CHAPTER ONE — A TYPICAL DAY
“Almost there. Just give me another second. And…here you go,” I said turning the computer monitor around to a couple. “Mr. and Mrs. Haven, meet Honoria, your daughter.”
The well-dressed couple gazed up and down in detail at the rendering of their future child. Wasn’t much to look at now, but it gave a rough of idea of what to expect.
“As you can already tell, she has her father’s nose and her mother’s gorgeous blue eyes.”
The husband was pleased as his smile grew on his face.
“What do you think sweetie?”, Mr. Haven asked as he placed a hand over his wife’s.
My eyes followed and watched as she nonchalantly pulled her hand slowly out from under his.
“How do you even spell that Mr. Scarlet?”, Mr. Haven asked.
Pulling out a small piece of blank paper and a pen, I spelled the name in front of them, “H.O.N.O.R.I.A, just think honor with an IA at the end and the H is pronounced as an A. Almost sounds like a venereal disease if you ask me.”
Mrs. Haven didn’t find my little joke amusing.
“Why Honoria? Couldn’t we name her ourselves? Isn’t there a list to choose from?”, she asked disgustedly.
“Unfortunately, no. If there was a way, I would. The Society wanted no confusion between individuals. Just think about it, if there was 200 women all named Jane then we would have to start using second identifiers. Too much work. We assign a name to a person no one else has, and when that name becomes available, we recycle it. So, individuals stay unique and easier to locate. I don’t make the laws Mrs. Haven, just follow them”, I said.
The platinum blonde woman sunk back into her chair irritated, “Yes, everything then is perfect.”
Dismissing her small infraction—which I’m supposed to report—I carried forward with the render.
“This is her as a baby, then thirteen, and eighteen ready to enter the Society. By this time, as you both are aware, she’ll be enrolled into C.H.A.S.T.I.T.Y. Honoria is going to be simply beautiful!”
“How do you know it’s going to be girl?”, Mrs. Haven implored.
Mr. Haven looked over at me, still soundless, awaiting my answer.
“The population has tipped the gender scales favoring males. More females are needed to balance that back out. So, the child’s gender was chosen,” I explained flipping back the monitor towards me.
More discontent wallowed across her face.
“Any other questions before I send off the paperwork to Pediatrics?”
Both shook their heads no.
“Great, it was lovely meeting you both. Please see my secretary Lydia as she’ll provide your pediatrician’s information and where your next appointment is.”
Mr. and Mrs. Haven removed themselves from their chairs, as did I, shaking my hand and headed to the frosted doors behind them.
“Oh, Mrs. Haven,” I said just before the doors opened, “One last thing. I suggest heading straight home to collect yourself.”
She slightly turned to face me then looked over at her husband to see if he picked up on the decoded message. A bubbly Mr. Haven only smiled back at her. Mirroring his smile, Mrs. Haven looked back at Mr. Scarlet, “have a wonderful day, and thank you.”
Nodding my head at her, the two disappeared behind the doors.
Falling back in my red leather chair, hard, I sighed heavily, “There’s always one between the two that chooses to be difficult.”
May not completely agree with what the Society has done with reproduction or dare I say it, love, but people need to accept this way of life now. After what president Trump caused, a revolutionary modification was severely vital. Though, Mrs. Haven does make a good point, why couldn’t she and her partner choose their child’s name? At least give individuals some say in the matter.
Sighing heavy again, I swiveled my chair around facing the huge bay window behind me. The rain thrashed against the pane. Sporadic rumbles and cracks of lightning echoed in the city, yet no flash ever came. Why am I such a sucker for the rain? To this day, I still have no idea. Chuckling, I closed my eyes savoring the weather, but didn’t last long.
“Mr. Scarlet,” a voice said coming from the computer, “Your next appointment is waiting for you in Copulation.”
“Alright, thank you Lydia. Let them know I’m on my way,” getting up from his chair.
