After which, I stand in the garage and rethink the foundation. It's not that the concrete's malformed or that my vessel's misplaced. We just never planned for people. Mara removes her arm and attaches a pickaxe. I go to the grocery store and buy a six-pack. When I return, there is dust and a hole, and Mara waits in her closet, arm reattached, emotions dissociated. She's quite the pneumatic, even more than me. I watch the nightly news and contemplate Vlad the Impaler and Chevy Impalas. Notions that no longer conform to logic. I'm for matrices, really, now that our circuits have fused, and so long, I think, to these vascular globules. Mara would agree but I keep her neurotics opposed to mine so our conversations can remain exciting, possibly even enlightening—dialog of a truer kind. I call her from hibernation so we can get synaptic.
There is a lull.
We put parts in a hole a bury them. Mara refinishes the concrete. Then the police come.
"Do you know about biodegradables?" they ask.
"Have you seen these entities?" they ask.
They show us pictures.
Mara has nothing to say and neither do I. Things are forgotten. I go to work.
I fiddle with circuit boards. Steve needs help with fingers. He thinks we can live forever, that the separation between machine and man has dissolved, that the infinite has automated. He has his reasons as I have mine, but here we push them aside and create people one part at a time. I specialize in pseudo-vascular-
reintegration but mostly I form the connections that make a person go, all to order of course, aside from a few legal specifications. My grandmother would be proud, her being one of the first combos. Today I focus on a laser job, for constant communication, a son to join the family unit. Steve's fingers can wait. When I adjust the particle dispersion, Mara calls. "The floor is moving," she says.
Steve understands people better than I do. I take him with me.
"Where are we going?" he asks.
"I'm having a problem with people parts," I reply.
He nods and smiles.
He's an expert.
Mara holds the floor down but Steve brushes her aside. "No need for that," he says.
The concrete crumples and upends, cracks and turns, and even my vessel shifts away from center. Mara has her pickaxe going, her neurotics clicking hideously, but it is too late and there, exposed again, are the people parts we buried. Three arms. Two feet. Four elbows. Fifteen fingers. One lonely ribcage all swelled and peaked, rigid in its grinning, and calcifications, real calcifications, plotting an installation of cosmos. The garage a mopey dust.
We're linty. Then relieved.
Steve squats amid the parts. Mara sits on my vessel. I theorize for a minute or two but pseudo-vascular-reintegration has no bearing on the capacity to exist, and anyway Steve has sorted and piled the parts. He attaches a muscle here, a tendon there, gesturing the brief crepuscular fluidity that parts these parts from their divergent whims. The police come but Mara disassembles them silently.
"What about manufactories?" I say. "What about assembly?"
Steve shakes his head. Mara removes her pickaxe.
The parts shamble forward then back, joints askew, so many cellular connections that I balk at the notion of creation. Sure, Mara's my girl and I made her, and maybe Steve and I are twenty-third generation re-designs of the same men, both of our prototypes from a far-off century where everything is biological, but there has to be something else.
The police are moving; their reassembly hardware chitters. We shovel them into the road with the haphazard people parts. Somebody else's problem. Things stop or don't, and move on with or without fine-tuned synaptics, but I've got Mara and a job that fulfills societal needs, and we're all vested in creation anyway. More afog than asleep.
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