by Frank Lee Jones [USA]
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I wish I were a robot. In the end we all become robots, without knowing, without wanting, without feeling how we mechanise ourselves slowly, day by day and cog by cog, in a relationship. All becomes empty of sparks and full of mechanical pieces and rachets and little screws that just work together out of inertia. All becomes bare of love and moist of thoughtless, sloppy kisses (though robots are not very fond of moistness, are they?). It’s like being wrapped in sweat soaked sheets, my own sweat from having a four days cold, naked, underneath the blanket, with him by my side. My silent reproofs for him not kissing my shoulder often enough are only overlaid by the sexy sound of me hacking. And of him giggling as he watches a bad movie. And then he accidentally touches me and feels the wetness. And in his imagination, in his self-infatuation that I often helped create by not telling him I want more, I need more, he confuses my sweat for the living and flowing proof of my arousal. So he gets aroused and has it off with me, on me, who can remember, and the sheets end up being soaked in his own liquids and secretions. And I end up diving again underneath the soaked sheets. It’s beautiful. It’s robotic love. Almost, not there yet.
So the question that is troubling me is quite simple. Why can’t I be a robot today? I want to invoke the gods to rip my heart away and leave me be by myself, with no heart to look after and care for. Just leave me be by my robotic self. An electric motor is more than I need to keep me going. His viscid liquids blast my hydraulic pump right to the sky. My magnets keep him close. And my off button keeps me safe. I can disconnect if I want. Whenever I want. Instead, here I am again, counting the hours till I see him next. And counting the days when I won’t see him because he wants to pretend that he’s a nomad and I want to pretend that I’m not. It’s so the other way around that I can’t even find the words to tell him what’s so obvious. My heart just fell from the wall on the table. No, not my robotic heart, imagine! I’m only now working on that (everyday from 2 to 3 a.m., in my red shorts and welder goggles), but the grey wooden heart, cute nevertheless, that I stuck to the wall near my Klimt, James Dean, Banksy and Sophia Loren postcards. And that’s a sign that I should probably go sleep now because damn, that’s what people do. Phew, people! If I were a robot I could just spend my night writing about how wonderful it is to be a robot! Instead of having to go to bed because my poor flesh needs to distend and marinate in its own disgusting liquids and gases, and my poor head needs to take a break from creating pathetic scenarios with me and him holding hands, running over hills of green grass and puppies. No, poppies! Disgusting nevertheless. I hope I dream of robotic rainbow dancing fingertips on the old paper red sheets clocks and watches tongue and eyebrows cheesecake strawberry muffin comics minutes exclamation points light bulb dictionaries ducky words or rockets.
Today I was 20% robotic. In the way that I kissed him (and that 20% of the time when I restrained myself from kissing him at all). In the way that I caressed his hair, the way that we snuggled. The way that I listened to him sharing scenarios with me, his scenarios of how he’s going to conquer the world. But my stupid 80% of me still fell for his unripe suave dreams and I just couldn’t lift my pretty head, with my pretty lashes batting and my pretty eyes rolling with awe, off my hands, completely fallen in the depths of his dreams. It was like my whole body (80% of it at least) was submerged in his fantasies, becoming a phantasm of his imagination, a character in one of his movies. And then I slapped myself (figuratively, I couldn’t let him see that I’m secretly working on my accelerated robotisation) and put on a smirk, just to counter my stupid honest admiration smile I had before. In my mind, a smile plus a smirk equals zero, which is how robots smile, or don’t smile, just are, permanently. Of course I know smirks are not really robotic, but in this early stage of robotisation they’re good enough to counter my human stupidity.
The next turf to conquer: 35% robotisation. Means and ammunition: iron in my food. One big spoon of iron a day keeps the heartbreaking monster away. Well, usually I aim for 3 spoons a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. I want my blood vessels to become shiny metallic pipes of galvanised hot steam iron. Hot laser ignition system. Hot halogen… some kind of sensor. Oh god, I’m helpless, getting lost in these mechanical metaphors. And I still want you my troubleshooter…
45% next. No more pet names. No more diminutives, no more hypocorisms, no more love names, or nicknames or names of any kind. No more baby, no more ducky, no more pumpkin or blueberry muffin. Or birdie, or Rocky. You know how hard it is to eat the lobster in your plate after you named it Harold and talked to him for 5 minutes to apologise for eating him. Men and names, same principle. Men should be nameless. And many times faceless. He was never David, but Dot. Sometimes Red Dot, Pale Blue Dot, Sexy Dot, Speedy Dot, Asshole Dot. He was never Mike or Luca, but the English or the Italian, the guy from the elevator or the guy from the train, the photographer or the suit man, the harlequin or the winsome. I don’t know why, but with R. I did make the mistake to name him right from the start. I must have forgotten somehow, it just came more naturally to name him, even with the slight embarrassment of having to say his Latin name with my twisted foreign/ English-pretend/ still foreign accent. I’m not naming him anymore though, he’s just a letter. Ok, maybe not just R., it is rather dry for someone who comes from the foggy, clammy, rainy non-continental Europe. He should be… thinking… R2 D2, R2 D2 of my robotic world. But oh no, here we go again with the nicknames!
