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"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.

Everyone's Doing It

Chris Lee writes and works in tech in New York City. His writing has previously appeared in Every Day Fiction. He enjoys creating and consuming all forms of narrative and can be found online at therealchrislee.com and @therealchrislee.

Max and Sheila did it last night. It's pretty obvious. They tried to be all coy about it sitting with different friend groups at dinner, but then we saw them peel off together on the way back to the dorms. And this morning when we saw them at breakfast something had clearly changed: they acted more familiar, touched each other more tenderly, spoke fewer words. Sheila's smile was fierce, her face demonstrating a degree of joy we hadn't thought possible for her.
Now that Max and Sheila have done it there really aren't many of us left who haven't. It's a silent minority, because it's not something you can easily tell about a person. But that also means the ones who belong to this minority are unknown to each other.
We are sitting at one of the campus cafes with our best friend Kate. Kate sets her cup of coffee down and looks us in the eye. "I did it with Randy last night," she says.
"Wow, really?" We try to sound neutral but inside we're instantly seething--we'd always assumed Kate would consult us before she went ahead and did it.
"Yeah," she says. "I mean, it's not like he's a perfect specimen but he's good enough. He had that story published in the lit mag last--"
"It wasn't that good," we interrupt. Kate gives us a funny look.
"Anyway," Kate continues, "we did it. Me and him."
We raise an eyebrow. "Really? All of it? Everything?"
"Yup," she says. She actually sounds proud. We seethe some more.
"How did it feel?" we finally ask.
"He was really into it--"
"You know what I mean. The other thing." We can always count on Kate to tell us the truth.
"Yeah that's what I was referring to." Kate takes a breath. "His POV was so focused. It's really scary at first. Then it gets weird but in a funny way. Eventually you can't help but start laughing like crazy, then when you finally get used to it it's over. He wanted to do it again right away but I felt like I needed time to recover." She pauses, then says almost as an afterthought: "Somehow he felt more familiar than I would have expected." We let this hang in the air, wait for her to continue.
"He told me he hadn't done it before but I'm not sure I believe him," she says. "Maybe I'm being unfair." She takes a sip of coffee. "Anyway, we're gonna do it again on Thursday night since neither of us has class on Friday."
"You're craving it now, aren't you," we try to tease, though in reality we're disappointed that Kate crossed over to the other side so easily without telling us.
We want her to roll her eyes but instead she just smiles vacantly. "Well yeah," she says. "It's amazing. Sex doesn't come close."
They call it crossing wires, though no actual wires are involved. Basically there's a way to jailbreak your AR implant so that you directly swap your sensory feed with someone else's: you experience the world through their senses, and vice versa. It's not a full switchover--you still retain some percentage of your own senses underneath it all--so it ends up being like you're inside and outside of your body at the same time. None of this is legal of course; the hack was only discovered recently so there are no longitudinal studies to tell us what the long term effects might be. There is one cardinal rule though: they say you should only do it with someone close to you, someone you already have intimacy with. Do it with too many different people and you could lose your own identity completely.
People take this rule as license to do different things. Person A takes this to mean they should wander the earth in search of the one person worthy of doing it with, their one true pairing. Person B chooses the first available just to get it over with. Neither type regrets it after because neither will remember their individual self.
We'd wanted to do it with Kate--desperately so--but didn't know if she felt the same way. Now we are glad because we know we made the right choice, evolving from Person A to Person B to Thing C.
"You should try it," Kate says, and we finally feel a surge of satisfaction.
"I have," we say to Kate. "I did it with Randy first."
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

Author Comments

I love reading this section for every DSF story but now that I'm faced with writing one I'm loath to distract from the text. This story is what happened when I tried to explore the question: what if there was something even stranger that people did behind closed doors?

- Chris Lee
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