“The hair, it is shorter.” His voice, but we are focussed on the woman’s entire profile. “A dark brown,” he says, and accordingly her hair changes to that colour. “Longer, a little. And darker, ever so slightly darker.”
“Like this?” she says.
“Yes, yes.” He is feeling excited now, we can tell from the tone and speed of his stutterings. “And her face, it was rounder … no, not too much,” he says as we watch the shape of her face slide from one type to another. “Yes, there, stop there,” he says feverishly.
It’s the same woman we are looking at, though her hair and face have changed. The lips remain blue, the blusher orange but the eyebrows and hair are a dark brown and the face slightly fatter and less elongated. She smiles at us, holds out her arms, to the sides and up. Spread in welcoming submission, she urges him to continue:
“Her clothes,” his voice sounds. “I can’t even remember …”
“I am programmed with over five hundred thousand outfits,” the woman tells us. “Though most,” she giggles, “prefer nothing at all. My body is what they –”
“– Yes, your body,” says the man frustratedly. “She was shorter, fatter. No, not like that, please stop, let me think …”
The woman grows and shrinks in height. He weight increases, then falls away to the original slender profile. Still wearing the colourless dress, she begins to laugh out loud:
“A most interesting client you are, Mr Brown.”
“My what, Mr Brown. Were hers bigger? Smaller? You only have to tell me.”
“Stop it,” we here.
“Who was she, Mr Brown? Someone you saw? Someone you desired?”
“Do not mock me. I’m warning you.”
She begins to laugh again. “Show me her picture,” she says. “I know you have it somewhere.”
“Sweaters,” he says desperately. “She liked sweaters, that’s it. And her skirts were always long and tight. Black, often. She liked –”
“Past tense, Mr Brown? Was she someone you lost?”
“Be quiet,” he stammers. “Just do what I say.”
Petulantly, she sighs while the dress morphs into a dark yellow sweater with a black and grey pinstriped skirt that ends just above her ankles. Her skin begins to lighten, sandals form on her feet; a fashionable watch and bangles appear on her wrists and the makeup on her face resides into a much subtler shade.
“I know the type,” Mr Brown. “Girl next door. The wife of a colleague?”
“Be quiet,” he says again.
“I said, be quiet.”
He moves towards her and our viewpoint changes to being above them looking down. He grabs her by the wrist, pulling her face towards his. He kisses her roughly, then pushes her away.
“Mr Brown,” she purrs.
“You can leave.”
“But I thought?”
“No, you didn’t,” he says. “Because you’re a robot and nothing more. A robot with too many questions and too much attitude.”
He goes to the bed and sits back where he was before. His head is in his hands and the woman stands watching him.
“I can change again,” she says bluntly, confused by his behaviour.
“I’d like another model.”
“Yes,” he sneers, looking up at her. “Another one of you. A different GY87.”
“Have I done something wrong?”
“Too many questions. Too much …”
“Many of my clients like to talk. I am programmed with –
“– No, not you. Not again. I’d like …”
“You’d like me to be her. I understand,” says the woman, moving slowly to the bed. “You don’t want to think about her. You want me to be her.”
“You can never be her.”
“Who was she, Mr Brown?”
“Nobody. It doesn’t matter.”
“You can tell me,” she says calmly while positioning her body beside his. “Tell me more and I can become …”
“No. You are not …”
“But I can be,” she whispers, stroking a hand along his leg. “You think you’re the first client I’ve met who –”
“– No,” he says again, pushing her away and standing up. “Get me another model!”
“The waiting time is –”
“– I don’t care!” he shouts.
“She will be just the same as me.” Looking down, the woman’s expression shows sadness and sorrow, then suddenly changes to nothing as her eyes stare ahead.
“My client is dissatisfied,” she spits into the air. “He is requesting a replacement.”
We watch her listening to a response we cannot here. Her superiors giving orders on what the next move must be. Turning to the man, she states: “Someone will be here shortly.”
“To discuss the situation. Although I must tell you, Mr Brown, the likelihood of them giving you access to two GY87s in a single night …”
“Yes,” he mutters. “I can start again, and this time there will be no talking.”
“Because you can match her appearance but never her personality,” say the woman, her hair now turning back to the perfect bob of purple. “She was someone you knew and … you were close to her, am I right?”
“You talk a lot, for a robot,” the man croaks, staring at the floor.
“I see it all, Mr Brown,” her voice continues. “Things you wouldn’t believe. The human race … so emotional, so complex … but oh, so secretive.”
“And impossible to imitate,” the man mutters before suddenly rising again. “I’m wasting my time here.”
“You have three more hours. We, can have three more hours.”
“No,” the man insists. “I’ve made a mistake.”
“I can be someone else. Any form you like …”
“Don’t you understand?” he whines, but her response is brusque and to the contrary.
Sliding away from him, she stands, then struts towards the open door we now see.
“You humans,” she smirks. “So affected by memories. So weak, so emotional. And you think you’re so very special.”
“It’s what makes us what we are,” the man mutters, still gazing at the floor. “Nothing can ever change that. Nothing ever will …”
But his reply is lost because she’s already gone.