Hot Cheetos and Pickles by
(28 Stories)

Prompted By Aging

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On TikTok I saw this recipe

and now understand

why my favorite hot dog truck

is putting Cheetos on all his dogs

AI and I’m outta here


I watched a special last night

explaining how in the near future

AI will read our minds

How we won’t be able to disguise

what we really feel

or what we truly believe


When I think of aging

A calmness washes over me

A stillness that pervades

through high blood pressure

a rocketing peacefulness

that massages my heart muscles

with enhanced air pockets

and ample breathing room


I’m ready now

I can easily move on to another plain

leaving the red smeared pickles

to this digital race of newcomers –


Especially the trolls

who creep up and down social media

with their invisible bravado

laying waste to all things Godly and whole


Until  the day will surely come

when their quantum selves

will meet that frankenstein of their tech dreams

in the great AI reckoning


Profile photo of Patricia Valese pattyv

Characterizations: funny, moving, well written


  1. Patty, intrigued by cheeto hotdogs I googled the recipe and must admit it’s not appealing!
    But not as unappealing as the “frankenstein of their tech dreams … the great AI reckoning”..

    Let’s write on and fight it together!

  2. Laurie Levy says:

    I love how you used the prompt to write about things that also plague me. Social media, AI, trolls — I can do without those, thank you. Never wrote a tweet and I’m pretty proud of that.

    • pattyv says:

      Laurie, I’m glad I covered this modern world’s annoying new trends for you. In doing so I most definitely avoided the real trauma of getting old. I’m 73 and so many friends are experiencing age-related calamities. Each day I wake up and wonder if I’m next, then I meditate and thank God for this day.

  3. Khati Hendry says:

    It does feel like we are the fortunate ones who lived a simpler life and don’t need to engage with technology to be complete. (As an aside, your story of the Cheeto dogs reminded me of “tacos in a bag” my aunt had in Iowa—rip open a bag of Doritos and dump in ground beef, shredded lettuce and cheese.). Also the last generation to know what “normal” weather was. I feel sorry for those who follow and also feel some obligation to do what is possible while we are still here.

  4. Betsy Pfau says:

    We do harken back to better times, don’t we Patty. The trolls of social media are horrid. Not sure where AI will take us (my older child works in the field and tells me that all will be well; not to fear it, but he does not work with ChatGPT, or the likes). Things did seem simpler when we younger, but I think you’ve got the right idea to be thankful for each day.

  5. Dave Ventre says:

    I have read a LOT of science fiction, and AI seldom ends well for homo sapiens. As for Cheeto dogs, I refuse to eat a hot dog that will puncture my cheeks.

    Wait, that’s Doritos….

    Never mind.

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