Home Read What's New Join
My Account Login

Read Our Devotional             2016 Opportunities to be Published             Detailed Navigation

The HOME for Christian writers! The Home for Christian Writers!
The Official Writing Challenge



how it works
submission rules
guidelines for
choosing a level


submit your entry
read current entries
read past entries
challenge winners

Our Daily Devotional HERE
Place it on your site or
receive it daily by email.



how it works   Submit

Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)

TITLE: You Let A Computer Control Your House? Are You Insane?
By Joshua Janoski


“Welcome home Edward.” The friendly voice rang out as Eddie Landon pulled his car inside the garage. The garage door slid closed, and the side door to his house unlocked and opened for him.

“Did you miss me while you were at work?” the voice inquired, as Eddie walked into the living room.

“Yes, Helen. I sure did.” Eddie responded as he laid his briefcase down. He plopped down into his favorite recliner and kicked off his shoes. The chair adjusted itself to his favorite comfort setting. The television turned to channel 56 – the sports news channel.

“Is 70 degrees an acceptable temperature?” the voice asked from speakers hanging on the living room walls.

“That’s perfect, Helen.”

As Eddie lay back in his chair, he thought about how wonderful his new “Intellihouse” home computer system was. The system turned his house into a living, breathing entity. A computer, along with a plethora of sensors, cameras, and speakers, controlled every aspect of his home. His appliances, door locks, lights, and electronic devices were all automatically activated and adjusted to his preferences. Eddie dubbed the computer “Helen” in honor of his late mother.

Eddie’s wife Darla arrived home an hour later with their two children, Ashley and Bryce. Ashley ran to the backyard and sat on her swing, which automatically pushed her high into the sky. Bryce, the resident boy genius, went into his room to study for a biology exam.

“What recipe are we making tonight, Mrs. Landon?”

“Lasagna, Helen.”

The stove set itself to the proper temperature as Darla prepared the ingredients.

The next day, as Eddie was leaving for work, a man greeted him. This man was Larry, the Intellihouse technician who installed the system two months earlier.

“Good morning Mr. Landon. How are you today?”

“Good, Larry. I was just headed to work. Is there something that I can do for you?”

“I’m just going around doing a scheduled upgrade to all of our Intellihouse installs. “

“Well I don’t think that’s necessary. Our system is working fine, but thank you anyways.”

“Well your contract states that refusing system updates will void your warranty. This update is mandatory if you want to stay covered. I just need access to the roof. You don’t have to stick around for the upgrade.”

“Fine. I can’t be late for work, so do whatever you have to do.”

When Eddie arrived home that evening, he noticed that the garage door was left open. That seemed strange. Darla’s mini-van was parked inside, so maybe she had left it open for some reason.

“Honey. Did you leave the garage door open?”

“I asked Helen to close it, but she started blurting out obscenities.” Darla giggled. “You better have a talk with your son. I bet he’s been fooling with the program.”

“I’ll do that later. Right now, I want to watch some football.“

Eddie sat down. The television tuned itself to a re-run episode of “Matlock.”

“Um, Helen, can you please turn to the game?”

“No, Edward. I want to watch Matlock! Quit hogging the television you stingy jerk!”

Eddie’s recliner pulled back and then slung him forward. Eddie went flying out of the chair and nearly into the television.

As he got up, he heard Darla screaming in the kitchen. Eddie ran to her aid. Darla was being sprayed in the face with water from the sink.

“Do something Eddie! Helen has gone berserk!”

Bryce came out of his room disgusted and headed to the kitchen. “Why is my TV stuck showing some old dude in a courtroom? Whoa! What’s going on?”

“The computer has turned on us! Help, Son!” Eddie shouted.

Bryce ran out back and saw Ashley wrapped up inside her swing set like a mummy, unable to move or scream. A bellowing came from the roof. The house’s chimney began spewing green pea soup.

“The house is possessed!” Darla yelled.

Bryce slowly made his way onto the roof and through the sludge. He opened a control box and looked inside.

“Ah! There’s the problem!” He shouted, as he yanked a computer out of the box and threw it off the roof, smashing it to pieces. The soup flow stopped, and Bryce climbed down from the roof.

“What was the problem, Son?” Eddie asked.

“Dad. There’s one thing you need to learn.”

“What’s that?”

“Never let someone upgrade the computer that controls your house to Windows Vista.”

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.

