Rule One in life: never trust a seedy guy in a seedy bar. Especially when the product he sells can be turned on and off but gives you a lap dance and walks home with you. The accompanying cloak came in handy, though.
My girlfriend, Chelsea, and I had argued again when she returned home from work. Typical First Relationship Crisis/Meltdown: commitment, compatibility, kids, settling down. It wouldn’t be the last I’d hear of it either.
I waited until Chelsea fell asleep before I went down to the basement. Amongst all the dilapidated boxes, obsolete electrical appliances, old bikes, and a sofa bed was a large wardrobe, which I’d padlocked. I opened it and the mannequin-thing sauntered out and sat on the sofa bed.
I pulled out the box Seedy Bar Guy had given me, put the contact lenses on. They flashed and whirred after I applied the microchip to my neck and activated it. He said that meant my consciousness was ‘synced’ to the android.
When I turned around, it had adjusted its shape and measurements accordingly — using nanotech, apparently. Through my lenses, the android had become who I imagined: Jennifer Lopez, and she was naked.
She relaxed back on the couch and uncrossed her legs.
“Good evening, Richard,” said Jennifer Lopez. “I am Doll-O Issue 249. Fantasize, play, and enjoy. What do you want me to do?”
It really could’ve been her. The accent and everything were uncanny.
“I don’t know if this is right,” I muttered, rubbing my temple, pacing back and forth.
“Don’t feel bad. Just fantasize, play, and enjoy!”
So I did. She made love to me just how Jennifer Lopez would. How she would in my head, that is.
We had sex again that night, before I put her back, cleaned up, and returned to bed. I was hooked.
Every night, I went to the basement once I made sure Chelsea was asleep. I made sure I didn’t leave the microchip in my neck when I returned to bed. I was going to stick with JLo, but then thought why limit yourself with so many celebrities to try? On arguably the best Wednesday night of my life, I had sex with Jennifer Lawrence and then a very tall Victoria’s Secret Model. Another night, I had sex with Naomi Campbell. I even slept with Ryan Gosling, just to experiment. I was pleasantly surprised.
Another night, I got the Doll-O to be a dominatrix I’d seen on a film; tied me down and all the works. Robots are strong — really strong — and it was hard to mask some of the bruises. Lesson learned; trial and (very sore) error.
I should’ve known things were going too far when I started saying goodnight to Jennifer Lawrence and kissing her before bed instead of Chelsea. Or when I was making excuses not to go to work or to get home early.
One night, I asked Beyoncé for advice. Things had gotten out of hand. I asked if I was a terrible husband and whether I should confess. Was it cheating if I could switch the other women off?
Beyoncé caressed my cheek and replied, “Once synced, I'm programmed to always satisfy the recipient; it's my primary function. If you are not, I’ll know, and I must always endeavor to satisfy.”
Sexy talk. But what else did I expect? Seedy folk didn’t buy her for riveting conversation. Clearly.
The waiter had scarcely finished taking our order when Chelsea demanded why we hadn’t had sex — or even touched — in three months. She wanted to know whom I was seeing behind her back. I told her everything. Shock horror: she didn’t believe me and wanted me to pack my bags.
The journey home was wretched, silent. Showtime now. I had to show her everything. She wouldn’t believe me until she saw it. Maybe we could salvage our relationship. After the therapy, of course.
I could even give Chelsea a go; Ryan Gosling was great. It’s a long stretch, but it might help her forgive me. Or maybe this was a sign that I wanted to be a single rock-star, who could date anyone he fancied, celebrity or not, rather than have the nuclear family.
Maybe Beyoncé was right. In an age of constantly being streamed images of beauty and celebrity, it was surely a consequence, more than just an addiction.
We pulled into our driveway. Chelsea stormed into the house.
She was already through the front door when I felt the itch on my neck and realized it was too late. Shit. I’d left the microchip in by accident. I was still synced.
I heard a scream and ran into the house.
Chelsea was on the floor, bleeding out. Looming over her was Jennifer Lopez with a large kitchen knife, scarlet dripping from it.
In a singsong voice, she told me, “Don’t be fooled by the rocks that I got...” I wasn’t. Seedy Bar Guy and the perverted factory he got this thing from had fooled me. “… I’m still, I’m still Jenny from the block…” she continued.
You’re not. Not even remotely. “Of course you are.”
“When synced, I’m programmed to serve and satisfy. You were anxious and scared.” Then it added, “I am Doll-O Issue 249. Fantasize, play, and enjoy. What do you want me to do?”
I pulled up to my driveway and activated the microchip. My lenses flashed.
“Hi, honey, I’m home!” I called as I entered the front door.
“Evening, Richard, pleasant day at work?” Chelsea was sat on the couch, not watching TV. She didn’t need to.
New beginning. This time, I’ll be honest right from the start.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Purcell lives with his girlfriend in Glasgow, Scotland. He studied English at the University of Liverpool and has a penchant for reading and writing anything defined as disturbing or speculative. He has upcoming short fiction being or already published with or in Farther Stars Than These, Black Hare Press,101 Words, Rogue Planet Press, Eerie River Publishing, Iron Faerie Publishing, Unity Volume 1: A Magical Realism Anthology, Tritely Challenged Volume 2, Antipodean SF, and Trembling With Fear.