I’ve Got You Under My Skin
By Jeff Baker
“What do you mean I can’t use the redhead?” 27 asked.
“The last one who used it didn’t put it away,” 53 said. “It’s all brittle this morning.”
“I like the redhead,” 27 said.
“Me too,” said 53. “A day in the spray and he’ll be good as new.”
“A day in the spray? As good as new?” 27 said. “You sound human!”
“Too bad I don’t look it,” 53 said, opening the chamber door. “Ah, here he is, all moist. As fresh as the day we grew him.”
“It’s supposed to be his off-day today,” 27 said.
“Day off,” 53 corrected. “Just remember to complain a few times.”
“I’ll remember,” 27 said, stepping into the simulacrum which was still moist from its time in the spray. A moment later, the simulacrum stretched its arms, and 27, now inside and in control said; “Darn this job!”
“Close enough,” 53 said with what passed for a smile.
Rock Hard Tattoo didn’t look like it had a spaceship under its basement. In the parlor’s front room, 27, his current human form grown from borrowed cells, was busy adding ink to a young man’s body while simultaneously extracting a few choice cells as the young man talked the way humans often did.
“So, I told him, ‘Hey, like I love you but you gotta get a job. I mean, I was okay with the working two shifts thing at first but it’s getting,’ Ow!”
“Sorry!” 27 said. This man was very good at complaining, 27 thought. And he hadn’t even lost a world.