As per @kseniaanske 's request that I share my writing with @ellowrites, here's an excerpt of my short story Insensate, which was recently published on Fiction on the Web. Enjoy!
It’s not easy being a gay guy in 2087.
You would think that with as much progress as we’ve experienced the human race as a whole would become more evolved, but the only thing that’s evolved is our technology, our health, and our capacity for nostalgia.
I was missing the days when being gay meant you weren’t expected to get married or have kids.
“You’re twenty-nine years young, Davis, and you haven’t even been in a short-term relationship let alone a long one. Surely all of the guys out there don’t leave that bad of a taste in your mouth,” my mom said to me as she took the cigarette from her lips and blew light blue smoke, flicking ivory ash from the end of the blue cylinder.
We were sitting out on the patio of my parents’ house watching airships pull into the newly remodeled Grahame-Smith Skyport.
“And I’ll be in a relationship when I -”
“- Find the right guy,” she finished for me. “I know, I know. Have you even been looking? I mean, honestly?”
I gave her the look I’d been giving her since I was sixteen and she first suggested I start dating. I’d been dating since I was fifteen, but... I guess I’m just hard to please. I ask as much out of the guy I’m dating as I do myself, which is a hell of a lot. And there was also the fact that at the decreasingly tender age of twenty-nine I’d come to the point where I’d convinced myself I was fine with being single for the rest of my life. Which I couldn’t tell my mom.
I scratched at the back of my head and looked out at the skycutters streaking from New Manhattan to Old York before answering. “Yes, honestly. It’s not easy, especially for me.”
The one-word question made me squirm. “I just like being by myself, I’m a loner.”
She reached over and took me by the hand, squeezing my fingers. “Baby, just because you like being alone doesn’t mean you can’t be in a relationship. It just means you’ll be in a different kind of relationship.” She snatched a quick drag before continuing. “You just need to find someone who understands you don’t need constant attention and is willing to be there emotionally more than they are physically.”
I shook my head and allowed a smile to creep across my face. “Since when did you become so damn wise?”
“Well, I had to wise up when you started sneaking out of the house to meet boys you met over the Menta-net.” Her brow furrowed. “Your dad and I never did figure out how you got past that bio-barrier we put over your door and window to keep you from slipping out when you were seventeen.”
“I used a tachyon field rod to disrupt it,” I said to her.
Her lips parted and the wrinkles in her forehead deepened. “Where in the world did you get a tachyon field rod?”
“I was always a step ahead of you and pop.”
She let go of my hand and playfully swatted me on the arm. “You better be glad I don’t burn you with this cigarette.” She stood, stretching out her thin frame, and walked into the house as the patio doors automatically slid open. “Get your rebellious little butt in here and help me make dinner.”
What I didn’t tell my mom was that I don’t put my emotions into dating, and I mean that literally.
Everyone, or mostly everyone, has a small chip in their head that allows them to connect to the Menta-net where they can instantly access vast amount of information, maps, images, and audio while connecting to other people. The chip can also be used to either suppress or switch off a person’s emotions. I’ve done some research and asked around and it seems as though not many people are capable of using their chip this way. I don’t know if it’s because the Menta-chip is implanted differently in my head or if it’s like a special ability that only certain individuals have.
I first discovered I could do it when I was getting ready for a date with a guy I felt I really connected with. It was rare for me to get that intense sense of connection, and I didn’t want to ruin it with the emotional hang-ups I’d been nursing for the past several years about being in a serious long-term relationship and investing too much time and energy in a guy too soon. I just wanted to block all of that out. Shut it out.
And somehow I did.
It felt odd, at first, like I had seared all of my emotions out and was left with a feeling of... not quite emptiness, but... intense objectivity. It was like I was directly hooked up to someone’s eyes and was watching the date unfold, hearing the other guy tell me about his day at class and taking his great-grandfather to the museum and how he liked taking pictures with an old smartphone camera.
I didn’t allow myself to feel the initial build-up, that flurry of excitement and wonder I usually got that soon turned to disappointment and hollowness when the guy told me he’d reevaluated his life and decided he wasn’t in a place where he could be in a relationship, or that he saw me more as a friend, or that he’d had a change of heart or libido about how he felt about me.
I hated allowing someone else to make me feel like there was something wrong with me, like I was damaged, like I wasn’t good enough. So I shut myself down to shut those feelings out.
The only emotion I wanted to feel was happiness. You’d think that if we could come close to terraforming Mars and the moons of Jupiter we could easily find a way to make people feel genuine, unadulterated bliss without becoming addicted or mentally unstable.
Yeah, you’d think.
Here's the link to the full story, if you'd like to keep reading.