The advantage of an organic robot was that you could eat it if it stopped being a useful addition to your household.

There was a cord in the back of the machine which, when pulled, would cause a chemical reaction that started the cooking process.

Crouch had a lot of disposable income. The Universal Basic Income everyone else was on didn’t mean smart people couldn’t work out how to game the system, and he had done just that. And to be honest one of the few things that broke the boredom was watching these things he had bought experiencing some discomfort and then getting to eat them. He knew that it was wrong, and he had spoken to his therapist about it, but the therapist had told him that it was better he take it out on someone that wasn’t legally considered to be alive, than to act out his fantasies on a real person.

He knew he wasn’t the only one who did this kind of thing. Numbness was a problem in this world where love was an alien concept and sex was reserved for the breeding stations. Sex workers existed, but it was running the gauntlet in a way that he was not interested in. He was at heart a careful person. His transgressions were carefully controlled and consisted of a man handling his belongings how he saw fit.

It would be years before the psychic reservoir built by these robots was discovered. A metempsychosis into the electronic ether. The memory was immaculate. The aged up pictures of those who had cooked and eaten their forebears, or in some cases a version of them several bodies back, were so accurate that people rarely escaped.

When Crouch was strapped to the barbecue and the lighter fluid was sprayed over him, he knew what it was about. He knew he would not be eaten. It felt fair, and that was about as much feeling as the aging man could muster when coonfronted with his own death.

You could see the light from the burning bodies like new constellations fallen to the ground across the country.

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