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The Pique of Civilisation is another dialogue-based, science-fiction, comedy short story. I'm usually reluctant to write stupid female characters, although I have no problems at all writing stupid male characters. I guess that's a sort of inverted sexism. In this case, I did write two idiotic female characters and I think it works. These two ladies are incredibly shallow in an amusing way and there are ladies out there of that ilk, so it's reasonable, hopefully thought-provoking and ideally funny too.

The Pique of Civilisation

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“Nikki! Here, over by the window!”
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“Darling! You look radiant! Come and sit down! How’s things?”
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“Oh, nightmare, sweets. You know that rug I bought for Daddy’s birthday? The certified genuine ex-boxer’s pet tiger skin? It was no such thing; it was an ASEAN gene- factory job. It woke up!”

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“But Darling, they always wake up.”
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“Too right, we only realised it was moving around of its own accord after it killed two of the neighbour’s cats and mangled the housekeeper’s foot. Now she’s trying to sue us.”

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“Thankfully, Daddy checked and there’s no legal status for ‘homicidal rug’ so we’re safe. So ungrateful! We’ve helped that woman so much, we even paid for the artificial throat implant to get her to speak English. You’d think that would make a difference, wouldn’t you? Without that, she’d be primitive all over again!”

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“So undeserving.”
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“I knew you’d understand. Oh, sweets, before I forget, what do you think of my new pheromones? Don’t they smell great? So subtle!”

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“Very tasteful and elegant, just like that skirt you got from Emperor’s New Clothes.”
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“Thanks! Its light-bending meta-materials are simply divine and the staff in that boutique are so helpful. Oh, waiter! Can I have a macchiato please? And can you put those novelty floating rubbish marshmallows in it? My ethical avatar recommends I see visual reminders of our environmental impact regularly and they’re so cute. Thanks!”

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“I’ve got some good gossip, cupcake. You know Penni and Leo?”
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“I know4 them.”

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“Good enough. Well, they were having intimacy issues but they solved it in the coolest way. He got his mind implanted into that deep sea fish species, you know, the one where the male burrows himself into the side of the female and sucks on her blood in return for sperm? So, anyway, they put his mind in one of those fish and then surgically installed him in her! So romantic and it’s a tiny scar! She showed me, you’d hardly notice it! Their relationship is going really well now. She admits they have less conversation but he’s become a much better listener.”
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“I’m so happy for them!”

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“Ooh, doll, by the way, I adore that vivid injury on your hand!”
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“Thanks, it’s my new LED tattoo. It subliminally flashes a picture of an open wound to help me deal with my ‘lack of mental trauma’ issues. The false memory imprints I ordered have totally failed to take hold so I’ve stuck with this for now.”

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“So, sweetie, how’s your sex life?”

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“Up and down.”
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“That’s so retro! The whole thing has just become a nightmare for me. Such a minefield; what sex to have, how to have it, how many to have it with?... I know bestiality’s in this month, but I can’t coordinate it with my ethical farming stance so I’m having to go all self-denial but, do you know, between you and me, that’s just such a thrill! Have you tried lifestyle-starvation? A darling pal recommended a company to me - ‘full contact Nirvana limited’ - they’re great! They whip you into full starvation mode in four minutes through accelerated glucose metabolisation, add a surge of near-death-state DMT pineal gland production and you see God! It’s monastic fantastic! It’s like auto-erotic asphyxia except... with angels! I came out of it totally orgasmic and blessed.”

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“You lucky thing! Synch me.”
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“You got it.”

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“Actually, maybe we shouldn’t. Vadim thinks I should try and remember things, like, in my head.”
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“Oh god, where does he get off? Does he want you look like a total loser?”

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“He thinks it’ll stimulate my brain. He’s worried about dementia. You know lots of people are getting it now, in their early twenties.”
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“You’ll be fine. Memory is for computers.”

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“But he’ll be upset and he’s my number-one male gay friend.”
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“I thought Vadim wasn’t gay?”

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“No, he just thinks the word’s inappropriate now he’s a goth-melancholic homosexual. He says he prefers the word ‘glomo’.”
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“Oooh, talking of gay, my sex-life this week has been the pits. I was invited to another Rafe orgy but he’s only hosting them so he can increase the ambient heat in his eco-house. What a turn-off! The last one was a disaster anyway; Morten and Dill got their genital piercings entangled. It took a whole hour to separate them. It was like trying to solve one of the steel puzzles you get in Christmas crackers.”

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“Been there babe. So embarrassing. I had to disentangle a threesome once. I ended up having to stare at Millie’s genital cosmetic work for, like, an eternity. I can’t believe she’s willing to socialise in that state. I’ve seen dead sea creatures with more appeal.”
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“Hey, is that Troy? Over by the liposuction-while-u-wait machine?”

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“I can’t tell, these new cheek-bone grafts are playing havoc with my distance vision.”
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“Gawd, do you remember him and Immie? So dull.”

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“Too right. It was never going to work. You could tell after watching the first few hours of their relationship live-feed. What a drag and she needs much more porn-practice. So cumbersome.”
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“I was impressed at the way she cried when he left.”

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“Yeah, her mascara doesn’t run at all.”
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“Then she went out with Jared.”

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“Oh, nightmare, I can’t believe what Kissy did to him.”
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“He did sleep with her llama.”

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“Yeah, but to take his gene-structuring module and bone-splice a cobra to his coccyx while he slept?!”
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“He stabbed her in the back, it stabs him in the back. It’s karma, or something. Anyway, it had a happy ending because he adores the snake now. His parents got a Swiss gene-clinic to alter its poison gland peptide production so that it gives him oxytocin bursts instead. It’s like love, but with fangs.”

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“Like Dracula.”
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“Yeah, dreamy. The immortal undead are so... homely.”

