(This story was trapped in Blogspot draft limbo from April 2005 until I finally posted it in December. I had finished it and posted it at my old Geocities site way back in 2000 or 2001. I think it really needs a rewrite but I’m posting it [again] for the time being.)
There’s this GORGEOUS woman I work with named …let’s call her Tiffany. She has the cutest face, along with an amazingly curvaceous figure. If I happen to be working at my computer when she walks by, I have to stop until I hear the door close behind her (that is, when I don’t actually turn and watch). Otherwise, typo city.
Anyway, it’s a Friday, and I’m at work. I hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before, so I’m kind of woozy. I doze off at the desk, until none other than Tiffany wakes me up. She’s wearing a knit sweater and tight jeans. She reminds me that I told her that I would hang out with her and her twin sister Shalandra one Friday night after work, and she wants it to be today. I say sure, why not, in a mixture of disbelief and joy. I had thought she was just teasing me when she first mentioned it, so now that it turns out to be actually so, I can barely contain myself.
We leave the job and walk to our cars. She suggests that I follow her to her place so she can put her car away and then ride with me. I do, and then we go out to dinner.
On the way to the restaurant, Tiffany’s cell phone rings. It’s Shalandra, saying (Tiffany tells me) that she won’t be able to join us for dinner, but maybe she’ll hook up with us later. Disappointing news. I’ve never met Shalandra, but the prospect of being with TWO women who look this good is almost too much to hope for.
It isn’t supposed to be a date, actually, but that’s how it feels to me. Tiff’s all smiles, which makes that cute girl-next-door face radiate even more. We go window shopping after dinner and then just walking around in the area of the restaurant.
It starts getting late, and so I head back to her place to drop her off. When I get to that awkward do-I-kiss-her-or-not point, she says, “Aren’t you coming in?” Of course I’m surprised, but she says that was what Shalandra meant by meeting up with us later.
I follow her up the stairs and into the apartment. We watch TV and make small talk, when I hear some motion in the next room. Tiff goes in the room and closes the door behind her. At the beginning of the day I never would have believed that it would end with me in Tiff’s apartment.
Almost immediately, much too soon for Tiffany to have changed clothes, she comes back into the room in a black flowered tube top and green knit leggings. Her hair, which she wore in tiny braids before, is now straight.
“Shalandra?” I say tentatively.
She giggles and replies, “No, it’s me, Tiffany.”
“That’s impossible,” I assert. “No way you could have changed clothes and done your hair in two seconds like that. You have to be Shalandra.”
“No, really, I’m Tiffany,” she insists, smiling but seemingly serious.
“Well, then,” I reply, “if you’re Tiffany, tell me what I had for dinner.”
“Manicotti with meat sauce. You mentioned a family friend of yours who makes a delicious chicken casserole with pasta; you said you call it chicken lasagna.”
I stare wide-eyed and open-mouthed. Shalandra could have known what I ate, but Tiffany wouldn’t have thought to tell her about the casserole if they were trying to trick me. It must be Tiffany after all.
She sits down on the
couch next to me and rests her head on my shoulder as we watch television. I don’t know at this point if I’m here as a friend or a date. She hasn’t given me any kind of sign that she wants anything to happen other than what’s happening now.
I notice the clock. It’s now about 11:30. We both have to be at work in the morning. “Tiff, look at the time. I gotta go,” I say.
“But, I thought you might stay and talk with me while I braid my hair,” she says, pouting slightly. I look at these protruding lips and wonder what would be the reaction if I were to kiss them. Not yet, I decide. Too early just yet. Then I realize what she has suggested.
“Braid your hair? Your hair was braided when we got here. You just took the braids out and you want to put them back in?”
She just keeps pleading with me until I give in. “Just what do you want me to do?” I ask.
“You don’t have to DO anything,” she says. “I just want you to be here while I’m doing it.”
Strange request, if you ask me, but if that’s what cutie wants, that’s what cutie gets.
