by Matt Mikalatos
Sam snapped a thick card onto the chipped-paint surface of the picnic table, between himself and Hailey. Sam studied the glossy back, the multi-colored swirl of the Race Cards logo. A thin gold line ran along the bottom. The nano-bot interface.
"Where did you get that?" Hailey asked.
"My dad got it on a business trip. Japan, I think. Or maybe Korea, I don't know."
"Isn't that game illegal in the States?"
Sam shrugged. "The epidermal mods have a three-hour max. You can activate it and be white for your interview this afternoon if you want."
That made Hailey grin, and she reached over and squeezed Sam's hand. "Oh, that would be funny. But it hasn't been tested for safety, right?"
"It's safe," Sam said.
"So you go first," Hailey said. "Show me how it works."
Now Sam hesitated. "My mom told me not to mess around with it."
Hailey snorted. "Because you're white. Besides, your mom would never come to this park."
"I snagged this from my dad for your interview because you asked me to."
"I was joking, Sam. I get the job or I don't. It would be weird if I was white at the interview and black when I showed up the next day. Besides, what if it gives me a bloody nose or something."
"Fine. I'll do it first." Sam touched the gold line with his finger. A cold jolt radiated through his body. He couldn't move for a few seconds. He shook his finger, then sucked on it. "That stings."
Sam's skin had darkened to a deep, earthy brown.
"Looking good," Hailey said, laughing.
Sam pushed the card across. "Now you can use it for your interview."
Hailey looked him up and down. "Nah, I think they'll figure it out."