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Christmas C.E. Twenty-thirtysomething

The Familiar came today. One for us all to share. We were so excited when we first saw the big pine crate. Mother cracked open the seal and read the directions while Father started pulling out limbs and tried to make sense of its tiny printed labels.

It needed assembly, charging, and a firmware update. We played with our other gifts, but this was the big one, a plastic, rubber, and carbon fiber servant of our very own.

When it was ready, Mother, Father, Sis, and I gathered around to watch it switch on. It gave a simulated yawning sound, shook gently, and blinked its friendly, oversized LED displays. It said good morning and happy holidays, and sang the jingle we’d memorized from ads all year, then asked if we’d like to name it. Sis called out, “Stupid!” It winked and said it knew she didn’t mean that.

And it wasn’t stupid, not exactly. Limited, more like. Its vocal software didn’t understand our accents yet, and asked what whether we meant this or that.

Mother had it take out its own recyclable packaging, and Father had it dust the tops of the bookcases, and Sis had it sing and play Rock Paper Scissors and tell stories.

Mother and Father asked if we were surprised, and we said yes, and they asked if we were happy, and we said yes.

But I asked for a puppy.

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