Flash Fiction: Swapping

Something about this image from Regiane Cristina caught my attention. Combined with listening to Daft Punk’s Random Access Memory and this piece came together.

The city beyond the window was quiet and cold, but Desire only heard the rhythmic thrum from the club under her. She had come here to escape the lights, the pulsing bodies, and the smell of burnt biohol. The bar always over cooked the stuff. It smelled like shit but it made the patrons looser with their wallets. The club would make another killing tonight between booze and body rentals. A night of fantasy and false memories.

It was all fake, she knew it, but she was part of that world. Her own body was sitting in stasis downstairs, waiting for her to come back. He wouldn’t budge or age or hurt, and that’s the only thoughts she tried to keep for him in her mind. The rental was temporary, but it was her fantasy for the evening. Swapping was popular these days, and clubs like this were the cheaper way of getting different body types. Desire, her name for the night, had been many things the past year. Men of various ages, women, mostly young like this body, a few animals but that was rare, and one time a plant.

She hadn’t liked being a plant. Too little personal control.

The city beyond was so quiet looking, and her mind was echoing that. Her thoughts were so noisy lately. It’s what appealed to her about swapping. That body below, it’s pains and aches and worries and anger and concerns, they hammered on him and she hated being him for it. In these dreams she could leave that pain behind. She could be like that city looked.



Desire took a sip of her glass of biohol. The burnt flavor filled her mouth and tickled her nose. She could hear the DJ below introducing another dancer. Another model for rent. She squinted and her body brought up the club feed. The music slammed her before the visual showed her the new form. Another young woman. She was disappointed when she realized she’d been that one before. The feed died away as she squinted again.

The city beyond was so cold looking. It was supposed to be a chilly evening, but these bodies didn’t register discomfort. Well, at least she hadn’t programmed it to. Her real body hated the cold. It made his joints ache, and it compounded when the rain was coming in. She chased the thought away. This was supposed to be a vacation from those worries.

From him.

She debated going back downstairs and finding someone who wanted to share their bodies, but thought against it. Other people, other entities in other bodies didn’t interest her. It wasn’t the point. She’d played with others when she first started to swap; it had been why he’d tried it. But the act of having of a freed mind, of being disconnected from the worries of him; that’s what captured her. She loved that freedom. Other people and fulfilling his sexual desires didn’t matter in most of the bodies she had been.

She wondered if he resented her, them, the other bodies, the way they resented him. It was her mind and she thought the same thoughts, but freed of his concerns and pains and wants, she wondered if they were truly his thinking anymore. His mind. She was running in circles again. She needed to focus on something. The city.

The city beyond the window was quiet and cold, and only the thrum of the club below filled her ears. She let it fill her mind.

For now, she wasn’t him.

For now, she was just her.

For now, whoever she really was became quiet and cold.

There’s a lot of confusion with defining our “us-ness” in human life. It’s not something new, but we’re more apt to talk about it more these days I think. Whether it’s personal mental identity, sexual or gender identity, long term or short term personalities, I think many of us enjoy escaping our “self” every now and then. Being able to make a choice, be that thing, and then go back to our own issues after the fantasy is over.

Foundation: In Which We Begin a New Journey

hidden_node_logoThis post is my official announcement I’m writing full time. I decided to come out swinging instead of trying to find a fancy way of dropping that bomb on the end of this paragraph. It’s a scary ass choice and one my wife and I don’t make lightly. The new year is full of many great opportunities and this is my chance to try and see if I can be that writer guy that’s in my mind. It’s time to start laying down our ‘reasonable’ expectations. First, I’m not expected to fund the family’s coffers all by myself this year. Starting a creative career isn’t that easy and even if we get close to having a decent finical flow we’re still going to be playing it safe with any fiscal choices we make for some time. Second, the idea is to do an all-consuming creative approach. Writing for long form fiction and the blog will become my main focus, but podcasting on the regular and producing weekly (and sometimes daily) short fiction will also be a focus. I’m going to be trying this from as many angles as I can reasonably juggle. First short fiction should be up a few hours after this.

This means a number of changes in terms of my online presence:

This place is one of them. The J Samuel Diehl thing is my main announcement channel for works that are out there. I’ll get a category up with those posts and I’ll associate those with the newsletter (yeah, we’re getting one of those). Other posts such as my reviews of books, games, shows, etc. will also show up here, as well as opinion pieces, but those won’t be as flashy on the main page (At least not once we get a theme rolling). Audio fiction will also show up here, but the audio blog is reserved for the Hiddennode. Hiddennode will also mirror that fiction. Free fiction will show up here as well, and my intentions are to get a Patreon up and running in the coming weeks to post the fiction to early (as well as providing full copies of upcoming works before they become site exclusives).

The Hiddennode site has been archived. The old version is available here but except for fiction I’m bringing to J Samuel Diehl, most of the posts will remain in the archive. The site will be my audio blog, which will be daily, baring health and holidays. Many of the comments I make on blog posts here will be expanded on in that format. I don’t think of the podcast as a super strict thing so expect more casual conversation there.

Beyond my sites, we’ve got a few points to reach me. First, the nulloperations twitter thing isn’t changing. That’s my feed for personal posts, opinions, etc. The J Samuel Diehl account, though, that one is reactivating as my official “here’s stuff coming down the pipe” feed. Basically the writing stuff without the ‘Me’ fluff. It won’t be all of the posts here, just the ones that are about writing updates. Same with Facebook. The nulloperations account is me. The writer page is here. The ‘Me’ page gets the fluff. The author page gets the official announcements and such. I think it’s straight forward. No, I don’t really have much more than that. I mean there is a Tumblr thing but I’ll be honest I still don’t get that site. We’ll explore it more later. Anything else we’ll look at as the year passes through.

I don’t pretend to how things will turn out. I think my writing is pretty rad, and I think people will like it, but I don’t know. We’ve got a year to plan, act on, and then review. Unless something incredible happens beforehand I’ll let you know next year if things worked out. For now, let’s get down to business and defeat the huns. I meant write. I’m going to write. Not be in an animated movie. That would be weird.