When you had given up on men and meet one who makes you wanna give up on men forever…. enlightenment waits

Angie Weihs pink.png

“Genius,” he said, “how you got up and made these innovative suggestions, so fearless and confident. Everybody was hanging on your lips, especially the men, 200 of them.”

” He smiled adoringly, “Your style is fantastic.”

Gina glowed in her age inappropriate Ostrich feathers adorned pink denim jacket over a tight jumpsuit and in high Pour La Victoire heels. An Internet TV channel had just interviewed her about her Ageless Rebel journey, which she portrayed as a perfect journey for women who want to live a vibrant long life in empowered confidence.

Gina was around 60 and adamant to keep her age a guessing game. “It’s because of the branding”, she usually explained,” I can’t call myself an ageless rebel and then give you my birth certificate.”

Against her usual instinct to run away from a flirt especially with a man under 50, she enjoyed his applause, which elevated her already successful night another nudge. Tonight she did not just look like a sensual woman, she felt like one.

“I’m invited to meet with Hollywood execs on Monday. Viacom looks for fresh and funny content for Comedy Central. What do you think? Can we make your Ageless Rebellion movement into a show? Would you like to brain storm?”

Comedy Central? Ageism isn’t a joke,” she thought, followed by the mantra her life coach had texted her in the morning “Be nice, be open to opportunities.”

“Sounds interesting,” she responded, “I’m curious.”

“It’s a great chance for your visibility. People need to know you,” he added.

Excited he pointed at the space aside of him on a bench in front of the open double doors through which the last people of the futurist conference left.

“Sit with me for a moment. I’d love to show you something you will enjoy.”

He looked her up and down, “so gorgeous, “ he repeated.

Gina’s self-consciousness vanished into his charm. She didn’t think about her wrinkles or to secretly check with her I- phone’s camera if there was enough lipstick left on her lips. His body was a tad too massive for her taste; was this a deal breaker? In her long ago dating days her initial attraction to men had faded in an instant because of hands or feet being too small, teeth being yellow or smiles crooked. She had a little booklet as a teenager ranking the boys who hit on her on a scale from one to ten in five different categories from looks to originality.

For a moment her inner checklist made her evaluated the man, who had introduced himself as “my friends call me Camy, short for Cameron”; his haircut was funky enough, his glasses acceptable, his shoes expensive like his suit, he didn’t wear a traditional tie and he had beautifully sexy hands. His extra pounds didn’t manage to throw her off; she was officially on an unexpected flirting journey.

“He had his wrinkled shirt tucked into his polyester pants,” Camy mocked one of the smartest scientist’s norm core outfit.

Gina giggled, agreeing to his little rant about men over 50 often letting go of style, if they ever had any. A common dislike creates such lovely closeness.

“Seriously,” he went on, “how expensive is it to get into an Armani suit?”

He stroked his, making sure she knew the brand he was wearing. A slightly pretentious remark, she noted but whatever, he was so cute and this was so unexpected and felt so new.

Two years ago after not dating for a decade, Gina had a brief and totally disappointing stint at Match.com. Only one man of about a hundred who sent email requests, had read the fierce text accompanying her pictures. She wrote about futurism, looking for a man unafraid to live forever and not believing in heaven and hell. She got God fearing men calling her their “angel”, looking for a woman to “grow old” with. The rest commented on her sweet smile, sexy legs or that she was cute enough for them not to mind her wrinkles.

Wow. Thanks.

Her workout coach Brenda advised her from experience that she would have to “kiss a lot of frogs.” Brenda did, and after three years found her man on a Harley. Gina made it to two Match months and three email responses. Men simply didn’t “get her.”

This male being was different. She connected with him. They clicked. He was an advanced mind and they had all these cool ideas in common; to save the world from evil old beliefs, that cryonics are a must and that they’d be the first to get Nano bots injected for everlasting youth. They cited the same books and his impressive points piled up; he was friends with several of the futurist scientists Gina highly respected.

“Here it is”, he came a little closer on the bench, his arm touching her’s. She had missed that cute shiver of excitement. Their heads close to each other she watched the action on the app he developed, which “would make him a billionaire.” He admitted that it was exploiting the need of the masses to feel “close” to their entertainment idols, but him planning to invest most of his expected enormous profits into science that enhances everybody’s life made this necessary and excusable. How did you know, Cameron, that Gina had a thing for Robin Hood?

Why care that he was name-dropping. She was always too analytic and wanted to enjoy this crazy lightness. His continuous compliments had showered her into a cocaine type high. The short videos he had produced were well made satisfying her need for professionalism and he was really funny. Did her vision of the perfect man just manifest? Was he a 10?

When he asked if she’d like a drink at the hotel bar her inner 16 year old got a kick out of it. She hadn’t had a drink with a guy in a bar for forever. Not that she went to bed early like many of her midlife friends but loud bars seemed absurd for a health conscious woman; she got a headache just thinking of the freaking cigarette smoke.

Ignoring sense and reason was teenage tantrum cool. Her months of writing the words “fearless” and “adventurous” under her fierce fashion pictures on Instagram paid of like a mighty mantra. Yes, she wanted to have a drink.

The design of the bar area was a little shabby; this obviously was a cheaper LAX hotel. But that wasn’t his fault, she thought, he was taking part in a conference and the organizers had chosen this place. Ordering an expensive brand of Tequila he proved his class to her; she was allergic against cheap dudes.

When she pulled a grimace at his demand to drink the double shot in one go he laughed.

“It’s a holiday, you have to.”

Biting into his lemon slice he admired that she actually did. When he ordered the second shot he told the bar keeper “it’s her birthday.” It wasn’t. He was so silly; he cracked her up. The word “birthday” awakened her curiosity.

“What’s your sign?”

“Nooo. Not that kind of a woman,” he sighed with scientific smugness. She countered that archetypes are a playful tool to understand our selves and to add a little magic to our lives.

“I’m a storyteller and love the stories archetypes let me spin,” she explained.

“Aries,” he grinned in his heroic attempt to be flexible.

Seriously? Her recent shamanic astrology reading had pointed out that she needed Aries energy in her life; synchronicities were like chocolates to her. When he was pushing for her to actually drink the second shot she had not wanted, her inner observer pointed out that he was trying to get her drunk. Surely he is too smart for that. When he kissed her she kissed him back. His lips were soft and the kiss was perfect, light yet passionate.

“I love your lips,” he said,” they are so soft.”

She took a tiny sip from the second Tequila to make him happy and looked into his eyes. She had the strangest feeling of her soul whispering to his soul, “I love you.”

“I’d like to show you another one of my videos, a really cool one,” he said. “It’s on my computer in my room.”

She stared at her booze, was it time to get crazy wasted?

“No, thanks,” she said instead. “No hotel room for me.” She decided to smile casually cool.

Immediately a dark cloud overshadowed his face.

“Don’t you trust me? Do you think I’d rape you or something?”

He was seriously pissed. She was flabbergasted. There it was; not just a drop of acid in her pretty pool of happy; it was a whole bucket. Darn, she was disappointed. He had asked if she had a boyfriend or a husband, which she had interpreted as “serious” interest.

Thoughts somersaulted in her buzzed head.

What was he thinking; that I have sex with him after he forks out a couple expensive Tequilas? He must be least 10 if not 15 years younger than me. What was I thinking? That he wanted to marry me?

“With your experience you should take life easier,” he said grumpily and added, “What are you waiting for? It’s 2018, and you are a modern, open-minded woman, aren’t you?”

“Yes.”

But dating-wise she was far from it; she had no Tinder or OK Cupid experience at all. Did her resistance against “swiping” for hookups make her a senior? She hated the word SENIOR. She was a rebel against aging, far from being retired from anything.

A hook up would be an experiment she figured; to step out of her outmoded morals, to be open and allow to be turned on. She would prove that shrinking hormones had nothing to do with sex drive, that age is just a number and midlife sex is a riot. She would not worry about her old style pubic hair or the sloppy skin on her belly. Her underwear was totally cute… She would be the rebellious, free spirited, “easy” woman, the courtesan of her novel who whispered to give a shit about feelings and to use him for pleasure.

“So what will it be?” she heard him ask. It sounded demanding.

Looking at his angry face she saw fleshy bodies hopping and bonking, images of sex scenes on TV she rarely found enjoyable. She had often felt like an Alien who couldn’t wrap her head around this ultra strange human life behavior of sucking each other’s faces and swimming in each other bodily fluids as a sport. She had fallen off her cute cloud; that all his amazingness could just be a show for sex felt like a knife in her heart. Maybe he indeed was a rapist or worse?

“No”, she said, ”I don’t want to see a video in your hotel room.”

She grabbed her pink backpack big enough for her notebook and conference materials and got up.

