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Morphic

For more information on this story and a full list of chapters and extras, click here. Please note that Morphic is rated R (M if you prefer Fiction Ratings) for strong language, violence and other sensitive subject matter.

Extra: Dave and Mia Discuss Nudity

“Hey,” Dave said as entered the Kerrigans’ house after a brief battle with the spare key. “Sorry I’m a little late; got held up in traffic. Your mom called when they were going out like she thought I’d forgotten, but I was literally just a few minutes – Mia, what are you doing?

“Watching TV,” she said, without looking away from the screen.

“I… not that, goddamn it. Why are you watching it naked?”

“It’s hot.”

“Well, sure it is, but that means you wear something light, not nothing. Go to your room, put something on.”

“Why? Clothes are for keeping you warm. When it’s hot you don’t need them.”

“They’re not just for keeping you warm, for God’s sake. People don’t want to look at – well, okay, sometimes they do, but not like this. Hell, public nudity is a crime. You know how you’ll go to prison if you do something illegal?”

“I’m not in public. I’m at home and the curtains are drawn.”

“Okay, sure, but you’re not alone. I’m here now, so go put some clothes on.”

“You’re not going to tell the police. You don’t want me to go to prison.”

“Well, no, but I still want you to wear clothes.”

“Why?”

Dave pinched the bridge of his nose. It was far too early in the morning for this. “Because… because people wear clothes, okay? It’s just how it works. Whether you like it or not, we have a… you know, a nudity taboo, which means it’s awkward for everyone when people are naked when they shouldn’t be.”

“When should they be naked?”

“When you’re taking a bath, in private.”

“You said sometimes people do want to look at naked people.”

“Yeah, but not naked fucking six-year-olds. Heads up, anyone wants to see you naked in the next ten years, you fucking run.”

“Why?”

“Because they’re probably fucked in the head and want to hurt you. Look, just put on some fucking clothes. It’s not hard.”

“You’re not even looking over here anyway.”

“That’s because you’re not wearing anything, for Christ’s sake.”

“That’s stupid. You’re not one of the people who want to hurt me.”

“Yeah, but I do want you to get dressed.”

“Why?”

“Because you’re supposed to wear clothes, all right? That’s just how society works. I don’t make the rules.”

That was a terrible argument and he knew it. He could practically hear her frowning. “That’s stupid,” she said. “Why are you being stupid? Just because society is stupid doesn’t mean you have to be.”

Dave groaned, dragging his palms over his face. Why him? Was there even any actual, rational way to justify clothes to her? He wasn’t sure. Not at this time of day.

He took a deep breath. “Okay. Okay. Yeah, sure, it’s pretty stupid. Thing is, I grew up in this stupid society, and it ruined me forever, all right? Brains form a lot of neural pathways when you’re young, and you can’t do it as well later, and – basically, I’m going to be stupid until you put on some clothes, okay? I can’t help it. Neurons.”

There was a dismayed silence. “That’s stupid,” she said. “Are you sure you can’t help it?”

“Yes. Yes, I’m sure. Ruined forever.”

He heard her sigh, and then the shuffling of her footsteps as she headed to her room. Victory.

“And not just one article of clothing, either,” he called after her. “You need pants and a shirt.”

Mia returned a few minutes later, clothed halfheartedly in shorts and a green T-shirt that appeared to be inside-out. He could tell nothing good would await him if he pointed that out.

“There you go,” he said. “That wasn’t so hard.”

Now are you going to be normal?”

“Yeah. Sorry about that.” Mia settled back onto the sofa, scratching irritably at the fabric of her shirt, and he followed her. “What’re you watching? Documentaries?”

It took her a while to like him again.

Page last modified July 14 2017 at 16:44 GMT