"Ugh! This tastes like shit!" Gumal swore in disgust. "This ain't the same thing as what you brought back from ancient Englarsh, or whatever the name of that damned place was". He took a toke off the stratodoober to clear the nasty taste out of his mouth and, more to the point, forget he'd ever tasted it.
"Huh?" Rority replied, "It isn't. This is a different brand. It's Moosehead. It's from Carnudia, Carnovore, Cannalida, something like that. I forgot what they called the place. I haven't tried it. Here, I'll trade you. This one's from Germie Man." he took a sip of the Moosehead. "Ugh! Gimme that stratodoober!"
"I have trouble reading these protohuman scribblings, what is it?"
"Heiny kin. Hey, I got a great idea. Nanobutt, come here."
"Yes, sir?" the robot (constructed from billions of nobots, of course) replied.
"I want an Irish pub. No, wait -- not a real pub, something better. That place we were at that time in Springfield when we stopped for beer after killing Lincoln, only it was a couple hundred years later. Dancies? Dracies'?"
"D'Arcy's Pint, sir?" the robot inquired respectfully. "Rather primitive, isn't it, sir?"
"Well, of course. That's the whole point. But you want primitive, go back only a hundred thousand years from then."
"That's not in my data banks, sir, but I could interface." The robot "thought" for a second, then replied "which D'Arcy's, sir?"
Gumal interrupted. "This tastes almost as bad as the Moosehead. Where'd you get this gawdoffal swill?"
"Three trips ago, maybe last year."
Gumal had been researching the ancient; no, far more than ancient, since the art of beermaking had died out millions of years before. Rority had tried his hand at making his own and failed miserably, even though he was as advanced intelligencewise than a protohuman was more advanced than a Ardipithecus. It would be twice that, if humans hadn't stopped evolving five million years earlier. It kind of galled him that a barely sentient animal could out think him in basic chemistry, especially since chemistry as such no longer existed; it was pure physics now.
Maybe that was the problem, Gumal thought.
"Well, there's your answer, Gumal pontificated. "It got 'skunky'."
"What? What's 'skunky' mean"?
"You know that one animal, the black one with the white stripe down its back? Well, before we reconstituted all the extinct species and made the dangerous ones harmless and limited their breeding abilities, this particular one defended itself with a nasty stench from a gland under its tail. The protohumans said that beer got 'skunky', meaning bad tasting and bad smelling."
"Shit. Then all my beer's bad?"
"How old is it?"
"Ten million years, protobrain!"
Gumal laughed. "No, I mean how long since you brought it to the present?"
"The newest is a couple of months old."
"Did you keep it cold?" asked Guimal
"Only the Ameran Corn stuff," Rority explained. "They drank it cold, everybody else drank theirs at room temperature."
"Ok", said Gumal, "What kind of Ameriwhatever beer do you have."
"Well, there's Bush, Bud..."
"They named the beer plants' names?" Gumal interrupted. "Makes sense, since they made it out of barley and hops and other grains. But the grains didn't come from bush buds, they came from grasses."
"Who knows why a protohuman would name their stuff the silly names they gave it? Anyway, there's Cores, and Milner, and San Paulie, and Carumba, and dufus' exes... hey, I bet they named that one after the dumb brewmaster's wifes!" He thought a second. No, those two were only refrigerated in the northern part of the Hundred States; it was before the continent became one country."
"Are you sure?"
"No", Rority replied, "I didn't do any extensive research or anything. Hey, robot, how's that pub coming?"
"You never did say which one, sir."
"Oh... there was more than one? The one I was in."
"That would be the one they built after they lost their lease in the strip mall," the robot replied.
"The what?" Gumal asked. "They took their clothes off and mauled each other?"
"No, sir," the robot answered. 'Mall' was an alley if I'm not mistaken..." (like it ever would be) "...and it was laid out in a strip. Strip mall."
Rority said "Oh, hell, just make the whole damned town. How many people were in it?"
"A little over a hundred thousand, sir."
"Well, you don't have to recreate the whole town. Just the pub and a half mileometer in eather direction, and enough people to make it convincing."
Gumal took a sip of his Budweiser and made a face. "Almost drinkable. Better than a gargleblaster. Hey, what did they use to smoke hemp buds from?"
Rority said "well, there were a few ways. There were pipes, bongs, hitters, doobies..."
"Is that anything like a stratodoober?"
"No, it was just a thin piece of paper with the plant material rolled up in it. Here, hey robot, roll Giumal a joint."
"Yes, sir." The robot rolled a joint, lit it, and handed it to Gumal. "Hmmm..." he said, "not too bad. Nowhere near as good as a stratodoober, but it will do."
"Your program is ready, sirs. Here's a doorway." The robot promptly dissolved, and what would have looked like an outhouse to your great great grandfather stood in his place. Rority said "Hey, I wonder if Rula would want to come? She loves eating almost as much as she likes stratodoobing."
"Dunno, hey Rula!" Rula's shape assembled itself out of nobots. "Yeah, guys, what's up?"
"Want to come to an old Amerin corn recreation of an Irish pub?" Rority asked.
"No, thanks, I'm learning to dance. You know, Rority, your fascination with the protohumans is catching on."
"What's 'dance'," Gumal asked.
"I'll show you some time. Gotta go, though." She (or rather, her image) dissolved. Gumal and Rority went into the "outhouse", which was the interior of a very large room inside.
"How many, sir?" the nobotic simulation of a hostess asked, apparently unaware that Rority and Gumal looked less like protohumans than bonobos did.
"There's a two hour wait..."
"Pause nobots" Rority said. "No waiting. Make it not so busy. Continue."
"Right his way," the nobotic hostess said.
When the drinks came (too bad it isn't real Guiness, Rority thought), he asked the "waitress" if it was ok to smoke; he'd seen that there was some sort of law against smoking indoors. Not unreasonable, considering the primitive pre-medicine protohuman society.
"No sir, but you can smoke outside on the patio." The two went outside and sat at a table next to a table with armed man in black with a shiny metal thing on his chest. Rority lit the perfectly, machine-rolled joint he nobot had made for him earlier.
"What the... Hey, you two! You're under arrest!"
"What? PAUSE! End simulation! Son of a BITCH!" Gumal said. "Now you see why I hate those trips. Goddamned primitive!"
"Not as bad as the real thing was," Rority replied. "I wonder why he was going to arrest us?"
"Who knows? Any way, give me that stratodoober!" Gumal said as the pub and its contents dissolved around them. Rula was sitting on a recliner, sipping a gargleblaster.
"That 'dancing' stuff is exhausting", she said. "I don't know how those protohumans could live like that."