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The Director’s House

February 24, 2010

I walked along the main street of a Midwestern town looking for something to eat. I passed a beauty parlor, a liquor store, a grocery store, several bars and a few restaurants. I stood in front of a club called Suede and went inside for a drink. The women were wearing hats and long dresses, leather boots, fake eye lashes and neon jewelry. I asked for gin and the woman said, “Source code?” Puzzled, I shrugged and waited for her to explain.

“I need your code, sister. No code, no gin, got it?”

“Where do I get one?”

“Listen babe, if you don’t know the answer to that, you’ve got bigger problems. What are you…a Nova Model? Synthetic?

“Why don’t I just pay cash?”

“You are a strange one, aren’t you? Take a look at your hands.”

I looked at my hands. They were covered in silver rings and colored rubber bands.

“Turn them over and lift the flaps.”

I did as she instructed. I found tiny flaps on my fingertips.

“I only need one,” she said grabbing one of my fingers. For less than a second I was connected to a system and felt a surge of energy travel out of my spine.

“There now, that wasn’t too bad, right? Lime?” she continued.

“Yeah. Thanks.”

She placed a tall, slim glass of gin on the counter. “A word of advice, newbie, if I were you I wouldn’t let on about the memory loss. It’ll get you into trouble ’round here.”

I sat down by the window, afraid to touch the gin. The only thing I could remember was that I needed to find the Director’s house.

_____

I wake up standing along a glass wall of a large bedroom. A young girl tells me she needs to get dressed and ready.

“I don’t have much time, you know. Daddy’s going to flip!”

“I need to use the bathroom,” I replied, slowly remembering that I’d been in this house before. And it wasn’t a safe place to be. She led me to a dingy bathroom covered with tiny pebbles and brown water. It was filthy,  but I wanted to make my escape. She must have sensed this. She said, “Hey, why don’t I take you to the nice one downstairs?”

Reluctantly, I followed her to a beautiful ground floor, through a gaming room, an indoor pool and garden, all of which led to a white bathroom. It looked pristine, with brown face towels folded neatly on the sink. When I tried to close the door she said, “You know I can’t let you go in alone. Daddy’s orders.”

Yes, of course I remembered. I remembered her brother, a young menace with an affinity for sharp objects. He’ll try and stab me at some point, but I’ll be ready when he does. Her father, the Director, has purchased me and uses me for a variety of tasks. Babysitter, teacher, mother, gardener, PR, writing partner and lover. He’s fifty seven, wealthy, and owns the most successful production companies in the world.

The young girl pushed me. “We have a press conference in fifteen minutes. Hurry up!”

This time, I led the way and walked almost half a mile across the house. The press conference was held in the exterior gardens and the Director would expect me to answer all the difficult questions. There were endless camera flashes, questions coming in many tongues, and I remembered that this press conference was about me. A rumor surfaced that I wasn’t human. I was here to prove them wrong and save the Director’s career. His new film would not be released unless the public was convinced.

Success. I remained calm and answered all of their questions. During dinner that evening, the Director tells me how lucky he feels. He said it tenderly, but I could see the possession in his eyes. He’ll never let me go.

That’s when the terrible son sneaks into the room with a small kitchen knife. I can feel him behind me. As he leaned in, I turned around and caught the knife before it could pierce my skin. I bent it with ease and glared into his vicious little eyes. He had more knives in his pockets. I picked him up as he kicked and screamed while the Director watched silently from the head of the table, and thrust the child across the room.

I ran down the hall, up and around staircases trying to find a window or a door. I began to feel disoriented. How do I get out of this massive house?

Just as the anxiety reached its boiling point I found a window and didn’t hesitate. Head first, I blasted through the glass and landed on a dirt road.

_____

I sipped the gin. I was being watched by a woman with braided hair. She had one blue eye, the other green. Eccentric beauty. As she approached, with her thighs exposed from the slits in her dress, beads of sweat fell along the side of her face. I remembered that Suede was where we came to hide. Some came directly from the factories. Some of us were being hunted by our possessors. Others escaped from junk sites.

But no matter how we got here, we never let on about our true selves.

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