It’s been a bad day.
As you walk back to your dorm room along the drizzle-sodden pathways, past the grim, grey halls of residence you finger the object in your coat pocket. Old faithful – always there.
Staggering up the stairs, you pull the comforting metal keychain out and grasp it in your right hand like a talisman. Not far now.
The first key, large and gold-coloured unlocks the outer door and your room is revealed in all its student glory.
But not your sanctuary. That is for the second key – keen and silver.
You walk to the wardrobe and slide the silver into the lock. It responds.
The door opens and in you step, into the huge, cavernous space with its central console and the familiar roundels on the walls. Wardrobe no more. Student no more.
The machine responds to your thoughts and plots a course for somewhere or other – anywhere but here.
A wheezing, grating noise fills the room and the wardrobe fades from sight, taking you with it.
Inside the machine, the robot butler is making the tea. And the old gramophone you took from a pawn shop in 1968 is playing What a Wonderful World.