I begin looking around the apartment and a photo across the room catches my eye. I walk over to it and begin asking Tiff about it. She tells me it’s her favorite photo of her and her grandfather, from when she was a little girl. Funny, I think, that this little girl in the photo has almost the same exact face as this perfect grown up woman I’m with. Like a miniature woman rather than a little girl.
I turn back to Tiff, who is sitting on the couch looking expectantly at me, as if she was waiting for me to turn back in her direction. What she does next proceeds to blow my mind.
Once Tiffany is sure she has my undivided attention, she puts one hand on each side of her face, as if she has just been surprised. I figure that something must be wrong, but before I can ask she LIFTS HER HEAD OFF HER NECK!
In disbelief I step around in front of her, practically screaming. “TIFFANY!! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? HOW…??” I notice as I’m screaming that she doesn’t seem the least bit fazed. The face is still registering movement, smiling at me in fact; it still has life in it. It only takes a few seconds to realize that she is still very much alive, only now in two pieces.
Then I hear maniacal laughter coming from the next room, the one Tiffany ducked into when we first got here. I’m utterly confused; the laughing voice sounds exactly like Tiffany’s. When I look at Tiffany with the same quizzical expression on my face, she just breaks out laughing herself.
I don’t know if I can express sufficiently how strange it is to see a decapitated body shaking in laughter while holding the head that’s doing the laughing. I can’t for the life of me figure out what’s so funny. Then the door to the other room opens, and out comes…Tiffany?!
I jump about a foot in the air, shaking and hyperventilating, before I remember that Tiffany is a twin. I do a Hollywood-worthy recovery as I extend my hand and say, “Hi, I’m Bryan, Tiffany’s friend. You must be Shalandra.”
She gives me a “Kool-Aid smile” and says, “No, actually I’m Tiffany.”
Can’t be possible. One of them has to be kidding with me. Besides the obvious fact that I’m hallucinating, something is quite wrong here.
Turning to the woman who just entered the room, the still-whole woman, I say, “You’re Tiffany? You’re not playing a game with me? Because she–” I indicate the other woman, the one holding her detached head– “told me she was Tiffany. I thought she must have been Shalandra when she came in here two seconds after you left, wearing different clothes and a different hairstyle.”
Then the detached head pipes up, “Actually, I’m Tiffany too.”
I fall out right where I stand. When I come to, I’m lying on the couch. The sweater-and-jeans Tiffany is sitting by me, wiping my face with a cool cloth, while the tube-top-and-leggings Tiffany is sitting by my feet and dragging her fingernails up and down my soles, hoping I guess that she could tickle me awake.
I notice that the tube-top Tiffany’s head is resting on the coffee table next to the couch I’m lying on, facing me, so I’m practically at eye-level with it, at least five feet away from where it’s body is seated. “Are you OK?” the head asks, with genuine concern showing in its face and voice.
“No–I must be delirious. I’m talking to a detached head resting on a coffee table while its body is sitting by my feet, tickling me. I can’t be OK.”
Both Tiffanys laugh. The detached head smiles and says to me, “I know this looks crazy, but you’
re not delirious. I can explain everything.”
“You can explain THIS?! I’m all ears!”
The head starts to explain, before I cut it off (so to speak). “No offense, if you’re really the same person,…somehow…but could you explain with the head that’s still attached? I’d really appreciate it.”
Both Tiffany heads laugh again. I’m getting slightly annoyed that Tiffany is (the Tiffanys are?) laughing at me when I don’t have the slightest idea what’s funny. But Tiffany is speaking.
“Do you remember when I had that car accident, and I was out on sick leave for almost a year?”
“Yeah, I remember,” I reply. “You sounded OK when I spoke to you on the phone, and you looked OK when I visited you, but I wondered how you were really getting along. I know a little about sick leave cabin fever.”
“Well, I only told a couple of people about just how badly I was injured. My skull was crushed, and my brain was swelling. I suffered some brain damage from the accident itself, but the doctors had to do something before got a lot worse from the pressure of my swelling brain. My doctor told my parents about an experimental procedure that would download the contents of my mind like computer files into an electronic storage unit–”
“An electronic brain?” I cut in.
