January 11th, 2006
Tomorrow, Vivek Pratap will stop smoking.
He will stop smoking because it is bad for his gills, the luster of his new skin, and his sharpened teeth. The shark genes he had combined with his own were expensive; he’d hate to ruin those spent thousands with a five-dollar pack of smokes.
So tomorrow, Vivek will quit. Heâ€™s a new man, now
He also got muscle enhancements, as well as some bone-lengthening treatments. The new Vivek would tower over the old one. He had to get a new wardrobe, made of shiny, expensive materials. He’s kept a flannel shirt, though, his favorite. Used to be his favorite. But heâ€™s different, now.
Vivek had to move, to be closer to the ocean. This meant leaving a lot of friends behind, but Vivek was glad of that. He could tell when they looked at him, who they saw. And it just wasn’t who he was anymore.
The move meant an excuse to get rid of a lot of things. Vivek tossed out all the pictures of himself as he used to look, feeling he was better off without reminders. He did keep one picture, but it’s not on display in his new home. He keeps it in a drawer.
It’s the only picture he has of Czarina; she never did like seeing herself on film. She had broken up with him after his transition. She said she didn’t like the new Vivek. It was for the best, really. Czarina is a smoker.
Vivek likes the new him. which is why he’s going to take care of it. Starting tomorrow, he’s going to quit smoking.
Tonight, he is wrapped up in a a shirt that no longer fits, staring at picture of a version of himself that is wearing it. A version of himself whose soft, pink cheek is being kissed by a girl who has her arms around his small, hunched shoulders.
“Tomorrow,” Vivek promises himself. “I’ll change.”