SOURCE P23 V1/8.
Machine Man (serial)
Days passed and Lola Banks the prosthetic specialist did not come. In this respect it was just like my first time in the hospital: no-one visited. The difference was now I wanted them to. Well, not them. Her.
I was badly tempted to ask the nurses. But I couldn’t: since they had turned hostile, letting them know I wanted something was a strategic mistake. My meals were proof enough of that. But I couldn’t wait, either. On the fifth day, just as I was formulating a plan involving dragging myself across the floor to the phone in the hall, Lola appeared. She was not carrying any prosthetic limbs. It was just her, in her too-big shirt and brown glasses. She hung in the doorway like she was afraid to enter.
“Hi,” I said.
She chewed her lip, but didn’t answer. Then she made a decision, and marched toward me, but stopped two feet short of my bed. “You crushed your own leg.”
She said, “Why.” It wasn’t a question. The word came out of her mouth like it was heavy. It slid soundlessly to the floor and lay there.
I shrugged. It seemed obvious. And I was pretty sure she already knew. She had seen my prototype. She had touched it.
“They think you’re suicidal,” said Lola. “They think you like hurting yourself.”
My mouth dropped open. “What?”
“What else are people meant to think?” There was anger in her eyes.
“I’m improving myself. I’m augmenting. Do people have their vision laser-corrected because they like hurting themselves? Is that why people pierce their ears, or… pluck their eyebrows? What about people who hit treadmills or do weights, are they weird for wanting their bodies to work better? The only difference between me and them is that I have access to better technology.” Lola sucked in her breath, but I was too riled up to stop. “And I’d point out that the reason I’m in pain is not my fault. It’s because of the biological design of the human body, a design so conceptually flawed that the only way to significantly enhance parts of it is to scrap them and start from scratch.”
I realized from Lola’s expression that I had gone too far. She began to move; to leave, I thought. “Wait,” I said, but she was leaning closer, and before I realized what was happening, she kissed me.