This is another short story from the novel The Confessor of Littlefield. The narrator, Adam is exploring his own identity within the framework of his environment, the associations and disassociations between the self and the mirror of selves that comprise the network of I.
I had to have a new respiratory system installed. My parents were of low middle class and could only afford the requisite 35 year warranty for respiratory, ambulatory, cardio systems and brain modules. At the age of 35, if a node hasn’t made a life for itself most parents commit their dependent nodes back to the federal medical agency which evaluates the anatomy, internal modules, brain function. It is then sold in in lots of 100 to retailers who are licensed and certified to resell us. We perform many functions; counseling, manual labor, teaching and policing. Local governments across the country buy us to perform civic duty that was once deemed beneficial for the morality and ethics of criminals and children but has been outlawed as cruel and inhuman punishment; things involving tools like digging, shoveling, sawing, hammering.
We nodes have to eat, drink, shit, breath, salivate. We sweat like humans, and we sleep the night through without sleepless nights. We always wake with the energy of an 8 year old looking forward to a bowl of Sugar Smacks and you can program us to be male or female and have sex with us as often and as long as you desire. We come with a warning buzzer that you cannot turn off if we detect your anatomical structure cannot withstand any more sex, and can shock your system out of a state of excitement before you have an aneurysm.
My last renter was a female who would’ve gladly had sex with a certain two or three chosen men; the same men that most other women were attracted to. The active females monopolized the sexual activity with the two or three men whose body and face were acceptable matches for their penises[peni(i)]. Queen holds the joystick and presses the button. I dance. She is thinking as she bounces on me:
“Better than reading Anais Nin. Far more. I always want to narrate her in a monotone. Great Lakes midtone Americana. Delicate, watercolor phrases to my male side, Van Gogh’s dirty boots shitkicking their way to gratification, to my female.”
“You don’t understand, you don’t understand,” I say, mocking my former renter who finally got tired of telling herself she didn’t really want to fuck the guy she wasn’t trying so hard to get rid of. They haven’t found a fix for that stuff yet. It’s deeply hard wired into the brain of everyone. Everyone’s female need that is so vague that it’s got to be real. The counterpart of the suffering young stallion in the field bouncing his hard schlong off his belly.
“You don’t understand, you don’t understand,” I say again and laugh, as a grey haired corporate executive stops to look at me and see that young clerk that was just hired.
“I WANT to understand,” he says.
I sigh. I cannot help him but he will purchase me anyway.