A Vacuum Cleaner Who Wanted Some Limeade - Judah Burstein (2013)

            “I will suck you you!” yelled Vroomvroombleepbop.

            “As hilarious as vacuum puns are, I am not giving you limeade!” replied Little Jonny Boy Junior Jr. to the distraught vacuum cleaner.

            “Give me limeade.” Vroomvroombleepbop vented impatiently.


            Blue and yellow lights flared around the crimson exterior shell of Vroomvroombleepbop. Vroom. The button with the somewhat faded design of a fan pressed itself in, and a whirlwind ventilated from the rump of the rusty appliance. Vroom. Not only was memorabilia inhaled by mistake but also a dead mouse and a box of staples jumped into the tornado. Bleep. The air swirled with immeasurable speeds and swept Little Jonny Boy Junior Jr. out of his seat. Vroomvroombleepbop’s deep cavern became Little Johnny Boy Junior Jr.’s new home. Bop.

            Vroomvroombleepbop was only a nickname. The vacuum’s full name was actually Vroomvroombleepbopclunkploptrrhuhhmwarping. When given the choice of acquiring the surname “Junior” from his owners, he declined because he wanted to see if companies used machines to address and send mail. Surely enough, his mail was addressed: “, Vroomvroombleepbopclunkploptrrhuhhmwarping” Machines do not always accommodate for special cases. The clear bubble on envelopes obscured “clunkploptrrhuhhmwarping” because corporations refused to shrink the font of names so the entire name was visible on the little address card.

            Vroomvroombleepbop also detested the SAT’s for they only require, only allow, the first eight characters of a first name to be filled into the answer sheet. He remained concerned that there was some being named Vroomvropfidudleheiman who also took the SAT’s and that their scores would be mixed up. The SAT’s also require test-takers to have a last name. If the test-taker filled out no bubbles in the “LAST NAME” columns, the machines would have thrown an error and probably not graded that test. Or so Vroomvroombleepbop thought. Vroomvroombleepbop wanted his SAT’s graded.

            His favorite part about his long name was that when he did something “bad,” adults shouted at him exclaiming his full name to exert their force over him. One day, Little Jonny Boy Junior Jr. had some friends over for a play-date and one of the delinquents spilled lemonade on the fresh carpet. Tired of the lemony zest that wafted through the apartment, Little Jonny Boy Junior Sr. activated Vroomvroombleepbop to dilute the mess with Vroomvroombleepbop’s spray feature. Vroomvroombleepbop refused to ejaculate the strange solution with which he was filled, and an irate Little Jonny Boy Junior Sr. wailed, “Vroomvroombleepbopclunkploptrrhuhhmwarping.” Vroomvroombleepbop, chuckling, unplugged himself and rolled away to attempt to get some limeade. He didn’t get the limeade.

            After 16 years of living in a closet, Vroomvroombleepbop seized the opportunity to free himself of Little Jonny Boy Junior Sr. Vroomvroombleepbop swallowed his few belongings as if he held an internal bedroll. His replacement nozzles bunched up uncomfortably close to Little Jonny Boy Junior Jr. who therefore said, “Plug it up, plug it up. I can’t breathe.”

            “Can I have some limeade?” questioned Vroomvroombleepbop.

            “No! You will short circuit. What don’t you understand?” commented the bundled, dusty boy. In response, Vroomvroombleepbop activated all of his buttons causing harsh spasms. Sharp chips of red paint flung off of his coat and sparkled on the clean rug. He disengaged the useless, cosmetic buttons leaving the one with the fan insignia stimulated. An artificial breeze carried the bloody dandruff into the clogged chamber only to stab the idle Little Jonny Boy Junior Jr. Clunk.

            Vroomvroombleepbop proceeded down the stairs. Worried that his vacuum cleaner was departing the apartment forever, Little Jonny Boy Junior Sr. stopped Vroomvroombleepbop in his tracks. Little Jonny Boy Junior Sr. exclaimed, “If you leave, how will I pay the rent?”

            “Guess you you should have bought a talking toaster instead,” sassed Vroomvroombleepbop.

            “C’mon man, don’t leave me in the dust.”

            Vroomvroombleepbop departed unamused. He pondered to himself, “Why do I even pay rent, I am only 16?” Little Jonny Boy Junior Jr. tried to jostle inside of the chamber to find the zipper that would lead to his escape. His hands caressed the rough fibers inside of Vroomvroombleepbop’s storage pouch. An erect string stabbed Little Jonny Boy Junior Jr.’s backside and so he grabbed the string and yanked it. Suddenly, memories swarmed Vroomvroombleepbop’s mind. He reconciled that even though he was only 16 in human years, he was 9735 in vacuum years so his owner made him pay rent because he was “of age.” Also, he recollected a lecture from his teacher from elementary school:

            “Vacuum cleaners are like dogs.” The words escaped Ms. Turry’s mouth with ease. “They are domesticated. They are barkers. They are available in a variety of breeds. And they are even carnivorous sometimes.” She tried to be cute, but she eliminated any possibility of student laughter when she herself started to crack up uncontrollably: “Hyeah hyeah hyeahahaha.” She sounded like a suffocating walrus. Teachers chatting and sipping their cucumber lemonade could hear her wailing from down the hall. A colleague of Ms. Turry’s, Mr. E. rushed in the classroom, sporting a neglected bathroom scent, and holding a medical bottle in his sticky hands. After Mr. E. handed Ms. Turry the medication, Ms. Turry managed through her clamor to ask Mr. E., “Where did you find Xanax in this dump?”

            Billy Bob Joe, a student, cried in a swift, high-pitch shrill, “What’shaXanaxsh.”

            Worried that the kids would grow up to abuse Xanax, Mr. E. trembled saying, “Well Billy Bob Joe, you see sometimes adults have a little too much limeade and get a little worked up, and they need something to calm them down.”

            Vroomvroombleepbop instantly extended his handle and yelped, “Can we have some limeade?”

            Ms. Turry and Mr. E. contemporaneously answered, “No, Vroomvroombleepbop, you will electrocute yourself.” Vroomvroombleepbop really wanted that limeade.

            Now realizing that bars could legally admit him due to his rather old age, Vroomvroombleepbop decided to hydrate himself at his local pub, Bottles: You Can Drink Here. The damp aura of the shack disturbed Vroomvroombleepbop, but he overcame his struggles thinking that he could finally get some limeade. So, Vroomvroombleepbop walked up to the bartender and said “Can I have some limeade?”

            The bartender said, “Sorry, we don’t serve your kind here.”

            And the vacuum cleaner responded, “This sucks.”

            The bartender added, “Even if I gave you limeade, you would electrocute yourself.”

            Vroomvroombleepbop replied, “This blows.” He was kicked out of pub. He gawked at the Bottles: You Can Drink Here sign and re-entered the bar. To gain more maneuverability, Vroomvroombleepbop detached his dust sack. Plop. Little Jonny Boy Junior Jr., free, unzipped the bag of dust and ambled towards his new owner. Vroomvroombleepbop marched around the bar and fought everyone in passing. After defeating three civilians, Vroomvroombleepbop pumped out massive quantities of air, creating a state of deliria within the pub. The bartender proceeded to call 911. As the dust was raging, Little Jonny Boy Junior Jr., high off of the fumes from his confinement inside the vacuum, entered the bar. He was in the command of Vroomvroombleepbop now. The psycho MACHINE preferred decapitation to any other method of killing. Through Little Jonny Boy Junior Jr., Vroomvroombleepbop hit heads to the ground like novice tennis serves. A patron opened the vacuum’s chamber bag to try to hide inside of it. His unzipping was successful. Trr.

