Saturday 21 June 2014

'Judgement Day' by Farah Ghuznavi

I'm not crazy, you know, even if they have sent me to you for an assessment! My husband wants me committed to a Rest-and-Reprogramming facility “for self-protection”. For his own convenience, more like…

The consequences of marrying a much younger man crystallised into bruising reality after my daughter's arrival. Jai didn't want to be a grown-up - let alone a father. 

While conventional wisdom still favours women marrying “mature” men, I'd realised long ago that men never grow up. So their age at marriage is more or less irrelevant! I chose Jai out of loneliness. I'd already made more money from creating Artificial Intelligents (AIs) than I’d ever spend - even in our enhanced lifetimes.  

My male range-mates mostly had multi-stage families by then. Their wives just kept getting younger, until some had daughters the same age as their latest marital trophy. Little was said beyond the inevitable eye-rolling that accompanied the “men will be boys”-type comments. Yet Jai was considered my aberrant consolation prize, the rich female singleton's 'joy-boy'. 

Once I held Maya in my craving arms, I didn't care. But she was tiny and premature, so after surreptitious advice from an older Helptech, I set aside my inhibitions and began breast-feeding. And after the first couple of months, Jai claimed I was reverting to a primitive state. 

My marriage flushed itself quietly but relentlessly down the toilet, Jai complaining of spousal neglect. That's what the domestic AIs - the do-bots - were for, he argued, to free humans from menial work. But I enjoyedchildcare.

As for the do-bots, is there anything humans have left to do - or need each other for anymore? Even the 20th century sex industry's pathetic creation, the inflatable rubber woman, was successfully re-launched as a humanoid robot! Who needs a real woman to fake an orgasm for you, when you can have one of the S-X series to do just that? 

So I knew what was coming when Jai brought his sex-bot home. He called her 'Pammie'. She was modelled on some ancient show about lifeguards that my husband insists was once the most popular tele-video programme on Earth. Whatever.

Pammie handled Maya well enough. And she handled Jai even better! All of which served to emphasise my redundancy. Especially after I made Jai co-chip-holder to my assets in a serious moment of oversight failure. Perhaps motherhood had done something strange to my mind, after all.

Nevertheless, I'm not insane - or suffering neo-natal depression. In fact, I’d never been happier! Unlike Jai. 

So he decided to get rid of me. We all know no-one comes out of those reprogramming facilities intact. And Meditechs aren't immune to financial “persuasion” either. So I’ve been sent to you for a laser-scan of my supposedly addled brain that'll send me straight to where they've decided I belong. 

Anyway, I know you're not really listening, but you're my last hope. After all, if an Alphatek-series machine can't be objective when it's doing a scan, who can? 

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