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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Microstory 879: Eyes Glued

Most people would say that I have superpowers, but a lot of the things I can do are uncontrollable, and I would say that you are the ones with powers. Your bodies have been refined over time by evolution, with each passing generation developing better and better traits to help them survive in the world. When your skin is cut, tiny little extensions of you race to the wound, and seal it up. When you’re dehydrated, you become thirsty; tired when you need sleep, itchy when something around you is not quite right. My kind, on the other hand—if I’m even of a kind at all—is stuck doing all those kinds of things manually. I use external instruments to measure my body, so I can stay alert to what it needs me to do, and that is always a lot of work. I do not experience thirst, but I still require water to transport nutrients, and lubricate joints. Sure, I can lose a limb, and put it back on later, but I also can’t heal myself, so if I don’t fix it quick, I’ll bleed out. I don’t know what I am, or where I came from. I woke up one day in the middle of the woods, and have lived years knowing nothing about myself. I often return to that spot for answers, but have found none, so I mostly just try to live my best life possible. The scientists who ended up lucky enough to respond to the claims of my existence can’t explain me either. Some wanted to call me Data, because I apparently act like a particular character in a TV show that I now feel compelled to avoid, on principle. Others wanted to name me Frankenstein, because my physical attributes most closely resemble a monster created through spare parts. But I was not born of amalgamation, and I was not built to specification, but rather modeled upon my creator’s vague memory of a generic human being, or so it would seem, because they didn’t do a great job. I believe I was designed as a prototype. I figure they left to die in the wild while my creator moved on a better version, but this is nothing more than speculation, because I really don’t much care who they are, or what they were hoping to gain.

I was found by a mother and daughter on a camping trip. They knew someone who knew someone working in the field of robotics. Of course, I am no android, but her knowledge has not been unhelpful in understanding how to deal with me. I suppose if I had to label my family, I would call her my mother. She cared for me like a mother would, and protected me from those who would exploit me for their own ends. I was fortunate to have her, as well as her colleagues, for I cannot say I would have turned out so well-adjusted if not for them. As unbelievable as it may seem, I lead a fairly normal life. I have a decent job where only a select few know that I do not consider myself human. The rest assume I have autism, and most of those treat me with kindness because of, in spite of, or unrelated to, that assumption. I do normal things, like set off fireworks, and cuddle with puppies. When I eat, I’m eating regular food, and just like everybody else, I have to make sure it’s not too much. My stomach might rupture if I fail in this, so that’s different, but still not too far off from how it is for you. Right now I’m at the beach for the first time, and I’m still not sure I like it. My mother thinks I’m capable of incurring first degree burns, and insists I spread sunblock on my skin. It’s oily, and gross, and I don’t like it. Plus, there’s sand in my eyes now, which is another advantage you have over me. You’ve evolved tears that can wash foreign particulates from your eyes, but I don’t, so it just won’t come out. I’m going to have to remove them entirely, which I know will be unsettling for the other beach goers, but we can just claim we’re filming a prank show, like that time I lifted a car to retrieve a soccer ball. No one seems to be paying attention, but neither am I. I reach into my mother’s bag, looking for those eye drops she uses for her allergies. Before I realize I’ve grabbed the wrong bottle, it’s too late. My eyeballs have already set into the fast-hardening super glue. If I had known this was going to happen, I would have made sure I didn’t insert them backwards. I can’t see a thing, but please, keeping telling me how great it must feel to swim underwater for two days straight.

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