2 is for Taboo by Craig Faustus Buck
2 is for Taboo
by Craig Faustus Buck
(read Craig at Amazon for his novel Go Down Hard: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UIVNIIC/ )
The crowd is a potpourri of races, genders and variations, castes, ages, walks of life, and walks of death. The high school gym bleachers are packed. A lonely podium stands midcourt on the floor. Behind the lectern hangs an old flat screen banner reading, “Welcome, All In Need.”
Greta DeMonde, a mid-twenties livegirl dressed in a lime-green leopard-print jacket, black skirt, and chainmail boots, puts her hand over her eyes to shield them from the glaring overheads as she searches for a seat. Her sleeve slides back to reveal the intricate griffin her ex-husband inscribed on her forearm with a razor blade and a soldering iron. Good riddance to that scumbag.
A tall, balding zoman steps up to the podium and taps the microphone. The audience quiets down.
The greeting on the banner fades out and the Twelve Steps of Sexaholics Anonymous begins to scroll. The group recites in unison:
“We admitted we were powerless over lust—that our lives had become unmanageable.”
Greta spots a seat near the back next to a man. His graying temples anchor jet-black hair greased back like the biker punks from the mid-twentieth century. He’s clearly a Caste One with his tailored clothes and diamond nose-studs. Greta, hailing from C-3, isn’t generally attracted to C-1s but something about him warms her loins. Maybe because she hasn’t had sex since she left her husband, and the drought is getting old.
“Came to believe a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
Greta squeezes past fragile knees. She accidentally steps on an open-toed sandal, and feels her heel crush right through a woman’s toes. Greta is surprised: the woman seems too healthy to be undead, but it’s getting harder to tell the zomfems from the livegirls since plummeting prices have made pharmaintainers available to the lower castes.
“Sorry,” Greta mumbles, wondering what it must be like to feel no pain. The zomfem stares in dismay at the crumbled remains of her toes.
“Let me pay you for some new ones,” says Greta.
“Don’t worry, I’m covered,” says the zomfem, waving her off. “Thank god for universal health care.”
“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”
Greta reaches the empty seat to find the spot occupied by an expensive coat.
“You mind?” she asks the man.
He smiles apologetically and removes his coat. She likes his smile.
“Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”
She notes he’s not reciting the Steps. She likes that, too. She’s amused by how little it takes for her to feel a connection. Is she that desperate?
“Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”
Greta glances at the man and is struck by his eyes. Their ice blue tint is faint, almost colorless, practically transparent. She can’t stop looking.
“Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”
The man’s eyes flit to Greta and catch her staring. She glances away, embarrassed.
“It’s okay,” he says. “I get that all the time. My grandfather was albino. I got his eyes. I’m Zane. Zane Daniels.”
She likes his easygoing and straightforward manner. It puts her at ease.
The zoman at the podium gestures to quiet the crowd.
“For all you newcomers out there,” he says, “welcome to Sexaholics Anonymous. My name is Ronald and I’m a sexaholic.
The crowd responds: “Hi, Ronald.”
“I was addicted to sex,” he says. “I blew every dollar I ever had on prostitutes and wound up living on the street. But that was before SA. Now I’m sixteen years, three months clean.”
The crowd applauds. Zane rolls his eyes for Greta’s amusement.
“Any first-timers tonight?” asks Ronald, “Who’ll take the plunge?”
He looks questioningly at an obese man in the front row. Reluctantly, the man rises from his two chairs and hobbles to the podium.
“I’m Victorio and I’m a sex addict,” he says.
“I’ve been undead six years, but I still follow sexy livegirls onto the subway during rush hour,” he says. “I’ll stand behind one and rub my crotch up against her ass like I’m being pushed by the crowd behind.”
“Pervert!” shouts an old woman near the front.
“We’re not here to be judgmental,” says Ronald.
She replies, “He just rubs me the wrong way.”
Greta and Zane both burst out laughing. She begins to choke.
“Let’s get you some water,” says Zane. He takes her hand and leads her out.
As the door closes behind them she says, “Thanks for getting me out of there.”
“Thanks for the excuse,” he says. “You must be here on a plea bargain, too.”
“Two years, weekly. Is it that obvious?”
“It didn’t take much to get you out of the meeting.”
She bends over the drinking fountain, knowingly presenting, for his appreciation, the curves of her black latoid skirt as the fabric silhouettes her ass and reveals her legs. She’s proud of these assets, having spent long hours at the gym sweating to sculpt them. She wonders if zomfems work out. Can you tone up after you’re dead?
She turns back to catch Zane raising his glance. He took the bait.
“I know what you’re thinking,” she says.
“That doesn’t take a genius,” he says with a nod toward her skirt.
She’s pleased he doesn’t pretend he wasn’t looking. His eyes are driving her crazy. Without thinking, she steps up to peer closer, close enough to be called kissing distance. He doesn’t flinch. He doesn’t avert his eyes.
“There’s something different about you,” she says.
His eyes are like hot ice as he looks into hers. The warmth in her loins grows moist.
“Is that good or bad?” he asks.
“If you’re lucky,” she says, “bad can be very, very good.”
