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Chapter 3
Alternate Relationships

Ask Amritsar: Beauty and the Beast In One Inconvenient Package

Hey, Amritsar,

I love your column, so naturally I'm honoured that you've chosen my letter to appear in the very first one. Because, you see, I have a problem.

I'm a 27 year-old, home-schooled, fun-loving, conscientious, Gemini (and, you know what we're like!) whose birth identity is Mary. I'm a file clerk for OmniTech APC, a wholly owned subsidiary of MultiNatCorp ("We do world-changing technology stuff"). A couple of months ago, while I was bopping at an all ages rave, I literally ran into Edward.

Edward is a suave, charming 32 year-old, hard-drinking, free loving, freelance genetic manipulation technician, Aquarius (and, I don't have to tell you what they're like! Rowr!). We hit it off right away (mostly because I didn't see him lurking in the corner, but he was a sport when I offered to pay for the dry-cleaning of his smoking jacket).

About a month after we started dating, Edward was replaced by Eddie. Apparently, Edward was a personality construct inserted into Eddie's brain. Eddie...well, Eddie was the birth identity of an adolescent who never grew up. Comics. Science fiction. Huge porn stash. Cancer. You know the type. Totally understandable why he would want to get an Edward implant.

Confronted with this situation, I did what any reasonable girl would do: I demanded that he bring Edward back. Eddie explained to me that that wasn't possible, that he had a time-sharing agreement with Edward for control of his consciousness, and that if he defaulted on his contract, the company could permanently repossess Edward. He assured me that Edward would be back in a month.

Oh, Amritsar, what was I to do? Here was beauty and the beast, all wrapped up in a single person! I was about to break off the relationship, when Eddie suggested that I get a personality implant to offset his. So, I did. My secondary personality, Marilyn, is a gold-digging slut who has no problem sleeping with Eddie because, as Edward, he has made a small (but not inconsiderable) fortune!

Initially, there was a problem with syncing up our relationships. Edward despised Marilyn almost as much as Mary hated Eddie, and there were usually fireworks when the wrong couple got together. This was usually the case because the personality switch was abrupt and happened without notice. One time, Edward and Mary were having a lovely night out when Marilyn showed up and immediately got drunk and flirted with half the men in the restaurant. To make our relationship work, we ultimately agreed not to go out in public on days when the switch was scheduled. This compromise worked well enough for four months.

Then, Ed appeared.

Ed was another personality that Eddie had had implanted three years earlier, when he was married. Ed was a goon who liked to pick fights with much larger men in bars and get the crap beaten out of him. (He's an Aries - need I say more?) He expected me to bandage his wounds and, well, I won't go into details, but let's just say that the sex was nothing like I had ever experienced before, or would want to experience again. Marilyn was somewhat fascinated by Ed, but realized that he would burn through Edward's money in no time, leaving nothing for her. Mary was simply repulsed.

I couldn't believe it! How was I supposed to trust Edward or Eddie when they purposefully kept such an important part of their past hidden from me? They had a third personality implant! (The marriage was a bit of a surprise, too.) Edward has assured me that Ed had largely been erased from his mind when his divorce was finalized, but that there were echoes of the personality that would unexpectedly take control of him from time to time.

I love him, Amritsar. I mean, Marilyn loves Eddie and Mary loves Edward. We're not sure if we can live with the unexpected appearances of Ed, though. Oh, Amritsar, what should we do?

Hey, Babe,

There are lots of simple solutions to your problem. Unfortunately, you've taken up so much space to describe it that you've left me no room to write about any of them.

Good luck.

Does your personal neural personality implant leave obscene messages on your bathroom mirror written in purple lipstick? Wish your personally fitted lovebot would just rust away? Can't get it on unless 127 other people are in the virtual sexvironment with you? Send your problems to the Alternate Reality News Service's sex, love and technology columnist in care of this publication. Amritsar Al-Falloudjianapour is not a trained therapist, but she does know a lot of stuff. AMRITSAR SAYS: Please, be brief.

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Welcome, Science Fiction Fans!

If you came to Les Pages aux Folles curious about my writing thanks to science fiction or fan fiction, welcome! You can find the complete text of Alternate Reality Ain't What It Used To Be, +

Welcome Back My Friednishes To The Show That Never Ednishes

I now have a Facebook author/fan/whatever you want to call it page: Ira Nayman's Thrishty Friednishes. Go, look around, like it if you feel so inclined and feel free to leave a comment. I have only just started it, so it may be a little sparse at the moment, but I will add content based on what people post they would like to see. Within reason.

Would you be interested in immortality?

The Alternate Reality News Service (ARNS) has two advice columns: Ask Amritsar, a column about love and sex and technology, and; Ask the Tech Answer Guy, a column about +