The Mental Female

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Author: Mariko Ohara
Date: Summer 2002
From: The Review of Contemporary Fiction(Vol. 22, Issue 2)
Publisher: Review of Contemporary Fiction
Document Type: Short story
Length: 8,549 words

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Techie and Kipple had coupled in every possible position, in every corner of the city, across 100 million TV sets. They'd shown it all, and nobody could turn them off. Techie, when vertical, stood ten inches tall in his virile metal armor of gears, springs, and tubes. Microchip beauty Kipple, at only 7.5 inches, wore a kimono of purple silk organdy which, for Techie, opened readily to reveal the whiteness of her ceramic skin.

Before anyone, that is, everyone, realized what was happening, Kipple's abdomen was swelling like a flesh rice cake. Her body had only looked like white porcelain; actually it was made of rubber. Some thought that her midriff was being inflated with air, like a balloon. Others thought that both Kipple and Techie were just manipulated images, existing only in the electronic reality of TV. But then, on screens mounted in every wall, every room, every shop and office in the city, Kipple gave violent birth.

It was a male, half an inch long. He'd looked like a maggot.

But although he had been born only last Thursday, already he had grown into a young man.

Among the city's one million inhabitants, there was one person who was shocked to see his face.

"I love you."

"And I love you."

"Do you really?"

"Yes, really."

"You do love me?"

"Yes, I really love you ..."

The soap opera was interminable. No excitement or emotion; only this vacuous drivel. Aimless chatter would have been better. But this ... not only did it lack drama, it couldn't even be called conversation.

As Kipple and Techie droned on, their hands roved over each other's bodies.

"I want to wear flowers ..."

"Your body, dressed in flowers ..."

"Let's boat over to the island for a swim."

"Floating on the waves with my lover ..."

"I have a present for you."

"You will dress in octopus ..."

The dialogue ploughed on. Across the bottoms of omnipresent TV screens, the DATA display showed their pulses speeding up, so it was obvious that they were in love.

"The ocean is like a bubble bath, don't you think?"

"Open your kimono and let me in."

"I'm not ready yet."

"Then get your motor running for me.'

"... it sounds like a geisha game!"

"We'll play catch, and whoever drops the ball has to strip."

Some fifteen minutes later the first missile had been launched. The city's defense system woke immediately, but it couldn't cover the entire sky.

Already a half-century had passed, but still the scars of The War affected Her, like the shadow bodies burned into glassified walls. Sometimes still, dying cells from those scars lashed Her brain into uncontrollable frenzies of destruction.

After three days of toss-and-catch--missiles lofting back and forth like a geisha's gold and red sex-toy balls--the program on 100 million screens unfolded.

"Oh! I dropped it. Well, I guess that means my kimono ..."

Kipple was Her self-image. She loosened her sash. Her kimono was transparent--her body had been visible...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A89928971