“Something like that,” the detached Tiffany head piped up, before the other, whole Tiffany continued. “Once they did that, they found they couldn’t just remove the organic brain and drop the electronic one in. They had to build a new head.”
“Is that you?” I said, directing the question to the head. It rolled its eyes exasperatedly, giving me the impression of trying to nod and not being able to. “Nope,” it finally replied, before whole Tiffany continued.
“They built a new head, attached all the nerve endings, and I was me again, almost. I couldn’t do much of anything at first, so I asked the doctors if it would be possible to build me a robotic double that could go out into the world in my place and pretend to be me. At least give the appearance of Tiffany Chisholm being back out in the world again, know what I mean? As it turns out, the doctor had an even better idea. A complete fembot Tiffany with its own AI brain AND a control unit built into me that I could use to override the AI whenever I wanted to.”
It takes a few seconds for this to sink in. Finally I say, “So you’re saying there is no Shalandra? No twin?”
“Nope, the twins story was just a cover,” both Tiffanys reply, more or less in unison.
“But I’m Shalandra,” the head says. “At least, I am when Tiffany here doesn’t override me.”
“So what part of tonight was I with Shalandra and what part was Tiffany?”
“That’s gonna be my little secret,” Tiffany replies.
“Uh, Tiffany,” I say, “is there any chance you’ll let me go out sometime with Shalandra?”
Shalandra has a hopeful look on her face. It seems strange to me that she would. If her program is based on Tiffany, she should know what Tiffany’s answer would be. Then again, maybe she’s doing this for effect. She notices me noticing her but quickly looks back at Tiffany.
Then Shalandra’s head looks again at me. “I’ll think about it,” she says.
“Is that Tiffany?” I ask, a little bit ticked.
“Yeah, it’s me,” the head says. “Shalandra was made to do what I want, after all, and I’m not sure I want to let her go out with someone I want to go out with. I mean, if you don’t want to go out with me, why don’t you go and get yourself some other woman?”
“Shal– Tiffany, don’t misunderstand,” I say to the head. “I never said that I didn’t want to go out with you. Believe me, I enjoyed myself tonight, and I’d definitely like to do it again. It’s just that…I’ve always been fascinated by artificial intelligence and fembots and robots and such, and to be on a date with a woman that I know is electronic and not actually human–that’s a chance I may not get again. I’m not saying I want Shalandra to be my girlfriend, just that I’d like to take her out sometime. Obviously I can’t do that without your OK, so I’m asking.”
Tiffany smiles mischeivously at me and says, “But you can have a much more interesting time with me than with Shalandra, if you think about it.”
“What do you mean?” I ask. I figure that if Shalandra is based on Tiffany in body and mind, then one is just about the same as the other.
Shalandra’s head, still on the table, asks, “Are you sure you’ll be able to handle this?”
“Handle what?” I ask, not sure if the question was coming from Tiffany or Shalandra or even if I should ask.
“This,” the detached head answers. The body at my feet slides toward the end of the couch closest to its head and returns the head to its usual place. The woman I had briefly known as Shalandra then begins kissing me on my lips. Not a little peck, but a deep tongue kiss that takes me completely by surprise. While she’s still going, Tiffany (I’m guessing she’s Tiffany) then begins kissing the back of my neck.
“Shalandra” rises briefly from the couch while “Tiffany” pulls me up from it. Then they take their positions, one on each side of me, and begin kissing again and nibbling on my earlobes.
I figure that Tiffany is trying to show me that, since she can be in control of this fembot body and her own at the same time, it could be like having a girlfriend who can be in two places at once. As enjoyable as that would be, I’m still not being swayed from my desire to take Shalandra out completely independent of Tiffany.
Stupidly, I decide to say so out loud. “Tiff,” I say, “this is…fun, and I’m sure it will be even more fun down the line, but you’re not changing my mind. I still want to take Shalandra out on her own.”
I naturally expected a surprised reaction from Tiffany, but nothing like the reaction I got.
