Fiction by Maria DeLorenzo
Margaret is imprinting herself all over the little screen. Her parts float in fuzzy cellular squares. She transmits herself over and over. This time, the receptive party winks at her through his keypad. His text reads: Ooooh baby. She smiles in real time. The room fills with the music of transmission. Margaret appreciates the longing for a distant object and the mediation of the cellular blue, a landscape which empowers her. Hypothetically, they fuck. She falls asleep next to the tiny screen, her fingers lightly clasping its smooth metallic cover.
In the morning she checks the larger device for the transmissions that she received while she was sleeping. Her dream, which has appeared on the screen, distracts her for a whole half hour. The chaos of the dream plasters itself like hieroglyphs on the white background, in images and popups. The dream was scandalous. She is amazed at her own synapses, sprawling on that surface. It makes her blush. She deletes the dream. Empties the dumpster so no trace can be found of it. But of course there is a record kept somewhere in the master hard drive. Somebody is reading it. She imagines the mechanizations of the brain receiving; maybe her dream has an immediate effect on him. She imagines him, in some dark corner office, the daily toil, and then a flicker, his left eye glitches, he pauses the rapid filing and lingers a moment, imagining the exquisite brain responsible for the transmission. He shifts in his seat, his pants suddenly too tight. She sighs.
Outside her thickly paned window the gold colored grasses on the hillside are blowing in what seems like slow motion. A message paints itself in the blue space of the sky: Lula, I love you. It lingers until the pixels melt. She wonders who sent it and where from. Lula must be sighing now too, her breath wetting the thick glass inside her home. Her face pressed close to the cool surface as if it were skin.
After working for a few hours, she exits her work station and sits down in front of the social screen. She searches hastily through. A few impressions stick out to her and she answers one. He looks like a redhead but his photograph is purposefully indistinct. He’s got sleepy eyes and his text impression generates dominance. She enters: I’m sick of nice, can you get mean for me? He calls her and her phone jumps to her lap, he makes the phone jangle angrily. She opens it and the screen reads: only bad girls receive me, are you a bad little girl?
Later, she turns up the bird chatter and watches the digital birds flying outside. Some of them smile at her and send her pop-ups, but she is off-line at the moment so they hit the window and dissolve. It makes a multicolored sparkle when they do, like a finger has pressed it. Her bird sits solemnly perched and snoozing on the porch railing.
If she looks hard enough long enough she can almost see through the blue sky screen and it all disintegrates. She hates it when she notices, a few snags here and there and it stops looking like shiny air and more like little bits of digital. Somebody needs to turn the speed up so the grass waves a little quicker on that hill. She sends off a notice to web management. She receives the usual snappy auto reply on mock stationary.
Her class forum drags on more than normal and she exits early, shooting off an apology to her superior. She is so distracted, she switches the hillside screen to night time and puts on her favorite soundtrack. She and the redhead have another date this evening. She uploads hot red lipstick to her photograph and surveys the image. She transmits over to him: you like your little girl like this daddy? He shoots back: good slut.
When she wakes in the morning, she’s late for work and exhausted. She hits refresh, and then cleanup and everything arranges itself but she still can’t focus. Her skin aches in real time. How did he do that? The screens are all blurry and her eyes feel smudged. She’ll have to recoup before she transmits with him again. She calls in sick to work, entering in the usual infirm code. Sighing, she curls up in bed and clicks standby.}