Don\’t eat the cereal.

“Hot dog!” he cried as he opened the box of cereal.

There was really nothing quite like brinner, that is “breakfast at dinner” for the uninitiated.

“A new maple candied robo walnut! Cool!” He pulled the trinket from the bottom of the box, exploding bits of cereal everywhere. It was some kind of something: a great steel nut, lightly engraved, with little gears and other bits sticking out of it. He set it on the table, tapped it with his spoon, and the gears began to spin. After a bit of fanfare and some grinding noises, out popped a small silver ball that rolled across the green paisley tablecloth.

He snatched it up, popped it in his mouth and soon his cheeks were bulging here and there as if the ball were flying all over, or he were poking his tongue randomly into the inside of his cheeks. It turns out the latter was true and he soon spat the little ball back out with a dumb smile on his face. It began to smoke. He smacked his lips smoothed his tongue over his lips as if it would somehow stop the rotten taste in his mouth.

He sniffed and soon began to cough. His eyelids drooped lazily. Seconds later his head hit the green paisley tablecloth and he was out.

At precisely the same moment as his head struck the table, the windows in the kitchen shattered, the front and back doors were blown open, a scream was heard elsewhere in the house, and the sounds of rumbling engines filled the room. About a dozen robots were rolling on heavy treads, their heads roughly the shape of walnuts. They surrounded him in the kitchen, paused as lights on their torso blinked rapidly in various colors, as if some kind of communication was happening, closed on him at once and scooped him up to carry him out of the house. One of the machines lingered behind in search. He pinched the machine-walnut and placed it in some carryall compartment where his bum should have been before leaving. The smoking silver ball rolled away.

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