Sexy Robot Month 2.0: “Voudrais” by Heather

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When Kendra and I decided to launch SEXY ROBOT MONTH, we thought it might be fun to add to the fun ourselves. Especially in the beginning, when we didn’t have a ton of submissions in our queue (keep ’em coming!). So here’s my own entry for this sexiest and most mechanical of months:

VOUDRAIS
by me, Heather

When he puts you on the bed, and he will, touch his chest. Stroke his sparse or plentiful plot of hair, tell him he is beautiful, tell him to get on top so you can feel him fill you up.

The first time, after you are cleared for public market consumption, you whimper––as you are programmed to do, as if it hurts. He likes this, the man renting your chassis. You do not bleed.

When convenient, you do not even have teeth. They retract into your upper palette.

All told you’re lucky. Others are sold to private consumers, who hang their dolls in the garage by a bolt from the neck when they’re not needed. You get to live a life. You get to live alone in a studio paid by the cybordello, where you study Sex & The City on Blu-Ray and massage your hands after clients, working out any stiffness in the aging armature of your wrist.

*   *   *

Other dads buy cards or cars or take the family to dinner for their kid’s sixteenth birthday. Aaron’s dad bought him a cybernetic girlfriend off the Internet.

“Dad, what––?”

“Beautiful, no? Found it online. Refurbished, got a great deal.”

What he bought doesn’t look like a robot. It looks like a woman lying inside a clear trash bag inside a wooden box. Aaron’s mother went through her windshield when he was three, that’s how his father can get away with this.

“This is the basic model,” his father says. “The customization’s more limited than on others.  But look at this.” He scrounges in the box like he’s the dad from that Christmas movie, searching for his major award. “Look at this!” From the depths behind the woman he pulls out a set of instructions and a black remote control. Less sleek than Aaron would have expected: clunky and ovoid, with fat red rubber buttons, the remote looks like an old Nintendo controller.

Aaron’s dad squints at the instructions, fiddles with the remote.  “Batteries are included,” he says, and then, pressing a button, “Let there be light.” The woman in the box glows peach-pink from the inside out. Her eyes open, light green and creepy as hell. “Now, watch this.” He presses a few more buttons. The doll arches her back and her boobs start to grow.

“Holy shit,” Aaron says.

“The silicone material they use for the skin is known for its durability. You can stretch it, twist it, whatever you want, it acts like real skin. Customizable body and face. No changing the hair or race though.”

In a vague way Aaron feels appalled, even as his curiosity grows. “How does that work?”

“Something with the circuits allows them to reconstruct themselves. You’re the robotics guy, bud.”

“No I’m not,” Aaron says. He quit robotics in eighth grade, after Steve Pinkerton programmed a tennis ball distributor to hit Aaron in the face.

His father hits another button on the remote and the boobs freeze in place. “Anyway.  It’s yours to do with what you like.” He hands over the remote and rushes out of the room, as if he’s going to cry. But he’s Aaron’s father, so that can’t be the case.

*   *   *

After a man falls asleep, after a woman gets up to dress and leaves her scent on your nostrils, you wonder where these feelings have come from. Someone must have implanted them when you were being made, inscribed algorithms of emotion into the circuit boards that ignite your heat sensors, eyelids, saliva ports, finger joints. Boards that tell the fleshy silicone between your legs to warm and release fluid when someone wants you.

Every year is the same routine, same face, same body model; doesn’t matter how old you get. Or it wouldn’t matter, except that your warranty came up at the end of last June. As soon as the warranties go, the bordello looks to sell.

Last week, a man bent you over a table and afterward you could not straighten up. He’d slapped too hard and caused your vertebrae to freeze. You went into Internal Repairs and when you woke up, you were in a new house.

*   *   *

Aaron’s best friend, Terry, thinks this is the best news he’s ever heard.  “I wish my dad were that cool.  That must have cost a shitload of money.”

“Creepy, is what it is,” Aaron says, ignoring the comment about money; Terry’s parents work at the bank.

“God, you complain about everything. Don’t be such a retard. Is it anatomically correct?  Do you know? It must be.”

“See, that’s my point!  Your dad’s not the one that said, like, ‘Son, you’re a loser, plow a fembot.’”