“Enjoy your night, Cameron.”

“I’ll accompany you,” he said throwing cash on the counter.

He had wiped the anger off his face; his charming self was back making lighthearted comments about people at the bar.

Passing the elevator its doors opened and Cameron pulled her in.

“I just want to show you the video, I promise, cross my heart and hope never to die,” he said and grinned his boyish grin. ”C’mon, I’m well known, I’ll be good. You’ll love the video. You’re too drunk to drive anyway.”

That was true. After she got an expensive “reckless driving” a couple years ago Gina never drank when she had to drive but had played the renegade tonight. Not used to alcohol any more she very much felt the Tequila; it was like a drug, dropping her into a bizarre level of reality.

“Don’t go,” intervened her angelic soul.

“He promised to be good,” giggled the courtesan she so lovingly had given birth to on many passionate pages.

“Okay”. Gina exercised her desired millennial cool. I’m modern and up to date. She had coined the quote “If you want to be forever young, you have to do young things.”

His room was as blah as the bar. One of the queen size beds was crowded with his stuff and the other bed wasn’t made. Tapping his mattress asking her to sit aside of him like on the bench before he pulled out his I Phone.

“See? I’m just showing you the movie, that’s all this is.

“Wait…. The I Phone? The computer was a lie?

He laughed.

“You knew that.”

She had actually really hoped for the computer. 

Another wave of compliments ended in how much he was attracted to her on a deeper level, that he felt a soulful closeness.

“Let’s just kiss,” he said, “make out like teens.”

She knew it, he liked her and he understood. She didn’t have to be worried and the kissing felt quite lovely.

When he put her hand on his penis repeating that he was “so attracted to her”, she froze. What had been fun kisses a second ago was now “why is his tongue stuck in my mouth?” He talked about his penis like a buddy who was happy to join them. Praise, personification or putting on pedestals of male or female organs had always been absurd to her. She pulled her hand off “Caminsky”, his dangling hero and not just because it felt like a curled up rat to her; what disgusted her was betrayal, his and her own. She had not acted like an empowered woman, who knows her value but fell back into making the best of what was offered. She felt stupid. She had to get out of this place.

“I have to go,” she said. He still had his arms around her and did not loosen up.

“Let me go please.”

Cameron chuckled and pushed her on the bed.

“Playing hard to get? Old fashioned but I like it.”

He rolled on top of her.

WTF?

The rat had uncurled itself.

“Get off me,” she demanded trying to push him off.

He didn’t budge but rubbed his body against hers.

“You should be glad that a man desires you, at your age!” he said.

Gina had thought about the scenario of being in a rape situation. She wouldn’t scream and fight and make the guy more exited to win. She would be cold and stiff and boring to death. And then hit the dude with a lamp or candlestick or the alarm clock… Where was the next lamp?

“It’s not a game, let me go. I will yell for help.”

“Gawd,” he said, “really?”

He rolled off her with a grunt.

Gina jumped up, grabbed her pink belongings and ripped the door open intending to make her furious point with a loud slam.

“Wait!!! It was all a misunderstanding.” He sighed and moaned in a confessional tone that he liked her too much, so much more than he should.

“Please allow me to call you and see you again?”

His sad face undermined how sorry he was. She shrugged her shoulders. The door fell shut in a nice normal way. Maybe she was wrong about him. Maybe she really was too afraid and uptight. Maybe she should just think of the proposed Hollywood exec meeting.

At home with her silent IPhone the next day she got it; she hadn’t been duped. She had believed in a soap opera.

“Pearls of wisdom are created like real pearls, in pain and irritation,” said her friend Justine.

Cameron was exactly that, an irritation. When Gina tried to mold herself to fit into his vision she did not listen to her knowing or her No. Even without any physical desire for crude copulation she still thought that she should give it a try, anything not to reveal her “old” age and outmoded ideas about romance. Her aversion to being pushed, manipulated or reduced to a rubber doll faded during his game in which she played her part, giggling, so he could get away with it. She wasn’t the mirror in which he could see his action; her mirror was tinted by her hope for love. Hungry for being swept away any prior feminist awareness was bam, deleted.

Googling him she didn’t find a wife or little Camies in Armani pants, apparently no girlfriend either. Just him; posing smug and disconnected with women half his age and a few important men.

He seemed like a robot now, complete with a seamless script; not only his presentation, the funny, passionate, stylish and successful creative man had been perfectly set into scene but he played all her chords from her vanities to her highest hopes, from innovative compliments to bare bone shaming.

Was she that transparent? Was he that intuitive or psychologically experienced? How many women are out there craving to be heard, seen and understood; does he have an evergreen reusable script?

Guilt flared up; did she provoke this? Did her outfit create the wrong impression of the “wild and easy chick”? She concluded that a man who falls all over himself with lovey dovey talk and a multi faceted two-hour script just to manipulate a woman into a quickie is a psychopath.Yes, she was hurt. She was embarrassed of her teenage naiveté letting her to believe that there was “more.” 

It took her a couple days to find her balance. She was grateful that she did not sleep with him; she had brushed her teeth extensively and felt that anything more than kissing would have made her move into the shower.

“I thought I am intuitive,” she complained to her friend Angela, a life coach with an extensive back ground in mystery school and goddess psychology.

“How could I fall for a delusion?”

“We see what we wish for, it’s a typical blind spot syndrome. But imagine for a moment,” she continued,” that Cameron wasn’t lying. What if his feelings were real but overrun by his sexual predator program so that he couldn’t even realize? He was so intend on proving himself through outside glory, the name-dropping you mentioned, his Armani suit and the expected billions, that he ignored his true value, his soul. He is in love with what he owns, not who he is. To manipulate you into sex would have been the win his ego was screaming for.”

Girlfriends know how to make us feel better. Gina had a moment of pity for the poor schmuck. The outdated beliefs “regular” men are stuck in seem like a glass wall between them and what all humans desire, to be loved for who we truly are, as our whole package.

“Men are screwed by the porn industry”, suggested her friend Maren, “it cements stone age standards.” Comparing her relationships with foreigners to American men, she concluded that the general American sex culture had no clue “how to romance and pleasure a woman.”

“Our generation of men is stuck ,” her writer BFF Charlotte who just turned 50, figured, “clueless how to react to women asserting their power. They’re afraid we don’t need them anymore as fathers, providers, to hold open doors and carry heavy stuff. It must be hard to face that we have the brains, muscles and science to do it all ourselves.”

Charlotte dated a lot of men for a book research, coming back out with emotional bruising and a lot of eye opening, super mean and super funny stories. She gave her dates new names, not just changing Harry to Harrison, but calling them by their worst attitudes, looks or mannerisms from “Cling shot” to “Droopy Eye”.

“Show me a picture of him,” she demanded and looking at Cameron’s FB page she smirked, “He’s your Pillsbury Dough boy.”

Must love mean girl talk; Gina’s giggle washed away her last bit of insult and regret.

“I’ll never see my lust plagued teddy bear as anything else but doughboy,” she texted Charlotte, thanking her with rows of hearty emojis. When she hit “sent” she suddenly got it. She didn’t show Cameron a mirror of how he sucked, he held one up for her instead “that’s what you think of men.” He was a caricature of her judgments that men are single minded, manipulative and closed to deeper feelings. It was her old story playing on automatic pilot and Cameron blew it up big time by making such a pathetic fool out of himself.

She had asked her Tarot Cards and the Universe about her screwed up relationship to men many times, where was the love of her life? The Universe had responded sending people to pull up the curtains, which were too scary for her to move. By now she had learned how she had co-created her reality, but not which faulty thought programs were still running undetected, using up energy and warping her viewpoints.

Doughboy was her Virus detector.

Another curtain fell; relationships had always been about her, even if it seemed to be about the other. She always had conscious or unconscious agendas. With the underlying need to be seen and loved there was no unconditional gift or pleasure; the man had to give love, respect, adoration to her first and then, perhaps she would reciprocate.

“Right and wrong. Your relationships were always about me,” said her book’s character, the courtesan. “I live in your genetic code. You are afraid of being burnt at the stake again. You are ashamed of me, of your physical and esoteric desires and feel guilty of your “stupid” fantasies. Your life was a fight against the wise wild woman in you, running towards her and running away from her, never stopping to feel and see what’s really going on. You let her out, regretted it and repeated the procedure until you finally gave up hope. You were trying to find me in your writing and now I am here, at your doorstep, in your face.”

The courtesan in the positive power of the archetype is the woman who owns her desires and knowing. Her rebellion against the crudeness of hopping and bonking is an exploration of sexuality as a gateway to freedom. She lets go of society’s stories and beliefs, which are manifest in our Ego. Sex from my evolved courtesan’s point of view is stepping out of ego, not just letting it decimate in the moment of ecstasy but entering the journey of love and intimacy smooth and flexible like water; no expectations, no judgments, no agendas.

