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Edition 17: Shutterblind by Jackie Neel

flag USDani’s vids are getting cut by a new guy, Bialystock, and he’s making her look bad, dragging her down all over the metanet. It spells disaster until suddenly, Dani finds a little perspective. Science fiction ruled by some cyberpunk, Jackie Neel’s tale is an acerbic comment on how connectedness hurts us in the digital age. SY

[Hey], I graff to the guy sitting at the bar. He’s cute, maybe a little shorter than the guys I would normally go for, but my standards are low lately.

[Hey, yourself.] His graff appears to float in white just off the center of my vision. He flashes me a bad boy grin, the type my dad used to warn me about. His name, floating by his graff, is Hunter.

I open a fresh frame in my MindsEye. I snap in a new cam and set it to check him out from the back. Nice toosh.

My main frame glows blue, letting me know someone new has set a cam on me. I pop a new frame and clone the cam—it’s his, and he’s returning the favor. From his smile I suppose those hours on the stair stepper must have done some good.

The game is alive in me, the give and take of pulling. I can almost feel his fingers brushing my neck already, warm and soft and urgent. And I can see already how I’ll cut my vids—a months-long dry spell, a disastrous failed hookup with that Chad guy, and then fade to black as we slip into my apartment. A clean little narrative.

But his smile fades when my frame turns green. He’s looking at my main page, flipping through my vids, checking out the comments and votes. He picks up his beer and turns away.

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