Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Three Quarters Eaten Dessert (Alfred and Bertha's Marvellous Twenty-First Century Life, Book 4) by Cora Buhlert

Release date: July 2, 2016
Subgenre:  Hard science fiction parody

About The Three Quarters Eaten Dessert:


Bertha and Alfred, married for twenty years, enjoy a truly science fictional life in the twenty-first century. But in spite of all the technological marvels surrounding them, an argument about sharing a dessert at an upscale restaurant escalates and threatens their friendship with their neighbours, the Hoppenstedts.

This parodistic piece is a mundane short story of 6000 words or approximately 25 print pages, written in the style of science fiction’s “golden age” of the 1940s and 1950s. With bonus recipe.

This story was written in response to E.P. Beaumont's "Not Really SF Short Story Challenge".



The wonderful world of the twenty-first century offers a great variety of dining options to its denizens.
In addition to traditional home cooked meals, there are also many industrially produced, prepared and pre-packaged ready-to-eat meals available, which only requires the consumer to place the meal into the microwave oven, a kitchen appliance which heats and cooks food by exposing it to electromagnetic radiation in the microwave spectrum, which induces the polar molecules in the food to rotate and thus produce thermal energy in a process known as dielectric heating.
For those who prefer a more formal dining experience, the twenty-first century also offers restaurants for every budget and taste in a bewildering variety of cuisines. And since dining is also considered a communal bonding experience, it is quite common for the denizens of the twenty-first centuries to invite friends, acquaintances, co-workers and even potential romantic partners to enjoy said communal bonding experience by dining together at a restaurant.
And so Alfred and Bertha von Bülow found themselves at the restaurant Quercus robur germanicus one evening in the company of their neighbours, Carl and Irene Hoppenstedt, who had invited them to share dinner together.
The Quercus robur germanicus was one of the finest restaurants in town and had even received the highly coveted star rating in the Michelin Guide to fine dining establishments, which was published annually by the Michelin company, a manufacturer of pneumatic tyres, an inflatable structure made from elastomers synthesised from petroleum by-products which covered the rims of vehicle wheels to provide traction between the vehicle and the road while providing a flexible cushion that absorbed shocks.
Together, the von Bülows and the Hoppenstedts had enjoyed a creamy soup of the Agricus campestris fungus, followed by the smaller end of the psoas major of Bos bos tauris, roasted and served with the boiled tubers of the perennial nightshade Solanum tuberosum, the boiled and buttered seedpods of the herbaceous plant Phaseolus vulgaris and a sauce made from the immature green seeds of the Piper nigrum plant. With their food, they shared a bottle of the fermented juice of the grapes of the Vitis vinifera plant, variant Pinot noir.
“It was a most delicious meal,” Bertha exclaimed after consuming the last of her boiled Solanum tuberosum tubers with Piper nigrum sauce.
“Indeed it was,” Irene Hoppenstedt replied, “Would you like some more buttered Phaseolus vulgaris seedpods, Bertha?”
“That would be lovely, Irene,” Bertha agreed.
“The Oberföhringer Vogelspinne is truly a most excellent vintage,” Alfred commented after draining the last of his fermented Vitis vinifera juice. He eyed the bottle, which still contained some of the fermented liquid. “I say we should evenly distribute the rest of the wine among ourselves.”
And since Alfred was a scientist and thus perfectly suited to empirically evenly distribute the remains of the fermented Vitis vinifera juice among the four people seated at the table, he promptly proceeded to do just that.
“Indeed, it would be a shame to waste so fine a vintage,” Carl Hoppenstedt exclaimed, “Which reminds me that I would like to make an announcement.”
Carl raised his glass and banged his spoon, an eating utensil consisting of a small shallow oval-shaped bowl at the end of a handle, against it, for even in the twenty-first century, banging spoons against glasses was a time-honoured way of announcing that one would like to make an announcement.
“Dear Alfred and most esteemed Bertha…” Carl began, before he was interrupted by the head waiter, a person — or rather the head of the various persons — serving food in a restaurant.
“Would the ladies and gentlemen perhaps like a dessert?” the head waiter asked.

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About Cora Buhlert:

Cora Buhlert was born and bred in North Germany, where she still lives today – after time spent in London, Singapore, Rotterdam and Mississippi. Cora holds an MA degree in English from the University of Bremen and is currently working towards her PhD. Cora has been writing since she was a teenager, and has published stories, articles and poetry in various international magazines. When she is not writing, she works as a translator and teacher.

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