“You can ony be truly open, receive and give if you arrive in the emptiness of now,” she said.

“Holy whores” were said to teach men to be masters of love making, elevating them to the woman’s level of being an ego-free vessel of pleasurable enlightenment with sex being a multi level experience not an orgasm centered in and out. Compared to the elegant sensuality of her lovemaking, sex rules and regulations of our porn inspired standards of being “good in bed” seemed extremely crude.

In Saying 22, “Male and Female into a Single One” Jesus replies to a disciple: “When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner as the outer, and the upper as the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male shall not be male, and the female shall not be female: . . . then you will enter [the kingdom].”

Sex, so say Jesus and the courtesan is a metaphor for duality ceasing to exist.

Gina’s decade long sexual abstinence had been a result of resisting her story, avoiding her truth and negating her longing for more, denying her self the crazy cool enlightening ecstasy her body said it knew. She is still on her vision quest.

At the next futurist conference Cameron had a job on the side of the stage. At question time Gina got the microphone and told the story of her “me too” in daily life. As she didn’t describe the man as a rapist the reaction was lame.

A woman was laughing. “This is normal.”

“Boys will be boys,” a man shouted. People chuckled.

To them Gina was the scorned chick, stupid enough to follow him to his room, sexy enough to “ask for it” and too uptight to have a one-night stand.

Gina’s story shows that “Me too” is not just about the big issues like rape and battering, attacks and smacks. It’s about the many small and demeaning remarks, degrading gestures, whistles and shouts or a husband’s old-fashioned expectations. We have to learn not to smirk submissively at insults and overhear them politely. They are not funny. Polite is counter productive.

Today, on election day, an emotional discussion unfolded on a right wing FB page where a woman defended Trump and his assaults on women.

“The only other time he was “disrespectful” was when the hot mic tape was presented. I don’t actually consider it disrespectful because 1. it implied women’s consent to begin with, 2. Normal men I know talk like that with each other, 3. he said it with confidence that he was privately talking with someone. Anyone who has never heard men talk like that in their lifetime are probably not trusted in their inner circles to begin with. It’s not disrespect to women, it’s human nature.”

Dennis, the leader of the discussion commented on my objections, “Males objectify women sexually. It's natural and powerful. It's not going away because you don't like it. Shaming it will merely motivate some males to lie to you to score points. But a true friend stabs you in the front…”

Regarding women as possessions, “fresh meat” and fuckable objects is okay, because it was always like that? “Boy will be boys” is a “normal” that has to encounter resistance in any of its shapes and forms.

Women power means to exercise the power of NO every day like becoming a master of Kung Fu.

NO to the old stories of relationships that were demeaning, disappointing or destructive..

NO to the conclusion that men “are like that”

NO to any creepy remark or gesture towards us or others. It’s called civil courage. 

YES to anything uplifting a man ever did for me

YES to my fantasy of fairy tale-like new beginnings

YES to soaking up any nice guy story to reframe my mind.

That all said and posted, I’ll vote for Oprah as president any time. 

BTW GHOSTING, the complete disappearance of a guy after the theater of declaring “deep connection and attraction” seems to be a trend of 2018. 

Not every midlife doll dabbles in Dior.

I went to an upscale supermarket today. A midlife lady behind sliced cheese wrapped in plastic offers tastes. She doesn't smile.
I taste one because I wasn't in a great mood either. I was in a "eff effing diets" mood. Mmh, this little square on a tooth pick was good. Cheesy with herbal overtones... "Kosher," she throws at me with a smokey voice. "Glutenfree."
Her face says: I could care less...
I try the one with Wasabi, girl that's good. I mean, plastic fantastic cheese on the warm, fresh baked baguette which had just landed in my cart? Heaven, yes. French culture meets American cheese perversion. I love contrast.
Yes. I take a pack.
I really am in that mood.
"Congrats," she says, "Its Mel Gibson's favorite."
I nearly tossed it back into her basket.
Why would she think mentioning the right wing womanizing weirdo would impress me?
I look at her again. 50+ maybe 60? She has the typical casual class Malibu touch...Mel lived in Malibu for years. Perhaps she hung out at parties with the guy. I felt tempted to spin a story of how this once rich Malibu woman lost it all...and has to sell cheese.
Okay. I keep the 12 wasabi spiced thin slices.
I would be smile devoid, detached too. I would feel embarrassed. Who wants to sell cheese in general - but at midlife ? With Mel Gibson as a tagline?
One of my anti ageist story ideas is to apply for jobs and only reveal my age when arriving at the interview. I thought of applying for hostess at Moby's vegan "Little Pine" as it's around my corner and he's an "advanced" human. Would he accept a sassy 60?
Then I actually imagined working there, serving the Millenial scene and - I freaked out. OMG. Please don't let me ever have to do this. At 60.
I stuffed myself with the plastic fantastic cheese and the gorgeous baguette. I don't know if I'm in a cheese trance but I wanna run back and hug this woman.
Lesson: not everybody has a supportive hubby, the inheritance of a dead hubby or lucrative divorces and abundant funds from wherever.
Not every midlife woman dabbles in Dior.
Let's all support each other so that at this time of our lives we don't have to sell cheese in a supermarket.

 

    Would you want to have sex with a robot?

    Would you want to have sex with a robot? “God no!” The 30 year-old bank teller moves back in her seat, staring at me as if I’m the devil incarnate. Not even with Judd Law’s sexy Gigolo Joe in Spielberg’s tear-jerking “AI”? She saw that movie: “That poor child!”

    I decide to start with the “tougher species,” men. They are used to the idea of sex dolls: dames des voyages traveled with sailors since the 17th century, rubber dolls for fornicatory purposes entered the market in early 1900 and who hasn’t heard at least one joke about today’s inflatable vinyl vixens who burst at their seams when jumped.

    What better than a 250 guest wedding reception to field my question? People open up after their first signature cocktails.

    “Excuse me, sir, how would you feel about intercourse with a robot? Two dozen guys between 30 and 60 agree that it’s out of the question if it looks like a machine and finish the thought with a grin, “But if she’s got big boobs…(butts, lips…). ”

    Interestingly enough several male Millenials, supposed to be the “hook-up” generation, weren’t excited by the proposal at all, human looking or not. They claimed that they are looking for intimacy, not one night stands.

    After being showered with jovial jokes, a middle age photographer sums it up for me: “Men have sex with anything beautiful. You should know that by now.”

    Yes, okay. (Really?) What was I thinking? I switch back to women.

    After some hesitation the female servers at the wedding get into it. While their guests are munching steaks, medium rare, they put their heads together considering how their best bot would, or should, feel. Later during cake time a few middle-aged ladies, asked about their desire to order a customized man of their own, look over their shoulders and answer in whisper mode: “No more fear that he’d leave me for somebody younger? Yes!”

    My workout trainer and her colleague didn’t hesitate a second to go out with Mr. Robot with the sole intention of entertaining sex. A handsome workout machine providing exactly what they want without having to hope and pray that a human would understand their sexual desires? Artfully coded orgasm assistance is their dream come true. I could have sold two bots right there.

    With my girl friends the discussions went immediately to just that: humanizing the macho machine and loading him with “true” lover qualities. A dream come true. Most of us have scribbled the dream dude into our journals at one time in our life, a meticulously carved image of our emotional twin far away from the ridiculously reduced attributes used by dating websites.

    But will the perfect robot lover of our dreams be programmed to always agree? Are we that tired of standing up for our true desires and getting what we really want that we long for a Yes-man? I would not miss fights about visiting an art show instead of a football game or of steak being part of our diet or not. I’d love to be listened to, even if I talk too much and to get a smile when I change my mind five times. I see my bot holding my hand when I flip out and not asking me if it’s “that time again.” I’m not good at naming things, so I’d let botty chose how to address him. Let’s say he deducts that Orion is a fit. My Orion would have a bitch meter to protect him and to correct me when I’m unfair; knowing my ideal me he’d deliver creative criticism. I’d vow not to code it out of him even if I don’t like to hear this stuff. If I have the pleasure of living with my perfect Android I’d be grateful and treat him like the king he is. He wouldn't come on a white horse but with a bouquet of my best features, powers and passions. He would the best mirror ever and I could advance from princess on a pea to rebel queen. The vision is glorious but what about love at first sight, the ideas of soul mates and twin souls? I might just be too romantic in the end...

    The Millenials and a couple spiritually inclined folks agreed to finding programmed love “not meaningful.” Kissed by a robot we can’t be sentimental; “love” has nothing to do with it. It would be like an arranged marriage in which only one person is truly happy and satisfied, a completely one-sided “I do.”

