Academic journal article Women's Studies Quarterly

Necessary Parts

Academic journal article Women's Studies Quarterly

Necessary Parts

Article excerpt

Her lungs were acting up more than usual. The music playing in the har was reminiscent of popping huhhles with an electronic twist, hut it was nearly drowned out hy the low hum pulsating from her esophagus. Jane stroked her throat, fingers lingering on the source of the vibrations before pressing hard against her trachea. There was a slight click, and she felt the filtration disk settle hack into place. She winced, and instinctively cleared her throat, as if it would diffuse the pressure that seemed to lurk just behind her gag reflex.

The analog clock on the wall read 12:42 p.m., although Jane didn't trust it. She had made it a hahit not to trust anything battery-powered. Either way, Jane knew that unless Aster came hack soon, she would he late. She glanced down the har with a low sigh.

Not surprisingly, it was practically desolate. Alcohol had become somewhat of a luxury since the start of the organ crisis. One that even I can't afford, Jane reminded herself, grimacing into her stale pouch of lingonherry pop. The only other occupants of the har were a few older men behind her, draped over their booth, their neckties strewn like mangled nooses, and a single ungulatus at the end of the har. Or were they calling themselves sumesticas these days? There didn't seem to he a whole lot of consensus within the community, and interspecies communication was sketchy at hest. Sus intelligus was probably the most widely agreed upon label hy the general human population, although the ungulatus seemed to take offense at the reminder that their closest relative was a pig.

It-Jane was leaning toward "she" due to the ruffled polka-dot blouse that was stretched across its torso, hut then again, ungulati weren't particularly known for understanding traditional human fashion or styles-had been clacking its cloven hoof against a large tablet for the better part of the past ten minutes. The tablets had been the latest marketing scheme that Apple had released-hoof accessible technology. Even though the product had debuted more than a year ago, the controversy it had incited had yet to subside. Supporters of the technology argued that this was only fair; the ungulati had been an active part of society for the past thirty-three years, and society's technological barriers had been classified as an ongoing human rights violation. Except they could no longer call them "human" rights violations. It was now a "violation of those who possess a qualifying intelligence and agency," but that-both parties agreed- was more than a mouthful. But advanced ungulatus-friendly technology had also brought out the worst in people. There were unquellable factions who were convinced that inviting the ungulati into society had been a tremendous mistake that could only be rectified by opening back up the laboratories from which they came and continuing the experimental harvests. To that measure, there were still live roasts on television by extremists. Jane shuddered just thinking about it.

The ungulatus finished its drink through a twisted straw before poking its snout through a makeshift fanny pack. It resurfaced with a few crumpled dollars, pressed delicately between its incisors, and placed them on the bar. It slid off the barstool, barely touching its feet to the ground before steadying itself with a walker. Even with the aid of the device, it was obvious that the ungulatus was a quadruped. It was hunched over and, despite the rubber booties that covered its hind hooves, it had not quite achieved the necessary traction to walk, rather than slip, across the floor.

"Pig," she heard someone behind her grunt. The ungulatus kept walking, painstakingly slow, the pinkness of its body further illuminated under the fluorescent lights. Jane clenched her fist, and the added tension triggered another wave of vibrating pulsations from the back of her throat. But she didn't say anything.

"Sorry for the wait!"

Aster had returned. Her limber body was propped over the bar, gift in hand. …

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