Author : Damien Krsteski

The receptionist was tapping her pudgy fingers impatiently on the desk. Leaning on one hand, her pale face hid momentarily behind an inflating chewing gum bubble until a loud pop revealed a familiar expression of utter boredom and listlessness. She adjusted her cap and smacked her gum. Opposite her was the startled, cutely timid Jane Yules, dressed incongruously in a long, beige overcoat.

“For 49.99, you get our most popular zap, the ‘Passion Xtreme’,” said the receptionist in a thick, urban accent. “The ultrasound bursts stimulate your, erm, pleasure centers, and you get to feel like a pig for a short while. Meaning you get to have a forty minute orgasm,” she added hastily upon seeing Jane’s bewildered look.

“I, erm, don’t think that’s for me, thanks,” Jane pushed her glasses up her nose. “Do you happen to have something,” she rummaged her thoughts a bit, then shrugged and added, “different?”

The receptionist gave her a long, puzzled look, spat out the gum, and disappeared behind her desk. Jane could hear the noise of someone ploughing through old junk. Seconds later, she emerged with a mischievous smile on her face and a card in her hand. “This different enough for you, sis?” she asked, holding out the card.

“Ego Loss,” it read.

Jane shrugged, and before she knew it, she was being escorted by the oddball receptionist to the Sensorium booths. Hands strapped to the sides, the receptionist girl gave her a mock salute, pointed the ultrasound blasters at her skull, then said, “See you in a sec.”

At the beginning, there was nothing. Then, she felt a peculiar sensation. Her arms and legs stretched out to twice their length. Her whole body was like a hammock, and she swung it sideways, giggling, for it tickled her belly. On the second swing, she swelled up, and was the size of a hot-air balloon. Her bloated body kept on blowing, inflating. She couldn’t see herself, for she had no senses, but she was able to sense her color. With every breath, she doubled in size, and kept doubling, until she was the size of the cosmos.

“What now?” she felt herself asking, and burst into a million fragments of fluorescent magenta. Once again, there was nothing. And, once again, she felt a peculiar sensation. Out of her very body, endlessly fragmented and scattered, seeds began to grow, in all shapes and sizes. Spiral structures emerged, and swirled around each other, forging an infinite number of constructions. Life appeared. Small, and compact at first, then growing ever more complex and intricate, reaching at long last the pivotal event where it evolved intelligence.

Everything was of the same fluorescent color.

Jane Yules was trembling, her eyes glistening with tears.

“I was God,” she managed to whisper.

The girl undid the straps and helped her get up. “Yeah, sure you were,” she snapped, then stuffed another pink piece of gum in her mouth, “That’ll be 29.49, sis.”

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