Water is a precious commodity. Especially on days like this in the Sonoran Desert. It’s 111 degrees outside. Perfect for a little heat-related sci fi.
Your throat is parched. All of your water jugs are empty. But all is not lost. You’re less than five minutes away from a water station in a strip mall.
You step in your car and prepare to drive there. You grip the wheel. It feels as if it’s been baking in an oven. But you persevere and crank up the AC.
Five minutes later, you’ve arrived. You exit your sedan with two empty gallon jugs. One in each hand. A magnificent blue oasis is looming on the near horizon. It’s calling your name. It’s glowing and quivering like a mirage in a dusty old western.
You walk to the water station entrance. You fumble in your pocket for twenty-five cents. Still in a stupor from the pulsating heat, you slide two dimes and a nickel into the slot to fill the first jug. The water begins to bubble out of the machine into your first container. A gasping-and-grateful female voice startles you. It calls out from inside the machine. It utters two words … “Thank You.”
You don’t believe your ears. You tighten the blue cap on the first jug and place the second empty one where it had been. You slide two more dimes and another nickel into the same slot in the Glacier water machine. Again, the voice inside repeats her weary declaration … “Thank You.”
“Have I entered the Twilight Zone?”
“Is this a new Stephen King novel about an automated creature dying of thirst, who can only survive and get more water when patrons visit her and deposit their coins?”
“Or perhaps the frail voice inside is simply thanking me for bottling my own water and reusing my plastic containers.”