I had always wanted a Want Machine. I had heard it could fulfil desires, complete dreams. All you had to do was plug it in, adjust the dials just so, and press the button. I had saved up for months, working extra shifts at the diner, selling my old clothes and books, and skipping meals. I had finally scraped enough money to buy a Want Machine and I was so excited when the package arrived, I tore it open and plugged it in right away.

Oh, wonderous day! The Want Machine gleamed like a gun. It commanded the room, instantly dwarfing the big tv screen that had held my attention so previously. It twinkled in the daylight and scared the cats. I think it even killed my mom’s prized roses, but I have no proof. If anything, it certainly wanted. It wanted and so did I. I plugged it in, and the hum filled me. It filled everything. Everything that was missing or trying to be missed was full of the hum. It was so exciting, and I had yet to press the button.

I closed my eyes. What did I want? Really? I wanted to be happy. I wanted to be loved. I wanted… But I forgot what that even meant. Did it even matter? Of course. That’s when I took a deep breath, and I pressed the button… I felt a surge of electricity run through my body. I gasped and opened my eyes. Everything had changed. Disappointment, anger, emptiness all replaced with contentment. Everything would be ok now, I thought.

That’s when the real sounds began. Terrible, awful, dreadful sounds. A rhythmic gurgling, a metallic clang accompanied by an atonal moaning that I realized was coming from me. Is this what I wanted? The Want Machine groaned.