Parties like these were dim, high ceilings with chandeliers, the scent of burning candles filling the partygoers’ synthetic nostrils.
The candlelight served to hide their seams. Some had seams in their arms, necks, and some, though not at this party, had seams in their faces.
The partygoers wore long sleeves and turtlenecks, all the better to hide the seams of their mostly synthetic skins, and for those less fortunate ones, to hide the real skin that lay beneath the fake skin.
Servomotors attached to microfibre muscles beneath motioned eyes and crinkled noses and eyebrows. The more advanced motors equaled a better smile, and at this shindig, everyone’s smiles were electric and dazzling, paid for with the best skin and muscle money could buy.
In a more ancient time the words surgery or Kardashian might come to mind, but those words held little meaning in this new age.
The attendees held wine glasses but many did not drink of it. In the old days the trick to catering was to slightly over-cater drinks and food, but now the trick was to under-cater tremendously; most of these attendees would not drink or eat. Holding plates and glasses had become a social ritual but eating and imbibing had become unnecessary, as the virus had spread not only into their skins but also for many into their stomachs as well.
For those who could not eat, there was a discreet room at any one of these parties where they were giving intravenous drips, but some paid the nurses who attended to these drips extra to pour the drips into wine glasses.
As the party wore on and the attendees talked and socialised what they had in perceived social graces they lacked in empathy. Driving to tonight’s particular fundraiser was a particular challenge, as tonight’s party was labelled as a fundraiser to find a cure for the image virus, and the proletariat were clamoured outside, some banging hard against cars, some leaping against the mansion’s gates, only to be thrown off by a jolt of the fence’s electricity, those ugly proles with one eye and one tooth and one nostril, determined, willing to be shocked again and again by that fence, while robot guards held them off with long metal poles through the grates.
Inside the mansion, this commotion was quickly forgotten. Inside the safety of multiple walls built at suspicious angles, lined with ostentatious columns, people forgot about the pain of the outside world, about their own pain.
Lisa Wang, not her real name, maybe, she can’t remember, has been a common sight at many of these parties. She said hello to many of the same people, though she had never given a cent to any of these fundraisers, and her credibility in her own self was just as cheap. She knew she was not really a Lisa Wang, but that had been her name for almost a year. The year before that, she was Tilda Swan, and the year before Tilda, she was Anniki M’Bosa. She was every color and creed she needed to be, she was everyone but to herself she was no one.
Some of these rich people with the fake faces she knew from her time as Tilda or as Anniki, but Lisa Wang had fit the bill just fine. When she first took on the persona of Lisa Wang, there were rumors that Lisa Wang had overdosed and fell off the cliff of some seaside resort, but she had to fend off those rumors, rumors that had actual truth to them. Tilda Swan had stolen Lisa Wang’s parts from the corpse that washed ashore at dawn, and Tilda Swan knew an opportunity when it arose. Tilda’s parts were beginning to give way anyway, and she had no money to maintain them. As dawn turned to morning, Tilda Swan was no more.
Long live Lisa Wang.