Periodical Installment 2
Kim 12 was ready to move because there was nothing to take. The girls of “TenLawn” owned nothing, not even themselves. They could pretend ownership over their choice, but their bodies belonged to everyone in the year 2222 whether they chose “Sexer”, “Breeder” or “Host”. Everything they needed in the “TenLawn” came with their room and stayed there after they left. The vibrobrush system attached to the wall cleaned everything: teeth, hair, catheter portals, the floor, their clothes. The girls wore identical silver body hugging suits with long arms, gloves and shoe booties. Only their face was exposed. It was best to cover as much skin as possible to avoid the rogue alien colonies who couldn't afford the host program and would burrow their way into bodies through exposed skin or the roots of hair. It wasn't hard to stay thin, you wouldn't want to eat more brown goo, but they had to. Folds of skin were easy targets for infestation. Those tiny alien creeps were too poor to pay the system for a real host, and if you became an accidental host, you wouldn't know until you made the choice, and by then it was too late. You couldn't be a two things at once, and if already infected with a colony, you'd never have the chance to get a tap. You'd have to stay in the "TenLawn" forever. It was unthinkable. Girls had to be careful before they made the choice; not only were they were vulnerable to alien takeover, even worse, they could be forced into being a “Sexer” without having their chip implanted and uterus removed. Jane 6 knew those girls were worse than dead. Choosing to be a “Sexer” meant unrestricted water and the chip that made you like being penetrated. Being a “Sexer” without a chip was an impossibly scary thought.
Kim 12 opened the door with a wide smile and hugged Jane 6 who was trying not to let tears form. Tears were an abominable waste of water, unless you had someone to lick their salty wet gifts off your cheek. She'd heard tales of clients who loved lacrimation from their “Sexers”, but it was hard to make a “Sexer” cry once they'd had their cortex blown. Kim 12 was openly letting those precious gems fall. Jane 6 studied her face, horrified, then lifted the gorgeous beads of wetness with her finger to her tongue, “But Kimmy 12, how? How are you...? You made the choice last week.”
“Yes Janey 6. I did. I'm a 'Sexer' now. I'm moving up to the 'MissShawn' to start my new life. Bigger and better than this dumb box. Red's not my favorite color, but I'll get used to it.”
“I'm going to miss you.” Jane 6 let a diamond bead escape. It shined in the glow of harsh reflected light. None of the “TenLawn” girls had ever seen the sun because they'd never been outside the high rise.
“Come with me!” Kim 12 pulled Jane 6 inside her room.
Jane 6 sighed, “You know I can't be one of you. We've talked over and over about the choice. I can't let them take me. I am all I have, but you're still you. How are you still Kim 12?”
Kim 12 went to make the “Sexer” change last week. She took the special red elevator to the 400th, confidentially strode into Ken 54's surgical studio, laid on the table like the training stream, but had no intention of letting Ken 54 do his job. The Kens on the 400th of “TenLawn” were expert surgeons, if you could call it that. The rotary machine that descended from the ceiling had two robot arms, one reached between your legs and whirled that bloody pear shaped uterus out with a simple twist and snap, while the smaller flexible screw burrowed through your ear to the precious cortex, drilling a hole similar to the lobotomies of 250 years ago. Those years were barbaric to women, but in 2222 the kind doctor Kens replaced the cortex with a chip that made you docile, supple, and willing to perform any number of pervert fervors with glee. Kim 12 wasn't about to lose Kim 12 to Ken 54's machinations.
Ken 54 read his chart and barely glanced up to meet her eyes, “Kim 12, you've made a great choice to be a “Sexer”. Don't be afraid of the machine. None of this will hurt, in fact, nothing will ever hurt you again. We're going to start with a drip in you anal catheter. You'll fall right to sleep and when you wake up, all this will be...” Ken 54 couldn't finish his sentence with the robot arm grabbing, twisting and pulling his testicles from his body. It sounded like the rubber snaps on Kim 12's jumpsuit. His screams went unheard from behind the locked surgical studio's heavy door. There was often screaming when girls made this choice; some Kens thought keeping the girls awake during the procedure was funny because they never remembered it once the chip was in. Kim 12 hovered over his limply writhing body and put the flexible screw to his ear. The machine whirled and removed Ken 54 from Ken 54. Kim 12 stuffed his drooling bleeding body into the surgical waste bin on top of countless uterus and tissue. They used that matter for something, probably the brown goo the girls in the “TenLawn” ate. No one would miss Ken 54, not even Ken 54, and Kim 12 walked away the first “Sexer” without a chip.
Incredulity washed Jane 6's face pale. She'd never heard of a Kim or a Jane or a Cindy of any number not making the choice, or making the choice in a different way. Kim 12 was moving to the “MissShawn”. She'd have a bigger room with more comfortable bed. She'd have breathing apparatus to go outside. Kim 12 would have an unrestricted tap and food that wasn't goo, but she'd have to have sex, something none of the girls had ever done before, and none had done without a chip to like to do it.
“Jane 6. Come with me.” Kim 12 softy reached for Jane 6's gloved hand. “You don't have to make the choice. I can show you a better way.”
“Kim 12, I came here to tell you that I have made my choice. I'm going to be a host.”
Pam Benjamin is the director of Mutiny Radio. She has an MA in Fiction and an MFA in Poetry from SFSU because she likes fancy framed pieces of paper on her kitchen walls. Pam likes to do stand up comedy because it is poetry that people actually listen to, and she does an excessive number of weekly podcasts: