Size / / /

Content warning:

Oil's a fine lubricant for fucking robots
he told me over lunch at the corner cafe
on a Sunday afternoon across the street
from el Templo del Jesus Androide.
With a glance out the window, he grins
yellowed teeth like bits of brass
that scintillate on animatronic carcasses.
I take them in one at a time, it's an artform
for a hundred bucks I open the hatch
and put my hands in. It's not clean money
but the job isn't dirty: scraping the rust
from their calloused breastplates
is like fingers down a chalkboard--
you remember those, right, from those movies
saved as digital media files
before the temporal resonance transmitters were installed?
Anyways, I was saying rust. They're older models
before the carbon chassis came out
no one tends to them anymore, but their AI's still active
what else are they supposed to do?
Junk them up as batteries? Recycle their memories?
You can't even jump one up for spare parts these days
no one cares about 'em anymore. So what's the harm?
I polish them all nice and cozy, maybe kiss 'em on the processor
it's a process, being a whore. I gotta watch who I message
gotta feel 'em out for cops or not
but screening is easy with modern-day encryption,
it's like there's no police at all.
Anyways, where was I? So no one likes the iron guys
the brass bodies, those deluxe models in carbon grey
now all they want is crystalline displays in white casing
sterile sentients all pumped up for the masses,
but what are they after? These new ones, they're just slaves
but these older guys, they were something--
have you ever listened to a droid drone on?
I mean, come on, they lived through the elections
before the States fell apart, before the transition began
and you know what? I like it. Sure, my mind departs me
when I'm undressed and getting naughty,
but I'm doing something, helping people--
wait, you say they aren't people? So what if they're made of steel
and the sweat of systems engineers,
what's our biology but the cell structure
of their robotic chassis? Maybe you think they're less than human
but that's why I've got this job--because they've got nothing else
so I sell myself. It pays the bills, keeps me in school.
It's not like I got a million dollar inheritance from my father.
To you it might be sex, but to me it's a connection
once I met a man, and sure, he was handsome
and as I peeled away those rusted brown spots from his back
I could feel it in the way his cooling fans sputtered
he didn't need a cleansing, but another
so I turned him over, brought my face to his
and we sat there, just touching, and I saw his display screen
start to waver at the edges
and it made my eyes gloss over. So you know what?
I don't give a fuck. I'll sell my body
for these men, these androids,
because it's all I've got left to give.

Darren Lipman graduated from NC State University with his master's in mathematics and a minor in poetry. He's currently moving from his hometown of Asheboro, NC, to Milwaukee, where he'll teach high school mathematics as a Teach for America 2016 corps member. Find him at, with fiction and poetry at
Current Issue
19 Feb 2024

That was Father—a storm in a drought, a comet in the night. Acting first, thinking later, carried on not by foresight, but on luck’s slippery feet. And so we were not as surprised as we should have been when, one warm night in our tenth year on the mountain, Father showed us the flying machine.
The first time I saw stone and Bone in ocean
This is it. This is the decision that keeps you up at night.
Issue 12 Feb 2024
Issue 5 Feb 2024
Issue 29 Jan 2024
Issue 15 Jan 2024
Issue 8 Jan 2024
Issue 1 Jan 2024
Issue 18 Dec 2023
Issue 11 Dec 2023
Issue 4 Dec 2023
Issue 27 Nov 2023
Load More
%d bloggers like this: