Glass Ceiling, Pt. 4 (Chapter 2b)

The screen shut off with an audible click, the wall going blank. An opLED screen like that was at once a luxury and a necessity in a 250 square foot micro apartment. Expensive, but completely flat and utterly versatile. It was so much more than computer screen. It was a window, an interactive art display, a floor-length mirror, whatever she needed it to be. And thanks to the camera she’d installed and the AI she’d designed, it was a pretty decent friend and fashion guru.

“How does this look?” Jasmine asked the wall. It shimmered for a moment. An androgynous body appeared, its skin smooth and light blue. It crossed its arms, rested its chin on its hand, bounced its finger on its lips.

“It looks good,” PAT said, it’s voice husky and sultry, “but what’s the effect you’re going for? Where are you going out to?”

The question was silly, of course. Everyone’s lives were all networked together. When Jasmine had made the plans on her Conncomm, they’d automatically been entered into her calendar on every single device she’d owned and social network she was a part of. But the question was interaction, and interactivity was key. “I’ve got a date tonight,” Jasmine replied. “At ‘scent.’”

“Ooh! ‘scent!’ Who’s the lucky man? Craig? David? Fulgence?”

“No, no. It’s a new guy. Met him online.”

“First date?”

“First date.”

“And how do you want to look, sweetie?”

A program could keep track of your life for you. But an artificial intelligence could help you plan, could ask the questions that led you to the right answers, could serve as a friend when you didn’t have any. “I want to look… fun. Confident. Confident like I’m saying, ‘You can look but you can’t touch.’”

PAT’s eyes flashed with mischievous glee. Jasmine was proud of that. She wasn’t an animator or a modeler, but she’d managed to hack together some pretty realistic animations and expressions from databases she’d found online. “A little flirty, a little tease-y?”

Jasmine considered this carefully, then shook her head. “No, no. I want to look like… Okay. I want my outfit to say, ‘You can look, but you can’t touch… Unless I say so.’”

PAT’s smile grew into a grin for a moment, and then settled into a look of serious consideration. Jasmine smiled, pleased with herself. PAT was good. Very good. It had been good enough to get her a job as a Fixer, and if only she had the time to truly perfect it, it might be good enough to get her a job as a Solver. “Okay, undo that top button. Hm… One more. Okay, good. Now, lose the earrings. You don’t need them. Go with one of your darker lipsticks, your oxblood. Sweetie, you’re not going to wear those flats, are you? Wear heels. Little ones. Do it for me.”

Jasmine changed her clothes, her eyes glancing nervously towards the screen of her Conncomm, watching the minutes tick past as she assembled her outfit. “Sweetie, don’t you worry about the time. Trust me, you’ll make it. And hey, if you’re five minutes late and you walk in like you planned to be five minutes late, then that just makes you look that much more confident.” PAT looked Jasmine up and down, motioned for her to turn, nodded appreciatively. “Okay, good. Good. Now, give me a smile. A confident smile. A sexy smile. Yes! Just like that! Okay, practice it in the mirror. Perfect.” PAT smiled and gave Jasmine a thumbs up. “Go knock ‘im dead, sweetie.”


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