Grabbing my coffee, a pen, and the file folder for the next couple, I made my way to the 50th floor and the worst part of my job.
* * *
The elevator gently came to a stop opening its doors to a brightly lit glossy white hallway lined with state of the art security cameras. At the other end were two floor to ceiling steel doors, one for patients and the other for Cupid Techs. My job description now includes overseeing couples perform coitus through a one-way mirror. Sounds a bit morbid and creepy if you think about it. I’ve tried to decline the newfound responsibilities months ago, but the higher ups expressed that it was a real “honor” to be hand-picked out of many. In other words, you’re going to take this job as the promotion wasn’t going to be given to anyone else.
Apparently, the company has experienced broken trust—hence the security cameras. It was said a technician was caught having secret rendezvous with one of his male patients in the copulation room. And everyone knows that homosexuality is against the law.
Standing in front of the steel door, off to the right was a small panel consisting of a speaker and badge reader. Swiping my badge first, a voice projected asking for my name.
“Carlisle Scarlet,” loudly I said.
In seconds, the door unlocked allowing me access.
Inside the dark hole in the wall the company claims to be a room, was Charlotte. Besides adding watchful eyes in the hall, Cupid techs now have assigned partners. Another precaution. She had her feet perched on the control board as she played on her phone.
I met Charlotte a little over a year ago. This flawlessly optimistic blue-eyed blonde decided to sit with me during lunch on her first day, forcing me to talk. From that day forward, we’ve become inseparable. She’s like a sister I never had and always wanted come to find out.
Yet, Charlotte doesn’t take her position as serious as I.
“Charlotte, get your feet down. What if I was one of the higher ups?!” concerned I told her.
“Don’t get your panties in twist! No memo was sent out of any visits,” Charlotte assured.
“What if they decided to do a surprise visit?”
Taking her feet off the console and placing a hand on my forearm, “Are we here to chit-chat about them or watch this people do it?”
Charlotte bounced her eyebrows up and down along with a smirk.
“Why do you have to say it like that?” I said occupying the second chair.
“Because you hate doing this and it always puts you in a better mood,” confidently she said.
Ignoring the fact she was right about my mood, “Whenever you’re ready Char.”
She pressed a black rectangular button on the console activating the speaker in the room next.
“Please, begin,” reverbed loudly causing the couple to slightly jump back.
“Can I have their file?” I asked Char.
Not looking up from her phone, she slid the tan colored folder over to me.
Skimming through the folder, quickly I found out both are architects, come from well to-do lines, and that their names are Colton and Daphne Lufrano. The couple weren’t your average looking joe’s. Daphne might as well be walking the runway sporting Victoria Secret and Colton on the cover of Men’s Fitness magazine.
You could tell the wife was a bit nervous as her hands were shaking. Unsure even how to begin. Would be to if I was in a strange white room where the bed was only a few feet away from the mirror knowing somebody else was behind it.
Swallowing her pride, she proceeded to disrobe starting with the grey pencil skirt. Halfway down the zipper, her husband stopped her. He then grabbed her trembling hands—threaded his fingers in hers—wrapping his arms around her in an embracing manner and whispered something. I’m good at reading lips, but this time I couldn’t decipher what he said. But whatever was communicated helped her relax as the two continued.
This is when I look away and Charlotte watches. She has no problem viewing people having sex. Sometimes I swear she’s voyeuristic.
“Okay, it’s your turn,” I said reading more of their file.
No response from Char.
“Sorry! I’m really into this game,” excitingly she told me.
“Can you be more focused on them,” I snapped at her.
Charlotte became irritated with me as she slid her phone into her lab coat pocket and now looked forward. The deal was, I would do all the paperwork and she would confirm impregnation; visually and digitally. The patients room had been equipped with built in x-ray sensors allowing us to see internally. Better than peeing on a stick—attempting not to make a mess—trying to read what the color lines meant or drawing blood. Our way is simple, quick, and effective making my job a lot easier.
