I tried to convince myself that female cyborgs were cute. Who cares that she looked like a nuclear mutant? I’d still spend a few genuinely jolly minutes in her arms if it saved me from meeting with Mr. Vegas.
“Do you want to know a secret?” I asked the cyborg, trying to slow her down. “I am a divine magnet for women with the name Sobekneferu.”
“All right, Magnet… Turn right and follow me.”
I don’t recall how we ended up near the doors carved in stone. When they opened, I saw an extraordinary vehicle waiting for us outside: a sort of car-plane hybrid. The fog thickened; I couldn’t see my arms. The bad weather didn’t stop Sobekneferu from pushing me inside the strange device. We took off and quickly accelerated, the cyborg’s hands gripped the steering wheel so tightly that the cells in my brain ached. I must stay calm if I’m going to deal with this crazy female gadget, I thought while analyzing Sobekneferu’s face. She stared into nowhere like a mathematician faced with a complex equation. Five minutes later, she announced, “We’ve arrived.”
Knowing I was about to meet Mr. Vegas upset me, but it was better than becoming someone’s dinner or being locked up for life in prison. I made a quick decision to behave according to the situation.
“What are you mumbling there? Get your arse out, Magnet.” Sobekneferu said.
I stepped out carefully and looked across the darkness to the scattered lights glittering through the mist somewhere far away.
“Where are we?” I asked.
“This is your home for the next few weeks,” Sobekneferu explained.
I heard a noise behind me and turned to face it. There, just a few meters away, stood the most peculiar creature I’d ever seen — a giant black honeybee — and it was moving towards me. I remember wondering if I was dreaming, or perhaps I’d become a hero in Kafka’s cautionary tale.
“Hello, Xenophon. Look what I’ve brought — a new hick to your camp.” Sobekneferu said.
“What’s his name?” asked the buffy creature.
“I call him Pigeon. He calls himself Magnet.”
Here my story takes an unexpected turn: behind Xenophon stood Arcadio. What’s more strange, when the Sobekneferu-cyborg saw him, she ran to him, fell to her knees, and hugged his feet.
“Look at you, Bullet! You are still alive,” Arcadio chuckled, ignoring the robot’s body on the ground in front of him. “Well, I’m here to inform you that Mr. Vegas had to leave Beluga Clan in a rush… some cherche l’amour troubles if I understood correctly. I spoke with him before his departure, and we decided to give you a chance to live, at least for now. I doubt anyone can survive more than two weeks inside The Slave Market…”
“If only you would stop navel-gazing for a second, you’d see that I’m not your enemy, Arcadio. And we aren’t that different, after all…”
“Maybe… I just simply don’t like you, Bullet!”
“That’s fine. Perhaps one day you’ll change your mind… And you know what, Arcadio? I like you anyway.” I lied.
“You are not supposed to like someone who doesn’t like you. Don’t you see? You don’t have a spine, Bullet; you are always trying to behave according to the situation you are in. Or maybe you really are that stupid.” Arcadio hesitated a moment, then laughed. The harsh laugh of a cyborg followed him. It was like a signal from an animal that couldn’t communicate in words but wanted to draw attention to itself.
“Hello! Who are you? Hm, I’ve seen your face before…” Xenophon took one step closer to me.
“What?! What’s the matter with you?” I squealed.
“I forgot to mention, Xenophon is not capable of remembering faces. But he can relate to what he is seeing. So, please, make him feel good. It’s in your best interest.” Arcadio said.
That was truly frightening information: as a result, I started to twitch from side to side like a tumbler. In an attempt to calm me down, Xenophon hugged me and held me in his cauliflower-sized huge arms for a couple of seconds. The hug improved our relationship, but I was smeared with some kind of queer soot and became just as frightening as Xenophon himself.
“Everything’s going to be OK. Things will work out one way or another,” I whispered calmly. I tried to convince myself that I was one of those who kept moving forward with little complaint and plenty of competence, but then Sobekneferu — still sitting near Arcadio’s feet — asked, “Shouldn’t we replace or shackle his stick?”
