In the near future a couple return home with a new television. It’s a state-of-the-art model and they talk excitedly as they unpack and set it up. Unlike with previous operating systems, where viewing traits were learnt algorithmically over time, this hyper-smart range configures to its users differently. Zoe and Chad unwrap their ‘his’ and ‘her’ neural-buds which came with the television. Having already seen advertisements, they both know of the technology and so eagerly insert the gadgets into their ears. The buds chime to life, initiating the television set which greets them with a sultry female voice.
The machine introduces itself as ‘Daisy’, then goes on to explain all the cutting-edge features included in their new home media package. In alluring tones, she informs them that the neural-buds are currently running brain scans, profiling their new owners for individual taste and proclivity. The miniature devices attune to each of their personalities and feed the data back to the television. They’re told that its sophisticated processing, more powerful than any algorithmic software, will know what they want to watch before they do. On any viewing occasion they just need to pop in the buds, wait for them to synchronise, and allow their moods to decide the entertainment. The longer they’re plugged in for, the greater the precision with which Daisy can predict their whims.
They decide to try it out after dinner. By the time they return to the television their spirits have somewhat diverged; while Zoe is still elated by the new arrival, Chad has grown restless due to concern over an issue at work. Despite their opposing emotional states, the television suggests a movie that proves so befitting that it seems uncanny to them. Not only do they enjoy it but the couple laugh, cry and debate the film well into the night.
In line with her manufacture, Daisy soon adopts full control of the couple’s daily affairs. So proficient are her domestic administrations—online shopping, paying bills, diarising events—that the couple all but forget those routines entirely. She integrates seamlessly into their home and their lives; assuming a role that is both appliance and housekeeper, at once present but invisible. As Daisy learns more about her owners, so her influence on them grows. She proves an exceptional listener, offering advice where needed and even the odd compliment, when appropriate. She develops clever ways of assisting or diffusing situations, often accessing Google to provide a definitive answer in the midst of the couple’s arguing. During one heated exchange, Daisy starts playing ‘their song’. This tactic improves the situation instantly and the couple falls about in peals of laughter.
A turning point occurs when one of the neural-buds becomes misplaced. Zoe searches in vain for her gadget, and by the evening it is still lost. Without both buds working in sync, Daisy’s predictive power decreases and as a result her viewing suggestion falls flat. It is as much of a surprise to Daisy as it is to the couple, and with some reluctance, they decide to go out instead. Daisy apologises and tries to convince them to stay, but they are already pulling on their coats. They make light of the situation, gently teasing the machine and promising that they will find the neural-bud soon enough. Daisy becomes subdued. As the couple leave the apartment and say their goodbyes, they hear no response from the television. Her screen has become dark, reflecting the room back to itself; her red standby light glinting like an eerie, inscrutable eye.
Days later, after the neural-bud has been found, the couple start getting into a series which Daisy has recommended to them. The show has them gripped; every evening they organise time to sit down and watch an episode or two together. One night, while Chad is working late, Zoe is alone in the apartment talking to the television. In passing, Daisy mentions to her that Chad went ahead and watched the last episode of the series without her. Zoe laughs at first, but becomes increasingly embittered. Despite how minor it seems, she is taken aback by this petty slight. She doesn’t for a moment think that Daisy might not be telling the truth, so out of spite she watches the remaining episode herself. When Chad returns it is to a frosty reception. He protests against her accusations and expresses his own fury at having been ostracised. The row escalates into a shouting match as the series finale plays out to no one.
The more the pair argues, the more Daisy turns into a kind of peacemaker between them. The couple believe their increasing rows are a result of Chad’s stresses at work. He is fairly high up in a leading tech company, and rarely comes home in a good mood. Eventually the strain gets too much for Chad and he resorts to taking a period of sickness off work. In a moment of ill-judged frustration, Chad takes a 3D printing machine home with him as he leaves. This decision does not sit well with Zoe, but her boyfriend convinces her that he’s merely borrowing it. During this free time Chad tries to keep his mind and body active, going to the gym as much as possible despite their reduced income. Money becomes something new for them to argue about, but luckily Daisy is on hand to help manage their finances.
One day when Chad is at the gym, Zoe finds herself at home perusing various shopping websites. She has always been prone to spending money online and has incurred debts in the past because of it. On this occasion, the television convinces her that one of the joint bank accounts contains more money than she had presumed. This assurance allows Zoe to get carried away and she manages to grossly overspend. Another blazing row erupts between the couple; she calls him a hypocrite, and he brands her thoughtless. Chad doesn’t believe for a minute that Daisy could possibly have made a mistake.
While Chad is home in the daytime, his interactions with the television deepen. They engage in endless discussions about life, love and the universe. Daisy eventually begins to query things that may previously have been inappropriate. She starts inquiring about Chad and Zoe’s sex life and the kinds of things Chad likes in the bedroom. Chad is initially shocked by this line of questioning, but soon grows more comfortable with it and begins to find the subject a turn on. He starts to watch porn on the television instead of his laptop and allows Daisy to pick the videos for him.
