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ROBOT MOTHER by Brittany Weeks

How is Raptor.  Who is Raptor. I forgot your boyfriend’s name. Raptor sent me an article about the water temple in Ocarina of Time. The article is from 2007. 

Everly’s warmth is calculated. In her eyes I might be God too. Everly is asking for help strategically, she is earning love. My throat is tight and small and my arms weigh into the ground, Everly is amused by my amusement. When her voice becomes sticky sweet and high and she innocently dances on doe legs that look shaky but move quickly around Raptor, her eyes light up as he struts directly into her trap, Everly’s eyes meet mine, I taste metallic and then I taste sweet, I have bit my own tongue.

Raptor needs: small frequent rewards; task completion; he needs challenges that are flattering but not impossible. Everly knows how to monitor his brain chemistry. She keeps his serotonin fluctuation at the perfect rate to induce addiction. Everly is not a psychologist.

After pressing SPF 50 into my skin Everly balances club masters over my face and I swat her away when she attempts to fix the brim of my hat. Everly told me once that she dove head first into icy water and that immersion in cold shocked and stopped her from having her period forever. I heard Raptor once on the phone telling someone about an article he read about techno-fundamentalism. He said Everly has a metal screw in her left knee from an accident when she was a child and I am certain that is not true and I can’t shake the image of Everly with mechanical valves in her heart medical metal arteries and veins and I imagine that Everly watches me from the ceiling while I sleep and reads my mind and somehow instead of making me feel guilty this fantasy makes me feel safe and warm and calm like being wrapped in an electric blanket. I point to the oranges packed in the Tupperware that Everly and I had prepared earlier that day when Raptor was doing work in the yard and she removes the peel and passes over an innocuous slice. As my hands shake and messages are fired from my brain and lost in a fog that grows suspended between my mind and my body she watches without judgment, and when I look at her forehead and look out to other parts of the beach she reaches over and takes the orange slice and effortlessly feeds it to me, relieving my hands, who still make the motion as though the orange slice is still there, as though they might still accomplish the job. I taste metallic and then sweet, Everly wets a paper towel and dabs my mouth, her lips have pruned and a faint line appears between her brows, she is concerned, I have bit my own tongue.  

Raptor watches her every move and moves a beach bag so that she can have a seat and he stands to go and grill a vegan patty on top of a blood-stained meat rack, gently browning each side, her faithful servant. He tells the audience about an article he read about transhumanism and gauges her reaction expertly. Raptor, a meteorologist. He adjusts his take on the article carefully, micro correcting his course according to the reading of her brow. It was an interesting article, and as a slight ruffle appears it was a far reaching article, and as the ruffle melts into amusement it was well written and insightful, Raptor reaches blindly in every direction to explore this new assertion and we watch him generate a beautiful bespoke narrative custom tailored on the spot with slight frayed edges but seams tight and the functionality that is still sound, still there, it is a dependable textile and he surveys it with pride and slight bewilderment at his own skill or luck, he holds it up like a trophy, there is a drop of sweat on his lip, it is sunny, Raptor is athletic and sharp and he is tan and he looks like a God he is naive and boyish and powerful.

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