Arcadio lit a cigarette and blew the smoke out of his mouth before answering, “Yes, true. It’s an old Beluga rule.”
When I heard the news, I lost my ability to speak. It was worse than facing the wrath of the powerful Mr. Vegas. I glanced hatefully at happy Arcadio (the feeling was mutual).
“You can’t do that!” I shook my head and cried. “I thought you were sane and reasonable people here in Beluga Clan, but I was clearly wrong.”
Xenophon didn’t listen; he tied me up. The cold hands of the Sobekneferu-cyborg pushed my sad anaconda inside the heavy granite sock specifically designed for people living below Beluga Clan. This horrible experience left me with a profound philosophical question: what is the meaning of life if you can’t use your superior power of love?
“If you find a partner, the problem may be compounded.” Xenophon hummed in my ear.
That information inspired me to jump up and shout like a maniac, “Sobekneferu! I want Sobekneferu!”
I knew I couldn’t name Mrs. Sweet Hellfire because she was too far away, and I hadn’t been able to marry Mrs. Vegas yet, because of all that awful business at the Clinic, so a female cyborg was my only chance.
“Sobekneferu is my fiancée… If you want to get rid of that sock, I suggest you marry Xenophon.” Arcadio chuckled.
“I can’t.” I made a sarcastic remark. “He has a brain the size of the letter ‘o’.”
“Really? Your partner shouldn’t be any smarter than you are… As I see it, you and Xenophon are a perfect match!”
“Wait…” I said to Arcadio, who had suddenly lost all interest in me. “I have another woman in mind. Her name is Constanza Lovesick. She is the one I’m choosing as my partner! We had such a good connection at the Warrior Farm and started a wonderfully intimate dialogue in the Clinic.”
“Okay. We got it… I’ll bring Constanza Lovesick down,” Sobekneferu nodded to Xenophon and followed Arcadio into the darkness. I heard the engine humming far away; the plane took off, leaving me alone with Xenophon. Something wet and heavy touched my leg. I turned around and found myself standing in a hole in the dirt.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“Just trying to find the door. This is where we live, in an underground complex called Nemesis, right beneath the Beluga’s land.” The dark shadow of Xenophon answered.
“Okay, but don’t we have to wait for the arrival of Constanza?”
“To hell with it. There’s plenty of time down there!” Xenophon laughed and forced me to jump. I landed on all fours. The room was gloomy and sticky, with a twisting green staircase. I blinked several times, unsure of what to do next.
“Here’s what’s going to happen now, boy. You and I are going to live together. I have a daughter, Geraldine, who is a very needy child.” Xenophon explained.
“How old is she?” I asked, shivering.
“Mmm… Just as you are.”
“Why not? Easy peasy,” I joked, then closed my eyes and imagined a cool, tough lady with a heart of gold.
“Don’t ‘easy peasy’ me. Let’s go; we have to get a present for her.” Xenophon’s reply interrupted my foolish dreams.
“What kind of present?”
“Mmm… Some kind of worm that lives in rats’ hair,” Xenophon explained. I winced in disgust but hobbled after his hairy silhouette.
Two hours later, we sat in a big room without windows. Xenophon’s daughter, — Geraldine DribbDrobb — a ten-foot-tall female with a double chin and tiny lips, ran in and pressed me against the wall. Her eyes radiated with lust and hunger.
“I always get a little breathless when I meet a new husband.” She squeaked.
“How many have you had?” I asked.
“Not so many… Seventy, or nearly eighty in the past week.” Xenophon answered, presenting a bottle of worms placed on a yellow tray.
“Ah, papa… My Miss Sobekneferu is gonna love it!” Geraldine yelled.
“Who is Miss Sobe-kne-ff-feru?” I coughed, shocked and hopeful at the same time.
“You’ll see soon enough.” Geraldine winked.
What if I meet my one and only Sobekneferu here? And what if Geraldine looks different tomorrow, in daylight? I thought to myself while following her upstairs. Moments later, I felt a sting in my neck and the cold sensation that came with an injection. Everything began to swirl…