            Vroomvroombleepbop collected his belongings and drove out the back door. The patron chose to leave through the front door without second thought. The patron’s life resumed its normal course. The heavyset vacuum, followed by his DELIRIOUS INFERIOR, however, ambled down Main Street to return to his birthplace, Duh Sto. He didn’t remember his life before he was boxed, but his memories of Duh Sto were vivid:

            He was product number 6148 located in the Appliances Department, subsection D, aisle 4, shelf 2, near the escalator. John Doe was the attendant of Vroomvroombleepbop’s zone. He was a blue polo, red khaki in a realm of blue polos, red khakis. Shopping carts filled with mangoes and diapers and canoes and babies strolled by on an hourly basis. The constant questions about the locations of various products easily annoyed Vroomvroombleepbop. He became familiar with John Doe’s script: “Hi, what can I help you with today? ... Hardware is next to the produce on the bottom floor ... Bathrooms are downstairs to the right next to the somewhat-large fruit aisle ... Appliances are the only item on this floor sir/ma’am.” Appliances are special.

            Vroomvroombleepbop saw Little Jonny Boy Junior Sr. strut up the escalator one warm autumn afternoon through the mirror. As Little Jonny Boy Junior Sr. cleared the escalator, a baby stroller revealed itself. Little Jonny Boy Junior Sr. sauntered down the universe of Duh Sto’s Appliances Department, subsection D, oblivious to his abandoned child. He passed by aisle 4 multiple times until John Doe finally came to Little Jonny Boy Junior Sr.’s rescue and directed him through aisle 4 towards his destination. Chainsaws, power washers, blenders, vacuum cleaners.

            The automatic doors of Duh Sto let anything inside the warehouse. An elderly pigeon, abandoning his defecation, erred through the parking lot, puffing with poorly parked pickups. Spotting the giant washing machine statue on the floor above him through the glass staircase, the pigeon realized that his destiny was to poop on the magnificent display. He scanned his surroundings and concluded that the escalator was the easiest way to his throne. The numerous John Does scurrying to their niches proved not to be obstacles for the lumpy pigeon. Little Jonny Boy Junior Jr.’s carriage remained atop the escalator allowing the pigeon a spot to rest. Suddenly, a John Doe exited the escalator, pushing the carriage to his aisle: brooms and dusters and mops. The frightened coot darted away from Little Jonny Boy Junior Jr. and landed on his target. He tried to release himself from the traps that were set up to catch a stray fowl but solemnly failed. He died. His round corpse fell off of the display and plumped on the ground. A John Doe ran to save the bird, but a big man came out of a dark room to the left and dragged John Doe away and replaced him with another blue polo, red khaki. Seizing the opportunity during this commotion, Little Jonny Boy Junior Sr. grabbed Vroomvroombleepbop from shelf 2 and rushed through random aisles to find a way downstairs. He found Little Jonny Boy Junior Jr. at the end of and added his son back into his collection of luggage. The automatic door let them escape with Vroomvroombleepbop, free.

            Recognizing that plenty of fellow brethren dwelled in Duh Sto, Vroomvroombleepbop set out to awaken them all to aid him in his quest for limeade. Vroomvroombleepbop could suck anything up when he turned his ‘fan power’ to ‘max.’ He turned his ‘fan power’ to ‘max.’ This suction allowed Vroomvroombleepbop to defy gravity and stick to walls. Traversing the cold, wooden exterior of Duh Sto, Vroomvroombleepbop watched the people with their shopping carts, filled with mangoes and diapers and canoes and babies, as they turned minuscule. The top of Duh Sto was plain. A metal vent exhaled exhaust that created dark clouds over Duh Sto and Duh Sto’s parking lot. Vroomvroombleepbop filled his chamber with this pollution and shot it out of him onto the roof of Duh Sto. After repeating this process multiple times, a hole was created through which Vroomvroombleepbop could enter the store. He plugged in his extension cord into an outlet of the roof and lowered himself down into the seemingly deserted storage room. While hanging midway to the floor, a gigantic television caught his attention, not because of the terrific plasma display, but rather because Little Jonny Boy Junior Jr., no longer hypnotized, occupied the screen. The boy was doing an interview on live, national television. Vroomvroombleepbop was too late to hear Little Jonny Boy Junior Jr.’s testament, but he heard the news reporter’s recap:

            While hanging midway to the floor, a gigantic television caught his attention, not because of the terrific plasma display, but rather because Little Jonny Boy Junior Jr., no longer hypnotized, occupied the screen. The boy was doing an interview on live, national television. Vroomvroombleepbop was too late to hear Little Jonny Boy Junior Jr.’s testament, but he heard the news reporter’s recap:

