Science Fiction flash fiction experimental identity

One-Sided

By KJ Kabza
Aug 1, 2018 · 294 words · 2 minutes


From the author: Transporter beams aren’t just for transport. Since you’re going to be reassembled on the other end, why not get reassembled into a different, better person?


Hi! I’m Judy.

Ahmed? I’ve never met an Ahmed.

Haha — no, I’m not a supermodel. Or an actress or a dancer, though that’s what everyone thinks. I actually work at Regeneville.

Oh, I’m not a scientist or anything. I just do admin stuff. But I’m the first person you see when you walk into the lobby, so my boss said I should be demonstrating the product.

Yeah. Whatever I want done.

Oh no, it’s all natural. Do you know how it works?

Okay, so you’ve got a transporter, right? That breaks you down and sends you someplace as a beam of energy? Well, we just tweak how the beam reassembles. It’s a different way of using the same technology, but instead of going to the moon or something, you get instant plastic surgery. It’s awesome — nobody has to stay ugly anymore.

But why would you want to stay ugly?

What do you mean, who you are? You can always change who you are if you don’t like it.

What? No, not at all! Let me get my phone. Okay, here’s a picture of me before. ‘Barf’, right?

Huh? A picture of my mom? Um, okay… here’s one.

Well… no. I guess I don’t look like her, not anymore. But why would I want to?

But I know where I’m from. And isn’t family who you love, not who you look like?

Well, what kind of “unrecognizable” are you talking about?

Of course people react to me differently. That’s the whole point.

Well, I guess if they don’t talk to me anymore, they’re not really my friends then, huh?

Yeah… but you’re only talking to me because I’m hot, right?

— You’re walking away? But just look at me!

Were you even listening…?

This story originally appeared in Every Day Fiction.


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IN PIECES

From a mechanical forest that constructs itself to the streets of Kyoto 8,000 years hence, the sometimes whimsical, sometimes cutting short fiction of KJ Kabza has been dubbed “Delightful” (Locus Online) and “Very clever, indeed” (SFRevu). Collecting all of his work published before May 2011 (plus 5 new stories, notes on the stories, and an interview by Julia Rios), IN PIECES offers glimpses into other worlds—some not unlike your own.

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