Author : Glenn Song

Jeanette hated Dr. Kogen’s waiting room. It screamed blue at her – the cushions, the walls, and even the magazine covers were coordinated in a fan of azure. Nestled in a wicker basket, on a round table in the center of the room, sat a red delicious apple, a banana, and an orange like a zen puzzle to be pondered. It was too structured, too perfect, but Jeanette dismissed the decor with a mental shake. “Whatever floats your boat,” she thought, tossing a softball almost to the ceiling and catching it first in her right hand, then her left.

Doctor Kogen appeared from behind his door and stood before the blue wall. He flashed a smile at Jeanette, and she half expected him to present her with the five-day forecast. He approached her and shook hands. “Well, are we ready?”

“Hell yeah,” Jeanette said. “I’m ready to walk out of here.”

Kogen frowned. “Did you consider–”

“I’m sick of the chair.”

He plucked the orange from the wicker basket and tossed it to the left of her. She snatched it from the air and looked for traces of disappointment in Kogen’s face. Yeah, she wanted to tell him, I caught it. He simply smiled and said, “Jeanette, before we begin, how does that orange feel to you?”

She tossed the orange in her hands and ran her finger over the lumpy skin.

“What about it?”

“Take a sniff.”

She humored him. “Smells like an orange.” She tossed it back. “The new season starts in two months. I want to play again.”

He nodded. “Very well, this way.” Kogen opened the door a crack. Jeanette placed her hands on the back of her wheels and once the door was half open she revved herself down the hallway. “Third door on your right,” he called after her. She entered the room rolling over a speed bump bundle of wires. LCD panels filled out an entire wall displaying various statistics that would soon be drawn from her body. A stoic figure lay on a bed behind a curtain, but before she could see who it was, two nurses helped her onto her bed, began an IV drip, and placed plugs on her.

“Brainwaves normal. Heart rate, blood pressure, vitals all stable. We’re ready to download,” a nurse said.

“Jeanette, last chance,” Kogen said.

“Yes. Always, yes.”

“Then, take a last look with your human eyes.” Kogen left the room. Jeanette’s world blurred and darkened. The last thing she heard was the sound of her heart flatlining.

* * * * *

“Jeanette.” She identified Kogen’s voice and opened her eyes. Her visual cortex established a pixelated image and then adjusted the resolution. Behind Kogen, a fly fluttered its wings. She saw every wing stroke.

Kogen handed her a mirror. She looked like herself, maybe better. She ran her fingers through her hair. It felt like her hair, maybe softer.

“Diagnostics complete,” said the nurse. “She’s fully functional.”

“Jeanette, we’ll have a battery of tests to conduct before you leave the hospital, but as you are well aware, you’ve died and moved into a mechanized body. How does it feel being a cyborg?” Kogen tossed her an orange.

Her grip surprised her. She crushed the soft fruit, spraying pulp and juice on herself, Kogen, and his nurses. She faced her old body lying next to her and fingered through the mush in her hand, wondering for the first time what she’d done.

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