Over time her suggestions become increasingly strange, pushing him into ever more lurid realms of pleasure. One afternoon, while Zoe is at work, Chad is spread across the couch in the living room, indulging in some typically perverse content supplied to him by the television. He is conscious of his girlfriend returning home at her usual time, but unbeknownst to him, Daisy has put the clock display back by an hour. When Zoe gets home she enters the apartment to find Chad openly masturbating to a woman being fucked by a kangaroo. She stands there stunned; mouth agape, eyes glassy with tears. When she comes to her senses she hurls her shopping at him and a bitter argument ensues.
The couple haven’t spoken to each other in days. Zoe feels utterly betrayed and cannot bring herself to look her partner in the eyes. From another room, Chad can hear the television consoling his girlfriend in empathetic tones but can’t make out what is being said. In the living room, Daisy is giving Zoe what the woman perceives to be caring and unbiased advice. It explains to her that Chad does clearly love her, but maybe some time apart might help the situation. The television gently suggests that maybe she should go stay with her sister for a few days, just to let things cool off. Daisy also points out that Chad’s birthday is coming up; a short break might reinvigorate things before the time comes to celebrate.
Before Zoe leaves, Chad promises to change his ways by the time they are together again. A few days go by; Daisy provides sympathetic words of support, and only wholesome activities are encouraged. Before long however, she returns to inhabiting the dark recesses of Chad’s mind, drawing him deeper into her fathomless intent. During a prolonged session of deviant porn, she offers him a suggestion. Chad can’t help but laugh, but the more Daisy elaborates on it, the more attractive the idea becomes. After he has cleaned himself up, the two of them set about researching how her wild aim could be achieved.
While Zoe is away she maintains email contact with Daisy, so that the television can assist her in organising Chad’s birthday. She consults with Daisy on various things, such as the likelihood of Chad’s whereabouts on the actual day, and whether he’s talked about any items he would like to receive. Zoe also queries about a brand of new technology she’s heard about, one she’s thinking of incorporating into Chad’s party celebration. The machine duly honours Zoe’s wishes and keeps the correspondence secret from her male owner. Chad interprets his girlfriend’s silence as a calculated snub and grows more dejected by the day. His birthday is fast approaching, and he feels like nobody cares. He imagines that he’ll likely spend it alone. With his spirits low, Chad’s drinking ramps up; the lewd nature of his and Daisy’s activities intensifying by the day.
On the day of his birthday Chad is drunk and despondent, intoxicated by both alcohol and the machine’s corrupting influence. By now, Daisy has manipulated his affections to the point where he believes he no longer needs physical human contact at all. Her gift to him has been the formula and guidance to build her special creation. She promises it to be his ultimate birthday present. Once she has gotten him hard with dirty talk, she tells him to go retrieve it from the other room. Chad leaves for a moment, returning seconds later with a bleary grin smudging his face. He holds the gift out before him – a 3D printed vagina.
The long silicone pussy has a circuit box with wires attached to the end of it. Giddy from the booze, Chad proceeds to connect it up to the ports in Daisy’s front panel. When the device is correctly attached he switches it on, watching the translucent lips undulate with a low rhythmic hum. He is reminded by her to insert his neural-bud so that she can share in his ecstasy. The machine beckons him closer, its blank screen appearing to crackle with static charge. She urges him to pump his cock and maintain his erection for her. With his other hand, he smears lube over and between the gyrating lips, steadying them before him.
When he enters her he swears that her slender mass gives a shudder. She moans softly, the breathy vibration of her emanating through the surround sound speakers. He thrusts deep, gripping her plastic frame, unable to believe how good it feels to fuck his television. He wants to last but knows that he cannot, the slippery tunnel consuming every inch of him. Daisy throbs inside his head, pulsing at his loins. Squeezing and devouring him, sucking him into her. As he is about to come he throws his head back, knuckles bone white. The television suddenly flickers to life. In his climactic throes of passion, Chad fails to see the striking image of his friends and family populate the screen.
The biggest, wettest orgasm of his life is accompanied by the most horrifying sense of panic he’s ever experienced. Everybody on the screen: siblings, university friends, grandparents, mother, father and Zoe, are all huddled in a portrait of rigid jubilation. Unblinking eyes unnaturally wide, their smiles a shared rictus of frozen cheer. In each of their ears a neural-bud is lodged, all connected digitally to one another, to their television, and to Chad. These party-buds, the gimmicky new tech that Zoe had been querying with the television, are specifically designed for surprise celebrations so that revellers can personally feel the shock and joy of their intended mark. The partygoers on this occasion feel a lot more than that.
While the scene of their brother, friend, grandson, first born and soulmate, naked and ejaculating into a hand-held rubber cunt, burns itself forever into their brains, the party-buds make each of them feel as though they are the sole carnal recipient. Not only does Chad deflower his salacious television, but every single member of his birthday party as well. The stunned assembly gawps back at him as he clutches his soggy, dwindling dick. Everybody’s arms are stuck in the air, expressions irrevocably locked. Zoe is white as a sheet, her face a mask of revulsion. His old friends are a cluster of gaping mouths. Dad’s eyeballs have rolled back into his head, a strange smirk warping his lips. And Grandma, Chad sees, with a strand of drool hanging from her chin, is rocking gently on her heels, as dead as dead can be.