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Original Science Fiction and Fantasy every weekday. Welcome! We publish very short science fiction as broadly defined: sf, fantasy, slipstream, etc. Please read today's short story below. Browse topics in the sidebar, and read what intrigues; subscribe via email to receive each story in your inbox for free; and consider becoming a paying member to ensure we can keep paying authors and providing stories to all.

The Bored and the Stiff

Claude Lalumiere (claudepages.info) is the author of five books--including Objects of Worship (2009) and Venera Dreams: A Weird Entertainment (2017)--and more than 100 stories, several of which have been adapted for stage, screen, audio, and comics. His work has been translated into seven languages. Originally from Montreal, he's now headquartered in Ottawa.
*******Editor's Note: Adult Story for Adult Readers Only*******
The bored and the stiff are engaged in their nightly ritual, the stiff preying upon the compliant bored. Our playground is Boston Common; those of us participating in this game are hiding in plain sight among the hundreds of people in the park. I hear the ping before I see the stiffman--it's almost always men--hunting me. I look all around, and there he is, about twenty feet away, not so subtly pointing his phone toward me. He's not looking directly at me, and he's wearing a hat, so I can't tell what his face looks like, or how old he is. He's not tall, and he's not fat. None of that matters, anyway. I don't care. I'm bored. I'll do anyone. I'll do anything. The message gives me the name of the hotel and a room number. I look up from the screen, and the stiff is already gone. For discretion's sake, I wait about ten minutes before I leave the park, cross Tremont Street, and walk down West Street toward the Hyatt Regency.
The stiff says, "Show me."
I take off my clothes to expose nothing. I'm sixteen years old, but my body betrays not even the slightest hint of sexual differentiation. I'm completely hairless, breastless, without a cock or a cunt, with only a tiny slit to piss from. I ask, "Do you want my mouth or my ass?"
"I want to lick you all over."
"Whatever, stiffman. It's your money, your time." He's young; at most a couple of years too old to have been bored, or perhaps he's among the first, just recently stiffed. Is he jealous of us, or does he miss it? Or is he just a perv lusting after those like me? "So, stiffman, were you ever bored?" For twenty years now, all pregnant women in the USA have been administered mandatory sexual suppressors. The penalty for failure to report a pregnancy in time for treatment is abortion and three years of jail time. My whole generation is being protected from the temptations and dangers of underage sex. As if.
He ignores my question. Eventually, he cums on my tight little slit while nibbling on my fingers. I didn't even have to touch him. He did all the work. Easy money.
Ten days later, the young stiffman pings me again in the park. Same hotel. Same room. When I walk in, I see two stiffs in the room. The other stiff's a woman. She's young, too. They kinda look alike. Siblings? Cousins, maybe? "Couples are triple the price." If they can afford this place, they can afford whatever I ask. Their kind of wealth is probably way beyond anything I can imagine. The stiffwoman nods, taps on her phone, and aims it at me. The money shows up on my screen.
She commands: "Take off your clothes."
I strip. There's something intense in their gaze. Something unsettling. Something unlike the sexual lust stiffs usually ogle me with.
The stiffwoman starts sobbing. The stiffman holds her in his arms and cries, too. As much as he seems to care about her, it's obvious that he can barely stand touching her. This is getting freaky, but it's their time. They paid for it. So, whatever. Whatever they want. I don't care. I'm bored.
I hazard a guess. "So what it's like, being stiffed? Is it better?" They used to be bored. Had to be.
The stiffman says: "It's hell. These bodies... these urges... these emotions... all of it is so gross."
"I believe it. Stiffmen are ruled by their cocks--they might as well be mindless. Stiffwomen become baby factories. I mean, they don't have to, but the social pressure is intense." The thought of having a creature growing inside me, leeching off my body, makes me want to puke. "That's no life. At least when you're bored, you don't give a shit about anything and nobody expects anything from you. I wish I wouldn't ever stiffen. But it happens to everybody." Well, that's not strictly true. About half of one percent of the bored stay bored, their gender forever inhibited. We're still in the early generations of the program, though. Who knows? Maybe some are just late bloomers. "I'm sixteen. It could happen to me anytime now. I know some people who were stiffed as early as fourteen. Average is eighteen. But who wants to be average?"
