The truck curled around the junction and as it straightened began to accelerate.
Charlie sat in the drivers seat and swivelled forward. The machine was racing the concrete columns, that susteneded the main tributary, each new column arrived faster and blurred longer until the turbines driving where online and then the columns could not be percieved.
Above her, Charlie saw the smaller swifter vehicles flick past like tracer bullets. The main highway came closer and closer as they ascended to meet on a mutual plateau, the tributary would contribute her to the torrent. As the machine leveled with the highway Charlie felt the torque of the incline relax in the subtle whine of the engine. Her world hummed subtly.
The snail lane was her domain and it was clear as far as she could see. Her headlights came on and the cats eyes where barely visible in the wet dusk. Charlie watched the infinite white stripes.
Her arm hairs stood on end. She couldn't see them but she knew what they where saying.
"Come in here at once, and get out of those clothes, you'll catch your death you stupid little girl," her grandmother said, with a frown on her eyes and a smile tucked in the corner of her cheek, and vanished after the sermon.
Charlie looked at her self. Her clothing had the darkened shade of water. A chilly tremor rattled her frame. She felt cold everywhere except for the stump.
"Would you like a cup of tea?" a voice asked
"No, not yet" she said.
Her rejection gave form to the solitude of the confined space.
The stump ached hot in the cold empty sleeve.
She took off the raincoat, cardigan and shirt, and dropped them in a heap on the floor, and bent the shortened limb to look at the blunt amputated tip. It was an ugly maul of flesh with bleached seams of scar stitching. She prodded various hills and valleys sometimes forcefully and other times tenderly.
The problem with pain is, no matter how severe it is, nobody can see pain, what we see, and what we measure is it's suffering. From the awkward angle of the twisted shoulder the stump looked like it should look, it looked like nothing was wrong. That was good, the very last thing she needed was a greedy surgeon shaving off more of her.
She rolled the blunt tip in her palm, and gently pinched it checking random sites and then pressed each of the steel beads that sat on the her skin. Each chrome head of was connected to a stem and welded to a nerve ending. There where more beads embedded under the skin, and around muscles that also participated in the bionic orchestra with magnetic displacements, and albeit subtle the movements where amplified and converted into signals, into mechanical commandments and ultimately into uncensored gestures. One of the shinny pips, high up on the shoulder, was tender to touch and very raw to press.
Charlie pulled her leggings down and carried the wet lump of clothes to the bathroom, from behind the mirror she got an antiseptic salve, bit the lid and twisted the tube to open it. Then dabbed a dollop on the affected bead. Charlie gently massaged the site with her fingers until the salve was gone.
She wrapped a towel around her middle and hung the clothing on hangers in the narrow shower, an extractor fan hummed even after she had left.
"Make and appointment to see doctor Mike", she said "Sure," the room replied, "when should I book that for?" "As soon as he can, tell him it is important, I had a fall." "Okay, the request has been send."
Charlie toweled herself, wrapped her hair and dressed in an oversized onesie. It was two sizes too big, synthetic and smooth on the outside but super soft on the inside. Of everything she owned this was that thing that was reserved for her alone. There wasn't a living soul on earth or father afield that had or would ever see her dressed in this. This garment was a confession.
She picked up the prosthetic arm and a cordless hairdrier and carried them into the cockpit. She dried the arm with particular attention to the bionic parts, which she blasted with the drier. The arm was still attached to the boot. She turned off the arm. The straps lay loose where they had been pulled off. She restored all the pieces to the practical state that they should have, and separated the boot control from the arm clip.
It was awkward. Normally she attached or detached when the boot was attached already strapped to her and the magnetic beads would be linking her nerves to the arms input interface. With a mere thought she could instruct it to loosen its bayonet clamp as she raised the arm to couple.
She manually released the clip, pinched the arm between her legs, to steady it, pressed it down and gave it a quick twist.
On the third attempt the two parts separated and the skin colored moulded plastic shoe fell on the floor. Charlie stretched her leg and picked it up with her foot and clenched toes.
The arm had a special panel that opened a sunken control panel of little buttons and a narrow LED screen beside a sealed communication socket. Charlie pressed little rubber nipples until the screen read BIOS & MECHANICAL SYSTEM CHECK. An otherwise invisible bulb blinked on then pulsed in slow cycles, glowing and dimming rhythmically. At first nothing happened, then the fingers clenched and flexed, and the index finger, alone started to curl closed, very slowly.
