Author : Dylan Otto Krider

Talmey is not a pervert, just very lonely. He tried to get dates, really he did. With the computer business, he didn’t have time. Plus, he was shy and — he could admit this – ugly. But a guy has certain needs; for sex, yes, of course, but female companionship above all.

He tried ordering one of those latex dolls, which were cold and inanimate. Then he tried VR, but had to strap on a vibrator, which buzzed and wasn’t the way he imagined it.

Then he came across this ad for something called Meat Market. They advertised “living flesh,” which grossed him out at first until they explained it: it was a human clone, essentially, minus the brain. Well, a tiny brain, a reptilian brain, so it was like owning a pet, So, there was nothing unethical about it.

When it arrived, it was fine to have sex with, but he was a romantic. He wanted something to love him, and which he could love back. This… this was… well, it didn’t even seem to be there, really, mentally. All it wanted was to sleep and eat. It wasn’t potty trained either, so you had to change adult diapers, which was gross and not at all what he paid for.

He tried to return it, but the operator told him there was a new, smarter model coming out, one smart enough to flush the toilet. One bred to adore you, the way dogs were bred. Dogs wanted to be with you. Nothing cruel about it.

When she arrived, she loved him almost immediately. She followed him around the house, and was always underfoot. She wanted attention constantly.

He returned her almost immediately.

He guessed he was a feminist. He didn’t want someone just to have sex with. He wanted more than that. He wanted someone to talk with, share his dreams and fears, discuss movies. His equal. Who would go out with him. His equal who would go out with him. That’s what he really wanted.

So, he tried a sort of mail order bride service, which wasn’t really a mail order bride service, but sort of was. They found you a woman from a third world country who was willing to overlook his ugliness for citizenship. They sent him a woman from someplace with arranged marriages, so it wasn’t weird at all. She was great at first, but eventually stopped having sex with him, and nagged him all the time, and once she got citizenship, she ran off with his brother.

He forswore all women after that. Some people aren’t meant to couple. But Meat Market kept calling, trying to get back his business.

“We have a premier sentient model coming out; one who is bred to want to be there, but can leave at any time,” the salesman said, “but won’t.”

They talked him into one last try.

She arrived at his apartment under her own recognizance. She smiled at him. It didn’t even seem to matter that he was ugly. She did all the talking at first, to draw him out.

They had the best conversations after that. They had arguments, too, sure, but she never got mad, and when they came to an impasse, would defer. She didn’t nag. She wanted to make love, and loved him, but not in a needy way. When he came home, she ran up and kissed him and would say, “I have been thinking about you all day.” She wanted to be there, and was his equal as she was engineered to be.

And she was all his.