Every Friday night we feature a short story, essay, personal narrative, poem,
spoken word, or short film for your enjoyment.
Tonight’s flash fiction is from Becky Robison
“Looking for lodgings?” asks your phone. “Attempting to locate comfortable rooms at an affordable price?”
You know it is your phone and not your mother because only your phone would use such formal language. Also because your mother has been dead for fourteen years. You figure your phone has chosen your mother’s voice because your mother cared about you, because she wouldn’t want you living in your ex-boyfriend’s truck. You want to reassure your phone-mom that this is a temporary situation, but you’re not sure.
You are aware that you should ignore the message because it’s from the government. Only the government and a few select companies have that kind of access to phones, and the only housing you’d qualify for is government housing. Part of you thinks this would be better than living in your ex-boyfriend’s truck, especially because government housing comes standard with food credits, and you’re hungry. But government housing doesn’t come standard with internet, and without internet you’d basically die. You can’t do your job without internet, or get off without internet–same thing, really. You also can’t video chat with your ex-boyfriend to convince him that you still love him so he’ll let you keep the truck.
You stole the truck because he wanted to get married and because the truck has internet. Your ex-boyfriend still pays for it.
Your job is reviewing tech-free porn movies. You think it’s hot when people fuck the old-fashioned way. So does your ex-boyfriend, which is why you started dating in the first place. He read your reviews, commented on them all. Problem was he never wanted to go there. Sure, it’s risky, and it’s a pain to remove all the equipment, but you wanted to do more than fantasize about all-natural sex.
Facing a lifetime of cold, whirring, mechanical connection horrified you. Horrifies you. You want hot-sweat-skin-hair-juice-germs-squelch-throb-real love, not metal-wire-sterile-designed-by-scientists-for-maximum-pleasure-modern love. You can’t love someone who won’t touch you.
You might love his truck, though. It’s an older model, with seat heaters. You turn them on when you watch your movies, and it’s almost like you can feel your blood pulsing down there.
Originally from Chicago, Becky Robison is a recent graduate of the Creative Writing MFA program at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her work has also appeared in Paper Darts and PINBALL.