Charlie put the arm between the windscreen and dash panel and plugged it in to a hanging power cable. This was the place were the arm lived. This was the arms house. It stayed here. She, Charlie stayed back there, where it was dark, and the arm stayed in the front unless it was helping her with work.
As a child she had a dog, and that was the rule. The pets do not live in the house, they are allowed up to the stepps to the kitchen, but not into the ktchen and if Carlie was dispbidient the pet would be smaked all the way out of the house. Once she snuck oscar into her room, on the second floor and was caught and the poor dog was battoned with a rolled magasine all the way fron her room to the kitchen and out. Charlie was screaming hatred at her mothers each step to the dogs liberty, she was punching her mothers legs and pinching and even tried to bit her, but mother verna kept walking and paddeling the poor dog. The dog was not yelping at all.
It was Charlie performing all the punishment and drama. When dog went out the back door. Charlie was so angry that at diner time she gave picked it up and gave it to Oscar, who ate the steak and left the rest. She even spent the night with the animal in the wooden dog house atoning for her actions. Well she atoned until it was cold, and she was bored and it was a bit smelly, and that was the end, the wage of guilt had been paid to her pet, the dept was settled. Almost.
Charlie punished her mothers with silence. She walked into the living room stood in front of them looked at them very hard. Then she marched up stairs punching her heels of the wooden steps, entered her room and slammed the door as hard as she could, she knew how much they hated that, then she opened it and slammed it again. One slam per mother.
Her two mothers; Verna and Sally, stayed on the sofa cuddling and watched the theatrics with pricked ears and broad grins and when the show was over they giggled like girls and kissed like teenagers.
Charlie had fleas for a week. She had to be shampooed with really nasty chemicals to get rid of the crawling itches, and had little red welts all along her fringe, but Oscar the dog never came in the house again.
Whenever people say the phrase tough love, that is the moemory that she thinks of, that is moral of the story that she endured as a seven year old, at a time when the world was mostly dry with seasons of wet. The world was a different place now but the moral was still etched in her almost sixty years later. That lesson had out lived one mother, the dog, her left arm and was possibly even the god mother to her son. It was a good. one.
Cahrlie returned to the living quarters turned on a very dense subtropical savana, as decoration and unpacked the bags. She liked to unpack everything, into rows and columns, then empty the cupboards to recieve the newer stuff, and return the older items last.
Charlie was obsessivly compulsive for only two things. Her inventory and the second was she always counted how many times her foot touched the floor whenever she was riding a bicycle or motor cycle or her scooter. This also meant that she learnt the synconising schedual lof traffic lights in her neighbourhood, knowing when a light would change red was vital to knowing how good her foot score wouuld be. Her best was two. From downtoen all the way up to Venice.
The inventory was not nearly as elcborare at all, but it was still a game, and it was agame made of phsical realiy. it let her measure the memories of her small life and practice fitting all her stuff together. se didn't buy four cans for the ssake of the even number, no that was not the game the game was to have nothing left when she was done packing, that moment of satisfaction was priceless. she would strip the carboard wrappers off witpe the containers with disinfectatnt hand wipes and stack them ready for the shelf.
And when it was all finished and everything was done she would inject herself with heroine, masturbate in front of her camera and sell her unconscious intimacy to strangers for allot of money. Her particular brand of adult content was rape-urbation, a fetish that paid well. But for some reason she only got the urge to do it when she perfectly packed her shelves.
She like it. It paid the rent.
And she would tell strangers, if they ever cared to ask, which they didn't because she was so neurotically shy she may as well be invisible. Charlie was clinically introverted. The event had left unrepairable damage, and psychological component was just as permanent as the lost limb.
That was Charlies treat, that and a cup of Chamomile tea which she had after discarding the wrappings and before going to town on her body.
Done right it meant that she did not need to dip her toe into the reality of the civilised world for about three months. The batteries needed charging and the water and sewage needed a swap out, but over the years she had learnt to live frugal, and refreshing the truck often meant that she would just wait on board, and order drone deliveries.
Charlie nodded and picked up her arm and walked into the living area.
She had not unpacked anything.
She undressed her self to expose the left half and attached the arm, and rolled the boot up and her fist waved its fingers and clentched and then posed the tumbs up.
