I mean, by definition, she is used, but new to untrained eyes and enthusiastic hands.
A face you can hold, quietly.
A face that was never really there until it had to be there for you.
Come to you, go to her.
Key words and phrases set things into action.
Some things compute.
Some things do not.
But if you say it enough, she will smile when you say her name.
Her real name? Any name is real if she answers to it. It’s in the booklet.
Her, I mean. Sorry. Fuck.
Do you mind if I ditch the spiel? Just feels a bit… robotic.
Anyway, she has been cleared out and reprogrammed, but do not hesitate to get in touch in case of any technical or structural issues. Customer well-being and satisfaction are very important to us, and we value your feedback. Please rest assured though, we have a team working day and night to ensure that no residual past-life patterns remain – this is a product of our innovative Tabula Rasa method, also explained in the booklet.
Every synapse is back at day dot, and you are free to shape her. You can rest assured that there will be no protest or resistance from our product, as long as you are using her in accordance with the Three Laws.
If you are not the only registered user, remember that you will need to perform maintenance checks, sorry, health checks, if you like. You have admin privileges, so that shouldn’t be a problem. I see here that you are the sole user, so that’s easy.
Mind, you will need to charge her first before you do anything else – if you don’t, all kinds of things can go wrong later. Always charge first. Always. That’s easy though, just like charging anything else. Red light – no. Green light – go. All very easy.
Now, as you know, we work very hard on every single one of our models, whether they are practical or for pleasure. These characteristics are not mutually exclusive – pleasure models can do practical things, and practical models can do pleasurable things. This little lady here is a 70:30 split, although you can customise these things during initial boot-up, which is what the preliminary fingerprinting and blood test was for. However, don’t get carried away – a 95:5 split was recently decommissioned for inappropriate public behaviour, so do be very careful, as you are personally liable at that point. If you want to make her pleasure-only, you will have to keep her inside, so remember that about her, and take appropriate security precautions around her.
It’s in the booklet, along with the helpdesk number I mentioned earlier.
But most importantly – have fun! Our models are designed to take all the guess-work out of your interactions. Treat them well and you won’t have any breakdowns, but if you do, call us. I’m sure you won’t though, thanks for choosing us, bye! Great, bye. Bye bye! Yep. OK. See ya.
I race my tears home every day. Whether it was a good one or a bad one, I rush home like I desperately need to pee, but out of my face.
Don’t let anyone see your pissy little bitch tears. Faster, pussycat.
I know where I am and I’ll never be truly solitary (for better or for worse), but so often, I feel alone and lost. I feel this pain that I’m scared I’ll never understand, and just like that, I’m a small child again, lost at the school fair. No matter how many nice people give me cookies and tell me that I don’t need to cry, I still know that those nice people go home at the end of the day, and so do I. Their kind intentions are noted and appreciated, but never pursued. “Thanks, but you shouldn’t” was said many times. I remember running into the crowd near the main quad when someone offered to take me to my parents. Running from their concern, running from the gossip tea party before it starts. It can’t start until I leave, anyway.
Parents being parents – very concerned, but conscious of overstepping any boundary that’ll get my mother screaming down the phone at them, or even worse, ranting and stomping around in their driveways. The mothers swap stories about our family, and lament the fact that my parents don’t let me make friends. The fathers seem confused, and worried that I’ll corrupt their kids somehow.
Kids being kids – one boy says, “She’s gonna get a hiding.” Another girl says that she will tell the teacher on Monday that I won’t be there. The boy says something like, “Don’t do that, she’ll be here, crying all day.”
I hear laughter after this, unsure if it’s related. I tell myself I don’t care. I don’t care about being laughed at, I don’t care about being on my own, and I don’t care about being punished. I just don’t care. Everyone is here to be happy, and so am I. I can’t be happy when my parents are dragging me around, so I took care of that. What next? Candy floss? White elephant? Juggling balls made of balloons and rice? A ride on a small truck made to look like a fire engine, with an annoyingly enthusiastic clown? School is so weird when there’s no classes, and when there are mums and dads.
