Libby's Retreat (unedited)

                                    Libby’s Retreat
                                      January, 2056

It was January 2056, and Rays membership to Libby’s Health & Romance Retreat was about to run out in just two more weeks.  Ray had been a member now for three years but lately had started to feel very empty every time he left Libby’s.  It was a feeling that he couldn’t quite explain and one that he had never felt before.

Libby’s was a franchised location of the large ‘Cymax Personal Health’ system.  It had been on the corner of Snyder avenue and 14th street for the past seven years.  Since the fatal STD Porex had been discovered over twenty years ago, free and organic sex was almost entirely a relic of the past.  Now almost all singles got their sexual gratification from spa’s and clubs like Libby’s. They found in the androids and simulators there something that was now far too dangerous to find with someone else.

Porex was both dangerous and deadly for two reasons.  There was no early detection, or screening, to see if you were infected until the disease was already at stage #3, and there was no cure or treatment once you were there.  At that point death came early — and with much pain attached.

Aids had been cured over twenty years ago, and those same scientists and laboratories were now working on a cure for Porex.  Unlike Aids, which started with the HIV virus, Porex had no early warning signs.  It surfaced almost overnight and killed 100% of its victims within ninety days.

Free sex among humans was still being practiced by the adventuresome few, but it was literally a life or death enterprise. Neither party could know for sure if their partner was disease free or not.  Many times, if not most, the infected party never found out until it was too late.  

The only fail-safe method was sex between two virgins,
and then only between those two.  Many prominent families were using sexual consulting firms to determine if their prospective daughters qualified, but there was still no concrete way of telling if their male suitors had been celibate or not. Many young women had paid the ultimate price for believing what their ‘hormone raging’ boyfriends had said in a moment of passion.  In more cases than not, these men didn’t even know they had been infected — the signs always showing up too late.

Personal stimulation devices had been available for home use for many years but were boring in their one-dimensional ability to give pleasure.  Clubs like Libby’s had over 55 different devices that could take you to the promise-land and all for the cost of a car payment every month.  

Ray’s favorite device at Libby’s was Amanda.  Amanda was a life sized, full featured, android, and the one Ray used was sculpted to look and feel exactly like the supermodel Alexis Andrea.  In the dark, and under blind test studies, over 80% of the males tested could not tell the difference between Amanda and the real thing.  Many, literally fell in love (lust) during their first encounter.

Amanda never said no, never had a headache, and was always available.  She was 5’7’’ tall and came in all races and nationalities. She was the most expensive ‘release’ mechanism at the club so appointments were always necessary to book a session with her.  Amanda was busy twenty-four hours a day and could actually be booked for in-home use for twice the hourly rate.

Ray had recently met someone he liked at the Coffee and Cake Emporium downtown. Her name was Elizabeth, and Ray thought she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen.  Ray asked Elizabeth to play Cybernets one night, which was the virtual tennis rage that was sweeping the country.  Elizabeth said yes, and they walked together from the C & C Emporium to the Cybernets Room at Game-Central.  They had a great time together and scheduled a second date to play again.

Ray wondered what ‘real sex’ with Elizabeth would be like.  He was now having trouble going back to Libby’s, and his last two sessions with Amanda had been awkward and vacuous.  He kept seeing Elizabeth’s face on the head of the android and wondered what his grandfather would think if he could see him now.

 Some Things Are Worth Dying For, Grandpa Had Often Said

Ray’s wrist implant went off one Tuesday afternoon. It was showing a ‘virtual’ of Elizabeth in her new bathing suit and sitting around the pool in her downtown modular building. Ray wondered why she had sent this to him. Could she be thinking the same things as me, he asked himself? For the rest of that day, Ray could neither work nor eat.  He was now obsessed with both the fantasy and the real possibility of having something that before seemed so forbidden. Elizabeth was now dominating not only his waking, but his sleeping thoughts too.

At 8 O’clock that evening, Ray video encrypted Elizabeth.  Video Encryption was as close to the real thing as technology had developedcreating a full scale and life-sized hologram of the two parties in three-dimensional form.  Elizabeth looked amazing!

                             Ray Was Falling In Love

Elizabeth told Ray that her office was shutting down for two weeks for cyber-regeneration and that she was thinking of going somewhere REAL.  The last two ‘virtual’ vacations she had been on had left her feeling empty and alone.  ‘Trans-Virtual Vacations’ was the largest company in this field. They allowed the visitor to experience any place on earth while in a dream-sleep state of consciousness.  They even had vacations to over 1500 fantasy locations, and all were available without ever leaving home.