    “You mean, we’ll create slaves,” comments the 26-year-old PHD student, whose focus is machine learning.

    Slaves?

    If we want to love machines they should have free will. If they have free will we're back at square one. No guarantees for a happy ever after whatsoever.

    Which brings us to the next discussion: the ethical treatment of robots. Korea, as one of the leading countries in robotics, already has a law to protect them from their human handlers. Is raping a robot a crime? What about pedophilia and sex with animals? Matt, the owner of Abyss in San Diego, sells an average of 6 to 10 freakishly real looking customized silicon sweeties a week. Their animation is a plan of the future. He refuses to create kids and dogs, but there will surely be a company that does.

    Futurist, entrepreneur and expert in intimacy Heather Schlegel brings up that sexbots could help socially handicapped people as in the movie “Lars and the real girl”, but she has a different idea for her own life. She’ll keep her human guy for sex and a gender-free robot as her second life partner. She’d create a copy of herself, an androgyn android not only with perfect knowing of all she is and ever could be but with the characteristics and knowledge of friends, “programmed with traits of my parents or Joseph Campbell and Philip K Dick. It knows me intimately but can offer different perspectives. I could integrate genetic coding of a million people.” Her android would be a mentor, therapist, career advisor; an assistant on so many levels.

    I feel a little jealousy creeping up; there could be somebody like me, just much better?

    Perfect robotic live-ins, with or without sex, could easily create crazy jealousy and make humans relationships a living hell. We could easily hate our robots as they show us our feeble existence.

    When living with perfect androids what would we need human relationships for? For the “true” cuddly feel, the challenge, the unpredictable dramas? The romance of ever after movies?

    Most of us already prefer hanging out with our smart phones than with real people. We are in “can’t live without you” affairs with our smart devices. What happens when they look like us and can answer and have fun with us? Imagine Siri without her glitches, as smart and witty as you'd want her in a body you designed.... Our feelings might be messier than ever – at least in the first decade.

    Androids will change our lifestyle, that’s a given. It’s just a matter of time. Predictions have it happening in as little as 20 years. In Love & Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships, artificial-intelligence expert David Levy stipulates that by 2050 robots “will have the capacity… to make themselves romantically attractive and sexually desirable to humans.”

    Journal about it. Feel it out. Prepare yourself for the future.

    Some of us will be okay with the illusion of love, others will adore their amazing bots as their assistants and therapists, but it's pretty sure that we wouldn't stop there. We are described as being created in God's image and as such we are creators. We would want the best. Perfect silicon beings would get their free will.

    To avoid that we, as simple carbon based life forms become pets to our godlike AI creations we'd augment our smarts and physical powers; we'll became Cyborgs. 

    And here's where the loop closes: we’d be back to square one. As emotional equals Androids and Cyborgs will bicker and fight. 'Cause we're programmed by humans. We love perfection as long as there's imperfection.

    Only one thing seems clear: Androids are coming to our town. There better be a manual.

    Dog's my Guru.

    Angie niki truck.jpg

    Messages from dog

    Messages from dog.

     

    “One year old dog is looking for a foster from today until Sunday”.

    I stopped at the post of one of my Facebook animal rescue friends like many times before. I’d love to have a dog again. I stared at her cute face, these sad brown eyes; she’s so endearing.

    Be rational. This is a NO.

    I had dog buddies for 30 years of my life’s ventures and adventures. Now I had arrived at that age where my generation had to let go of their cuddly senior pooches and planted trees on their graves. Our grown up kids left to live their life and many of our beloved moms and dads left forever. I was asked to adjust to a new era of responsibility for none other but myself; that crossroad where my fellow boomers either wind down and prepare their funerals or reinvent themselves.

    I chose reinvention, more than that I chose rejuvenation, the path of longevity, and to create a new business for all who are into living long and prosperous. I needed time because I loved life and because I was looking for more, my purpose, my sense. I wasn't clear on what was missing just that it was.

    I was interviewing, asking, learning; searching so hard and mostly online that had no time for the other stuff of life. Friends, fun, action? Forget it. I had to focus and hurry up to succeed. I didn’t want time to run out.

    I reaffirmed the one thing I knew for sure: I can’t be distracted and especially not by emotions. Pooch will not mess up my life! Sorry little dudette.

    Do something good whispered the little voice. You think of yourself as an animal rights activist and won’t help a little dog? It’s only for three days. I mean, honestly, I could care for a little dog for three days without messing up my intellectual routine of 8 – 10 hour days. I could be unselfish. Give back. It would make me feel good to help an animal not just by pitching in rescue bucks.

    I comment on the post: “I’ll do it”.  The rescue says: Okay.

    Okay? I can’t possibly denounce my offer now. I take a deep breath: three days isn’t enough to get attached. It’ll be a little vacation from the brainy stuff. I live in my head and in my car. I can as well try walking the streets of LA for a change.

    I fill out the foster application and pick up a fluffy little bundle of depression; hidden behind a trash can in a grassy backyard, where ten other rescue dogs joyfully chase each other and their tails. She briefly looks at me with that resigned “whatever” in her sad eyes. She trots along and rides in the car in trance. A friend who helped me pick her up suggests to call her Pi, cause it was Pi day.

    Why would I name her, dude? She’s not my dog.

     She’s skin and bones under her fluffy fur.  I wished dog communication would truly be possible and I could read her memory. What did she go through, what is she looking for? What’s the truth of her story?  

    I offered her five different organic dog foods; I even tried a cheap brand. She looked at me, shivered and walked away.  She didn’t eat, drink or moved much. She didn’t know fetching balls or what a toy is. She shied away from other dogs and men. She seemingly never played in her life.

     I’m so sorry for you baby, of course you can sleep on my bed…

    Came Sunday and I had to excuse her as a no-show at the rescue event; she is too depressed and weak from the shelter experience and being spayed.

    Actually we had already done a walk around the lake and found that she loved my home cooked Quinoa with organic chicken and veggies. I sent the rescue my first page of her character analysis adding that I should find out more about her so that it will be easier for them to find the right adopter. I really want her to have the perfect person to love her eccentric character.  She needed a surrounding in which she could thrive.

    I had so much to do, I was never bored, rarely unhappy. I was always on. I was fine. I didn’t need her but somebody very special would. I'd bring her to the adoption fair next week.

    This was the first spring break that my son preferred to hang with his girl friend in Berkeley instead of coming home, which was of course totally okay with me. I hug my fluffy new friend: “Thanks for being here, little one”.  She licks a tear from my face. Damn, it seems I was not really okay with it. You are right, pooch. It sucks not to have anybody to care for.  It sucks not to be No 1 anymore. Freedom is cool but to be fine with being alone suddenly felt like a lie.

    The penny dropped slowly: this was a trick of my inner mischievous twin who I called Gina, my unrestricted, emotional inner child. She liked to toss sticks and stones into my tough rational ways, causing me to stumble when I didn’t listen and to provoke “mistakes” so that I’d learn and wake up from routines and perceptions; often with a black eye but also a new piece of awareness. She was usually pretty mean and now she made me cry. Let’s see what this is about. I’m experienced in analyzing myself.

     I will find the message of the dog and then we’re good. It might just be to re-enforce my emotional armor and re-affirm what’s most important at this time in my life: success of my new venture, a futuristic blog called La Femme Futura.

    Writing about stuff always helped in the past: aside of the obligatory list of pros (heart) and cons (head) I decided to dig into the trick box of my art therapy college: morning pages and inspiration boards clear our minds. All I saw was doubts. Was I living the life I dreamt of?

     

    After losing my closest people to college, other countries and cancer it had taken me three years to settle in with my reality: I walked alone. I had become the lonely tiger I had resonated with when I was 16. 

    I ran an event production company with assistants, servers and vendors who were mostly 30 years younger so were the peeps in coffee shops and seminars and many cuddled babies on their arms.

    I was surrounded by a lot of people but I didn’t have real friends. It was hard to connect when you feel like 28 but your looks doubled that and you could be a grandma. I was between chairs and had made up my mind about not fitting in. Not atypical for me;

    I felt fat when I weight 110 pounds and not good enough all my life cause I didn’t have super model genes, actually because my parents never accepted who I was. How could I not feel self conscious about lines and crows feet? Often an Alien amongst humans I had needed a bunch of booze to enjoy parties and the “normal” life. Why should that change now that I was categorized middle age and far from sex and drugs and Jaegermeister?

     

    To find the message of the dog, I needed to connect and get feedback.

