Monday, 17 August 2015

Microsequel Monday! Good Form ten years on

Good Form, ten years on
Jo Thomas
This micro-sequel takes place ten years after the events of “Good Form,” first published in Outlaw Bodies in 2012, and was written to celebrate the tenth anniversary of TFF. If you want to see more fiction like this in the future, please support our fundraiser where you can pre-order the celebration anthology.
A big, black car with tinted windows and a uniformed chauffeur holding the door open.

“Thank you,” Astrid said.

The other woman nodded, then shut the door behind her before getting in to the servant’s compartment. Astrid eyed the closed door.

“A bit late to be nervous now,” said a familiar voice, though weaker and more strained than her memory of it.

She looked more carefully at what she’d assumed was a pile of blankets and saw features she hadn’t noticed before. Despite the heavy lines and the respirator, she would know that voice and that face anywhere.

“What’s going on?” she asked. “Aren’t you supposed to be relaxing between films.”

The brown eyes gave her a look that the remembered metallic ones never had. “You’re surprisingly naive for the woman who taught Junior how to be human.”

“Junior?” she asked. “Who’s Junior?”

“Did you even care about what happened to him after you fucked him on camera?” he demanded.

“I don’t understand,” she said. “What’s going on?”

“He almost got scrapped because of you. He wasn’t made to be a sex toy.”

Astrid had already worked out that it had something to do with the one and only Form she’d worked on a decade ago. “Look, I was told I had a new placement as a governess. They said the family would send a car to pick me up, but I obviously got in the wrong car.”

“No mistake,” he said. “You’re coming to look after Junior, seeing as you messed up his life.”

“I don’t understand,” she repeated.

He glared at her. “Did you know he couldn’t perform like they wanted? They were going to kill him.”

He coughed, and it sounded horrible.

“You didn’t look this bad in your interview this morning,” Astrid said.

“That wasn’t me,” he said when the coughing passed. “That was Junior pretending to be me. Which he is. Sort of.”

“But the eyes,” she said.

He gave a sharp laugh that turned into another cough. “Clients with enough money can get any modification.”

“You talk about them scrapping your Form as if it’s the worst thing you can imagine. But surely you knew they only had a certain lifespan when you sold the rights?”

He had probably decided too late that it was too much like watching himself die.

He glared at her again. “I only sold the rights for one Form. And after the way he was treated, I was hardly going to repeat my mistake.”

“Didn’t you do any research?” she asked. “There’s so much porn of —”

“Don’t make this my fault!” he shouted.

The chauffeur spoke over a hidden speaker. “Is everything okay, sir?”

“Fine,” he growled, and then ruined it by coughing.

“I wanted out of the public eye,” he said when the coughing passed. “So Junior and I swapped places years ago. Now I’m dying. He’s going to need someone to protect him when I’m gone.”

Astrid shook her head. “I have my own life and my own—”

“You have nothing. I checked. If you do this, you’ll be made for life.”

She didn’t show that the verbal punch had landed. It was another job she couldn’t afford to turn down.

“Fine,” she said.

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