{Looks through eyehole in front door. The front light is failing to illuminate the visitor. Reluctantly, I create an aperture.}

    "Paul! Uh, what... can I do for you?"
Vacuum cleaners. The man is after vacuum cleaners. Do we have any?

Well, er, this is the one we use in our day-to-day (month-to-month more likely given the hygenic tendancies of the tabhouse inhabitants) cleaning duties...

No, no it won't do at all.

Do we have anything more '50s? Chrome-plated? No. There is, however, another in the solarium - it doesn't work. Excellent! he claims, its sucking power is of no interest to him, only the amount of luxes it generates.

No, please don't open the dust bag in here, no, don't empty it in the trash until the garbage strike resolves please. What do you mean there's not enough room inside?

Yes, I'm aware that they haven't removed VAXbong yet. Why would they have?

"Now that I've gotten fired my mother asked me:
'What are you going to be doing with yourself?
Ready to take things a bit more seriously?'
Hell yes. Going back to UVic to finish my history degree and maybe a minor in teaching.

But first, I'm going to create...an army of vacuum robots."

Your typical Dalek shell, of course, attracts immediate security scrutiny. The ordinary household vacuum cleaner, however, can pass unhindered and unreported even when its location is less-than-fixed.

A couple of motors in the foot... remote controls, a hidden camera... and here's the kicker: Boba Fett-style grappling hooks concealed in the handle. Four or five of 'em! Retractable! Then it could pull itself into air ducts.

By the way, would we be interested in attaching an antenna to our roof? What? We don't have access to the roof? Well, he has a transmitter... no, it couldn't reach our house, but it could reach here from a friend's office downtown, and he has established other alternate communications means between the office and his house. So using these, with the antenna he could call us!

Without using the phone system!

That's very... um, interesting. Interesting!

Say, I didn't wake you up, did I?

An interesting exchange under the most optimal of circumstances. However, try it when you're firmly in stage 1 REM sleep from start to finish, interrupted dream resumed before the door was shut, you can understand the more-than-slightly surreal spin my friend's reaction to his new medications produced in me.

I might have discounted it all as mere whimsy, but the vacuum cleaner -is- gone.

in our last episode... | p_i-logs | and then, all of a sudden...