     

    I had coffee with an equally unaltered 65 year old professional writer who didn’t stop mentioning how beautiful she was, how genius and smart, loved and adored and generally totally amazing. I stared at her like into the abyss; how can she be older than me and be a social butterfly reincarnate and so freaking self-confident? She advised me that I could only achieve her status by focusing on my future and not to be an Emo push over. “Don’t burden yourself with the dog! Just imagine how much organizing there’ll be and how much waste of precious time…”

     

    Life presents us with mirrors of our truth, says my personal trainer, who was working on his PHD in religious sciences, and with whom I felt comfortable enough to bitch and moan about anything

    It’s about self-love for you, he continued and made me voice something nice about myself every ten minutes. The most honest one was “I am determined”.  What did he mean with to love myself? Whatever. Let me punch the ball please!

    My trainer had advised me to break my endless deskwork with workout. I had never followed through, there was just too much to do and I got so absorbed into my online world that I forgot to move, to eat or drink water.

    “So?” he insisted ”did you do what I told you?”

    After months of “sorry, I forgot” I hear myself say “Yes, I did.”

    The dog made me do it.  We strolled around the block first thing in the morning, walked to shops so she got some action in the afternoon and ran for 30 minutes in the evening.  Dog was my fitness whip. I was happily tired in the evening and fell into bed at 11, ending my seemingly unshakable and unhealthy 2 a.m. habit. 

    “So she is good for you,” he smiles, “and she’s like you, sensitive like a princess on a pea. Why don’t you call her Anastasia?”  A princess? Not so much. The archetype of the woman I adored at this time was the sexy rebel embodied in la femme Nikita. Nikita was a cool name.

     

    Do loud speakers of our not yet admitted feelings surround us in our fellow humans? Was the law of attraction, the “secret” not that silly and the “universe” responded to my needs? We are all “one” didn’t seem so kooky anymore. We can consciously affirm every day: I want be rich and nothing happens. But what corresponds to our real needs will; be it good or bad. Manifesting happens when what we think, feel and act on is in alignment with our deepest truth.

    Listen!

    It always felt to me that we follow a script, which we are constantly re-writing while living it. We toss failed scenes into the bin and realize later they were an integral part of the whole without which we’d never would have become the heroine destined to sail into the happy end.

    I fished out the scene, where I had a puppy in my life. Having a dog wrote a different movie. Where would Nikita get me? Was she the foreshadowing I needed?

     

    When I left Nikki alone at home, she cried and I got all mushy looking at her cute face. “You are such a beautiful girl” became my daily mantra.

    It slowly dawned on me that there was a beautiful and sad little girl waiting in myself to be seen.

     

    I felt what I thought I had overcome: the pain of loss and separation and my emotional needs - including the wish to love and to be loved.

    Nikki opened the door to my heart, which I had barricaded so sternly.

     

    I was ready for another test.  How can I work, travel and do meetings and weekend seminars with her in my life? Visit my son in Seattle? I have no social network to help out…

     

    I asked for feedback. I asked for signs. I looked for practical solutions.

    At Wag Ville, a holistic doggie day care five minutes from us, Nikki was hiding from 60 happy dogs cruising the huge hall and yard for nearly the whole hour.

    Asked what I envisioned for her to learn at Wagville I heard myself: to open up, to be social and to have fun. Mirror, mirror…

    My son supported keeping her, offering to look after her if I wanted to travel. My trainer declared her to be fate. “You already named her, girl! There’s your decision.”

    Lisa, a woman I said Hi to a couple times in my writer’s café, volunteered the contact to her dog sitter, who turned out to be amazing and takes dogs over the weekends. A friend in Europe emailed a woman’s info who shipped her dogs all over the world. When I walked the hood another dog sitter handed me her card. “If you ever need help.”

    I had lived in my neighborhood for a long time and talked to more people in the two Nikki weeks than in the last 12 years. By now she bravely checked out every doggie friend she saw. And I even met this nice guy David with his cute blonde puppy…

    I re-connected with a former friend who invited me for dinner. She had a cat and Nikki couldn’t come but to chat about life on her inspiringly designed porch was – fun.

    I didn’t want to be too busy anymore; I wanted to invite people to my place, to open up. I found myself raking the yard and buying plants the next day, making my house, which I neglected for the last couple years, a happy home again.

    My house was actually cute like Nikki.

    “We need the dog this weekend,” interrupts the Facebook message, “it’s our biggest adoption event.”

    Final test: the landlord, who was happy when my rebellious Wheaten Terrier finally went to heaven. He hated her and the feeling was mutual. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t allow a Tibetan terrier.  I decided that this would be it: I’d leave the final decision to him. If he said yes it was meant to be.

     

    He said no. 

     

    I went up the wall. Forget about signs. Immediately I switched to rebel mode and checked how to get the emotional support dog license, which would make it impossible for him to intervene.

    My heart won. Nikki won. I’d fight for both of you!

    Next day the landlord changed his mind just like that and congratulated me to my new companion.

    Nikki finally arrived.

    After three week with her, we had walked around the neighborhoods’ blocks 21 and jogged the lake 10 times. I had giggled more than in the last year.

    I had cooked many lunches for her – and for myself. My care for her transferred to my own needs. Nikki didn’t like to drink water, so I told her to – and did it myself.  Finally I got my 8 glasses into the day, a very simple rule of longevity. 

     

    More and more she became for me what I was working on to be for others: a life style guru.

     

    Falling in love with my dog motivated me to embark on an elaborate one-year journey to understand and feel self-love. Nikki changed my life, she crushed my armor and made me see, listen to and feel my truth on so many levels.

     

    My dog became the snowball creating an avalanche of change.

     

    When I came home with her after my long decision battle, my neighbor smiled at me: “You look like a teenager with your dog.”

     

    Thanks universe, but I have already signed the papers.

     

    Dear Lord, I hate the robots most.

    Dear Lord, I hate the robots most

    By Angie Weihs

     

    OUTSKIRTS OF THE HIVE OF HELL

    “If God wanted us to fly like that, he would have given us wings”, mumbles one of the unkempt TruBios. He stuffs his dirty face with another handful of fatty fries and stares at the solar powered sliders cutting across the sky.

    Proud of their ancient motto: “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” TruBios wear bacteria buzzing jeans, tees and parkas; garments they had frantically saved from the worldwide clothing meltdown in 2020. The raw material drawn from a billion tons of designer fashion to JC Penny frocks was used for many 3D printing purposes like those annoyingly antiseptic spray-on suits they would never touch.

    Before biting into animal protein nobody else consumes, they form circles praying to God to take the Cyborgs away from them. And it would be nice if all those stem cell enhanced freaks and artificially grown kids found a hole to die in.

    “Dear Lord, I hate the robots most”, yells one of them. Yeah, of course, down with the robots! They took away their jobs in the first place.

    Tiny drops of sweat on her leathery skin, one of the elders raises her hand, fingernails longer than sense, and points at one of the bigger government sliders, ”There they go again. Kicking the ass of the last Crecon who's still aware!” The Govs float majestically amongst thousands of small Creative Consumer ships zooming around an endless array of high-rises. Organic shapes of white 3D printed constructions contrast old-fashioned concrete skyscrapers all mutually augmented with digital layers of information. Most of the visual enlightenment stays hidden from any refusing to have a chip implanted in their brain.

    “There!” She yells: ”The Gov lights up, I knew it. I can feel the devils.”

    “Section 3, coordinates 47/18, subject CC 1988987” The Gov accelerates into the residential area of section 3.

     

    SECTION 3

    CreCon198898, a skinny teenage girl in a lavender body suit manipulates holographic computer files in a small 3D printed, sterile living space. Lines of code run down holographic screens. Fast and focused she inhales the presented information and scribbles her own equations on a paper slim screen. 

    “Zia it is time.” Zia does not look up at her mother Amni at the door, a slim woman dressed in the same monochrome body suit with identification imprints and embedded wearable technology. Not looking at her didn’t mean that Zia wouldn’t have to hear her mom’s thoughts pushed to her via the slim silver band on their foreheads. She expects her mom to preach and yeah, there it is.

    “The council does not encourage achieving more than your assignment. Autonomy is a privilege of level one. You need to abide to the rules.”

    Like a maniac conductor Zia speeds up her computations.

    Amni just stands there and stares. There’s no lunch to pack or books to stuff into a backpack. Food is created “fresh”, what ever fresh means when it is 3D printed from algal slush, and everything else is digital. The world of stuff is over. Zia has no clue what it means to impress peers with designer wear: all 5 sections, determined by their function and value for society, are stuck into special color body suits.

    “Individuality is weakness.”

    Amni denies to herself that she has these irresponsible moments in which she dreams of silks, satins and high heels and yes, dancing on poles. She met her partner Aris when she was a dancer. She lived in the outskirts then with the Naturals, a barely tolerated community only one step above the TruBios. The best way to survive was to sell yourself to carefree rebels who could pay with stolen goods or to high level business men, rich and influential enough to visit the low life sections without risking punishment. Having sex was considered animalistic and reducing your IQ. 10 years in jail was the friendliest penalty. One of Amni’s regular rebel customers had brought his nerdy brother to the outskirts. It was his birthday and it was meant to be funny. The regular introduced them and that was it. The joke became a crazy romance, which unearthed them both. That is until Amni got pregnant, a criminal act.

