Monday, March 30, 2009

There Was an Old Woman

    There once was an old woman who was given a second lease on life. She was 92, widowed and her children were long grown and gone. She was taken aside after her annual check-up and made an offer.
It turns out, she was told, that she was a rarity, a women who was breastfed and breastfed her young in turn; who had O negative blood; and who had never had major surgery, nor taken hormones in any form. In addition, she had a thick and elastic skin. Though her wrinkles were deep, her skin wasn't papery and bruised like so many of her old friend's. She'd always hated her spongy skin. It hung in folds from her bones, even when she was thin and the sun turned her brown as a nut.
    She was taken to an upper-storey office with a wall of glass, gold-handled pens and a stack of papers to sign. She was offered, at no cost, a complete bodily organ transplant, or CBOT, something everyone knew of from the news but assumed was only for the extremely wealthy. On the contrary, this new procedure was strictly practiced where the odds for success were greatest, amongst O negative blood types who were breastfed, etc. It was hoped that after study of these first recipients, techniques would become available for the greater population. The extremely wealthy were, in fact, funding these procedures by purchasing places in the waiting list for more generic CBOTs in what all hoped would be the near future.
    The old woman pondered her options for about 20 minutes and then agreed. She had always had a sense of adventure, and though she was elderly, she still felt like a girl inside. The procedures were lengthy though completely numbed with the best opiates and analgesics. She enjoyed the meals on trays, the white sheets and spa treatments. After a year, she was able to return home and live out her new lease on life.
It was fascinating watching the human drama play out into history again. And the new inventions, like shiny toys, amused her as they repurposed the arts, fashion, transportation and diet. She might have been lonely, but she was older now and her social needs were much simpler than when young and lusty. She played cards with neighbors, kept a succession of small dogs, and fostered, from afar, several children who needed help with tuition and doctor's bills. And so another 90 years passed.
    The CBOT techniques were now commonplace and much more advanced. Most people had them at the age of 50 and so retained a much more youthful appearance during their extended lifespan. When she elected to undergo the procedures a second time, she was one of the few inhabitants of Earth that actually looked something like their 180 years. She became a bit of a freak show and ventured out in opera gloves, a turtle neck, large sunglasses and a poncho.
    It was only a decade into her third lease on life that CBOT was transformed into a prenatal intervention that prevented ageing, and death, forever. Now she was truly an oddity. For the next few decades, opinion wavered between adulation and condemnation. Some were uncomfortable with reminders of the past fate of humans, and wanted to round up the very old woman and her like and penalize them on an island far away.       
    Others felt that the wisdom of the ancients should be venerated, even worshipped, and she was often disturbed by their spontaneous groupings outside her home, and the desire of so many to touch her gray head and wrinkled skin. Towards her 275th year, she was taken aside after her annual check-up and offered a new option -- a lease from life. There were many variations possible, due to revolutionary advances in cyrogenics and replication technologies. She pondered this offer for about 20 minutes and then...

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Wife Who Had Them All

She was the ugliest of all the wives, and the fattest. Her hair was lank and greasy; her buttocks large and her belly hung in two folds. She never smiled. She hated them all. Yet, like all the others, she was married when of age to a husband who she shared with at least three and soon more, other wives. She hated them all.

Her husband took his time coming to her. He made jokes in front of the other men that it would take a mighty push from the Lord before he'd want to do his duty by #4 (she was his fourth wife). On her wedding night, the other wives insisted she bathe and they dressed her hair properly but the husband didn't visit. He claimed a head ache. She was glad for the delay.

Most days she did her chores, didn't smile, and had lots of time to herself. The other wives thought she was strange and hushed if she walked into the kitchen where they chatted and baked. She took care of the animals. She liked working outdoors and she liked the animals.

But eventually the time did come when her husband decided to assert who was who in the family. He had his rights and after a few stiff drinks, told her to go to bed and he would be there soon. She had no idea about her special talent until afterwards, when her husband kept muttering "Hot damn, hot damn!"

Soon, she was the only wife he would visit and this got her to thinking and so her plan was formed.

Night after night, their bed shook and her husband experienced throes of pleasure. She pretty much just had to lie there, so extraordinary were her talents. The other wives were jealous of all the compliments and innuendos the husband sent her way, so soon the word got out that she was a slut at best but more likely a monster. The other husbands became interested so to keep the peace at the compound, she was married to first one man and then another. Because her duties were so time-consuming, she no longer had to do chores, and breakfast was brought to her in bed. Soon all her meals were brought to her, as commanded by the husbands, and she was placed in the best house.

The other wives were astounded at these developments. Wasn't she the fat and ugly one who smelled bad? Whose hair was lank and greasy? Perhaps the men liked her extra folds of skin. Perhaps they enjoyed her musky smell. The other wives began to eat lard by the spoonful. They stopped bathing. They didn't dress their hair properly.

Tales of her special talents spread far and wide. Their compound became renowned with others from their sect. Trade was up. The husbands lavished her with cash and jewelry to try and jump their spots in the queue. Every night was assigned to a different husband, sometimes two. All she wanted was a hot bath, and a soothing scalp rub and thorough brushing. Virgins from the compound were assigned to bathe her and dress her hair. The vigorous nightly exercise slimmed and toned her figure. Her hair was lustrous and long; her skin soft and glowing from the ministrations of the virgins.

The other wives, determined to win back their shared husbands, grew steadily larger on diets of lard and corn syrup. Yet still the husbands ignored them, ordered them around as always but granted no more favors. Fed-up at last, and tired of feeling bloated and greasy, the other wives left the compound to return to their jobs in little towns all over the country. They took the children, the quilts and all the other comforts that made a house a home but the husbands didn't even notice.

The husbands drank and played cards, threw pocket knives into the dirt and spat as they waited their turns with her. The compound buildings fell to ruin, the animals starved and scattered. When the night finally came where she could prove her monthlies, the husbands agreed to give her some time off...just until the blood flow stopped. She waited until 4 a.m. to escape with a duffel bag full of jewelry and cash. She hitched a ride to Reno, where she bought a nice house and found a job dealing cards to old folks from California.

Friday, March 20, 2009

This is a Test

The author has almost no time but time enough for a minute story. This blog will features those minute stories, written with just a few available minutes whenever.