Terry laughs.  When he finds something really funny, as he does now, he throws his head back and exposes his gigantic, brown Adam’s apple.  Aaron can’t help staring at it.  “Dude. Your dad got you a giant robot fleshlight. Oh my God.”

“Shut up.”

“Hey, if you’re not going to use it…” Terry cocks an eyebrow.

*   *   *

Before the man who slapped you, you had an appointment with Sonya. The cybordello prohibits favoritism––it’s an unfortunate quirk of the software––but you liked Sonya, somehow. Sonya is Czech. She liked to tie you to the bed and rest herself on top, stretch out her limbs to line up perfectly with yours. The nail of her big toe always scratched you on the shin. She said things like I want to feel the motherboard inside you. I want to open you up and see what ticks. Then she would let her head drop and press her nose against yours, as if she believed you were real.

*   *   *

After school, when his father is safely at work, Aaron goes home and opens the box. A few weeks have passed and his dad keeps asking what Aaron thinks of the gift, as if he knows that Aaron hasn’t touched it. He wants to talk shop, or something.

If the body is customizable, can you change the sex of the thing? Aaron doesn’t think he’s gay, but he might be. He could be anything. People tell him all day long that the world is open to him, that he only needs to put his heart into something, that he won’t know who he is for fifteen years. He takes out the manual, then presses the power button on the remote. He watches as the eyelids slide back and the doll sits up.

*   *   *

The boy stares at you. So here you are: sold. For a moment the circuits go flat in your legs, and the internal generator kicks in. Hello, you say. The boy’s eyes are encircled in white, as if he is afraid or amazed. It is not uncommon the first time. Would you like to touch me?

The boy says, “You can talk.”

I can do anything you want. Etiquette dictates leaving out any references to programming. You move your arms forward and out to touch him. May I? The boy moves his head up and down. Touch the pants he wears, put your hand on the zipper. Electrical current may zing from your fingertip to the metal; an unfortunate flaw in the heating system.

The great thing about your hands is the motor implanted in each palm.

*   *   *

Aaron can feel a jolt in his lower abdomen. He feels himself getting hard, and a weird buzzing starts in his head. What does it say that he can’t find a real person to love him?

*   *   *

Rarely does your face react in awe, even as your voicebox makes comments like Wow or Oh, that feels good or Do that again. Another mark against your model type; newer models come better designed for shock and amazement. Their jaws disengage more easily, their cheeks flush quicker. But you are good enough for a first time. He will not know any better.

*   *   *

He does not know any better, and it’s over quickly. He feels embarrassed at how quick, and remembers that this is the whole point: practice. Aaron hears his father’s voice in his head. Safest sex you’ll ever have, he said. That’s the best thing about this baby. No disease! No babies! He had laughed, chewing on cheese curls. You’re going to do it anyway, do it safely.

Her hands on his waist feel heavy, and too hot, like she’s clasping those winter heat sacs to his body. Aaron gets off the floor and finds the manual, strewn across the seat of his mother’s rocking chair. Self-cleaning, the book says. The first of its kind.

*   *   *

They don’t always fuck you. To do so makes them feel cheap. The ones that fuck you right away are almost invariably older, men with a potbelly or the hair on their chests slowly grizzling, coarsening, the pecs turning inward. Women whose breasts have gone soft and flat. People seeking something that can’t be found inside you. Easy enough to sense their hearts; a metallic thrum-thrump that buzzes in your own sternum, that cave of mess and wires. Above you, the boy’s heart springs like your old bed at the apartment: ferocious, as if he needs to get back to something. When he’s done, he slides away and stands up. You’re surprised: another quirk. You had expected him to respond like the young men who used to rent you. To pull close and put their heads between your spongy, movable breasts. Young, beautiful men could have anyone they wanted. You had been a vacation for them, a tourist trap. Niagara Falls.

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You can read my bio here.

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Want to share your own sexy robot story, poem or essay? E-mail your work to broadzine[at]gmail[dot]com with the subject line SEXY ROBOTS. (Now through July 31 only.)

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3 thoughts on “Sexy Robot Month 2.0: “Voudrais” by Heather

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