The Sandwich: #204

The Sandwich


Archduke Flapjack has shown me the super secret project that the research centre is working on, and it's a toaster.

"It's a toaster," I say.

"How did you know that?" says Flapjack. "We've just invented it. Blimey, you really are clever, aren't you?"

"You know that you can get these in Argos?" I say.

Flapjack sighs with sudden understanding. "Ah, I see what you mean," he says. "No, what you can buy in Argos calls itself a toaster, but what it actually does is incinerate bread on one side whilst leaving it totally untouched on the other. What we have invented is the world's first actual toaster, that will toast bread evenly right the way through."

"Impossible!" I cry. Flapjack seems pleased with my astonishment and introduces me to Dr Sally Voltan, the engineer who made possible this remarkable leap forward in culinary technology. She has crumbs all down the front of her jumper and a big smear of marmalade up her cheek, but she seems quite happy.

"It's been a long hard road, there have been a few unexpected stops and starts along the way, but we finally got here in the end," she said. At first I thought she was talking about her commute to work, but as she goes on it becomes clear that she's talking about the toaster. "Oh yes, our initial prototypes were a bit 'feisty' but eventually we got the hang of building devices that didn't explode as soon as you plugged them in."

"That's nice," I said.

"We thought so," Dr Voltan agreed. "Then we experimented with artificial intelligence, and that led to all the usual problems, of course."

"Rise of the machines? Overpowering mankind? Supplanting the human race as the dominant species on the planet?"

Dr Voltan roles her eyes. "All that stuff, yes. Thank goodness we didn't build them with a long enough flex to get out of the building. One got as far as the gent's washroom on the second floor and eradicated a cleaner, but that was as bad as it got. But now we're on the way to finally building a device that can create the perfect breakfast. And this is where it dovetails so beautifully with your work, Professor Xerox."

She looked at me expectantly. Oh hell, it was my turn again.



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