“I feel like we’re backsliding on our Twelve Steps.”
She smiles, then licks her upper lip. His eyes follow her tongue.
The gymnasium doors open and the crowd floods out.
“Let’s get out of here,” he says.
His place is downtown in the C-1 sector. The shops have doorbells and serve champagne; the apartments are large; the roofs are laden with gardens; the streets are patrolled. Greta feels nervous, like she needs a visa.
Zane leads her into a lavish former newspaper building whose Deco architectural detail has been restored to impress. It works on her. The elevator sweeps them silently up twelve flights in a heartbeat.
He opens the door to a sleek, modern apartment but Greta sees only the breathtaking view through his glass walls. Beyond a sea of multicolored city lights, the gibbous moon paints a dazzling silver brushstroke across the onyx surface of the Pacific. Greta squeals like a happy child and twirls, grinning and tingling. She wraps her arms around Zane’s neck and reels him in.
My first C-1, she thinks.
He seems tentative until their lips touch. Then he heats up. She pulls his shirt from his pants and snakes her hands beneath the silk, across his stomach, up his chest. He’s solid and cool to the touch. She is on fire.
His hands roam her body, too, tracing her back, cupping her ass, sifting her hair, brushing her breasts as he unties the laces of her bustier.
She rubs his fly and feels him growing under her palm, fueling her own passion.
Then, through the haze of her lust, she senses something fighting the flow. Gently but firmly, he’s pushing her away.
“We need to talk about this,” he says.
“What’s there to say? I want to fuck you.”
He walks away, leaving her stunned. He opens a teak cabinet to reveal a bar stocked with booze she’s never heard of. A lot of singles—single-malt, single-cask, single-batch, single-barrel—most, older than she. He takes his time splashing something into snifters, then finally faces her.
“Is it because of my caste?” she asks.
“I’m a zoman,” he says.
It takes a moment for his meaning to land, hitting her like a wrecking ball to the gut.
“Not funny,” she says.
“Not joking. I’m sorry.”
“You’ve got color, you’ve got substance, you’ve got a sense of humor.”
“I’m still undead,” he says. “I mean, technically.”
If jaws really dropped, hers would be six floors down.
“I kissed you,” she says. “If you were undead I think I’d notice.”
“I’m using this next-tech bio-regenerator called Nanocell. It’s revolutionary, almost like being alive.”
“If you’re a zoman, why bring me here? It’s illegal for us to have sex. The law’s for your own safety.”
“Nothing to worry about. For the first time since I undied, I’m generating new cells. No more brittle flesh. No threat of breaking off inside you.”
He yanks a finger back and forth to demonstrate the elasticity of his flesh.
She has a hard time absorbing this concept. She remembers a high school story about a zombie who tried to jerk off and literally jerked his dick off. She never thought the tale was funny but she knew it might be true.
“It’s still illegal,” she says. “It’s been the law since before I was born.”
“But I don’t need the law to protect me anymore. And besides, they only give you a citation. Cheaper than a speeding ticket.”
“I’ve never even known a livegirl who’s slept with a zombie,” she says, tantalized by the thought of a forbidden sexual exploit. “Are you good at sex?” Her own words embarrass her. “I mean, not you personally, but zombies in general. Can zomen do things liveboys can’t?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know of one person who’s ever had postmortem sex. At least, not that they’d talk about. But when Nanocell goes on the market, the it’s going to….”
He mimes an explosion.
He continues, “That’s why Big Pharma is dumping all those old-school bio-regenerators on the lower castes at half price. They’ve got to get rid of inventory. Once Nanocell hits the market, you think any C-1 who can afford the stuff is going to buy anything else? Look at me!”
He pinches his forearm and stretches the skin to demonstrate that, when he lets it go, it snaps back to its original shape as if it were live flesh.
She falls into a black leather chair, intrigued.
“Have they done any experiments? I mean, have they put a zoman and a livegirl in some lab and let them go at it?”
“Not as far as I know. They just finished the rat trials. The unhuman trials started a few weeks ago. I lucked out and got picked.”
He hands her a snifter. She chugs the whole thing.
“Why me?” she asks. “There’s a billion other livegirls out there.”
“I don’t want just any livegirl. I want the promise of something more. I sense that in you.”
This strikes her as sudden, but still flattering. There’s something about him that attracts her in ways that feel deeper than her addiction to sex.
He says, “We could be the first zoman and livegirl to ever experience safe sex. We could usher in a whole new era.”
She laughs. “They’d have to revoke the sex ban for that. And until you get the right to vote, Congress is never going to pass a law that lets you near living flesh, even if the only zombies who eat people anymore are fringe fundamentalists.”
“Forget the law. It’s just you and me. Here. Now.”
“I still need to know. Why me?”
“Because you’re beautiful. And because you’re not afraid.”
“What the fuck,” she says, tossing her snifter over her shoulder to smash on the floor. “Let’s do this for science and make us some history.”
He pulls her to her feet.
“Let’s really make history,” he says. “Let’s go for love.”
She smiles and pulls him close to part his cool, supple lips with her tongue.
* * * * THE END * * * *
Copyright Craig Faustus Buck 2015