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“You should see them together. He just loves having a five-foot reptile wrapped around his middle!”
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“No change there, then.”

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“Ha ha! He’s got a trouser snake, only it’s back to front!”
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“Darling, wait, on a more serious note, do you realise that it’ll be a year tomorrow since Daisy the cow died?”
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“No, that long?”

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“You know, I’ll tell you now, hand on heart, I was a huge fan from the very beginning. She was so cute and what a female role model! That day when the TV crew filmed her escaping from a factory farm, that was intense. And then when she got that prime-time show and they improved her, it was inspiring. She got mental and physical augmentation so she could think, talk, and make really funny jokes on chat shows, what a star!”
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“You’re so right. When they did that film of her life, it was a triumph, like a cross between ‘Babe’ and ‘The Great Escape’. She was famous for two whole years!That’s, like... a decade!”

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“Yeah, but when the police raided her penthouse barn, you know, the bespoke one in the hills with the hand-sown clover field?”
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“Seen it, walked it, grazed on it.”

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“A true fan. It was such a shock, wasn’t it, when they broke into her place and discovered six people she had kidnapped? Those poor, low income people squatting in those cramped, poorly lit cages in her basement! I mean, no one deserves hand-outs when they let themselves get that smelly but troughs? I couldn’t believe it!”
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“I’ve never got over it. Cartons of milk still make me weep.”

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“It was a tragedy; and she showed no remorse! It was like Hannibal Lecter all over again, except with hay. During the trial, I was so proud of her lawyer trying to get her off on the grounds of diminished responsibility. It was such a shame that the improvement in animal rights, pioneered by her, got that thrown out. That’s so...”
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“Yeah, then she went straight on death row. They gave her her last meal, waited for her to bring it back up and chew it again, then pressed a hydraulic bolt to her head. I was devastated. My daddy really came to my rescue then.”
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“Oh yeah, babe, you were so lucky.”

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“He didn’t have to do it but he went out and bought four ounces of Daisy’s left shoulder on the black market. It cost a fortune. He grilled it for me himself and we ate it with shiitake mushrooms and a twelve year old claret. I’m such a lucky girl. It really helped me recover, and I feel closer now to Daisy than I’ve ever felt. You know, darling, cows share 97% DNA with us. We’re all cows, really.”
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“That’s so profound.”

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“Of course, no one wants to start that whole ‘eating each other’ thing again.” “God no. That was so lame. I mean, I didn’t go as far as a whole kidney, like some people, but I fried a pound of my left thigh for Max. Not that he appreciated it. He had it in a bun, a bun! The flesh of my own thigh, in a bun! The things we do for men.”
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“We move the earth for them.”

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“But that’s ancient history, chipmunk, no one’s doing the ‘eating each other’ thing now, not after Nils passed on pesticide residue in his abdominal fat. What a bummer! Leave that sort of problem to the dolphins, that’s what I say. Mmm, this coffee is good and the marshmallows shaped like floating rubbish are sweet. Isn’t it great when something’s noble and tastes nice too?”
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“You bet.”

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“But that’s ancient history, chipmunk, no one’s doing the ‘eating each other’ thing now, not after Nils passed on pesticide residue in his abdominal fat. What a bummer! Leave that sort of problem to the dolphins, that’s what I say. Mmm, this coffee is good and the marshmallows shaped like floating rubbish are sweet. Isn’t it great when something’s noble and tastes nice too?”
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“We move the earth for them.”

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“Oh, but I wish I wasn’t so noble sometimes. Do you know I wore one of those ‘end world disappointment’ bracelet for five weeks? It felt great for a while, I was really empathising. My pupils were dilating at the sight of complete strangers and everything, then I found out the bracelet was leeching oestrogen mimicking chemicals into my wrist. I was being good and what was I getting in return? An increased breast cancer risk!”
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“That’s like.. martyrdom!”

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“Thanks, babe, but I’m no martyr.”
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“No, you’re much better than that. The whole martyr thing is so passé. I don’t why anyone even thought stigmata were cool. Pierced sides, bleeding palms, like it really made anyone spiritual.”

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“Oooh, doll, before I forget; I’ve met someone new.”
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“Really? Do tell!”

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“He's gorgeous! Although I don’t know his name yet. Actually... I don’t know if he's a ‘he’. It’s really difficult to tell nowadays, what with all this low lighting and ‘three for two’ plastic surgery. It makes gender identification impossible, but we’re getting on really well. Our smart-consoles are the same version, our DNA is different enough to create trust and our make-up and hair products haven’t mixed to create any secondary toxic compounds.”
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“I’m so excited. We’ve swapped RFID info so we can recognise each other when we meet again. I’m thinking of taking him to Aleph’s beach party but I don’t trust Aleph’s claim that that bay is clean. That place was toxic for ages. He says it’s all fine, all chlorinated now but I got mugged by a crab last time I was there.”
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“You too?”

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“Yeah, Aleph had no sympathy. He said everyone gets mugged by a crab sometimes.”
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“Yeah, but that guy is so lame. What a social climber! That guy is fixated on the monarchy. Did you know he spent a fortune having his metabolism altered to that of an octopus so he could be actually, properly blue-blooded?”

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“Then he watched Royal Lineage Pit Fighting.”

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“I love their uniforms.”
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“And realised they had red blood after all. What a dweeb! To cap it all, two weeks later he got chucked out of his mens’ club for not being, well, red-blooded enough. That and hiding under rocks.”

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“They found him in the restaurant aquarium, trying to prise open the decorative clams.”

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So embarrassing.”
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“You said it. Oh, sweets, is that the time? Must dash, I’m having my front cerebellum swapped with one from Hermes.”

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“Daddy’s come through again. Bliss!” “Ciao, sweets!”

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