Periodical Installment 6
Trams left every 30 seconds from the "TenLawn" to any of the 11 districts in NewSF 2222, and the most heavily populated cars were going to the "MissShawn". It was always free for Kims, Janes and Cindys to ride into and out of the "MissShawn" as long as they were returning and departing from the "TenLawn". Anyone else paid 200 bitblocks for the privilege of breathable transport to and from any district. Jane 6 hadn't ever touched a bitblock and received her first deposit upon implantation of the Utiiud. Her account now held 1000 bitblocks, more than she could imagine. Enough to get her from her new place in "DieManHeights" to Kim 12's a few times once she moved in. She'd never been on breathable transport outside the "TenLawn", so she'd never seen anyone except other Janes, Cindys, Kims, Brocks and Kens. Jane 6 had heard of Michaels, Brians, Jennifers, Jonathans, Katys and even Jeremys, but had never seen or met them.
Jane 6 was on her way to the "MissShawn", exclusively "Sexers" territory; it also held permits for every drop of alcohol created or consumed as well as the Valdumb, Heronil, Cracotine and Marinol distribution and usage chains. Kim 12's place was on the 52nd floor (imagine being that close to the ground!), and she had a kangen tap with immersion unit for two, and unlimited access to alcohol. Jane 6 didn't care so much about that as she'd never tried a drop, and her agreement with the Utiiud forbade it anyway, but she needed food badly and Kim 12's cold unit had some of those water-apples she'd had before and hopefully some meat. Jane 6 had never been this hungry.
Jane 6 whizzed through the tram tube without fear and was delivered to Kim 12's floor an minutes. She looked down the hallway to her door, 5252 passing blank Sexers. Rows of Kims and Cindys vapid as a pit of starfish, their supple mouths gaped and confused. She pressed the button on 5252 and was regaled with tinkling chimes. Kim 12 answered the door resplendent in diaphanous silvery shimmer, clearly still Kim 12, completely intact, her mouth widening to an extatic smile. "I have missed you so much! Come in, check out the food unit! Have 17 glasses of water!"
Jane 6 ran to the food unit and slammed open the door rumbling into the unit with ravenous claws.
"Whoa there missy. How hungry are you? Slow down, I think there's some. .." Kim 12's words bitten off by Jane 6, "Meat! Do you have meat?"
"Meat? No one has meat, honey. The Controllers maybe, but even Sexers rarely get access to those pricks." Kim 12 reclined on one of her many Fluffy surfaces, "Why would you think about that shit?"
Jane 6 emerged from the unit with a water-apple because she didn't know what anything else was in there, "it's part of my choice. I'm a host." The water-apple was so crunchy and sweet and wet but it was merely a bandage on the gaping wound of her hunger.
"Holy shit, what did you agree to?"
"No alcohol, nothing inserted into my vagina, I have to eat meat. Just three things. I can't complain, Jane 3 had 23 rules, and she grew 6 ears." Jane 6 crunched delightfully on the fruit ball.
"No alcohol, good. More for me. Nothing in the vag, eh? That'd be a tough one for me, but we al make choices." Kim 12 laughed as Jane 6 met her eyes accusingly. "I suppose I made half a choice. I am a Sexer, but..."
"But you are still Kim 12. What about the chip that makes you want it all the time? You don't have that. Do you want it? Do you hate it?"
"It depends. If I don't like them, I just kill them."
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: