Body of Man: A Short Story

Body of ManJust one press away from manufactured happiness, her index finger hovered over the iPhone 9 screen. It boasted a money-back guarantee of the ideal man in just five easy steps. The app asked if she was ready to Submit. She thought it was all a little surreal.

The fine print on the client agreement used buzzwords like faithful, durable, lifelike, obedient, programmable. The personality and physical trait options were infinite.

She’d struggled with the physical part. Once chosen, those characteristics could not be altered. What was her type? She was a wallflower. She couldn’t decide between a model type that was out of her league or go for safe? In the end, she’d chosen one of the many predesigned packages based on hair/skin/eye color and body type. The visual mock-up showed a perfect, handsome man, but not too handsome.

Although it cost extra, she’d selected the model that she could power down at will, just in case. The Shut Down feature was a necessity. As was the Memory Enhancement feature, thrown in at no extra charge. It was a comfort to know she could program a believable history into his hu-man-bot brain.

She was giddy at the prospect of parading him in front of all her jealous friends. A flawless specimen that adored her, he would tell romantic stories of how they met and how much he loved her. No one would be the wiser. She was so excited.

Her finger tapped Submit. Relieved, she let out an eager giggle.

The screen displayed, “Thank you for your submission to Body of Man. You have joined nearly half a billion other remarkable women in your quest for happiness.  Perfection is about to knock on your door. May we also recommended: Body of Woman.”

The number was startling. So many women had purchased their partners. She thought of all the hu-man-bots wandering the streets. So humanly realistic, how could they distinguish the souls from the soulless. It worried her, just a little.

She shoved her uncertainties aside and pressed Done to end her session.

Another pop-up window appeared, “Would you like to share your status with friends? Based on your contacts, we found 17 friends who have also used Body of Man.”

She gasped and whispered aloud, “Oh no. What if I picked the same model as one of them?”

The End and The Beginning

Simply put, I love Rod Serling’s, “The Twilight Zone.” As one of my writing inspirations, it led me to create this odd little tale for the modern day. I based it on Season 3, Episode 35, “I Sing the Body Electric” from 1962, adapted from a short story written by one of the greats, Ray Bradbury. The title was borrowed from Walt Whitman’s poem of the same name.

Whitman’s poem beautifully praises the body and soul of man and woman. I found it fitting, albeit a tad ironic, and titled my story from a section in the poem.

“The love of the body of man or woman balks account, the body itself balks account,

That of the male is perfect, and that of the female is perfect…”

If you haven’t read his poem, I highly recommend it. You can read it here: “I Sing the Body Electric” by Walt Whitman.

I hope you enjoyed my story.

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