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Kaufman
The Future is the Motherfucking Future

“Is Steve your brother?” asks the dust. “My name’s Ted.”
“I’m Rob,” says the whale.
“Nice to meet you,” says Ted, “Tell Steve I say hi.”
“Ted says hi,” says Rob.
“Who the fuck’s Ted?” asks Steve.
“He says hi back,” says Rob.
“Where you guys headed?” asks Ted.
“Out,” says Rob.
“Mind if I tag along?” asks Ted, “It gets lonely –“
Rob cuts him off, “I was really enjoying the silence.”
“I was just thinking, the odds of running into another human out here is at least one in a hella,” says Ted.
“I’m gonna turn off my cognitive functions for a few years,” says Rob, “Do what you want.”
Rob’s giant eyes go unfocused, blank.
“Rob?” Ted waffles for a moment. “I’ll just, um, just float with you for a while. Okay?”

*

The chemo made Dad’s hands hurt all the time. He couldn’t hold a cup, a fork, a hand. When he touch anything his fingers worse than

hurt, and if he touched something cold the pain was exponential. Every glass of water might as well have been liquid nitrogen. He was so brittle.
Scientists have built artificial arms of metal and silicone that plug into the user’s nervous system. People without fingers of flesh can feel again. Touch. Grip. Dad might have been better off if they took his arms just above the elbow when they started the treatments. Maybe he could have held his daughter without wincing, without crying.
Maybe he could have traced her jaw with a plastic finger. Maybe he could have felt that inherited shape with wires and algorithms.
Would that plastic touch be so different from the camera with facial recognition? Are the equations so different?
Science fiction: we turn sight into touch, replace our fingers with cameras, trace the outline of every distant leaf, the twinkling edges of stars. The hint of freckles on your nose, my every glance heavy with the furrows of my fingerprints. We could all always hold each other, wrap each other up in gazes, pure as light.

*

And you love someone. He dusts happiness on your food and hides it in your toothpaste. In the darkness you nuzzle your head in the crook of his arm and feel him trace the line of your jaw. He puts a fingertip to

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