Charlies pulled a strap over her shoulder, and fastened it around another belt across her saist. Nest she redressed the exposed half, and picked up her tea.
Steven called said the voiced
What tiem, asked Charlie
At three thirty two, I took a messge. Why didn't you put it through? You where unavailable. You where creating content, in the bathroom. Oh. Okay. What did he day? Would you like to hear the message or a ummary? Summary He wants you to call back, he says they evicted your mother and now shes is at home and wants you call, should i call back? FUCK! not again! ah god. Sorry,i didnt catch that. Should i call back? No. no not now, later, remind me later okay
She blew into the cup and took a sip. Ahhh she yelped and spat out scalding hot tea, and then she smacked the cup down on the counter top hard, reall hard, then picked it up and smacked it harder, and again and a gain then swapped the cup into her other hand turned crushed the cup in one forceful clench and chucked it across the room and growled as it smashed in half spraying liquid over everything.
Not again! she repeated.
Charlie left the living room and returned with a short pole with a moulded black handle at one end, she twisted the handle and in an instant it telescoped to five times the length. A mop head exploded out the opposite end, she cleaned, collected the broke pieces and collapsed the mop for storage.
Charlie systematically packed the shopping away, opening the boxes and bags and containers and transferred the contents into draws and trays and jars.
She put one packed aside and took out a long cylindrical clear tube and filled it with water.
Then opend that packet.
In very large letter across the bottom edge it read do not eat whole. She teared the bag open and poured three marble like spheres into her palm. She dropped those into the long vase and cuffed the bag and sealed it with a paper clip and put them away.
The hard little marbles were green with two dimples one on each pole of the little shpere.
Charlie tidied up, dehydrated all the leftover packaging material and dropped them into a recycling bin.
Next charlie edited her bathroom footage, and replied to various comments, and curated some explicit still frames of her performace and published them.
The editing was performed with gestures and verbal instrustions. She projected her performance on the wall, as she uppacked the under wear.
Faster, she said and the video footage sped up, she opened a packet of panties and multitasteked.
Stop. there. the video stopped in freeze frame, mark that frame. and an icon appeared. what are the probabiliteshere? she asked. and the video screen subdivided into a grid of twenty for pictures each slightly different, each frame a few seconds from the next. A progress bar lengthened as it calculated and then each image was superimposed with a percentage and a dollar value. Top three, she said and the grid reduced. Okay,take number two. One image remained. Show me the money shot, she comanded and the screen wall changed again and played a quick clip of her vagina close up, with the toy penetrating, then itcut to her face, her eyes closed as her mouth opened and she groaned, thenit cut to frantic masturbation and then cut to a logo page, and a title and a discount offering. Go back the the heaa shot she said. The video obeyed.
More saturation, and enlarge the eyes and lips, and narrow the chin slightly. The image transformed. Hmmmm, that's too much. do less she said. The modifications became more suble. Compare, she said The heavily modified version, natural version and subtle version where displaed, each with a percentage, and a dollar value. the heavily exagerated version had the higher monetry value. Okay, she said use number two, and the screen deleted the other versions. Bracket at nineteen and thirty-ish The screen once again divided into three, and the three clips had three versions of charlie, as a ninteen year old, twenty-nine year old and thirty-nine year old. yup, that look good. how much? The screen updated with 8k for the teen and 2k for the milf.
Fuck that is high today, whats the ROI on number one, the screen up dated with a graph and and candle graph, showing her expected profits. No, drop the teen, that is way too expensive, okay I'm done lets sigh it and send it. A message on the screen requested biometic confirmation, Charlie picked up her phone and pressed her finger to the scanner. The screen unlocked. Next the screen requested realtime clip, and Carlie rolled her head side to side, up and down until a little chime played and the screen flashed a big green confirmation tick. Then charlie adusted her hear slightly and looked into the phone action on three. The screen counted down 3,2,1 Hi my name Charles Monroe and the video you are watching is 100% genuine. Each frame has been certified by this declaration, and illegal replication, reproduction or re-representation will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I am legally certified adult content creator and performer. If you like this experience please subscribe to the channel for haptic hookups and other collaborative workshops. byeeeeee. There was a very long pause with a progress bar creeping along, while the title certifing, this may take a few moments blinked on and off. Charlie left her phone and continued unpacking underwear into neat piles on the desk. Then she printed aroma stickers, which where adhesive discs, with a crackback peel and a logo that read "Smell me"