Except none of these thoughts help. So I decide to fill my day at the fair with as much stuff as I could, because when it’s all over, it’s all over. These are the moments that will comfort me when I have a smacked face. This small moment of freedom is worth being thrashed like a dusty hallway rug. I know I will be free one day, and I can defiantly stare out the window as I get lectured today about how free I’m not. She will have to punch my eyes shut to keep me from doing this. She will never break me.
I know where I am, and I know who I am with, yet I am still alone and lost.
Just don’t cry on the way home, or the beating starts in the car.
There is a certain kind of laughter that I can always imitate quite well in person, but as sometimes happens, it’s hard to type out, but I’m sure you’ll know what I mean anyway.
If I know I shouldn’t be laughing, it’s going to sound like “Ohhh ho ho ho shiiiiiiit….. hah. Fuuuuuck”, which definitely has some cringe value and usually becomes funnier with time, but the gold standard in my opinion is when I or someone else laughs first, and then realises how fucked up that was.
I was bullied as a kid. To be fair, I was easy pickings: mixed-race, Mormon, super-nerdy (like, smugly correcting teachers and other students alike, precociously pedantic, hardly endearing), and such. Well, in my opinion, we were all bullied as children, however frequently or blatant, so when I go on about being made fun of as a kid, I’m not trying to steal the world’s smallest violin from anyone. It’s hard being a kid, and kids can be really fucking bad at relating to each other whilst navigating the technicolour maelstrom that is childhood for themselves because they’re only starting out socially. It’s OK, really, I get it.
At least, I feel like it’s OK now. Looking back, I now realise that I wasn’t always hated by the other kids at school, at least not 100% of the time. I talk to some of the people I went to school with, and they say they remember me as being witty and quick to defend myself verbally when I could. It’s hard to remember at first, but it gradually returns. I then realise I’ve been remembering myself in such a sad way – I wasn’t just some tool in a stupid shirt going on about why “I before E except after C” is mostly bullshit – I was in fact, a thinker and a quipper. Yes, awkward as hell, but that’s fine, because I had my moments, and they were good ones. I thank my friends for reminding me that I really wasn’t so bad, really, it’s such a relief.
Here are some recently reminisced-upon examples:
– in reply to a teacher who would NOT stop calling me ‘Irene’ after they realised how much it annoyed me at the time: “If you don’t know the difference between the letter L and the letter R, then don’t turn up tomorrow. What do you shave with; laser braids? You fucking muppet; grow up.”
– in reply to another kid who kept calling me “Island in the Sun”: “Hahahahaha. Fuck off before I give you a real nickname that actually rhymes and will catch on. You do not want your children getting ripped out for being Fartin’ Martin’s wee nugglets or whatever. I will blame all my trumps on you and ruin your life, bud.”
– the time I was sent outside for being less than a minute late, and then decided to try and attach a wall clock to my sweater (yes, imagine a five-foot-fucktard in pigtails, balancing on a plastic chair, grasping at blank parts of the wall until I got it… just) and talk like Flavor Flav for the rest of the day, becuase y’all muuuuhhhhhhfuckas needa know whaaaat time it is, yeeeeeuh. I also screamed “THE FLAV NEVER BEHAVES” through a window during an exam. So yeah, I learned what time detention was, yeeeeeuh.
– in reply to a student teacher who made a joke about how my middle name (Cecelia) sounds like a disease: “Oh, you’re making a funny joke! About chlamydia! Hey, nice! Not fucked up and creepy at all! I’m sure I can just go home and tell my dad about how a grown man inferred that I am somehow affiliated with STDs in front of the whole class, and everything will be fine. I’m sure that won’t fuck you up at all. And I’m sure it was all worth it, being the cool guy who rips out nerds like the cool kids do.”
– in reply to a student who decided to spread a weird rumour about me having head lice: “Me and lice are a bit like your mum and cock. She had it once, hated it, and gets reminded of it all the time, because of you. But don’t worry, she’s making lemonade out of lemons and I respect that.”
I remembered myself saying and doing some things, but not always the overall response. A lot of my… I don’t know… outbursts(?) were in front of large groups, but I was usually looking for a response from only one person, maybe two out of the whole group. I was looking for inappropriate laughs, looking back, I know I was.
