Welcome to the second installment of the Shove It Out Of The Nest series! For those of you who missed the last one, the idea is that every other week I write a full short story in one sitting, do one round of edits, then shove it out of the nest and move on.
The idea was that my ambitions were getting too big for me to ever finish a story, but this week’s story is probably one of the more ambitious things I’ve written. Commentary on the security state, gentrification, the stratification of cities and the idea that there’s a unified trans community, all wrapped up in a sci-fi/fantasy/surrealist porn story about a submissive trans guy having a brutal, sexy hookup with a trans woman. Funny what falls out of my subconscious.
No immediate medical needs (bless all of you who hit the tip jar last week!), but I’m disabled and permanently broke (plus, tomorrow’s my birthday), so if you like the story, please do drop a couple bucks in the tip jar and/or reblog. Thanks!
Shove It Out Of The Nest Stories #2: Control
by Rachel K. Zall
Marble, glass, steel. Cameras peering down from above the doorways. He looked directly up at one of the old buildings, one of the ones still left from the old days of the city, and a gargoyle spread it’s jaws back at him, its granite claws digging into the cornice of the building. Inside its mouth one glass eye stared passively back, a bright red LED drawing in the attentions of anyone who looked up, just to let them know they were watched, to let them know they were safe, to let them know that if they looked up from a crowd of people, someone somewhere was going to look back.
Somewhere a computer ran the picture of his face through its databases and confirmed that he lived nearby and that his score was acceptable: no outstanding warrants, no criminal records, no radical activities or associations with extremist religions, solid credit, good job. That he’d had a name change raised a red flag, but an officially approved doctor’s letter on file confirming he was transsexual lowered it. His score was a 96, the computer decided, a good citizen who could be reassured that the cameras were only there keep him safe.
The woman to his left, on the other hand, was impossible for the eye to understand. Her hair made scribbles across her face that baffled the software, puffed out like a black and white spray of frizzy spikes and hid her from view. The computer calculated her height as being above average and she seemed to be keeping pace with the 96, so it could guess her birth assignation from that, but couldn’t determine if she was properly identified to be sure she was even officially a she. Her picture was passed along to a human operator, who took one look at her and knew perfectly well that she didn’t live anywhere nearby.
The operator sent a signal out, and a nearby police officer set down his coffee and drove slowly past them, the camera on his car a next-generation model that was capable of thwarting the standard ways of avoiding facial recognition software. Bad credit, questionable associations, an arrest for soliciting but no conviction, officially male. No outstanding warrants. The officer took into account that her company was a 96 and decided not to stop and frisk her, but he drove past several times as they walked so she would know she’d been noticed. As though she’d had any doubt.
But then they walked north and crossed the line out of his district, into the place where she no doubt belonged. The officer wondered what a 96 would be doing walking over that line with her – there was no record of drugs or even public intoxication, but why else would someone from the district be walking so far north? The officer pulled into a “no parking” zone right near the line, and decided to sip his coffee and wait. He notified central that cameras should keep an eye out for where the 96 reentered and do a full analysis on his behavior.