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Hello stretches his new face over the special-tape covering his now alien-like face muscles. How those surgeons did what they did three years ago, he'll never know. His facial muscles never bleed when he takes off his face to put another on. He has never received an infection. The mask never falls over his face no matter how much he moves it. Hello's face is foreign to the natural human's standard. In fact, his whole body is. Every day, he can change what he looks like. Any color, any feature, any special body signature. Even finger or feet prints. The only thing he can't change is his eyes, teeth, and personality. But that's nothing contacts, fake teeth, and great acting skills can't change. Today, he has a pair of full lips, tan skin, and a button nose. But his name . . . What shall it be? James? No, sounds too regal. Skylar? No, sounds too much like a daredevil. Ethan? Perfect. A name that carries affluence and charm, at least in his mind.
Ethan stands in front of the mirror looking at his undressed body. Of course the standard tuxedo would do, but what about his skin? His face can't be the only tan thing on him. He steps into his walk-in closet to the hidden door behind his least worn items of clothing: blue jeans. Why wear them? They carry no sign of greatness or sense of style. Ethan pushes asides the jeans to reveal a key pad. He types in a code to reveal an iris scanner. With a quick scan of the eye, Ethan is allowed access to a winding staircase only his feet and his surgeons have touched.
After making his descent down the stairs, Ethan steps onto the floor of the glorious area he calls his "dressing room". The room lights up with the flick of a switch. A single row of hundreds of different body types line one side of the extremely large underground room. All the bodies are kept at slightly chilled temperature in airtight, clear plastic case. Ethan scans the room for a tan body. Ah! Case 49! Abs and smooth tan skin. He unlocks the case and runs his finger down the body. The texture is perfect; it feels like real skin. He lightly rubs his face. It also feels like real skin. Oh, the capability of modern technology. At first, he was reluctant to become the lab rat for such a newfound and invasive surgery. But now, he's thankful for being chosen as the one to be used in the testing. Who wouldn't want this wonderful gift?
Ethan opens the side door to Case 49 and steps inside. In the front of the case, there is the anterior part of his new body. In the back of the case, there is the posterior part of his body. He presses a button on the left side of the case to begin the process. Lasers shoot out from where the door was and its parallel side. The lasers go right through Ethan's skin, making the anterior and posterior parts fall off. He's always hated that part. The intense buzzing feeling that went through his body is never comforting, but it's something he must deal with. With his old body carefully leaned against in front and behind him, he reaches up to get his new body to stretch on. Within a couple of minutes, he's a new man. Ethan presses another button to let the case bring the two halves of his old body to their upright position.
Ethan walks out and closes the case, turn of the room light, and runs up the stair to the secret door. He goes through the same security steps to exit out of the secret area. Ethan rushes through the open door that automatically closes. He shoves the jeans back to their original place. He quickly gets dressed and leaves his house.
"Oh, Ethan! Why haven't you come around here before? Someone like you would easily match someone like me." The lady brushes her fingers down Ethan's shirt.
"Not many match me ma'am" Along with a wink, he flashes a mega-watt smile. However, he doesn't feel it. This woman is the shallowest broad he's met in a while.
"How about I give you my number?" She bats her eyelashes an inane amount of times.
He has to lie. The mere thought of this woman calling him. . . By all the name that is holy, no thank you. "Well, I would love if you did. I have to meet someone here at the party though. I must go before they begin to worry that I haven't showed up." He speeds off before she can say anything further.
Ethan know there is a woman who is worthy of his time. Someone interesting. Someone lively. Someone different like himself. He knows this is the type of party where yacht-owners make their mating place. He just has a feeling someone here is going to break that stale mold. Ethan climbs up the stairs to the balcony. Turning his head, he sees a woman with her arms leaning on the extravagant railing of the balcony taking in the beautiful view. There's just something about her that set sparks within him. Maybe it's the way she's leaning against the balcony. Maybe it's the way her hair is tied up into a messy style. Something is wild about her. Something is different about her. Ethan tries to casually approach her.
He leans against the railing next to the woman. "Hey."
The woman doesn't look away from scenic view and sighs. "Hey. The name's Samantha. You?"
Ethan raises his eyebrow. "My name is Ethan. Why the sigh? Did I do something?"
"Not yet, but I'm sure you will. Are you just another man trying to get my heart so you can get to my father? Because I'm tired of that cr**. I've already had seven guys come up here and try to charm my panties off. You know what, it's not cute." Samantha sharply turns her head to look at Ethan. Her eyes pierce into him like nothing before. How can someone have royal purple eyes? "You understand me?"
"You can't assume every man is the same just because of many bad examples. It's offensive to me that you think I'm like that. I won't try to get into your panties. I just want to talk. Before I say anything, I must say your eyes are beautiful. I hope that doesn't offend you."
Samantha looks back at Ethan in shock. "You're the first man who's ever said that . . ."
"How? They are breathtaking."
"They know the story behind them. They know the eyes are a sign that I wasn't created the natural way. My father told me that the only man who would ever call them beautiful and not slightly frightening would be the same man he performed the – Wait? It can't be. Are you him?"
"I don't know what you are talking about." Ethan really doesn't know what she is talking about. Unless her father was the same man who performed the surgery on him . . .
Excitement covers Samantha's face. "My father performed surgery on a man three years ago. A landmark surgery in the field of science. He made is possible for a man to change his body, face, and everything else within a matter of minutes. The only thing he can't change is – "
In disbelief, Ethan finishes Samantha's sentence. "Eye color, teeth, and personality . . ."
The woman acts like a giddy teenager and jumps Ethan. "It's you! It's you! Finally someone who will understand me. My father bioengineered me. Somehow, he got every quality he deemed as beautiful and used in-vitro fertilization to create me. Tell me everything about yourself! Your likes, dislikes! Just everything! No wait, tell me about your past! What were you like before the surgery? "
Ethan goes blank. "I'm not sure."
Samantha stops jumping around. "What do you mean you're not sure?"
Putting his head in his hands and slowly rubbing them down his face, Ethan feels like the weight of the world just crashed down on him. "Ethan's not my real name. I was given the name Hello. I'm not even sure what my birth-name is. I don't know who my family is. I don't remember my childhood. The only thing I remember is talking to my best friend before the surgery and I can't recall his name. I got so caught up in the present, I forgot that I didn't have a past. I've let whatever persona I'm being at the moment define me."
"My dad somehow wiped your memory . . ." Samantha hugs Hello. "Well, tell me who Hello is then. We'll work on figuring out who you were before the surgery."
Hello shakes his head. "I've had so many personalities for the past three years, I don't know who Hello is. He lied to me. He lied to me . . ."