I’m not sure when it happened, but I remember having this weird thought that if I could make people laugh, it meant that I was worth something. Something good, something joyful. I felt a little bit loved when the whole class or maybe just some of them would laugh, but I was looking to make the bully/bad guy laugh most of all. I’m sure it would have been nice to make everyone laugh and have the bully go cry in the bathroom, but I was reaching further than that. And, more than a few times, I succeeded. Looking someone in the eye as they laugh against their own will at something I said about them gives me a feeling I’m not too good at describing, but it feels like a victory of some kind, and I feel comforted when I know for sure that this has contributed to the character of the person I am today, in a way I’ll never be ashamed of.
I will always look for that knowing laugh that me and some of the so-called mean or tough kids shared. I feel like they were misunderstood like me, just with more friends. Anyway, I wanted that special kind of uncontrollable laughter that unintentionally cuts all the tension created by the unsaid and unfair and uncontrollable things that happen to us all. It was my way of saying: You think the ‘audience’ loves you? Well, they love me now. They really love neither of us. You know it, and you love me, if only for a second, for knowing it too. Take my humanity, you bitch, you already gave me yours. It’s OK; we’re OK now.
So yeah, give me your worst. You’ll never give any kind of shit I haven’t given myself. Even if I seem miserable for the longest time, I’ll eventually make you fucking laugh so hard that we’ll all forget how ugly this was, if I get the chance to. Seems rather appropriate to me, like your mum and cock. If she doesn’t take it so hard, she’ll have a better time, bloody oath does she love the wang though, oh my god, make her stop, [inappropriate hand gestures, pretending to choke on ghost dick at a glory hole disguised as a lemonade stall], your mama’s outta control, haha.
The Fight –
A familiar place, familiar faces, and a familiar feeling.
The family home.
Smooth justification, sudden declaration,
It’s normal if it happens often enough.
Sucky baby’s got it tough.
Never complains about it enough.
Minor inbound, heading for station.
The Flight –
Face red; thoughts blue, turning black.
Arm dead; officer who?
Take me back.
Stockholm, hold the phone.
The Fit –
I DID WHAT ANYONE ELSE WOULD DO YOU HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA I’M JUST A KID THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO MAKE SURE IT NEVER GETS THIS BAD BUT I MEAN IT’S NOT THAT BAD REALLY PLEASE CAN YOU TELL THEM IT’S OK AND I’M OK AND IT’S GOING TO BE OK MY ARM HURTS BUT NOT AS MUCH AND NOBODY HAS TO KNOW APART FROM YOU GUYS PLEASE I WANNA GO TO BED THIS IS A SCHOOL NIGHT AND WHEN YOU FALL ASLEEP ALL THE TIME PEOPLE START ASKING QUESTIONS MY UNIFORM IS AT HOME MY BOOKS AND SHIT ALL MY SHIT IS AT HOME I CAN’T BREATHE I HAVE MISSED SO MUCH CLASS ALREADY AND I’M STARTING TO FAIL THINGS FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER FUCK I CANNOT BREATHE TAKE ME HOME TAKE ME HOME TAKE ME HOME TAKE ME HOME IF YOU WANT TO HELP ME THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO DO IT WHY ARE YOU BEING LIKE THIS PLEASE STOP IGNORING ME EVERYBODY IGNORES ME I UNDERSTAND I AM INSANE AND ANNOYING AND DRAMATIC AND SHIT I’M SORRY I’M DONE BEING A BIG IDIOT AND I WANT TO STOP I AM SO SORRY PLEASE JUST TAKE ME HOME.
No. Calm down.
FUCKING WHAT THE FUCK SERIOUSLY CUNT FUCKING WHAT THE CUNTING FUCK I DO NOT NEED TO CALM DOWN.
– silence –
– more… uh… silence –
Nearly there. Sit tight.
– SILENCE, SLEEP –
The Fallout –
Pressed, processed, depressed, dejected.
This is why I don’t make my own lunch anymore. Who knows when I’ll get to eat it? Oh, god, who knows when I’ll next eat. I’m not hungry. I’m not. No.
Inky hands make me feel like an idiot housecat stuck in a storm drain.
