Three suitemates lounged in two bean bags and a low-slung fold up chair. They drank mimosas inside of the kind of university housing that had been tailored for the parents who pay a lot of money for their children. A flat screen television played re-runs of Full House, muted so that the girls could listen to some pop music about how sex can, in certain circumstances, be used as revenge.
“I can’t believe it took us this long to get here,” Jess said while burping a little through her nose.
“You mean the end of the slemester?” Melanie tried, buzzing.
“No, I mean being here together, the three of us. We’re just barely getting to sit around and chat, face to face, for what, the second or third time this semester?”
“Yeah, and last time all we did was play twenty questions,” said Lynn.
“Not very fun.” Melanie sighed and looked up at the ceiling.
“Truth or dare, then. Your turn.”
“Eee! Dare!” Melanie was animated once again.
“I dare you to… walk across the hall… and fucking kiss that nerd like it’s the first and last time he’ll ever be kissed by a woman,” Jess said, kind of meanly.
“Hahaha, FINE! Whatever, man!”
Melanie left the room for a moment. Knocks were heard, muffles indicative of resistance, and then she returned, looking a little guilty. “That wasn’t that fun. I thought it might be really funny cause it sounded like his roommate was in there cause I heard him talking to someone. But he was just there with his cat.”
“What a creep!” Jess didn’t know why she hated him so irrationally, because her subconscious excelled at hiding the fact that his body and greasy hair reminded her of her physically awkward puberty phase, a time when she hated herself more than anything.
“Alright, alright, I think it’s Lynn’s turn,” Melanie was getting sleepy again. Her limit was two drinks. She was fun between 3/4ths and 1 and 1/4ths of a drink, but kind of boring after, which she sometimes suspected before forgetting.
“Truth,” Lynn said.
Melanie poured her glass full of mimosa mix. “This is gonna take courage, oh little repressed one. Lynn, have you ever fucked a robot?”
“Plenty! Oscar, Fred, Max — just this year. Haven’t found a man who could reciprocate any human emotions.”
“Oh shit! That’s a yes — she couldn’t answer straightaway!” Jess was in on this action
“No. But really, no, I haven’t.”
“Some of the newer models are pretty hot. J. Lo is into it,” yawned Melanie.
“Who cares what J. Lo’s into? I never had a very advanced robot available, anyway. I had a basic nanny-class growing up, really.”
“Sounds like you’re thinking about it.” Melanie finished off her second drink.
“Am not thinking about it.”
“The A.I. major from the midwest is overthinking it,” said Jess.
“Maybe I kind of am, ok? Well, I mean. Sure, they’re intelligent, but who knows in what ways they surpass us, and in what ways they’re inferior. Seems kind of unfair to take advantage. Don’t you think? I don’t know. I just, I wouldn’t risk hurting somebody, or something, like that.”
“Okay, but we’re not talking about forcing yourself on a high-school jock like Jess did over Thanksgiving,” Melanie said, drunk.
“Shut the fuck up! What do you know?” Jess paused and under her breath said, “His dick was gigantic.”
“Just to be clear, ladies. It’s a never have, never will. I’m not risking electrocution, either! You’re stupid turn, Jess.” Lynn was flush.
Lynn writhed as she slept in her old room in her parent’s house on Christmas Eve. A winter storm had knocked tree limbs against her window and sent in irregular drafts, putting her through alternately hot and cold spells. She woke up with her hands between her thighs.
The family’s butler walked in with a weak sedative and a glass of lukewarm water.
“I sensed sleep pattern distress in your quarters. Rest assured the weather will pass in less than an hour, with overwhelming statistical certainty. Take these, they’re mild,” it reported in a calm, doctorly tone.
Its voice rang familiar and ageless to Lynn, and it occurred to her that she shouldn’t have longed to hear it as much as she did, as they’d only been apart for three months. She squinted at its abnormally-large eyes. They blinked steadily, unnaturally. Its retro-boxy male frame belonged in a movie from the 2000’s.
She remembered the first time it read to her— The Chronicles of Narnia, which was a scary book when she was seven or eight. And then she recalled when she was thirteen and too chicken to light some fireworks her friends had pressured her into stealing from the corner store. It had fearlessly ignited them for her with electrical bursts from the tips of its fingers.
“That’s fine, B. Just leave them on the night stand. And you’re done for the night. We’re gonna need you fully recharged for tomorrow— what, with all the dinner preparations and gifts and everything.”
The butler dutifully shut down in a standing position next to her bed, a yellow light on its wrist indicated the restful state.
She stared at it for a full minute. Then she drank the water and crushed the sedative with the bottom of her water glass. She snorted the particles into her nose.
She slid off the mattress and pushed its heavy body onto the bed. It was stark rigid. She positioned it on one side and pulled at an arm, leaving it at about a 45 degree position from the torso so she could get both legs around it. She sat over it, lifted her gown and slipped its middle finger into her vagina. She motioned up and down slowly, and then rhythmically, with sleep tugging at her mind.
“Let’s turn your head on, B.” Its eyes clicked open and evenly-spaced blinks began. “Vibrate your hand,” she whispered at the ceiling.
Butler did, exquisitely.
She turned and looked directly into its eyes. “Now I want you to listen very, very closely. Shock me. Fucking shock me.”