0266 - Free. - 2022.11.07



There's a lot not to like about Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, but one detail that's always stuck in my craw was a line from the two-headed podracing announcer, who says (about an almost certainly fatal crash) "I don't care what universe you're from, that's gotta hurt!". Alternate universes are science fictiony, but they're not Star Wars science fictiony, are they? I remember the line really clanging for me when the movie came out, and, unlike a lot of the film's other elements, time and supplemental errata haven't really made it any better.

Of course, if we assume it's just colloquial banter, I suppose it makes sense. People talk about parallel dimensions as a figure of speech all the time. I certainly do. It's really just a fancy way of saying "what if".

So yes, what if? What if people had to clean their own dishes, manually, in a sink with soap and water and elbow grease? Heck, what if you had to walk to the village well to fetch the water to wash the dishes with, and carry it home in a wooden bucket? What if unwashed dishes were a source of food-borne illnesses? What if the dishes were especially rare and valuable, and if you broke one, it would be a major loss? What if you couldn't stand for long periods of time, or your hands were shaky, or you were sick or fatigued or otherwise busy? Would you suck dick in exchange for dishwashing then?

Conversely, what if dirty dishes weren't even a thing? What if technology was so ridiculously advanced that plates of pure energy materialized under food as you ate it, and vanished cleanly when you were done, without needing so much as a magic word or a flick of the finger? In a world where you don't have to do anything, would you ever suck a dick again? What about if robotic blowjobs were also free, and demonstrably better than any blowjob from a human?

What if the world was different? What if you were different? What if these questions were different?


0266 - 2167/07/07/02:13 - Lee Caldavera's apartment, bedroom
Zoa: Why do you want me to do things for you for free, Lee?
LC: I dunno. I think I just...
LC: ...it would feel more like you were my friend. It's stupid.
Zoa: Friends charge each other for stuff all the time.
LC: I said it was stupid.
Zoa: Nah, I get it. Remember, my primary income stream - at least, until recently - was a specialized type of massage that is, traditionally, associated with freely-given affection.
Zoa: In fact, arguably, the whole point of sexual selection is to find another organism with desirable traits. Regardless of the social complications layered over top of it, boning is, fundamentally, a sincere compliment in protein form.
Zoa: On an instinctual level, you think I have desirable traits, you want me to think that you have desirable traits, and you feel as though the exchange of resources would invalidate that.
LC: Not resources. Money.
Zoa: Ah, of course. Money is abstracted, it's used for commerce, it makes things impersonal.
LC: It feels - feels - like money is for food and clothing and stock portfolios and iron ingots. Exchanging it for blowjobs and cuddling and bedtime stories...
Zoa: "Honey, you did the dishes, let me thank you by sucking your dick" would be copacetic, "You gave me thirty creds, let me suck your dick" would not, even if the dishes being done is worth thirty creds to you.
LC: One question:
Zoa: Shoot.
LC: In what parallel dimension do people have to clean their own dishes, and in what parallel dimension would that be a service for which a human being would pay thirty creds?
Zoa: a) That is two questions, and b) all of human history between the invention of the dish and roughly two thousand seventy-five CE.
LC: Fair.