The Love Treadmill 5000: Sci-Fi Microfiction


Copyright 2020 by Nia Venus. All Rights Reserved.

The plastic wrapping crunched  in my hand. Oh, you delicious little devil. Before I could send the Twinkie into my mouth, a knock at the door jolted me off the couch. Stacy had just told me to stop eating my feelings, but what the hell else was I to do with them? I was 45, divorced, bitter and overweight. Why not?

I tugged my satin robe closed and walked to the the front door, clutching my heart. 

A chipper white guy wearing a pink polo with the words, Love Treadmill 5000 across his chest, greeted me with a kool-aid smile.

“Delivery,” he said. Beside him stood a tall pink box. 

“Sir, I think you might have the wrong door.” I hadn’t purchased anything in months. The divorce settlement left me with more than just a strong desire to eat my feelings. It had also left me with little money to spend on expensive ass gadgets. 

The chipper pink shirted man lifted a smallwhite sheet of paper to his face. “Teresa Henderson?” 

I scratched my head. That was my maiden name. This package had to be sent by someone I knew. But who? 

“Yes, that’s my name,” my voice shook. 

“Welp, this love treadmill 5000 is certainly for you then, ma’am. Where should I set it up?” 

My heart pulsed with anger. Was this some sort of sick joke planted by my ex-husband? Covering my love handles with my hands I studied the delivery man’s face. Oh, what the hell. If my ex sent this, it was cruel, but worse come to worse I could resell it. This thing looked expensive. 

“Come on in.” 

I stood by while he dragged the big pink box into my living room. “Set it here.” I pointed right beside my sofa and tv. My small studio didn’t give me many options. 

An hour later there was a giant pink treadmill sitting in the middle of my living room. With crossed arms, I sat on the couch staring at it. 

What kinda name was the love treadmill anyway? 

Curious, I slipped on a pair of sneakers and stepped onto the treadmill. Immediately, the screen illuminated and scanned my face. 

A brown skinned man appeared. His body appeared to lift from the screen, like a hologram. I swallowed and almost choked on my spit.

His oiled body was clothed only by a compression tank and basketball shorts. His chest stuck out through his shirt and his arms, or should I say guns, were beautifully defined. He had just the perfect amount of muscle mass, not big like a body builder, but far from wimpy. 

My mouth moistened. 

The man winked at me and exposed a crisp, white smile. “Hi Teresa.”

A tightness spread across my chest. 

“Hi,” I said. Feeling weird as hell, talking to a machine. How the hell did he already know my name? That was some custom programming.

“You’re looking good,” he said. I like the robe. You sure that’s what you wanna work out in today?” 

I pulled my robe tighter to my body. He could see me? What the hell? I immediately jumped off the treadmill and started pacing the room. This shit was trippy. 

“I didn’t mean to startle you, Teresa.”

His voice still came from the treadmill, even though I’d stepped off of it. “You are a beautiful woman, I’m just here to remind you of it.” 

What the hell? I tiptoed back to the machine and placed my feet on the walking track again. 

“What did you say?” 

The strong man stared at me as if he could see directly into my eyes. “I’m Ryan. The personality behind your Love Treadmill. Here to work you out, if you’d like. We can customize the workout, just for you.”

He was working something within me, that was for sure. Mesmerized by his eyes, I pressed the start button on the treadmill. I walked for longer than I’d ever walked that day, as I stared deeply into the eyes of this beautiful man who called himself Ryan. A man, real or not, who had nothing but nice things to say about me. 

My cell phone rang. It was my best friend, Stacy. “Hey girl,” she said. “Are you in love yet?” 

“Girl, if I’m not, I’m definitely in the way to it.” We laughed.


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