Still teary, the stiffwoman says to the stiffman: "This one's perfect. Yes. Let's do it. Let's start here. Now."
So they explain what they want. What they've created. The whole time neither of them can keep their eyes off my naked sexless body. What they're asking me to do, it's fucking revolutionary. Apocalyptic. Not boring.
"Who are you two? How can you have come up with this? How can you have the resources?"
Stiffwoman replies: "Do you even care? Or are you just used to the stiff liking to talk about themselves?"
She's right. I don't give a fuck why or how or who or where. I'm going to do what they want, because I can, because I want to. Because I'm bored. One detail grosses me out, though. "Do I really have to kiss them?" That's the one thing I never do--no mouth to mouth. So disgusting!
He emphasizes, "Saliva to saliva is the most efficient and reliable way to spread the disease."
This warehouse rave, it's the end of the world as we know it. But only the three of us know that.
The two of them paid for everything, and everything here is so fucking illegal. I don't even know their names. I don't care. I'm bored. But I won't be much longer.
Slowbuzz, my fave boredcore band, is playing (the hosts asked if I had a request). I can tell the assembled stiff are bored by the loud, slow rhythmless music, a reaction that is both ironic and perfect. But none of them really care: they're here to score and to consume. Score and consume all the drugs anyone could ever want. Score and consume the bodies of the compliant bored.
There are thousands of bored and stiff crammed into this cesspool of disease. I am the disease.
Our hosts were the first I kissed after they injected me last month. They're already reverted, shed their unwanted genders. They didn't have to ask me if I wanted this. They could have secretly infected any bored kid--to activate for the first time, the compound needs to incubate for a few hours in a bored body, something about having to interact with the lingering traces of the sexual inhibition treatment. Stiffman explained it to me in detail, but I was bored and didn't really give a fuck.
There's a sacrifice involved in being the trigger. Call me Patient Zero. Call me the sacrificial lamb. I don't care. I'm bored. But I won't be much longer.
Tonight I kiss everyone willing. Everyone is willing. The stiff are such easy prey. For weeks I've been kissing all the stiff who lust for a taste of the bored and all the bored who let me, not really caring whether I did or not. Already the disease is spreading, but after tonight it'll go fucking viral. There are rich stiffs here from all over the globe.
The disease lies semi-dormant in an infected body for a month, all the while continuing to spread, mouth to mouth, person to person, and then it hits. Sexual characteristics shrivel. The stiff become bored, and the bored are inhibited from ever stiffening. Universal sterility. It's the end of the fucking world.
But there's a catch. Patient Zero. The sacrificial lamb. That's why they felt compelled to ask so politely--oh so ethically--before triggering the apocalypse. Patient Zero becomes immune to the disease. Soon, I'll stiffen. And then I'll be the only stiff in a bored world.
Fuck! It's a raid. Cops rounding up everyone. So fucking what? I've already kissed hundreds of people tonight. It's too late, but they don't even know about that. They just want to shut down the party. They don't know yet that it's the end of the world.
And it's going to be so fucking boring. So gloriously fucking boring.
The End
This story was first published on Friday, May 24th, 2019


Music is an integral part of my creative process. I usually write to music, but I also daydream to music, most often with my iPod Classic on random shuffle (my iPod library currently stands at slightly over 11k songs). The dissonant clash of unexpected juxtapositions of sounds, tones, and moods helps kickstart my imagination. Two songs (admittedly of a similar register) came together to inspire "The Bored and the Stiff": "Hate to Say I Told You So" by the Swedish pop-punk band the Hives and "I'm Bored" by the god of punk, Iggy Pop.

I'm also always striving to flex different writing muscles. I get restless if I start to feel I might be repeating myself. Reading helps me be in conversation with the state of the art of short fiction, to see what others are doing and to explore how I can incorporate fresh approaches that resonate with me within my own work. Recently I've been impressed with the short fiction of Rich Larson (some of whose work can be found on DSF), and I think of this story as being in conversation with his work.

- Claude Lalumiere
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