A collection of stories from writer Joel Golby - some about love, some kinda about love but also not really - who you'll be able to catch at Romantic Misadventure, Kit Lovelace's show in Hackney about people who are fucking rubbish at love. Hey look, they've got one Thursday 13th February that's a perfect antidote to Valentine's Day in association with cocktail-doers Manhattans Project.
The Asteroid Thing
Fshht. Zipt. Wuh-wuh-boom. There was an asteroid coming. He got out of the shower and looked up into the sky and there was a ding-dang asteroid on its way. “Everyone is doomed,” said the news. “Seriously, oh no.” A fucking asteroid. Jeez.
He was ready though, he was ready for this. He put gel in his hair and texted his Mammy (she was at a spa retreat and he didn’t want to call cross-country) and then he clambered under his bed and got out a box, an entire shoebox, of unsent love letters. He was doing it. He was going to tell Jenny he loved her.
He’d always loved Jenny, from since they first met, with her blue eyes. He remembered when he’d bought her a Sheryl Crow Greatest Hits CD for her birthday and she gave him a chaste little hug that made his palms damp. He remembered that time they just sat there watching Pretty Woman and eating popcorn and she’d referred to it as ‘gals night’. And what in the dang there were five other cars in the driveway?
"Hey," he said, when she opened the door. "I, uh… I love you, and stuff."
"Ohh," she said. "The asteroid thing?" He nodded at the sky and looked sad. "Yeah, Brad got earlier and said. Also Lance, plus Warren."
"Hey Warren, Lance."
"So anyway you wanna come in? I put out cheese snacks." Of course she put out cheese snacks. That’s why he loved her. That’s why he spent his last 45 minutes on earth eating savoury biscuits while she kissed on Brad.
What do you do when another dude is getting a handjob while you are also getting a handjob? This is a question. This is a question that has probably hounded dudes since olden times, since Back In The Day. Imagine it, picture it: a Neanderthal-ass bro in a leather sort of tunic thing, stealing some moments with a Raquel Welch–type behind a crop of wind-blasted sandstone. “ME UM GIVUM EXQUISITE GIFT TO YOU OF HANDJOB,” Raquel says. A ram’s bone is threaded cartoonishly through her hair. “ME GIVUM YOU RIGID-ARMED EYE-ROLLING HELLA CRAZY HANDJOB,” she continues. “ME READUM IN OLDE TIME-ASS VERSION OF COSMOPOLITAN THAT I CAN USE TWO HANDS IN A TWISTING MOTION TO MAKE YOU COME ULTIMATE NIRVANA.” And so you let her, even though she seems to be wetting a shoelace in her mouth and looping it around the base of your unit, as though she is about to start a fire on and with your sweet dick. Has anyone at Cosmopolitan done a handjob before? Has anyone at Cosmo heard of the concept of friction?
But lo, over the way a little, behind some scrub: another dude, with a beard and chest hair and a kind of leopard-print toga thing, and at his knees a blonde chick with a firm grip, and his kind of leopard-print toga thing is pulled and hiked up fully, so much so that he is pinching the main of it under his chin to stop it from flopping onto his junk and getting in the way of the wristy, and suddenly you notice him and he notices you and your Neanderthal-ass eyes lock, and… then… is… is he— is he giving you the first thumbs up in history?
This is what happened him, while he waited in a car at Make Out Spot after the prom. His date was chewing gum and breathing in his ear and giving him a wristy, and then he glanced across and saw another dude, across the way, his eyes rolling back with curious familiarity – from the same school maybe. Were they in science class? Didn’t Mr. Richardson make them pair up to dissect a frog that one time?
And then at that moment exactly two things happened: one, he locked eyes with the aforementioned dude, who flashed him a smile and, crucially, winked; and then he sadly and unexpectedly jizzed, in the air and in an arc, all over himself and his rented tux. He drove home in silence and was up until three in the morning going at it with a toothbrush, but in the end admitted defeat. “I’m just spreading it around,” he muttered. “I’m just spreading it around.” £50 soiling charge; incalculable dent in his dignity.
The Old Man
The year is 2070 and it is possible to fuck a robot. It is possible to fuck a robot. With your dick or whatever ladies have, it is possible to fuck a robot. And so the scene is set.
Here’s the thing with fuckbots: everybody in the future is kind of over them. Everybody in 2070 has had a go on a fuckbot and gone like ‘yes’ and ‘well, isn’t that a thrill’ and then sort of moved on to something else. Think of it like sticking your dick or whatever ladies have into a Betamax player: you wouldn’t, would you? You’d stick your junk in a Blu-Ray player instead. It’s kind of like that but with robots, with legs and eyes and tits and synthetic robot hair. And they are called fuckbots.
He had had a fuckbot once, back in the 2050s. She was tall and pneumatic and had over 20 dishwasherproof attachments, and she was perfect, she was perfect. Her name was SHEILA 1000 and she was perfect. But then he realised he could get a DONNA 2050 on his company health insurance so he did, trading SHEILA in on future eBay, moving DONNA 2050 in to his spare room. “Aw yiss,” he said. “Gonna get some crazy robot fucking done.”
That was long ago, now. He was old, he was wizened, his hands all gnarled like soft wood. DONNA 2050 had long become sentient and jetted off to Cuba with a robolord called LORENZO–P99, and he was alone now, he was old and he was alone. He was wheezing down the road on his hoverzimmer to whatever the future version of the Post Office is – I am going to go out on a limb here and say ‘e-mail house’? – and he saw her, shimmering, in the distance. “SHEILA?” he said. “SHEILA 1000?” SHEILA turned. “TROY?!” she said, robotically, obviously. “TROY, IS THAT YOU?”
There was a five-minute pause while he old man-walked over to her.
“SHEILA, you haven’t aged a day!” he said. And she hadn’t, she hadn’t at all. While other SHEILA 1000 models lost their togglable nipples and interchangeable butt-cheeks with age, SHEILA was still perfectly preserved, manufacturer labels and all. “HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN?” she said, metallically. “TWENTY? THIRTY YEARS?”
“SHEILA,” he said. “How about we go grab a coffee and whatever it is that robots drink? For old times’ sake?” She looked at him with LED eyes. “Why, Troy,” she said, but right then another old man ambled up to her, all holding her arm with his clawed old man-hand, all flickering his old man-tongue through what was left of his teeth. “Now now, SHEILA, what’s this?” he said, looking at him with sharpened eyes. “Who is your friend?”
“Why, this is Troy,” she said. “Troy?” he said. “TROY? You mean, eBay user TROY_1987?” He looked at him, and smiled. “HA HA HA,” he said. “Ha ha ha ha HA!” Then he lit a cigar and then flicked the cigar at Troy and got onto a hover motorcycle. “You lose, idiot,” he said. “Come on SHEILA 1000, let’s go home at try that new magnetic lingerie I got you andfuck.” They peeled away in a cloud of future-smoke, and the old man just stood there, all old. “I should never have sold my robot wife on eBay and bought a younger model,” he thought. “I should not have done that thing.”