoke in a loud, clear tone and the Gadgets were sucked back into their storage compartments. Zoe stood, careful not to mess up her hair. She walked over to her outfit transmitter, the newest addition to her robots. The machine was tall, a cylindrical shaped chamber made entirely of chrome and glass. It was Zoe’s most prized possession. On the front of the technological dressing room was an average sized touch screen tablet. She pressed her pointer finger on the center of the pad and waited impatiently for the identification scan to complete. The chamber beeped three times, switching to awake mode. The floor lit up in bright, flashing colors. The touch screen blinked on and the machine greeted her in the common, robotic, British female voice.
“Hello, Zoanna.” An image of herself popped up on the screen, along with an array of six buttons, each with a label: Tops, Pants, Skirts, Dresses, Jackets and Accessories. Every article of clothing Zoe owned had been scanned into this computer. She was able to go through and see exactly how an outfit would look on her before she put it on. Zoe spent no less than 15 minutes at the screen, remembering it was the first day of her sophomore year. Every piece of the ensemble had to be perfect.
Zoe never worried about the weather when choosing her clothes. The computer immediately eliminated anything unsuitable for the weather and even recommended items she might need because of the conditions. Zoe was wise enough to take the advice. She chose an umbrella the computer suggested, frowning as she remembered last weeks’ sudden downpour. It had not been a good day for her to ignore the umbrella option.
Once she was satisfied with her clothing selection, Zoe walked inside the chamber, pressed the glowing green button and was dressed within 10 seconds. Zoe grabbed her bag and ran to the kitchen, noticing how late the time was. Her dad was there, receiving a trim from his HAIR+B.O.T.2000.
“Daddy, did you get it?” She asked as she typed her breakfast order into the small keypad near the kitchen countertop and pressed enter. The AutoChefDD3 whirled and spun as it worked to make Zoe’s egg white omelet and fruit smoothie.
“Honey, I don’t understand why Louiz can’t drive you.” Zoe frowned. Louiz was their automated car.
“Dad,” Zoe whined. “Cars are so old!”
“They still work.” Her dad pointed out, sighing to himself. He and Zoanna both knew he was fighting a losing battle. Zoe felt the anger beginning to burn through her and she went with it with everything she had. Zoanna glared at her father.
“I don’t CARE dad! I can’t be seen in something OLD. Especially around my friends!! God, you just don’t get how hard it is for me, do you?” Zoe ranted. “I thought we went over this, daddy. Cars are STUPID, and they’re done. They’re finished. If I’m seen in one, I’LL be finished. Got it? ALL my friends got Hovercrafts this year. I want one! I NEED one! You never get me anything!!” Zoe screeched, storming out of the house angrily. She came suddenly to a halt. There, floating directly over the transportal, was a brand new Jupiter model 227 First-Class Hovercraft, with super turbo-charge rocket engines installed at the back; with all the available options and accessories on the market- complete with a hi-gloss red paint job.
“Daddy...” Zoe looked up at her father, who was staring excitedly down at her. “Why is it red?” Her dad’s face fell noticeably.
“I asked for pink.” There was a very long silence between the two of them. “I WANTED pink.” Her father flushed with chagrin as he looked at his daughter. Zoe laughed and smiled understandingly at her dad. “Oh, don’t worry daddy. I’ll just trade it in on the way to school and get the color I really wanted. Bye-bye!!” Zoe shouted as she ran to the machine. She dumped her stuff in the backseat and headed off to the TeknoTransport Center. She could afford to be late to school.
Zoe smiled to herself at the unintentional pun. In fact, she could probably afford to buy time itself.
“Zoanna, it’s so pretty!”
“Zoe, you’re so lucky...”
“Wow, Zo. I wish my dad could afford to buy me presents like that.” The bright pink hovercraft now parked in the student lot was the center of attention. Compliments and envious eyes followed Zoe wherever she went that first day back to school. And she thrived off of them. She flipped her hair in false gratitude at the wistful comments of the girls, and flashed wide smiles at the envy of the guys. The school was the electricity, and she was the light bulb. The shining beacon of popularity, the 31st century superstar. And she didn’t waste a single moment of it.
Her Popularity Points had doubled by the end of the week, and Zoe was ecstatic- practically oozing satisfaction. The Points system was used by the Gossips and the Blog Squad to rate everything at school from the teachers to the food and the Rek-Tecks, infamously known as the Technerds. Zoe jumped to the top of the hot charts almost overnight. Now, she really did have everything- looks, money and fame.
At least, everything that mattered to Zoe.