Flash Fiction: Touching Up the Gray

Genre: Dystopian sci-fi, flash fiction

As you step into the room that’s purposefully drained of color, your skin shifts, tries to hide its roots from me.

I don’t believe it. It’s World Leader Sangre! Here? In my research lab! What could she possibly want? It’s certainly not the publicity.

“Lady Sangre, it’s a distinct honor to have you here. May I ask why you are paying me a visit on this of all days? Surely you know the daily forecast is dodgy at best.”

Brushing aside my faux empathy, she blundered on. “Skin-perfecting,” she tentatively pokes at the air to bring up the advertisement bubble’s catchphrase. Magazines had dozens of decades since liquidified into denizens of the air, summoned forth like Athena from Zeus’ headache at the stab of a finger, epithelium-covered, mech, or otherwise.

“Can you do the opposite or at least make me think you can?” She gestured at the Damarcadian model in the latest issue of Womens Underground Today slathering synthetic eagle-tail oil on her time-disfigured face. Her voice is pitched just below a whispered beg, but her eyes worry the air where the model’s transformation hangs its now mercurially beaming face.

Presumably seeing my hesitation (did my face slide back its screen?), she continues. “I just want to feel the . . . creature comforts of my own old cells again. Please.”

Flesh-bound idiot!

I must have wrinkled my otherwise perfectly structured nose (if I do say so myself), because she reached across the charged space for my synth-enclosed hands. Like most all of us these days, she was nano-small but her bristles drilled crude indents into me so effectively, I could almost call up a dim memory of what pain was.

“Surely you can reverse the process that you yourself pioneered! I can offer you anything you want in payment. Potable water. Access to drought-resistant agriculture. The latest and best unsullied air. The newest tunneling technology for your dominion. (Yawn. I’d rather have unfettered access to the seed and gene catalogs.)”

Still, I dithered. Could there be more riches she’s not mentioning, like safe transport—?”

“Any. Thing!” she interrupted with outstretched hands, palms tremulous, but up.

“It’s a deal,” I said at last, pulling the skull saw and forceps from the case as I eased into my sales spiel. “Here at YouGenics lab, the focus is on you and the traveler inside your head. But don’t worry, the brain re-wrinkling process is non-irritating, doesn’t abrade the nostrils too much, and is absolutely completely 100% reversible.  . . .”


A scene from a fantastic movie, Terry Gilliam's "Brazil."

This microfiction was partly inspired by a scene from a fantastic movie, Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil.” See it, if you haven’t already.


3 thoughts on “Flash Fiction: Touching Up the Gray

    • Thank you for reading (not to mention the compliment), Stephen. It is high praise coming from another spec-fic writer (with an awesome-looking Website and wide imagination, I must say). Your “marbles” story is well fleshed out, really compelling reading, something I’d like this story to be at some future point. Were it televised, I could see it as a Doctor Who ep (I hope that’s a compliment!). 🙂 Anyway, best regards and happy writing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s