Plugs

Jonathan Wood’s story “Notes on the Dissection of an Imaginary Beetle” from Electric Velocipede 15/16 is available online.

Read Daniel Braum’s story Mystic Tryst at Farrgo’s Wainscot #8.

Ken Brady’s latest story, “Walkers of the Deep Blue Sea and Sky” appears in the Exquisite Corpuscle anthology, edited by Jay Lake and Frank Wu.

Kat Beyer’s Cabal story “A Change In Government” has been nominated for a BSFA award for best short fiction.

Attention Whores

by Ken Brady

Roddy looks up and there she is: an image of perfection in a blue sequined party dress, body stacked and toned to porn star perfection, auged tits pushed up and bathed in disco ball light, lip LEDs and corneal lasers flashing a come hither look that would lead most any man around by the cock and make him denounce family, friends, and god of choice for a fifteen minute pleasure romp between her legs.

So, really, Roddy can’t help but look.

But when you’re flat broke and trying to find your missing daughter, the last place you want to be is a dance club. The last thing you want to do is walk up to the most expensive girl in the room and stare. The last mistake you want to make is getting caught stealing glances you can’t afford. There are lots of lasts to avoid when you’re hanging on by your fingernails.

She knows he’s looking and flashes a diamond smile. Roddy’s cash meter dips in response. Gone are the days of you can look but you can’t touch. Now it’s you can look if you have cash and you can touch if you’ve got the credit.

His gaze lingers on her chest long enough for him to get special attention from her augs. She grows another half a cup size and bounces a little for effect. As she debits Roddy’s account again, it drops dangerously low. He looks away, but too late. She moves closer to him.

“Hey,” she says.

He looks down, but is distracted by a line of cute pink arrows that dance playfully up her bare legs, moving toward the hem of her dress. Everything about this girl screams “Look at me!”

He closes his eyes before she can suck him dry. Remember what you’re here for, he thinks.

“I’m looking for someone,” he says.

“A girl?” she asks. “Is she hot like me?”

“No,” he says. “She’s a natural.”

The silence in the room is immediate and complete. He opens his eyes to see everyone looking at him like he had screamed fuck! in church.

“A natural?” She whispers it.

“My daughter.”

He shows her an old printed photo.

“Oh.” She points to the VIP room.

Some stares and glares, then he eyes some cash at the bouncer who opens the VIP door. Barely enough left to get a taxi home.

His daughter sits in a comfy chair, surrounded by men. Even Roddy has to admit there’s nothing physically special about her. But she has no augs. She’s a natural. And they can’t take their eyes off her.

“Daddy!” she says, and holds out her hand.

“Hi, honey,” he says. He reaches down to touch her hand but the bouncer stops him.

“You have any idea how squeaky clean your credit has to be to touch this girl?” he asks.

Roddy gives him his best steely look. “I do. She’s worth it.”

He reaches for the outstretched hand and takes it, gently pulling her to her feet. She wraps her arms around him. Augs and cash and credit and instant gratification were well and good, but they weren’t flesh and blood.

“Let’s go home,” he says.

As they walk out the door Roddy’s accounts hit zero but he feels like a million bucks.

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