60%, no more prelude, curtain-raiser kisses up and down my half naked body bent over the green couch or the pool table. Plain old physiological sex. 9 o’clock sex. Bam bam bam. 9. 15 movie. Respond to our senses as instinctively as we can. As primitively as we can. If that sometimes leads to rough savage sex, so be it! No more mushy squashy looking into each other’s eyes or stopping in the middle of things for kissing. Just wild surrender to our senses, Some hair pulling. Breaking the bed. And the accidental (or not that accidental) knocking my head against the wall. Wild fucking till the flesh hurts. Robotic emotionless sex. I know you wouldn’t expect robots to enjoy sex. It’s not that robotic, is it? Oh well, it is for me.
72%, no more “me too-s”. No more miss you too, no more miss you more, or want you too, or want you more, or dying to see you too, dying to see you more. I got it, ok? You’re just plain unoriginal! And you can’t really die more. You can die more… painfully! Because that’s what unoriginal squidgy lovers deserve! So can please somebody turn on the lights and show these two morons they’re the only actors on stage. And there’s no audience tonight. They’ve all gone to see the latest blockbuster down the corner, the most recent adaptation of Matrix in a twisted Twin Peaks world, a symbolic collage of Man Push Cart and Chungking Express. Baseline: stop with the nonsense! If he says that he wishes I was in his bed when he wakes up in the morning, from miles away I say that I’ll just have to work on my teleporting skills. It wouldn’t be the first time sarcasm saves a little girl from falling deeper into the bottomless puddle of mush!
85%, no more idealisation. Just think of him as how he is. Not that amazing guy who used to write riddles on the ceiling so that I have some new mystery to solve every night after sex, just that ordinary guy who used to fall asleep immediately after sex, leaving me by myself, to solve stupid riddles on the ceiling. Not that now he doesn’t take a nap the minute after, just that now he doesn’t bother to write riddles anymore. Anyway, it’s not that dramatic after all. He’s still that sexy wild great in bed guy who falls asleep immediately after he takes me to the moon and back, and up again, and back again, till I don’t even remember my name. Or his name (and I accidentally call him something else and he gets upset and well, that’s another story). And I don’t even remember that I want to be a robot. Until the minute he falls asleep, that is. Or better think of him as what he might become. A dyslexic decrepit old man with one arm, a cart pushing hobo smelling like rats and gutter dinosaurs, an old perv peeping in toilets, ladies’ and gents’, in yellow smoky train station pubs, a drunken self-proclaimed Quaker preaching peace with a fake gun (stolen candle from graveyards) pointed at your balls, a grey bearded babbled retired teacher gone crazy because of the Vietnam war. Come on! Who am I trying to fool here?
I love his beard and I’d almost love any bearded man! So if this rhetoric doesn’t work then for that only, for my great capacity of loving any bearded man, I should give myself, Chloe De la Fonte (ok, maybe De la Fonte is not my real name, who cares), another successful 15% for my robotisation!
Then 87%, kill our cat.
89, hide a vaporiser in my pants. Use it to neutralise his smell every night during his after sex
nap. In two months I’ll forget everything about his smell.
91%, tape his mouth. Except for when he wants to eat or go down. I don’t need him to kiss me, I don’t need him to tell me I’m his pretty banana shaped, strawberry tasting like, Eastern European thing.
93%, shave his beard, I’ll most surely begin to hate him.
95%, make him a spectator of my excruciating pain. With no pills to kill it. I do feel like an offbeat avant-gardist feminist just thinking of this, but it’s necessary, I try to convince myself. I’ll hate his guts, curse and scold him for my pain.
97%, cheat on him, pay a male hooker.
And 100% … Pack my things and leave before he leaves. Before the London midnight flight on April the fucking 14th.