    A warning shock on her wrist rips her from her daydreams.

    Whenever she is plagued by this dangerous residue of wild and emotional times she quickly injects herself with an extra syringe of the popular drug Zens. Today though she’s pressed to get Zia to school in time. Amni excels in her role, she is the public example of immaculate behavior, the best citizen of all, a poster child for the ICOIC's adaptation of Zen via cutting edge chemicals. Her story of a rebellious woman resurrected to perfect functionality through chemically subdued emotions had become an amazing piece of PR in manipulating the population. Her fervent education had made the pharmaceutical company ICOIC equal to the ruling corporation Nanotech. She was content, how could she not be? She had been reward recently: her price possession was a syringe of a highly valued concoction of life extending stem cells.

    “Zia…”

    Zia gets up and stretches her boyish body. She found a zero day exploit in Section 1’s security code; soon everyone would have access to their catalog of banned games. For a second a little smile appears on her pale face.

    “I am ready to leave, mother. I would appreciate your permission to say goodbye to Aris please.”

    Amni is appeased by the polite approach and agrees with a nod.

    Aris disconnects from the virtual worlds he is engaged in and directs his thoughts to his daughter: “My indicators predict that the ICOIC will lose the fight and the council will vote for self-conscious AI’s next week. I’ve hidden you from current tech but a free AI is limitless. Knows everything. It is almost certain that they’ll see your natural genius as a threat.”

    “No chance to hack the Exodus list and get us in?”

    “I have tried every option to get into their files; the security is so sophisticated it doesn't seem from this time and age."

    Zia giggles. "Their brain is McKinnon. I always thought he looks like an Alien. Hail Solo!”

    Aris smirks. He loves when his precocious daughter is a kid for a change. His eyes crinkle when he smiles; his crow’s feet are a tiny feature revealing his deep-seated rebellion. He is the perfectly styled nerd, but refuses the ageless face that is en vogue.

    His crow’s feet grow deeper as his face lights up to a huge grin.

    "Zia, we might have a chance! TrueBios just bombed a work hall and 50 of the accepted techs were killed. It’s not cool to profit from other humans disaster but this is it. I will apply for us to be assimilated as maintenance crew. I’ll have to re-appropriate Nano tech to get us up to speed with space ship tech but at least we’ve got a chance.”

    Zia loves her rebel dad, he’ll be so totally Ninja and steal Nano tech from under the tight control of NanoCorp.

    “But how would you convince Amni to upgrade? She preaches that Nanos ruin humanity. She is so stupid.”

    ”Never forget Zia that you and I live because she took all the blame. I can’t imagine how empty she must feel in this trance of emotion control.”

    "If she would know that you hacked our Emocs would she rat us out?”

    “I don’t know, Zia. I believe that there’s a remnant of her old self that would prevent that. When we get away from this planet we'll get your mom back.”

    He acknowledges Amni who is gesturing him to let her go.

    “Right now you’ll have to do your exodus to school.”

    On her way to the door she turns around and shoots him another thought.

    “Why don’t you contact Zapher?”

    “It’s too dangerous. And don’t use names of rebels ever. Even if private quarters are off the surveillance grid I doubt…”

    The calming pastel colors of ever changing fractals on the digital walls of the room are interrupted by a shrill beep followed by a threatening voice: “Do you yearn to be eliminated?”

    RF44, a group of nerdy rebels managed to hack the net again. Images of a mass-produced Android Model 3 killing humans flood the room.

    “Crecons wake up: Why do you think the ICOIC is leaving the planet with a million Crecons? Because they know that self-aware Androids will destroy us. NanoCorp officials are 70% Cyborg, they will thrive, you will lose. When AI rules you will be worth as much as lice…”

    The beautiful pastels swirl back.

    Concerned, Amni checks Zia’s emotion control, it’s still in the accepted zone.

    “I am glad that you don’t believe the rebels. You are in such balance, I am proud of you.”

    THE SLIDER

    Aris stares at his screens where the probability of NanoCorp’s victory just jumped to 92%. They had moved swiftly and linked the RF44 announcement to the terrorist attack by the TruBios, associating the ICOIC with murderers and elevating the AI to saviors. The fight between the two corporations was over. The cyborg fraction, many of them married to Androids, will win.

    "Damn. So smart and yet so gullible."

    A metallic hum gets louder and stops in front of their cubicle.

    He shoots Zia a last thought. ”I’ll get us in.” As Zia was too far away, Amni also caught it. About to enter the public space under official surveillance she chooses to be oblivious of their secret.

    As their living space is programmed to respond to basic needs, the doors open when they come closer. Alerted Zia stares at the slider's graphics: two intertwined snakes winding up a silver post and holding a glowing cell; the ICOIC's logo. Two humanoid robots in black suits, augmented by a layer of holographic information, appear from the government slider. 

    Zia and Amni step aside.

    Zia’s mind raced. What provoked this intrusion? Was it her fault, the red flag word Zapher? If RF44’s propaganda was true they were screwed; they had been heard. “Privacy, your ass,” was broadcasted via screen hack a month ago. Swearing and roughness sadly is one of the rebels’ big problems. “By the love of AI,” the sophisticated population shakes their bold heads in disbelief. “How profane!”

    The doors slide shut behind the robots. ICO665, its name on its digital field, explains their visit in a monotone and pleasantly soft voice.

    “The child CC198898 is chosen to leave with generation space ship ICOIC 13 on 2045-4-13 at zero seven hours. Please provide her life tablet and congratulate her on her departure.”

    Zia steps behind Aris. “Not without you.”

    “You do not have the right to separate family units. If you want our daughter we will leave with her.”

    “You are section 3 units and not allowed to join Exodus. You do not own sufficient life span and will only be considered for IQ enhancement in 2050. You would jeopardize the mission. Your child has been bestowed a great honor. It is time for you to rejoice.”

    “Thank you for the information.” Amni’s voice sounds even more contrived than usually and harsh compared to the soft spoken robots. “We are aware of our specs. But may I remind you respectfully that we are a unit and as one member of our unit is of value to you we demand with all due respect, that you request our necessary upgrades and the approvals to join Exodus. I am a rewarded educator…”

    “No exceptions. Deliver the child. Please.”

    Aris steps in front of the females. “Amni, Zia, I resolve this.” He waits that the door to Zia’s quarters slides shut behind them.

    CO666 links to the central. “Section 3, coordinates 47/18. Our order incurs resistance, please advise.”

    The ICOIC logo shows up on all screen walls around them. A perfectly symmetric ageless male face with flawless skin appears. Below his face a banner reads: Viz Venotius, CEO, International Council of the Immortal Cell.

    His honey smooth voice sings a magical mantra.

    “Greetings units. The ICOIC extends a special honor to you. Your child is one of 144 womb grown children chosen to seed galaxy Venotia 7. Their genetic variations are an important variable in our quest to create a highly evolved yet peaceful society.“

    Aris bends his head lightly to show subordination. “Chancellor Venotius, your presence in our humble quarters is a great honor.  We are extremely grateful for our daughter to be chosen by the ICOIC but it is against our society’s ethics, your own rules, to separate caregivers from their children. We have been outstanding servants to society, why the punishment?”

    “The council congratulates you to the great honor bestowed upon your descendent. Thank you for serving the new world.”

    “With deepest respect, sir, we decline.”

    The recording shuts off. Aris hands contract to fists; he was not losing his daughter.

    “Resistance against orders of the council is illegal. The council politely demands that you hand over the child’s life tablet and release her. Noncompliance is, unfortunately, futile and with our apologies, your arrest is imminent.”

    Aris’ fingers rush over his computer screen calling the legal assistance for sector 3.

    A warning flashes across the robots’ holo layer: subject non-compliance, force authorized.

    ICO665 points his gun at Aris. “For the last time. Provide her tablet. Now. Be so kind. Please.”

    ICO666 soft voice adds: “To assist with your decision please be aware of rule EI7: Humans are to be eliminated after prolonged non-compliance.“

    There's no time to sort this out. Aris agrees. He pulls two tablets out of a metallic interactive amenity cube. Years of suppressed rage explode and override all rationality, in a desperately furious attempt he frisbees the unbreakable metallic tablets towards the robots’ foreheads. One is hit at its weak point in the middle of his forehead, a design flaw which hackers had recently discovered in the 600 series: a sudden high impact above the main control chip could disable these older robots models temporarily. ICO666 shuts off, the other avoids the blow and a brilliant beam hits Aris’ chest. He collapses on the floor.