Look around and down.
Not free, but no longer bound.
FUK DA PIGZ – how original.
TANIA SUX COX 02X XXX XXXX– and has broken an angry person’s heart, maybe…? Or an oblique marketing strategy? Hmmm… Nobody’s allowed a phone in here, so this person has committed this to heart. And expects others to do it too? Really, dude?
DUMPEDIN – is that a play on Dunedin, or did someone become a biohazard? The Power of One. The Shawshank Redemption. Shit. I don’t want to touch anything in here. What’s worse, the bench or the floor? I’m going to be sick. Making this place even grosser. Fuck. Shit.
IHTFP – yeah, me too. But I think that’s the point of it.
“Could I please have something to read other than the walls? Pleeeeeeease?”
The Favour –
“Sure, hang on.”
A magazine, “relieved” of its staples, comes through a panel in the door.
“You’re not allowed a pen, sorry. The crosswords might be missing anyway. Are you hungry?”
“Hello? Would you like something to eat?”
“Thank you for this. Newer than the ones at the doctor’s. Better condition, too.”
– nervous laughter –
(in the background) OI CUNT WHO’D SHE SUCK TO GET A FUCKIN FEED OI PIG CUNT.
“Better go deal with this. Dunno what you kids like, but that’s a Woman’s Day. Better than nothing, eh?”
That’s a woman’s day.
It’s better than nothing.
It’s no mystery or secret or surprise: I have been very miserable for a very long time.
It usually makes me feel better to comb through the minutiae of my problems by re-hashing things and writing them down, but only in the way that lancing an abscess would make someone feel better. Catharsis is one thing, but one can get very tired of the ruminating, the cutting, the squeezing, the purging. Of course it once helped, and it may help me again, however, the filth is already at the surface, where it hurts and pulsates and gets darker. I can almost feel my blood thickening as the air thins out and the skin grows taut.
Nothing becomes a thing, as the nobodies hiss their nothings in your ears…
…unless something distracts you. It’s very simple, almost annoyingly so. As such, anger and sadness can vanish like vapour as you decide what to do; as you tick and cross tiny boxes in your mind as quickly as they appear, the knots loosen.
Long story short: one minute, I wanted to start beating my own face with rolled-up three-year-old magazines whilst screaming annoying dipshit things like FUCK OFF SHADOW PEOPLE and OH NO I CAN HEAR MY BLOOD. Next minute, I’m laughing about a moment earlier in the morning when I was sitting with Youtube open on the laptop, and I heard my phone go off across the room, just to walk over there to check it and see that it was a Youtube notification alert.
Oh, the irony. Anyway, when was the last time I heard an icecream truck go past me? Been a while since that happened. I wonder if kids still play stuff like tic-tac-toe and hangman when they’re bored. My tongue feels thicker than it was yesterday. I bet it’d be really nice to hold a koala. If the koala hugged me back, I’d probably weep with joy and try to take it home. Their ears look so soft. Peter Griffin on ecstasy, squirming around on the lounge floor. Haha.
Anyway, that was a thing that happened.
I will cross my heart on a star named David.
I will mumble curses at the ceiling.
I will pound holes in the pavement
and wake up with another untold lie.
As lightly as I can try and tread,
crossing something is as good as breaking it.
Lighter now, tighter yet.
I’ll still lose my mind while trying to save it.
I’ll still fumble with how I’m feeling.
I’ll still take it as well as I gave it
and make a new lover of severed ties.
Despite the unsightly words said,
dismissing something is as bad as forsaking it.
Tighter now; it’s all I’ll get.
It’s a missing part you’ve found after the fact.
It’s not knowing when or how to act.
It’s finding yourself back at the start
with what’s broken and sticking it in your eye.
It’s a needling blindness
and an awkward meeting at square one.
It’s crazy glue and paper hearts
tossed aside; I hope to die.
As tightly as I bind my broken head,
I’ve misunderstood how far to take it.
Lost and found, an erstwhile pet.
It’s a need for kindness
and an insane way of going about it.
I will bleed until I find
someone who loves me enough not to doubt it.
Formes Frustes – Lighter Now (2016)