The Heart Goes Last

In episode four of Positron, our happy couple Stan and Charmaine enter a darkly devious world of faked executions, sexbots, and Elvis impersonators.

  1. Stan’s in the Possibilibots cafeteria with the guys from his team—his new team, the team he’s just been inserted into. He’s having a beer, that weak pissy beer they’re brewing in Consilience now; plus a side of onion rings and some fries to share, and a platter of BBQ wings. Sucking the fat off a wing, he reflects that he himself might have tended the owner of this wing when it had been covered with feathers and attached to a chicken. A Positron chicken, in the Positron Prison chicken facility he’d once supervised on alternate months, when his life had passed for ordinary.

    It seems a century away now, that stretch of time when he’d lived with Charmaine in their bland but well-tended Consilience home. She’d done a lot of laundry and ironing and worn an apron, as in some re-creation of a fifties sitcom, and he’d kept the lawn mowed neatly and the hedges trimmed, and they’d made sedate domestic love under a floral-patterned sheet with ribbon bows and bluebirds on it. Yes, he’d been bored, he’d had the urge to wander, though doesn’t every husband? And yes, he’d been obsessive about a woman who turned out not to exist, but even that was well within the range of normal, most guys did it at least once in their lives. It was a hormone thing, the illusion, the disillusion. Par for the course. And yes, he’d discovered that Charmaine had been cheating on him; that was par for the course too, and in time he could have handled it.

    ***

    But that was before the ground had been whipped out f...

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