Heavy Petting in 2212
By Frank Grigonis
"That's the prettiest one I've ever seen! Can I touch it?" exclaimed the stunning coed as she approached the kiosk.
"Of course," said Manto, admiring her blue eyes and caramel-hued complexion, a popular DNA pairing option in the year 2212. He motioned for her to sit down on the recycled plastic chair next to him.
"This must be the most realistic creature at this science fair," chirped Manta, fixing her blue eyes directly onto his, "Why, it's without a doubt the most realistic bio-bot I've ever seen," she added while stroking its long, sleek, black fur.
"She's not a bio-bot," said Manto, trying to sound nonchalant.
"Oh, she must be a clone then."
"Yes, of a creature that lived before the Great War." He extended his hand to share in the petting.
"She must have cost a fortune," said Manta.
"Fortunately, my father has one of those," said Manto smugly as he let his hand "accidently" brush against hers. Her smile went up a notch.
"Were they all…killed in the war?" she inquired.
"What do you mean?" asked Manta thoughtfully. Manto’s instincts told him not to elaborate, and when Manta closed her eyes, he knew he didn’t have to be the bearer of bad news to such a beauty because she was accessing her intranet for the answer. Instantly Manta was there, over a hundred years in the past, virtually seeing the mushroom clouds, smelling the burning flesh, touching what felt like her own swollen, blotchy skin. Panoramas of hungry bands of survivors passed before her inner eye, survivors who had no choice but to eat anything they could kill, including each other.
Her face grew more and more pale as she took in as much as she could take, then Manta opened her eyes.
"I understand now," she said, quickly recovering her composure. It wasn't the first horror she had virtually experienced while researching history.
"Even so," she added, "I would hate to be that desperate to even think of…hurting one of these beautiful and valuable creatures."
"They weren’t very valuable then…financially; I mean, people had trouble giving them away sometimes; and, if they couldn’t find homes for them--"
"O—WHAT THE?!" exclaimed Manta, jerking her dainty hand away from the creature.
Manto started to laugh but then stopped himself. "It’s ok. Nothing's wrong," he said in a soothing tone of voice.
"But what's it doing?"
"It’s purring. It means she likes you," said Manto reassuringly.
"Purr…ing," said Manta, savoring the strange word. The creature looked up at Manta and mesmerized her with the beauty of its green eyes, which to her looked eerily like the eyes of a Teddy Bear--an archaic toy she'd once researched on her intranet.
"Will they ever sequence more of these purring creatures?" she inquired.
"I'm sure they will, and, over time, the prices will go down, then—"
"Then maybe I can have one…someday?" she asked.
"Maybe sooner than you think," said Manto, "accidentally" brushing his hand against hers.
- - -
Frank Grigonis would likely be considered just another superfluous bio-unit by the rulers of this aching Earth. He doesn't agree and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or friended on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/frank.grigonis
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Heavy Petting in 2212
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