Aoibheann’s tailor seems to have done a remarkably good job of turning Neelam into a real girl. I was sitting in the tavern, jotting down some ideas inspired by Zarla when she came in. She was wearing a dress, and very nice it looked on her too. It was not, perhaps, the best attire for her normal duties in the tavern, but would serve very well for the ladies’ luncheon, and for when she has to visit the palace. I suggested that she get the tailor to make a simpler outfit, not unlike Aoibheann’s usual work attire. Something she could wear while working.
Of course, being Neelam, nothing is quite as simple as it seems. Whatever strange and wonderful technology she possesses, or is constructed of, it allowed her to make the dress disappear at the snap of a finger. I commented on that being a handy trick, while wondering if Mitternacht could teach me to do that by magic, saying it would save time in the morning.
I forgot that Neelam is a “service robot”. She immediately offered to help me with my dressing and undressing, if I wanted her to. I declined on the grounds of only needing assistance with dressing and particularly undressing when I was sick, and needed the help of a nurse, or was in an intimate situation with a young lady, in which case the undressing was an enjoyable part of the process and I was fairly unlikely to require mechanical assistance. Stupidly, I forgot that Neelam’s functionality includes intimate relations, which services she volunteered should I ever need them. Again, I vouchsafed that I felt it would be unlikely that I would be in a situation where I would want to. She countered that “you don’t know until you try”.
I have to admit, she had me there. As I put it to her – I have had an adventurous past, which has included having intimate relations with ladies whose proclivities include enjoying intimate relations with other women. I have, on occasion, enjoyed intimacy with more than one woman at the same time. I have also known women, and been intimate with same, whose proclivities include enjoying the stimulation of mechanical devices. And since my experiences have never included a situation where I might be enjoying intimate relations with a lady who might possibly be interested in intimacy with a mechanical device that resembled a woman, I could not rule out the possibility that it might be enjoyable. So, as she said, I don’t know until I have tried it. I still maintain, however, despite the time elapsed since the last time I enjoyed intimate relations with anybody, and the current paucity of opportunities for intimate relations on the island, the chances of me inviting a 750lb mechanical woman to my bed are vanishingly small.
I thanked her for the kind offer and managed to deflect the discussion onto the matter of services I was interested in her performing, namely the construction of the booster platform for Mitternacht. I showed her the blueprints I had drawn up and explained a few details. She seemed to have no problems understanding the drawings or the proposed construction, so I left her to it, saying she could come and find me if there were any problems. I’m fairly sure I phrased that sufficiently clearly that the scope of said invitation applied only to questions regarding the carpentry, but you never know. I hope that was understood.
Back at the apartment, I found myself in a slightly maudlin mood, reflecting on the absence of any intimacy in my life at the moment. As ever, my thoughts drifted to the friends I miss from my days in London, wondering how Giada, Helene, Valene and Catt were faring, and where they might be. I would write letters to them, if I had any clue how I might address and send them. I suppose that for Catt, at least, I have some clue how I might contact her through the bond we shared, which is somehow connected to the scar she gave me. It worked once, but that was mostly her doing, and I have no idea how I might go about it. Perhaps when I have had more magic lessons from Mitternacht, I might ask her opinion. As often happens when I think of Catt, I retreated into the world of poems and fell asleep with my Walt Whitman collection in my hand. O Captain, My Captain…