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The Look

First published in
Dangerous Creatures
February 2003

Published in
Murky Depths #5
as a comic strip
September 2008

Published in
Probably Maybe Perhaps
September 2012

The Look

She caught his eye from across the other side of the room. Hers were startling blue. The most attractive female at this opening-night party. By far the most attractive.

With the grace of a top catwalk model she seemed to melt through the crowd towards him. He stood still expectantly; senses burning a perfect image of her into his mind. Slim build, not too broad, yet most definitely woman. Breasts firm from the suggestive cleavage. Clothes heightening her sexuality; hiding and revealing just enough.

Around three hundred people filled the main hall of the gallery. Wine splashed across the polished whitewood floor as conversation became more animated and gestures less controlled; particularly amongst the gathering of artists whose works were being displayed for the first time and who were making the most of free drink. But the woman flowed through this sea of oblivion so unlike yet so reminiscent of Moses parting the waves. It was strange that few, if any, heads turned to watch her. How could they not fail to appreciate her beauty?

That calculated walk. One foot directly in front of the other, pelvis thrusting provocatively, shoulders slightly back accentuating her figure, arms swinging in perfect balance. She was still only a third of the way across the room. Almost as if she were moving in slow motion, the guests normal, his senses racing.

Her purposeful stare confirmed she was heading his way. Why him? Who was he after all? Answers were not sought. This woman dominated his mind. But then conversation from nearby began to invade this dominance. A word here and there distracted him.

Two of the artists from CybArtech, the group whose collaborative but highly controversial work with scientists and doctors had supposedly led to new and helpful discoveries in surgery, were explaining an exhibit to maybe a dozen captive guests. He filtered their voices out from the noisy chatter, letting the gist of the conversation reach into his heart. It could have wrenched his world apart, but a smile quivered the corner of his lips.

". . . didn't see any point in making him a hunky male . . ."

"Although the brain we used was taken from a male," the other artist interjected.

". . . just an ordinary guy leaning against a bar seemed to make it more poignant. After all, this piece is a pastiche of the stereotypical male of the late 20th century. A play on 'laddish' humour. You know, the gorgeous blond actually responds to an ordinary guy."

"It's what all guys still dream about, eh?"

Laughter rippled amongst both genders though they were clearly not convinced. However the two artists were too full of themselves and wine to notice.

"A closer look at the woman and you'll see she's virtually all silicon."

"Apart from the robotics of course, "added the second artist, "and the brain."

"It took us a year to get her to move as if in slow motion and the trajectory spot on. Here, watch the final bit."

They shuffled closer to their masterpiece, pulling their little audience with them. A discrete "Ordinary Guy" was stencilled on the side of the box representing the bar. Flat screens on the walls behind registered the brain's EEG patterns and showed what this part of the exhibit was experiencing.

"Drugs heighten this whole scenario. You can see the excitement he's sensing by the EEG."

"And drugs knock out his and her immediate memory when the whole pageant ends."

The bloke's right arm, no attempt made at giving it a human appearance, angled forward as the plastic woman at last reached him. There were mumbles of appreciation from the onlookers, as the artists had produced the epitome of womanly beauty, at least that currently recognised as such.

"I think this is yours?"

It was unexpected. No one had anticipated the woman would speak. The artists smiled as the manikin put something into the cup at the end of the robotic arm. There was a burst of real laughter, and a polite but appreciative round of applause, as the audience realised a single eye sat in the little cup.

"Not a real eye of course."

The first artist pointed at the monitors as they fizzled black, but some of the audience were already moving off to other exhibits.

"Now's when the anti-memory drug kicks in. When she moves back to the starting position."

The screens crackled back to life with "new" brain patterns. Both artists turned, as did the heads of the remaining group, to watch the manikin travel back across the gallery. As she settled into place the sound of a ratchet noise caused them to look back as the guy's robotic arm clicked back parallel to the floor. There followed a solid "clunk" as the trebuchet was released from its tension.

She caught his eye from across the other side of the room. . . .

Copyright Terry Martin, January 2003


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