Photoshop pastiche, from college
This is fiction, and a bit odd. I have long been curious about the end of technology, or the point if you will. Like, where is it going. Porn was once a huge driver of Internet technology and traffic and I’m curious to where that technology, led to its natural conclusion, leads. And what that does to human relationships. So this is a short piece along those lines.
Skype Sex was the only thing holding our relationship together. Sadly, it was also tearing us apart. You know how it is, you meet a nice girl from the same gene pool, now expatriated within an inch of its life. And she’s in London. Then you move to London, and she’s in Singapore. It’s like transmetropolitan whack-a-mole, with your dick. That is, of course, until they figured out how to put your dick in the computer, so problem solved. Almost.
The problem with convincing virtual sex was that it also came with virtual whores. Convenience plus temptation used to equal masturbation, but now it was more recreation. As in, re-creation. Pornea means prostitution and in this brave new world it really was hard to tell. You could get Brazilian girls, Greek girls, Lithuanian girls, boys, anime characters, whatever. Sometimes it was a human on the other end, sometimes it wasn’t. Sometimes you didn’t know. It was cheap, free and easy. Telling the wife wasn’t.
Possible. I mean, fantasy had always been possible. Permissible even. There was something too pathetic in pictures of whores to be threatening. It was – those porno days – really just a half-naked man in his socks, bathed in the computer’s glow. That changed with the new brain technology. After screens, the display became glasses, then the retina, then the visual cortex, then deeper and deeper into the brain. Eventually, into the mind.
What was eventually the realm of fantasy became television. What were daydreams became ads. Dreams became a new reality, even more immersive and maleable than the old. The first thing, the first trade, the first profitable application was porn.
They had the sexual revolution in the 60s, but that was basically a bunch of monkeys being sluts. This was something else. It was clean, distant and digital. Not that sick, wet, analog. There were no monkey parts touching other monkey parts – strictly chemical, signal wire.
Having long-distance relationships with random, different hookers was too much and too awesome to bear. The field was rapidly regulated though there was, however, a period of Napster like insanity where everything was available and free and no one went to class. Technology always became boring and encased in other business models, like prophecy, but there was a Cambrian period of mind expansion, if you were there.
So here we were. I’ve got my wife on one line and an absolute infinity of hookers on the other. Comparison, of course, is the rub. Real, reproductive girls are competing with professionals and, essentially, infinity. I mean, imagine a crowd where you can pick and choose and lose your trousers quite convincingly, and that crowd spins like a carousel. Browns, blacks, yellows, hues. Latinos, Slavs, Bulgarians, Jews.
Not to mention whatever obscure fantasies you might possess, or be possessed by. I was luckily always a face/tits/ass man (in that order) and not to tempted by the nether regions of the digital soul. But they were there, an abyss really, beyond fathom or understanding. This is not to mention the latent queers among the most impossible strata, not that this was in any way a perversion, but their repression of both homosexuality and stim made for some seriously damaged relationships.
Most, however, in the end, could hack it. Beyond a wave of college dropouts, life went on. If you’d dropped a Playboy in the prehistory boys wouldn’t leave the cave for a while, but eventually one attenuates to any sensation. It takes more and more, or better. Plus real love had the benefit of being free, or at least being a sort of postpaid package. So I Skyped the wife.
Hotel Rooms And Monsoons
I pushed back into the bed, sliding off my shoes. The stims were already in my bloodstream, I just had to control my breathing. I slowly drifted off into a chemically induced sleep.
There, entering the dream state, both everything and nothing was real. To the outside world I was just a sleepy traveller with twitchy eyelids, fallen asleep in his socks. On the inside the projection was going on real horrorshow. You see, everything is networked now, it’s in our blood. Literally. I have enough nanobots swimming in my stream to clea my aorta and influence the chemicals in my brain. During controlled sleep they hijack dreams into virtual reality. It’s the brain’s own incredibly powerful simulator, retrofitted for video-conferencing, like.
After some blips and tics I’m at home. If you look around the edges things get fuzzy, but I don’t. I’m looking only at Rehana, who I’ve honestly missed. She was the chubbier sister, but also much much nicer. She’s sweet, we can talk about things. She makes me feel smarter even though she probably knows more than I do. Perhaps that’s the sign of true intelligence, compassion.
She’s grumpy today, had a bit of a cold, wants babying.
“I’ve been so sick,” she coos, “you don’t take care of me.”
I smile. This shit is fun, but it can also snap all of a sudden.
“Baby, I’ve called every day. I wish I was there with you.”
She smiles and I know it’s safe to tease her now, the intellectual grist of our relationship. I just can’t think of anything.
She must be tired, I must be tired. It’s been a long day. After some more chit-chat we just make out and cuddle. You can’t fall asleep within a dream, so eventually I get off the line.
I wake up on top of the sheets. It’s 11:30. I look out the window. This city is so damn impersonable.
There was a day when Bangkok was a sexual mecca. It still is, I guess, but now it’s more of an export industry. They used to bring foreigners to dodgy bars and hotel rooms. Now the rooms come to them. I still come here for the gems, physical items. In these days of booms and busts I’m still comforted to travel through airports with tangible goods in my briefcase. If the whole thing crashes I’ll be comforted to have some tangible goods to trade, perhaps enough beads to buy Manhattan.
Looking down on the cityscape it looks like it never will crash, but these cities aren’t made of stone. Pull the plug on electricity, water, currency or travel and they’ll just grind to a halt, these edifices are more of man than God. Those things, those obelisks and pyramids, they testify to the eternality of death. These cities pulse only with the ethereality of life. It’s a living place, Bangkok. Full of semen and whores.
It’s almost midnight and I’m still bored. I know people in this town, but I’m not that energetic to deal with the transit time. I don’t want to watch anything. I read bites of news, but I can tell that my mind is swimming, I don’t attach to anything, the mind fractures. I’m not looking for anything, just distraction, something to fill the moments till sleep. I’m alone. The net beckons.
You see, a cuddle and a peck on the cheek is perfectly adequate for a tired wife. Commensurate even. For me, or any man I suppose, sex can be equally mindless and relieving. So I spin the dice, for something nice.
Entering dream state again, I wonder if my eyelids glimmer red.
I’m in Bangkok, physically, but I prefer another type of physicality. Black, maybe Nubian, today. I don’t know. I’m somewhere nondescript, video images cycle in front of my eyes. These are all simulations, there aren’t real people on the other end. Just a serious of responses, somewhat limited in scope and entirely devoid of conversation. But it feels just like the real thing. Even better than the real thing.