by Zeke Jarvis

Cammie didn’t really like the product, but she understood that her opinion wasn’t part of the job. Instead, her job was to make it look good, desirable to the target consumer, so that’s what she’d do. Like always. 

Cammie laid out the box on the table, and checked her camera. Cammie took a deep breath and hit record. “Hey everybody, thanks for being back here. Today, I’ll be using Light Touch’s new line of body mods to get a gorgeous new look.” She took the top off the box. Inside were a series of narrow, metal tubes. She took the first one out and held it up to the camera. “Here we have the Color Transfer and Peeling Tube. It’s very portable, lightweight, and, as you’ll see, very easy to use.”

She pushed the first of three buttons, and a narrow blade came out. She smiled hard and slid the blade underneath the skin on her left forearm, making sure that she didn’t flinch as the piercing began. “You can see that the blade goes in smoothly, and there isn’t much spillage.” Cammie made sure that she didn’t flex her left arm at all so that the blood didn’t leak out of her arm. She touched the second button. She could feel the blade undulating slightly, and she could feel the straw drawing blood out of her forearm. “It really does all of the work for you, pulling your blood and carving out the space that you’ll need if you use the microbial inserts. I’m going to skip that in this video, but I’ll probably try them if I go out later.”

Cammie pulled the blade out. She pressed the blade to her lips and pressed the third button. The blood came out slowly but steadily. When it finished, she smiled again at the camera. “As you can see, the coverage is even, and it really pops. You can see that it’s quick, simple, and easy to use.” She paused the video, then she put a transparent band-aid over the wound. Later, she’d edit in some music and a quick fade.

Cammie wiped down the blade and used the table to push it back into the tube. The taste of blood on her lips was unpleasant, but she knew that she’d need to leave it on or the comments would speculate on it being gone. Cammie took a breath, smiled, and unpaused the recording. “Now we’re on to the Sparkle Tube. It’s my first time trying it, but I’m confident that it’ll work really well. So, let’s try it out.” She took the second tube out and held it up to the camera. “This is a little heavier than the color one, but I think that, when you see what it does, you’ll understand what that weight is there for.” 

Cammie unbuttoned the top three buttons on her blouse. She didn’t usually have it buttoned that high in the first place, but the effect would be better if she made the gesture. This tube only had two buttons. She clicked the first, and another blade came out. She took a deep breath, then she plunged the tube into her chest at an angle. It hurt and felt heavy. She folded two little legs down to balance against her chest. “It’s a really fun and easy bit of body mod that you’re going to want to get it on while it’s still fresh and new. And now,” Cammie touched the second button, “the sparkles.” A series of fiberoptic lines came out of the tube. They glowed brightly and cycled through a variety of colors. “It’s sure to make people notice, but it’s not overly showy.” 

Cammie thought about wearing one to the club. It would almost certainly get bumped a number of times, and that would be painful and horribly messy. And that wasn’t even starting on the fact that it ran on the electricity that courses through the wearer’s body. Cammie wondered who the hell designed these things.

“It hasn’t been even two minutes, and already I’m totally used to the weight of it. It’s also pleasantly warming.” Cammie let herself prattle on a little bit more about the possibilities and how romantic meeting someone with this thing in your chest might be. When she finished her bit of a monologue, she paused the recording again. There was one more tube. This one would peel back her skin and plant a series of slim, sharp diamonds underneath, leaving them to protrude through her skin. It would be incredibly painful to do and to later undo. But this was her job. It was what she was good at. She took one more deep breath, looked into the camera, and smiled. 


Zeke Jarvis (he/him/his) is a Professor of English at Eureka College. His work has appeared in Moon City Review, Posit, and KNOCK, among other places. His books include, So Anyway…, In A Family Way, The Three of Them, and Antisocial Norms. His website is: