Audrey filled out the online form. As she tabbed the cursor into each field, small objects popped out of her display screen.
"I like it," she said to Daniel. "I know you're good with Django and Vue forms, but this is like nothing I've seen before."
"I've been experimenting with some new form techniques," Daniel said. "Keep going. There are some even better surprises embedded in there."
Audrey tabbed over to the next section, which was labeled Appetizers and had the following radio button options:
- Crab cake
- French fries
- Dates stuffed with goat cheese
When "Crab cake" was selected, a crab cake popped out of her screen. It was so realistic that she tried to reach for it. Unexpectedly she discovered it was a real, solid crab cake.
"What do you think?" Daniel said.
"You made real food come out of the form?" Audrey said.
"It's using my new form validation library," Daniel said. "You have to actually try each option before you can select one."
"That's genius," Audrey said. She pulled the mini crab cake out of her screen. "Here, you love crab cakes," she said, feeding it to Daniel.
Daniel munched away. "I ate so many of these while I was testing the form. I think I got the taste parameters down. They're just how I remember them in Maryland."
Audrey tabbed over to "French fries" and three hot crispy fries popped out of her screen. She ate them. "Well done," she said.
Then she tabbed over to "Dates stuffed with goat cheese" and tried one. It was as sour as a lemon. "Something's off about this one," she said.
"Sweet-tasting things don't really work with the form yet," Daniel said.
"That's okay, I'm sure you'll figure that out soon," Audrey said.
The next section was titled "Animals" and was full of checkboxes. "You mean I get to select more than one here?" Audrey said.
"As many as you want, sweetie pie," Daniel said.
Audrey checked off the "Cow" box. Her laptop began to emit the sound of a dog barking. "That can't be right," Audrey said.
"Give it a moment," Daniel said.
Nothing happened. "Why don't we try it again outside?" Daniel said. "It might just be too cramped inside this room." He closed Audrey's laptop, which stopped the barking, and he picked it up. "Let's go," he said, heading out the back door.
Audrey followed. Daniel reopened her laptop on the patio table. It began to bark again. This time the barking noises sounded fake, like a human saying "Woof woof."
"Something's not working," Daniel said. "Let's give it another moment."
A cow appeared on Audrey's screen, spanning its full width. "Here it goes," Daniel said. The cow barked and popped out of the display.
"A barking cow!" Audrey said. "She's so cute!" She petted the tiny cow's back.
"Take her in your hands," Daniel said.
Audrey collected the cow from the screen. The cow grew in her hands until it was too large to hold comfortably. Audrey lowered the animal onto the ground.
"She was supposed to grow to the size of a dog, not bark like a dog," Daniel said. "I must have set the wrong parameter."
"I like her the way she is," Audrey said. The cow had grown larger than a dog and was now eating grass. "Let's call her Petunia. I've always wanted a cow."
Petunia barked at a squirrel, sending it up a tree. She turned her head to see if anyone was looking, then hung her head down when she realized she had been caught.
"Bad Petunia," Daniel said. "Leave the squirrels alone."
Daniel turned to Audrey. "We won't be able to keep her long," he said. "Objects from the form last only as long as the form's loaded in your browser. The moment you close it or go to another page, Petunia will vanish into thin air."
"What about those french fries and the date I ate?" Audrey asked. "Am I going to be okay?"
"I'm not sure," Daniel said. "I didn't really think about that. You'll probably just be hungry when you close the form, as if you didn't eat anything."
"This could be the perfect diet food," Audrey said. "Food that you can enjoy, but that vanishes from your stomach after consumption."
Petunia was digging a hole in the yard with her hooves. "Petunia! Come over here!" Audrey said.
Intensely focused on expanding the hole, she continued to dig. Daniel grabbed the laptop and closed the browser window. In an instant, Petunia disappeared. But the hole was still there.