I have been very patient throughout this whole renovation process. I am about to lose it big time. I get many Google hits on Adrienne Shelly, the actress/writer/director, who was killed because she complained about noise to the wrong person. We came from the same not-quaint Long Island town. It doesn’t have a train station, but we grow up believing that our station in life will allow us to be listened to.
Women from our community aren’t known for patience or for being quiet. I can’t be quiet–most have been the water I wasn’t allowed to drink, or the grass or something. When Adrienne Shelly was killed I vowed I would turn myself into the nicest person in the world no matter how horrible the situation. I’m not naive. Adrienne Shelly wasn’t either. Fortunately she was more known for her promise and for her work than for being a stereotyped Long Island Jewish Princess. Something I don’t want to be known as either so I go to extremes.
They were definitely positively going to be here 53 minutes ago. I have been understanding to the point where I feel like an idiot. But I also feel that the contractor is going through hell and I can’t add to that. I won’t gossip about that.
A deserted mine shaft turned into a state of the art house, West Virginia, 2030
Nell wanted to get out of bed almost more than she wanted Justin. Of course she wanted to be out of bed more but that seemed so disloyal to Justin who had gone through so much to get her. Nell felt a character in a NanoQuinRomance novel. Everybody read them. Since the Big Eleven had taken over the work world and people were happy in their jobs romance was an increasingly rare commodity. People took their long vacations in groups.
Nell knew that she was lucky. She was damned if she would let the ISB, the chips, Denny, Nadia or the other people in her body take her down. It had taken her years to admit to Justin that she had first fallen in love with him in Pre-K, and would do anything to take the impulsive truly stupid marriage to Denny back. If only so that she could say in old age, Justin was her first and only husband. Justin always said that a marriage made under false pretenses didn’t count. But she had allowed it.
Justin jolted her back into the moment when he asked what she was thinking about:
How lucky I am. Damn Justin I have to get them all.
We’ll get them.
I think this is my fight. I think I have to out will them.
All of them. I have always out thought opponents. They’re counting on me not thinking, and damn I’m fading.
Can you tell when they’re out?
I can’t hear them or feel what they’re doing. Feel as if I’m covered in quicksand. Can’t explain it anymore. But sometimes I know what they said or what was said.
Cornelia wanted to play. Why was somebody else talking from her body? Who was this person snuggled up to her? Ella, that was Ella, sort of her baby side. Cornelia knew that they were supposed to take over Nell’s body. It would be Cornelia’s body; she would use Ella as she used everybody. Bye bye Nell!!! When Cornelia was out she wouldn’t remember any of this. It was good to have Ella to take over. Ella was harmless. Cornelia could rest. She didn’t like to rest when she was out. Life was too exciting. She bet Rachel, Nell’s best friend, would sleep with her. Rachel was known for sleeping with anybody who had money or was interesting. Sleeping with Rachel was a sign that somebody had made it. There was more gossip about Rachel in zines than about pop stars. She didn’t want to sleep with Nadia or Denny. Nadia was ugly and Denny was as bad in bed as he was with everything else
Cornelia would have Nell’s life. Justin would have to accept her. She was Nell; just another personality. The USB didn’t realize that the chip contained real people who had spent past two years learning all about Nell, before being put in the chip just before Nell had come to Colombia. There were others waiting to come out, but Cornelia was the favorite. She had been told this by somebody. It made more sense that other people inhabited Nell’s body than personalities.
Cornelia didn’t really care if things made sense or not. She wanted to come out. Damn Nell was garnering strength. She would have to stop that. Cornelia wished she were smarter. The voices that usually guided her when she was coming out weren’t there. Though they hadn’t guided her the last time, she just came out, this was strange. What did she do the last time? If only she was as good at thinking as she was at everything else. Ella was worse than useless. Cornelia was going to have think for her if the guides didn’t come soon. She liked the radio station that seemed to run through her head.
Nadia was livid. Ilya wasn’t getting any better. His fever was getting higher and they couldn’t stop it. If he went into delirium, he might, just might say something. She heard that Nell had been out for five hours. Three more than she should have been. The antidote couldn’t be working that well. She should be laughing. Fluids had been taken from all pores, every body opening. They weren’t going to find anything. So naive these people who thought themselves so worldly. Nadia could emit the serum at will. It had beeen so complicated, long and tortuous to make this formula, but when she and Ilya had succeeded, Nadia knew she had true power. As long as she was in any semblance of a right mind she wouldn’t let anybody know. Nadia had killed grown men when she was nine in Latvia. Her father watched while she, her mother and Ilya were gang raped. When the men were done they shot her parents. Nadia sneaked out and found her father’s gun. He had taught her well. Nobody was expecting a little girl to shoot three men in the back in rapid succession. Nadia did what had to be done to stay alive. She was the ultimate survivor. If people knew her history they would call her a sociopath. The first three deaths were innocent deaths. The rest weren’t.
. Nell was tired but she didn’t dare go to sleep. She and Justin were were on the chaise on the terrace watching fireworks. It felt as though leaves were falling off flowers onto their heads. She knew they weren’t real fireworks but the affect was as good.
Every few minutes Justin would make Nell talk to make sure it was still her. Nell was a talker. People invited her to dinner parties to keep the conversation flowing. When they were very young, before expressways had monorails and helicopters were omnipresent people would vie for Nell to drive with them. She was better than coffee, Red Bull or the new harmless caffeine pills mixed together.
He was used to Nell, the real Nell, this Nell having boundless energy. Not diffused energy like Cornelia, but real energy. He had always thought that galaxies revolved around Nell’s star. Nell had always been able to read his mind:
You’re hating yourself for thinking that my star is fading. It is Justin, and we can’t do anything about it.
All the bones in Nell’s body seemed to shake, rattle and roll. Justin was freaked by the instant change. She appeared coarsely sexy. He didn’t know how anybody could change so quickly:
Hey, pool boy want to go into the ocean past the fireworks? Fireworks are so Millennium. I suppose we can do something here. Help me out of these clothes. You know I don’t like trousers don’t you? Even silk pajamas.
Cornelia’s eyes were burning. She almost screamed:
how did I become a size two? I’m a size double zero. Dance, we need to dance pool boy. I have to burn the calories off.
Justin’s head was spinning. If Ona and her people didn’t come up with a solution soon, he couldn’t be held responsible for his actions. Damn he would do anything not to kill Nell. He kissed Cornelia. Their sex was just that. Justin had deluded himself into believing that Nell would materialize. He wasn’t a prince kissing a toad.