            “So there you have it, folks. A vacuum cleaner who wants limeade. So what’s the next step for America? Do we give him the limeade with the threat of explosion? Or do we conceal the drink from him even though his curiosity would run even wilder? What a tragedy. Back to you M—”

            The big man from the door to the left shut off the television and dispersed the herd of John Does back to their work. Vroomvroombleepbop, worried that he would be spotted, expelled all of the dust he accumulated from the day’s travels. Huhh. He elevated himself by coiling the extension cord. Aware of the height of Duh Sto, Vroomvroombleepbop devised a plan to jump off of the building safely: Duh Sto’s awning.

            Instantly after the news report concerning Vroomvroombleepbop, two campaigns sprang out of thin air. The first was the Pro-Drink Party that advocated for giving Vroomvroombleepbop limeade because, “it is every living thing’s right to have access to fundamental desires.” The opposing, subsequent party, the Pro-Vacuum Party, preached for Vroomvroombleepbop not to have limeade for, “death is not acceptable in any circumstance.” The parties brawled at every street corner and held nationally televised debates. Envisioning high profits, Duh Sto began to sell Pro-Drink and Pro-Vacuum propaganda. An altercation brewed at Duh Sto one day, and a Pro-Drinker sprinted to the Liquid Department and purchased some limeade. He then hurried to the Appliances Department, subsection D, aisle 4 and unboxed a vacuum cleaner. Angrily, he poured the acid all over the machine. A fire roared immediately. Nothing could quench the fire. The realm of blue polos, red khakis turned into the realm of gray buttons, bronze zippers.

            The metal exhaust vent atop of Duh Sto emitted smoke that Vroomvroombleepbop analyzed. Vroomvroombleepbop began to pray to Sweep, the divine street cleaner, for salvation. His prayers were unanswered, and the roof of Duh Sto began to burn and deteriorate. The plank Vroomvroombleepbop rested on started to collapse like a pendulum. The haste overwhelmed Vroomvroombleepbop’s attachment efforts, the extension cord, at about twenty feet off of the ground. He fell with no control. Contact was safe though; he landed in the mattress department. Alive and on the ground, Vroomvroombleepbop congregated some dust and sealed himself tight. Mwar.

            John Doe called the fire department to extinguish the fire, and the fire department issued the police to quell the riots and the police alerted the media when they saw Vroomvroombleepbop and the media attracted the government to decide what to do about Vroomvroombleepbop and the government ordered the army to handle the issue. Jets came. The sound of their turbines dissembled various parts of Vroomvroombleepbop. He managed to reassemble himself before the public noticed him. Ping. The public took their melee into the parking lot due to the annoying heat that radiated off of the ashes of Duh Sto. The leaders of the Pro-Drink and Pro-Vacuum party scampered to the arena and began to debate the fate of Vroomvroombleepbop. The news cameras swiftly took the spotlight off of the silent vacuum and directed their lenses onto the debaters. Rioters dashed back towards the newly established podiums, which included burnt parts of Duh Sto, and most of them shoved Vroomvroombleepbop in passing without an apology. A news helicopter captured a bird’s eye view of the scene: a group of supporters on one end of the remains of Duh Sto, one group on the other end, some news trucks dispersed irregularly, and a lone vacuum off to the side.

            The army began to intervene, which included the jets firing at disruptive protesters. A newly painted limeade truck pulled into the parking lot but it remained as isolated as Vroomvroombleepbop. A girl with her grandmother purchased some limeade and, after tasting the horrid beverage, threw it out at the trashcan down the block. A body appeared next to the limeade truck and also bought some limeade. Little Jonny Boy Junior Jr. retreated from the truck with said limeade and proceeded to move towards Vroomvroombleepbop. As the fire department quenched the harsh flame, as the police failed to calm the civilians, as the parties argued endlessly, as the news station broadcasted the debate, as the army shot foolish supporters, Little Jonny Boy Junior Jr. put down the limeade before Vroomvroombleepbop.

            His seldom visited gravestone reads:

            “Here Lies A Vacuum Cleaner Who Wanted Some Limeade