The Diaphanoid

by Martin Hill Ortiz


Samm appeared attractive by Serenna standards. It had a golden snout, all of its original eyes and a sassy eyebrow combed over in a sweep. Like all diaphanoids, its blemishes were concealed by its vaporous form. Samm was loyal and helpful, singing me to sleep and gobbling up my bed crumbs.

The water ratchet finished distilling my two-minute old Scotch. I gave a little roll to my side but, before I could reach out for the tumbler, Samm slipped in-between.

“Don’t,” Samm said, “you’re drinking too much.”

“I’m a piss-smith, it’s my job to drink.”

“Not this hard stuff. It’s killing you.”

People in my profession usually live to be about twenty-five. I was going on thirty, on my third liver and my surgical hernia ached from the installation of six extra kidneys and a tanker-bladder. The doctor placed me on point-six beer but I still needed my occasional ratchet-drink to kill the pain.

“You can’t stop me,” I said, reaching through its body, taking the tumbler in hand. And then Samm congealed on me, locking its torso around my forearm. The thing is, diaphanoids never congeal except when having sex. Samm concentrated on squeezing its Kegels, maintaining its solid form. I tried to free my arm but my twisting only served to bring Samm to higher levels of ecstasy.

Samm was two hundred and fifty years old; in Serenna terms, jailbait. If Samm climaxed, I would be forced into a blastgun wedding. I didn’t want a spouse. I didn’t want to make hybrids. I only wanted my Scotch. Samm squirmed, riding my forearm, gliding into higher and higher plains of rapture.

I reached around Samm with my free arm. Seizing hold of the Scotch, I forced the glass up to Samm’s lips emptying it, half of its contents dribbling down its face. The other half served its purpose. Samm was unaccustomed to having a solid body, and the effects of the alcohol rushed through and around until soon Samm became woozy and uncoordinated. It flashed back into its diaphanous form and the alcohol transformed into a mist that fell like rain.

It had chosen to congeal around me, there was no offense in my taking advantage of that. But, by force-feeding it alcohol, I had desecrated its innocent body.

Dejected, it lay on the floor in a crumpled heap. Samm was two hundred and fifty with centuries to live and I was a no-timer with maybe two years, tops. But Samm was my only companion. It wanted me. I have no idea what love is. But I understand loneliness. It is a ghostly thing.

I rolled over to reach Samm, stretching further from my piss-pod than I had in years, my attachment tubes ripping at my flesh. I inserted my arm through its body. I said, “Samm, thicken for me.” Nothing. “Samm, Samm, please.”


Copyright © 2012 by Martin Hill Ortiz

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