    On ICO665’s holo layer in red: Aris, Crecon 28998, eliminated. RIP. The courteous killer moves amazingly fast and silently, just emitting barely audible squeaks from his 3D printed joints. In a matter of seconds he enters the adjacent room, stun guns Amni against the wall and grabs the petrified kid.

    When Zia sees her dad on the floor she screams: “Wake up mom. Wake the hell up!”

    They exit. The metallic hum of the slider fades.

    Amni stumbles into the room towards her partner. The pain slashes her emotional armor into bits; she feels naked, raw, a woman who is nothing without her unit. She will end her life, there is nothing left for her. She sinks down besides him.

    “Amni.“

    Aris is paralyzed but fully conscious. Amni pulls herself up and stares at him. She caresses the crow’s feet under his eyes and feels so incredibly stupid that she never saw any signs of his defiance. She missed out on a life with the man she once loved and the child she cherished. This sharp pain in her heart is scientifically irrelevant, why does it take her breath?

    She touches her wet face. Her disbelief is followed by fear: CreCons don’t cry.

    “My chest is exploding, I cannot control my emotions. Everything looks different, feels different…” A bright flash, pain, Amni shivers from the electric shock of her control unit.

    “You have to manipulate your Emoc or the squad will be here in no time. There’s an encrypted file on my computer …”

    With Aris guidance she hacks her emotion control. Torn by contradicting feelings she forces herself to pull her valuable syringe from the storage cube. She turns around to Aris to inject him.

    “Do not waste it. My system is 80% damaged. Stem cells are too late for me.”

    “What are we supposed to do?”

    Aris points at his life gram, which projects 12 minutes to death. “There’s little time. It’s up to you to protect her.”

    “You are not dying. You cannot leave me. We are specialized units. You compliment my knowledge. I’m not strong enough on my own.”

    “Amni, calm down. You have to listen.”

    He reveals to her that Zia is a biological genius well beyond anything produced by the multi-billion dollar government eugenics program. “She’s the perfect test subject. Who knows what experiments they’ll put her through.”

    “Does Zia know all this?”

    “She is aware of her capabilities and - she knows about Zapher.” The rebel Amni had written so much propaganda against, was his brother who had gone underground shortly after they met and had renamed himself Zapher.

    “He is your only chance. Download my memory and skill set. My nanos will give you access to tech you need. You will find the info on the forbidden zone and Zapher’s hideout in my files. The decryption key is |-|4!1 5010.”

    “You taught Zia, didn’t you? You couldn’t tell me, because I would have… I would have requested her re-education. I am a failure to both of you. Why did you stay with me?”

    ”How could I leave you alone in the hands of the ICOIC? I was waiting for the day to free you. Please Amni, you have to get going. Open the cube, I will guide you through assembling the transfer tech.”

    ”I cannot do this. I can’t empty you. You will be left with just your physical memories and skills, a ghost of yourself.”

    “Amni, I will be dead in - 8 minutes. Make my existence count. I will be with you both forever. Hurry! “

    Transferring nanos is a hack punished with on-sight extermination. She assembles the necessary tech, seemingly random pieces Aris collected for possible emergencies and which on their own did not raise any suspicion. Following his instructions she activates his ports and connects herself to three of them with trembling hands.

    “Think of this as your second chance to have a daughter. This time you need your feelings. Their power will fuel your fight to get Zia back as much as you need the tech.”

    His life gram shows 3-2...

    ”I never stopped loving you.”

    ZERO.

    She trembles as she siphons Aris’ knowledge from his dead body. In a couple of minutes all nanos would have registered his death and self-destruct.

     

    UNDERGROUND TUNNELS

    Amni slides down a metal post and lands in a dimly lit underground metal cage.

    A bunch of rough punks and space-age nerds point all kinds of guns at her: contemporary wave guns, chemical weapons, even a 45 revolver. Dressed in an eclectic mix of retro leather, lab grown and plastic type materials, some fire and chemical resistant, they show no signs of wearable tech.

    Amni’s suit is disabled. Nobody can be traced down here.

    How did she know how to find them? Was this a government set up? They push her into an old fashioned but effective scanner, which looks like the hack of an old photo booth. No traces of explosives or bio weapons are found on her.

    “Why shouldn't we shoot you, bitch?”

    “Use your vocal cords. If you know what that is. We don’t have freaking implants. We don’t hear you in our fucking heads.”

    “We might push you around but we don’t push info into your fucking brain.”

    Roaring laughter.

    Amni clears her throat. Her voice sounds brittle at first. “I am here to see Zapher.”

    Guns rise simultaneously. At the mention of Zapher the mirth is gone.

    “And who the fuck are you?” says the only punk who hadn’t laughed with the others, snake tattoos winding up his forearms.

    She feels the self-confidence of Aris capacities and looks sternly into the man’s eyes, “Aris sends me.”

    He silently motions to one of the nearby men who runs inside, a messenger sent by foot instead of light.

    The guys are rattled; they all talk at the same time.

    “Aris? So you’re the whore he left us for? The succubus who seduced him to raise an illegal human-grown child while everyone else has to beg for their lab baby? Did you ever wonder why they didn’t kill it?”

    The messenger runs back and whispers to the tattooed man. “Well looks like it’s your lucky day whore, Zapher will see you.” They open the cage, push her down a long hallway that opens into a former subway station packed with a huge array of stolen technology with the logos of NanoCorp and ICOIC on many items, a makeshift laboratory.

    Zapher, a physically stunning man, a muscular version of Aris just mentally a tad on the edge, rides on a mechanical thrown; he makes the chair jump, lift up, hover; an absurd techno dance, which stops right in front of her. Stares close up into her face. “Amni? Yes. It is you. Not a ghost. Not a hologram. I wished I could say you look well.” He shakes his head, the chair jumps back to where he started. “You guys never call, you guys never visit. Silence for all these years. What have I ever done to you? I am not happy, not happy at all.”

    “Aris needed to protect us – and you. You kill innocent people. I would never have condoned such acts. I would have given you up.”

    “Murdering innocents? We’re not morons like TrueBios. We only attack the leading corporations who made you their little programs. ICOIC Zen freaks or Nano freaks, it’s inhumane if you can’t think for yourself. We’re trying to wake you up. When did you ever make a decision of your own?”

    “I guess I just did. I am here, am I not? I need your help. I need upgrades. And a hack into Exodus.”

    Zapher laughs his particular sarcastic laugh. “Of course, deary, you want something. You’re not here for a Cappuccino. But you are class 3, you are not allowed Cyborgian parts. Why would Miss perfectly subdued want my evil stolen tech? With all that immoral blood on it?”

    “Emotion control was my price to pay to keep my daughter. Now they kidnapped her to leave with Exodus - in six days. I have to get on the ship…”

    "What is Aris going to do? Why did he send you?"

    "The ICOIC killed him."

    He jumps off the chair and walks up and down, the stalking quiet rage of a tiger in a cage. “Fuck. Aris is dead?”

    He kicks the desk with his army boots. Screams. “Fuck. We never fought it out, Aris. Fuck. “

    He points a gun at her. “He is gone. Forever. You tamed my brother. You took my brother away from me. I won’t help you. Ever. I hate you.”

    He wiggles the gun frantically and then shoots one of 144 teddy bears hanging from the ceiling; the room fills with polyester snow muddied by dust and gunpowder.

    Amni brushes the bits off. “You hate me, fine. We both hate the ICOIC. You have to help me. Do it for Aris’ daughter.”

    Zapher’s voices vibes hysteria. “Oh, you’re funny. I don’t even know the kid. You never let me see my brother’s child. Get out off my sight. Before I lose it.”

    He gestures his guys to take her away. They grab her by the arms and push her to the exit.

    Amni furiously pushes them off and runs back to him yelling into his face. ”I need 20% physical enhancements and a chip in my brain. I need 70 life span units. You fucking need to do this”.

    “Olala. chica. Gotten fierce? A true Desperada.” Grinning he tosses her a cowboy hat, which he grabbed from a junk-overloaded shelf.

    ”You are the only one I know outside the system, the only one who can do it. We saved 10,000 credits. I have a syringe of stem cells. They are yours.”

    Zapher grunts.

    “Please, that’s all I have.“

    “You are seriously annoying. Put the hat on, c’mon put it on.” She does. “See? Fantastic. Okay then. I can get you the physical upgrades and the fucking chip. Only because you yelled so anti Crecon-like. By Jupiter, I hate those chanting ICOIC fucks even more than the Cyborg creeps.”

    He stops. Ponders. Looks at her as if she is a danger to his health. “But Lifespan? You’re looking for Lifespan? Are you completely wacko? Life is the domain of NanoCorp. They’re ruthless. They protect their patent like the holy grail. Which it is. The holy union of nanos and stemcells… This stuff made them Gods. Even we couldn’t fetch a couple of those goodie bags. My attempt killed half my crew.”