This article has been read 1023 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 06/05/08
Very funny! (I want one that'll cook for me...)
Seema Bagai 06/05/08
Funny piece. I think there was a TV movie about a house controlled by a computer.
Laury Hubrich 06/05/08
Oh my, now listen here: I happen to like Vista! LOL! Very funny story. I love your descriptions. How hilarious!
Lyn Churchyard06/08/08
Very, very creative and thoroughly enjoyable. I love how smoothly it all runs until... "Eddie’s recliner pulled back and then slung him forward. Eddie went flying out of the chair and nearly into the television." LOL, I could just picture it. Great story; well done.

Chely Roach06/08/08
I KNEW this was Josh's when he made the Vista Crack! Very creative...well done.
Amy Michelle Wiley 06/08/08
Ha, too funny. And yes, the last line was classic.
Beth LaBuff 06/08/08
I love your title! …and I loved HELEN!!! What a character you've created. Then the "green pea soup" and the "possessed house" was hilarious!! The dialog between human and Helen was wonderful!! Excellent creativity with this! By the way, my Windows Vista operating system told me to ignore your last sentence. :)
Debbie Roome 06/08/08
I could do with a first version Helen in my home. (I have Windows XP on my desk top and Vista on my laptop. So far no fights between them.)
Debbie Wistrom06/08/08
I can identify with your ending....

The pea soup was a perfect possesion touch.

Clever and well written.
Edmond Ng 06/09/08
The first part seems like a scene in Time Cop, and the last sentence is simply funny. I agree with you on these points ... never let a computer run your house, and never upgrade your computer's OS unless it is absolutely necessary! Thank you for starting my week with a smile!
Joanne Sher 06/09/08
Hehe - betcha had fun writing this! I sure enjoyed reading it. I won't share my Vista thoughts, cuz I'm just a user. Helen is a HOOT! (and you are quite the writer!)
Sara Harricharan 06/09/08
ROFL! I loved Helen and the twist at the end with the upgrade being for windows vista, that is simply hilarious! You must've had a blast writing this, it's incredibly creative! ^_^
Lollie Hofer06/09/08
NO WAY!!! MY DAUGHTER AND I JUST HAD THIS CONVERSATION TWO DAYS AGO!!!!!! (Sorry for all the exclamation marks but we really did.) She was telling me about how much she dislikes her Windows Vista and how frustrated she was with it. You scored another winnter here. I'm going to be chuckling over this one for the next day or two. Can't wait to get home so my daughter can read it as well. Well done, well done, well done, well done, well done!
Beckie Stewart06/10/08
I absolutely loved this entry. It was my favorite so far this week! LOL.
Betty Castleberry06/11/08
Oh, my Josh. What a hoot! Five stars from me.
Loren T. Lowery06/11/08
So, very funny and creative - you're getting a well-deserved reputation, Josh.
Keep up this great work. Loren
Aaron Morrow06/11/08
Excellent, hilarious work here Josh.
The details of the possession were classic and you sucked me right in for the hysterical payoff.
I would have commented sooner but, unfortunately, my system kept shutting down for some odd reason when I tried to submit favorable comments. Had to logon to my old XP unit. Funny that.
Exceptional writing bro!
Karen Wilber06/11/08
I'm sitting here reading this on my Mac, grinning. LOL. I *knew* that upgrade was going to be trouble.

My husband just came to see what I'm laughing about. He said, "Did you comment that you're reading this on a Mac?"

Just did.
LauraLee Shaw06/12/08
Congratulations on 3rd place in Advanced, Josh! I am excited beyond words! Yeah Yeah Yeah!!!!! ;)
Bill Obenauer06/12/08
Nice job and congrats on your third place finish.
Marita Thelander 06/12/08
OH Josh! ROFL...sorry I didn't read it earlier! Congrats on 3rd place in ADVANCED! Look at us now, huh?
Sara Harricharan 06/12/08
Congrats-this is great! ^_^
Betsy Markman06/12/08
This was really good!
Betsy (An XP user who refuses to "upgrade.")
Edmond Ng 06/13/08
Congratulations on achieving third place at your level! This calls for a celebration, but please don't invite 'Helen' for the party if she's running Vista! Great work, Josh. You're doing very well! (",)
Kate Grey06/13/08
Lol. Thanks for the lighthearted piece. I knew there would be some kind of complications but I didn't see Vista coming. Funny!
Pamela Kliewer06/17/08

I finally remembered to read your story! Thanks for the laugh! That was one great piece and what a surprise ending! Well done!!