Characters: Keely, and Phil
Word Count: 754
The inside of the apartment was bright red. The wallpaper was faded and pealing in places, but brilliant and almost eye stinging. Phil led me inside and locked the door, the same blue on the inside as the out. I looked around, soaking in our surroundings. The furniture was old. You could almost call it vintage but somehow that wasn't the right word for it. The sofa was a faded yellow with gold trim, the cushions sunken from wear. There was an armchair too, on little golden rolley wheels, whose fabric almost matched except for the pattern. I sat on the sofa, my shoulders sagging with the groaning springs.
"Dunno," he said, dropping into the armchair with a sigh. He rubbed his forehead, his eyes closed with the weight of the day.
I glanced around. The orange carpet was shaggy and stained in more than one place. I didn't want to think about what exactly could've stained it, so instead I turned my eyes to where something had been scratched on the wall in small letters near the molding at the floor.
"Was she really watching us, Phil?" I needed to know.
He laughed and rubbed his eyes with his thumb and forefinger. "No."
"Then how did they know..."
He sighed and leaned forward as though he was suddenly unsure of how to answer. "You know how... I told you about the sterility shots? That's not... the only teen sex control in place." He looked up at me with a funny look in his eyes. Was it... apology?
"They put a chip in you at birth that deactivates at the eighteenth year... it monitors cerebral stimulation."
"It's just... a measure of control. See, in the future kids are taught a lot more a lot earlier, but no matter how much book smarts you cram into them they've still got hormones... you could take the hormones away, but that would mess up sexual development, and then our whole species would be incapable of reproducing."
"But... why even bother with any of it? Why can't they just let you grow up normal."
"Well... this is normal for 2121."
"But... that's not right!" I couldn't voice all of the thoughts that were running through me. "Can they... see everything you're doing?"
"No, it's not that complex. They just monitor which parts of the brain are turned on, and they can get a pretty good idea of what's going on. No pictures or words or anything."
I held my head, one hand at either temple. My brain felt ready to explode.
"I should've told you earlier--"
"You think?" My words were only superficial venom.
"I'm sorry Keely. It wasn't really my topmost thought at the time."
"And what exactly was your topmost thought?"
"Uh... gee. I don't know. 'The girl of my dreams is climbing on top of me,' possibly."
"How could you not think to warn me of it?"
"It's just such a fact of life... I mean... when your parents know every time you jack off you sort of stop caring. It's not like you could hide it if you tried."
I felt like throwing up.
"Keely, are you okay?"
"I can't imagine... being that... uncomfortably close to my parents."
"It's actually kind of freeing. No secrets. You never have to worry about fucking up, pardon the expression."
"But where's the freedom?"
"....in adulthood," he laughed.
"That's not fair."
"How wonderfully adolescent of you." He grinned playfully.
"Don't make fun of me."
"Look, Keely, it's just the way it is. I should've told you sooner. I'm sorry about that, but--"
"I think I should go..."
"I'm sorry Phil, I just don't feel like being all that reasonable right now. I lost my virginity and it was broadcasted across space and time. When you get a better appreciation for how I feel about that, come see me." I was on my feet and headed for the door.
He stopped me, taking my hand and turning me around. "Keely, wait."
I bowed my head, not meeting his eyes.
"I need some time. I need some time to think about all of this." I tried to pull away.
"You said that you loved me."
"I do, but right now I need to be alone."
He let go of my wrist and I turned, never making eye contact. I opened the door, and hurried out down the stairs and away from the bright red apartment.