    His guys push her back towards the door.

    “Your crew was killed, your brother murdered. You must want revenge. I do anything, please.”

    “Oh yes, I will get revenge. Mother killed herself when gigolo dad left her with twins, fucking coward. Aris and I grew up in the slums with the fucking TrueBios. We made it out. We even survived getting degrees.” He grins with fond memories.

    He slams his forehead against the wall. “Now Aris is dead because of you and your daughter.”

    He wipes the blood from the scratch on his forehead.

    “Ooops, a moment of enlightenment. Pain can do that to you. You might be lucky after all. I’ve got one deal for you. My girl Serenity gets you a meet with Cyme, NanoCorp’s leader. He’s a sex freak and paying big to get it up again. His sex bots don’t do it for him anymore. He needs to be fired up to climb those. As he despises low lives like the Naturals he wouldn’t touch their whores, but a CreCon educator with a dark soul, hell, that would be something! I figure he’ll pay well.”

    “Strip? For chancellor Cyme? You are insane.”

    “Of course I am, the only way to make it in this world. Insanity works since nobody expects it. So what do you say? You poison this creep and his fucking palace crew. That’ll give us a short window for Serenity to get life span for all of us. When I get my stuff, I’ll do your other upgrades.”

    “Serenity does not exist, it's anti government propaganda.”

    Zapher bleats like a sheep. “Baaaa. She exists all right. And her juicy sexbots.” He snaps his fingers and two gorgeous android robot ladies stilt by, curves clad in designer fashion, breath taking legs ending in breathtaking vintage heels…”

    “They must cost millions, how did you…”

    “Nanocorp is the ruler of the not-free world. I’m the ruler of the black market. Sexbots are the hottest item on my shelves. Did you have sex with Aris after the anti copulation law? Or did you believe that passion reduces your intelligence and gave it up?” He laughs out loud.

    “Let me see: you never wondered why they allowed you to birth your illegal child. Bing, bing. Not a miracle. Must disappoint you. You didn’t win the prize. They experimented with your daughter. They all but drowned her with drugs and your kid became one of the valuable survivors of their test run. You think they gave her a seat in Exodus by chance? She’s a pampered lab rat. Number 44.”

    Her heart rates drops. The room spins around her. 

    “Aris was our best hacker. Was he too afraid to look for the truth? Or did he hide this from you?”

    She sinks into a chair; he lied about so much, did he know this?

    Zapher grins satisfied. That was almost too easy. He will destroy this chick - after using her.

    His faint ranting enters her consciousness. “… millions of high IQ idiots… controlled by their jump suits… sedatives…. Fucking Nazi Cyborgs!!”

    She jolts up. “Who the fuck cares? Tell me what to do. I’ll stab Cyme to death with a knife if I have to.”

    “Please don’t make me like you.”

    He continues to his guys: “Fix her up with a monitoring chip. Get Serenity on the black channel. Tell her I found the one, she will know what to do.” Back to Amni. You better polish up your dancer skills, you’ll be rusty after 13 years.”

     

    UNDERGROUND LAB, two nights later.

    Serenity, their beloved provider of sexbots, is allowed into the upper class sections. She delivers Amni to Cyme’s mansion. She cruises the neighborhood, watching the action via Amni’s monitor; waiting for her moment to get the lifespan Zapher is after.

    Zapher’s crew observes the same show via holo screen: Amni checks on herself in a metal/acrylic bathroom. She looks amazingly sensual in her luxurious renaissance themed outfit.

    A beep in her head: the sign that Zapher successfully hacked the mansion’s cameras, which will be off for just 5 seconds. She pulls a capsule out of the lipstick and squeezes it into a slim astral blue vent, which runs through all walls of the palace supplying high oxygen air making the Cyborg lungs more efficient. The virus will be delivered in 15 minutes, enough time for her to get out.

    She lines her lips when the sliding door opens.

    Three handsome bodyguards guide her to Cyme who approves of her looks with a satisfied smirk.

    She steps on a sensual little stage they built for her, including red lights, pole and all… Her snakelike moves make him drool and he shivers lustfully when the first pieces of her elaborate outfit drop.

    He can’t hold onto himself, steps onto the stage and hands her a drink. The androids join them.

    Amni sips from the thin crystal - slap - one of the bodyguards smacks it into her face, it breaks, the drink spills... Cyme grins and pulls a small piece of glass from her cheek. He licks her blood.

    Aghast Zapher and his guys stare at the screen where images are rushing in and out while she is pushed, beaten and smashed against the wall… Blood runs down her arms when the guys chain her to the bedposts.

    Cyme, drooling with sadistic joy, jumps on top of her, ready to rip her remaining bloody cloths off. His sweaty face bobs above her… Slower and slower, till he falls on top of here. With her last remaining strength she pulls at her chains.

    Zapher and his men are stumped. It’s over. They disable the security system for Serenity to get the tech.

    “We win, she loses. It’s too bad really. She was a fighter. Lets thank her.”

    Expensive French cognac bottles are raised. The dark yellow gold warms their bodies – they set the bottles down astonished that the screen becomes alive again. A new viewpoint shows the messy bedroom; dead bodies on the floor or hanging over furniture.

    Amni’s monitor shows a female face bending down to her. A fist holding a syringe shows them a manicured finger.

    “Damn. Serenity isn’t happy.”

     

    SECOND REVIVAL

    A couple hours later and Zapher’s guys are trying to save Amni, who Serenity saved with an antidote. Barely conscious she lies on a metal slab for the procedures.

    Zapher runs her specs on his holo screen: it looks bad.

    One of the medics shakes his head. “Count down is on, boss. Lift off is in 148 hours. I don’t know how well we can patch her up. Some upgrades might be temporary.”

    Serenity oozes with sensuality on Zapher’s throne. “You better. I take care of my ladies, especially the brave ones. I want this woman on that ship. She will be an ally.” She runs her hands down her perfect body, caressing her perfect curves: “You’ve got a lot to lose if you don’t.”

    She scrolls through hundreds of Exodus-accepted females. She points at the screen. “This one. Make her look like this one and get this chick over here and out of the equation.” The woman looks similar to Amni and is listed as an ICOIC scientist. They will have to also transfer her scientific knowledge, which luckily is one of the lesser tasks for the life-long hackers. They are long prepared for the procedure, having the same plan for the whole crew - 24 scientists from the Exodus list will be kidnapped, last minute to avoid them being reported, and exchanged with Zapher’s crewmembers.

    Amni’s tortured body lifts up in pain when Zapher rearranges her broken nose and broken ankle. Her right hand is a smashed bloody mess.

    Syringes splash the stemcell cocktail on countless of cuts and bruises. They connect her to various infusions and spike her with acupuncture needles.

    A half tube closes over her. A low electrical current activates the needles.

    The holo screen starts a count down. 144 hours to go in which she will endure 7 surgeries.

     

    EXODUS. SHIP NO 12

    Amni, toned, her skin immaculate, her features polished stands motionless in an upright holographic tube, scans run up and down, calculations show up. The fake identity works: the scan results read as accepted. Coordinates in the holo field request her to leave to her quarters.

    A moment of doubt runs over her face when one of the robots pays attention to her: ICO666. She enters a long hallway leading to the labs. Her digital guide announces that she took the wrong way. She asks for permission to visit her work place first as work comes before comfort. It’s granted. As she suspected, the robot follows her. Her DNA code let’s her enter the lab. She hacks the security system and shuts down the surveillance of the room. The robot walks by countless chemical vials locked into acrylic drawers; genetic sequences of millions of people tested for the trip. It suddenly freezes, eyes glaze over white and it’s holo screen shuts down. Amni pulls her artificial hand out of its back, pushes it over, jumps on its chest, rips its “brain” open and removes the memory and recording chip. Never destroy any data that might one day be useful.

    Her digital eyes scan her surroundings and reality is overlaid with holographic information and analyses; Zapher had made her a 70% Cyborg with full tech power and the entire emotional spectrum.

    Love, hate and holy tech make for a trinity to reckon with.

    Her security hack, masked as a localized system failure will be overridden any second. She activates a hover board to move the robot into a trash slot; non-repairable, meltdown required.

    She manipulates the holo files like a maniac conductor. She rushes by dozens of profiles of lab kids and finds Zia in a virtual space, a re-creation of their former home.

    Amni’s hack shows up on Zia’s screens walls like the hack of RT44 before her abduction.

    |-|4!1 5010.”

    A smile flickers on Zia’s pale face.

    “Hail Solo.”

     

    Copyright Angie WeihsWGA registration number: 1780582