Elizabeth said: ‘How about the Grand Canyon?’ Ray couldn’t believe his own ears. She was actually asking him if he would like to go along.  She then said that by booking a two-seater shuttle they could be there in less than an hour. They could still see the sun come up over the south rim tomorrow morning if they packed, and got to the sky-transport terminal, within the hour.

There was only one answer and Ray quickly said YES. Since he was already home, he packed in under five minutes, called the Inner-city Air Transport and was at the ‘Trans Shuttle Terminal’ in less than forty minutes.  Elizabeth was already there.  She was dressed in a blue taffeta shirt and slacks, and Ray thought he could see right through them as she moved through the waning light.

Elizabeth said she had booked a ‘Northern Star’ direct two passenger and was that all right with him?  Ray said: “Only if you drive.” These smaller two passenger direct shuttles were computer driven, but passenger monitored and controlled, with full override being available in case of emergency. Both Elizabeth and Ray had gone to civilian ‘flight’ school for certification and were both more than capable of getting to the ‘Canyon’ and back.

As they took off in a vertical lift, Ray asked Elizabeth where she would like to stay.  She said the ‘Old Lodge’ still had 7 rooms and they were holding two on the second floor overlooking the South Rim for them. Two ? Ray couldn’t help but wonder, as he heard himself repeating her words to him again.  As they flew over the eastern rim they slowed and dropped in elevation.  The Canyon never failed to inspire, no matter what technology its pilgrims took to arrive.  The panorama was breathtaking as they descended into Desert View.  The lodge was visible in the distance, and Elizabeth suggested after docking that they walk the final two miles.

The Lodge stood timeless and defiant against what the modern world had now become.  It had remained identical to its 19th Century design and harkened the visitor back to a time when life was more balanced and when most things were real.  Modern life had tried to remove all of the trials and challenges of previous generations while forgetting that good and bad would always be two dependent halves of the same whole.

Elizabeth and Ray entered through the large double front doors and walked across the immense lobby to the front desk.  Elizabeth gave the clerk their Transit I.D.’s and said she had booked two rooms earlier in the day.  The clerk said: “The two adjoining rooms that look out on the South Rim, right miss?” Elizabeth said yes, and then looked toward Ray and wryly smiled.

As a throwback to an earlier time, a live bellhop came and carried their two small bags upstairs to the second floor.  The view from Ray’s corner room was spectacular. Looking out the large canyon facing window, he realized that Elizabeth had taken the lesser room for herself.  As Ray was becoming transfixed, watching the remaining light emptying out of the canyon, he heard a knock on his door.  It was not coming from the outside hall but from the interior door that connected to the adjoining room — Elizabeth’s room!

Ray walked toward the door with a mixture of trepidation and delight. As he opened it, there in front of him was the most heavenly sight he had ever seen.  Elizabeth was standing before him and the taffeta was now gone. She was standing beneath the doorway that connected her room to his,  

           And She Was Standing In The Doorway Naked

Ray took a deep breath as he attempted to speak.  Elizabeth slowly shook her head and stepped toward him as she put her right index finger to his lips. Not now she said, as she wrapped her arms around him.  I’m a virgin Ray, so you have nothing to worry about.  I love you and can no longer bear the thought of never feeling you inside me.  

As Ray carried Elizabeth to his bed, he realized for the first time that life was ultimately good. What had been troubling him for all those years had only been a warning and a preparation for what was to come.  Ray thought to himself about love, real love, and the chance that Elizabeth had been willing to take.  He then smiled to himself, knowing that the inner voice that had been speaking to him for all those years had been telling the truth

                           For Ray Was A Virgin Too

In two more weeks, Rays membership card to Libby’s would expire never to be reactivated.  The sterile and impersonal pleasure industry had been beaten by the timeless power of human love.
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Submitted by KurtPhilipBehm on April 24, 2024

Modified by KurtPhilipBehm on April 24, 2024

9:04 min read

Quick analysis:

Scheme XA X X X X B XB X C B X X X D X E X C X X X X X X X X A X D E
Characters 10,290
Words 1,813
Stanzas 30
Stanza Lengths 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1

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