Tiffany seems extremely agitated that I’m interested in going out with Shalandra, even though I assure her that I’ll only take her out once. I can’t believe that Tiffany is that insecure, to think that I’d rather go out with an fembot that looks like her that to go out with Tiffany herself.
Shalandra also looks particularly unhappy when she hears me reassure Tiffany. Then I see the clock. It’s going on 2 AM. “Tiffany, I really do have to go,” I say. “Shalandra, it’s been nice to meet you. I hope I’ll see you again sometime.”
Tiffany seems genuinely angry that I’m even speaking to Shalandra. She manages to squeak out a quick “Nice meeting you too,” before Tiffany takes over.
“Nice try,” Tiffany/Shalandra says to me, an angry look on her face. “You can’t turn Shalandra against me so easily. I can see where things will go if you stay any longer, so you’d better leave.” As she speaks, she pushes me toward the front door.
“Tiffany,” I say to her, my voice rising in exasperation, “I’m not trying to turn anybody against anybody. I just–”
“Goodnight,” she says, slamming the apartment door behind me.
All the way home, I think about poor Shalandra. Sure she’s only an AI program, but she didn’t ask to be brought into the world. Tiffany had someone write Shalandra’s program, then gets angry when I show it some attention. What kind of sense does that make? After all, if I like Tiffany, and Shalandra is a physical and mental copy of Tiffany, then it stands to reason that we would be attracted to and interested in each other also.
I call Tiffany on Saturday. The answering machine picks up. I begin talking, thinking she might be screening her calls. After hanging up, I realize that that just might have been Shalandra that took my message and not a regular answering machine.
I call again, and as soon as the message starts I say quickly, “Shalandra, if that’s you, turn down the volume so Tiffany won’t know that you’re on the phone.”
There’s a click, and then I hear Shalandra’s voice. Or is it Tiffany’s? I really don’t know, but I keep talking anyway. At first the conversation proceeds perfectly; then the voice at the other end gets angrier and
angrier. It doesn’t take long to realize that I’ve been speaking to Tiffany and not Shalandra. Finally she yells at me not to call her again and slams down the phone.
Depressed now, I log on to my computer and find I have email, from firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s plain to see that the message is from Shalandra. Tiffany had Shalandra wired with a cellular modem, so that, even when Tiffany “takes over” Shalandra, the fembot can still go online unimpeded, without Tiffany being able to trace anything.
Shalandra and I wind up sending e-mails and IMs to one another the rest of the day Saturday and all day Sunday, with Tiffany “sitting on her,” so that she has no freedom of movement or expression other than being able to go online.
Shalandra’s modem is supposed to be secure and untraceable, but somehow Tiffany finds out about our communication and becomes furious. In the meantime, unaware that Tiffany knows about the messages, I’m sure that I’ll be able to smooth things over with Tiffany on Monday, and salvage whatever chance there is that I might go out with Shalandra.
Monday morning, when I get to my job, my boss is outside the building waving an envelope at me. “What happened between you and Tiffany on Friday?” he says.
“Nothing special,” I bluff, not the least bit interested in telling him that I found out that Tiffany has a robotic head and an fembot slave. “Why do you ask?”
“Because she gave me this letter and asked me to have you read it to me when you got here. Then she got in her car and sped off.”
Instantly I go on the defensive. “Well, why do you assume it was because of me? Maybe something happened…maybe she found another job…maybe–” He cut me off.
“Maybe you know more than you’re saying,” he says. “Why would she want you to read the letter if nothing happened between you?”
I just shrug, trying my best to look innocent while I open the envelope. I’m already 99% sure of what the letter says, but naturally I hope I’m guessing wrong. Unfortunately, I was right.
I regretfully inform you that I must tender my resignation from the company effective immediately. I apologize for any inconvenience this sudden turn of events might cause the company.
Boy. Talk about unhappy endings.
They say, “Seize the day.” They say, “The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.” All I know is, maybe if I had kept my mouth shut, or maybe waited a little while, I might have experienced my dream of going on a date with a gorgeous fembot that actually wanted to go out with me. Instead, I have to live with the idea that I literally chased her away.
Next time I’ll pick one that doesn’t come with an owner.