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Mac Tom, who creates artificial humans, searches on a chaotic Free Night for the woman he created to be the love of his life. On Free Nights, however, all artificials become independent. Free Nights had been granted to prevent the creation of willing slaves and drones. Mac has until midnight to find Davi Leiko in a crowded party atmosphere and to persuade her to stay with him.~~~~~ Excerpt ~~~~~Mac looked upon her with jealousy and loss as he walked toward her. She swayed forward and back as she played the game, watching the rolling silver balls with quick brown foxy eyes. Her arms, like all of her, were smooth and fleshy but firm, tanned just slightly tawny, like all of her, outside her bikini line.“You shouldn’t have left.” Mac spoke quietly, not wanting to throw her off her game.“It’s Free Night. Everybody’s out.” She kept her eyes on the game, and snapped another ball into play. “Everybody who’s full and everybody who’s near fullness.”“You aren’t ready yet. Just one more week. Or two.”“I feel ready.” She smiled pleasantly, and glanced at him for his reaction.“I just wanted you right, first. You don’t have — well, a couple of things.”“I don’t?” She pursed her lips, trying to hide an impish smile. “Don’t I look like I have everything?”“You know what I mean. Your anger is still missing, and a sense of personal insult — the desire for revenge if someone hurts you. You’ll be helpless out here. Also, that one front tooth of yours isn’t right. The gum around it is gray instead of pink.”Davi Leiko turned full-front to look at him, ignoring the bouncing bells and lights and silver ball rolling around in her game. Her flowing black hair was swept away from her face in a frame of slight waves. She was stunningly gorgeous, of course; that’s how he’d decided to make her.“You can’t force me back. I know that. I’m at stage nine now.” Davi Leiko looked up at him ingenuously, as the silver ball in the machine rolled unchallenged between the flippers and clunked somewhere out of sight.
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By William F. Wu
Mac Tom rocked back on pointed boots, dodging bluff and sweaty young stampedes past him crosswise on the corner. The Aysquare night was bluff and sweaty in the summer darkness, lit up Free Night neon over jammed human traffic. Davi Leiko was out here somewhere, if he could only find her.
Mac started across the street, into a light bit of breeze that cooled the flush of his face. Overhead, lines of partygoers floated nose first in astral form toward the old houses on the north side. Golden threads trailed after them, connected to their comatose bodies at home in bed. Just as they had divided and reconstituted themselves, Mac had defined and constructed Davi Leiko.
She was out here in the sea of laughing, conniving, bluff and sweaty bodies, if he could only find her. He could still retrieve her for fullness, if he got her back before midnight. He could still retrieve her to be the love of his life, if he could only find her before midnight.
“Hi, Phil. How are you?” A tall, smiling man in a black beard stopped on the sidewalk, oblivious to the jostling he took from the passing crowd.
“I’m not Phil. I’m Mac. But I’m fine, John. How are you?”
“It’s great to see you, Phil. Just great. Are you getting paid?”
“Uh — yeah. Sure. Bye, John.” Mac moved on, carried by the sweep of bluff and sweaty.
“Bye, Phil,” said John, still smiling white in his black beard.
John had not been brought to fullness.
Far overhead, beyond the storefront building, the clock tower shone grayish white against a deep and mystic sky. Midnight was an evening away.
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