“I’ll buy lunch tomorrow,” charmingly I said.
Just can’t fathom Char being mad at me and really the only person I can be real with. No Society rules. No pretending. So, the only way to get back on her good side was through food.
Out of the corner of her eyes, “Better be at my favorite restaurant, Carlisle.”
“You know it!”
A smile grew on her face.
“One of these days, you’re going to just have to accept we watch people have sex. Hell, it’s free porno.”
“For me, it’s much more than that,” disappointed I said.
“What do you mean?”
A loud moan disrupted our conversation.
“Tell you another time.”
Peering through the window, Mr. Fitness Magazine laid on top of his wife breathing faster and heavier. Their skin glistened under the fluorescent lights. Charlotte pressed the black square button again.
“Please wait,” echoed.
As my co-worker checked for impregnation, I continued to observe.
Colton—still on top of Daphne—didn’t move as his body was angled so Daphne stayed covered. The way his emerald green eyes gazed over her said it all. He worshipped his mate. Cherishing everything. A true gentleman by definition. Charlotte doesn’t understand that’s what I see and not just two people, “doing it.”
Certifying the two as completed in the computer, Char instructed the couple to meet in her office as there was further information she needed to be provide. I, on the other hand, came to end of my work day.
My life is routine; gym, pay bills, grocery shop for that night’s dinner, and maybe curling up to a movie. By that time, a very persistent blonde calls me trying to drag me out to a club or bar of some kind. The last time I agreed to come out with her, she leaves me all alone while she flirts with men whose wives have been removed by the Society. Makes me feel like I’m her pimp or bodyguard. Either way, the nightlife isn’t for me—as I’ve explained to her—So, I’ve declined her invitations every time.
What I will do is go to dinner or attend a marvelous opera.
That’s more my style.
But I quickly learned my lesson with Char after purchasing tickets for Mozart’s The Magic Flute. During the entire performance she broached asking me what was being said as the actors and actresses sang or spoke in Italian. It was the first and last time for her.
People question why we’re even friends if we have almost nothing in common. That’s what makes our friendship so unique. Wouldn’t it be boring if you had friends that loved and did the exact things you did?
Making it home hours later, completely exhausted and sore, I slumped to the floor after shutting the front door. My apartment greeted me by turning on the living room lights and playing big band swing music.
“Music off,” I ordered.
Wasn’t exactly energetic enough for chipper vintage melodies.
I sat there for a second taking a couple of unwinding breaths trying to clear my head. But the images of Colton and Daphne never left. Something about those two really got to me today. Not exactly sure why. Getting up off the hardwood floor, I headed to the kitchen to prepare my dinner which was salsa chicken, chipotle green beans, and Spanish rice. One of my favorite dishes to prepare, yet, simple and quick to prepare. Nobody knows of my culinary skills, not even Charlotte. God, if she knew I’d end up having a second job as her personal chef for sure.
After dinner—and a rapid kitchen cleanup—I slipped into the shower to help me relax before bed. The hot water bolstered my body numbing the world around me. In a way, the thickened steam on the glass blocked out all the world’s problems. When I say problems, what I really mean is the Society and their laws.
Just as I was finally relaxing, the phone rang. Char is the only person I know to call this late in the evening. She must enjoy hearing me say no. Sighing loudly, I turned off the shower wrapping a towel around me and walked into my bedroom to the dresser where my cell phone was.
One missed call and one voicemail from Char displayed on the screen.
Pressing the green play button, the message started.
“Hey, you’re probably thinking I’m going to ask you to come out tonight, which is not the reason for my call. I’m not even going out tonight. I’m heading to bed after this message. Shocking! But, earlier today you said that the higher ups possibly could do a surprise visit, well, you called it Mr. Psychic. Marissa, in pediatrics, called a few minutes ago letting me know that every department will be overlooked for the next few days starting tomorrow. Nighty, night.”