Sunday, July 20, 2014

The exit conditions are different for Experimental Subject #1

When Experimental Subject #1 meets with Miss Hanzo, the conditions of her leaving the spa are somewhat different from those imposed on Elena Rodriguez. Circumstances necessitate that she lose her identity, including her face.

Experimental Subject #1 is tempted to protest that she's fine with her birthmarks, and she'd be happy to take a job cleaning rooms or acting as lifeguard at the spa pool or. . . or massage therapy! She could get a certificate in massage therapy!

Miss Hanzo explains that it's really not that simple. If Experimental Subject #1 wishes to interact with people in the future, she'll need to agree to the procedure. It's the only way. The alternative is a graveyard shift job in a windowless office with restricted and monitored internet access. Her adjacent room will be supplied with a television and an e-reader, but nothing that she can use to talk with people outside the spa. Food and clothing will be supplied.

It's not a bad deal. The last person who tried it was happy for a full ninety-seven days before the psychotic break and is reported by state hospital staff to be docile now that the medications have been fully worked out.

Minutes later, Experimental Subject #1's facial features have been erased with 100% acetone. The birthmarks, while faded, are still present. That won't do at all.

Fortunately, a lotion of 10% benzoil peroxide is supposed to remove blemishes of that sort. The usual treatment calls for several days in the sun, but Experimental Subject #1 will be allowed outdoors only in the early morning, when regular spa guests are at their mandatory hot-yoga session.

At this point, it's unlikely that anybody will make the connection between Experimental Subject #1 and Australian professional tennis player Summer Gordon, who was last seen at Venice Beach with a crowd of toothy blondes. When the young woman washed up, not quite drowned, off the Mexican coast, even Ms. Hanzo's people weren't sure who she was.

Still, it's best not to take unnecessary risks. There will be plenty of necessary ones in Experimental Subject #1's future.

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