#2. LifeGem Diamonds
What do you get the lover who has everything?
Or ... probably some things.
You don't know what they have, actually; you find first names to be "moving too fast" and get mysteriously itchy if somebody so much as mentions the word "relationship." Don't worry! You're not crazy! Those are the Commitment Spiders. They're very real, and they're all over you right now -- yes, especially in your hair. But if you can find a way to slay them (PROTIP: Try coating yourself in a thin lacquer of hairspray. Commitment Spiders hate that shit! Gets 'em all sticky; they don't like being tied down,) you might one day find yourself in a steady relationship. If that happens, you'll eventually need a gift for that special someone that'll set their heart aflame like a crazy person soaked in hairspray. So when it's time to get serious, don't get just any diamond: Get her a corpse diamond!
LifeGem is a company that will forge gemstones out of the ashes of your loved ones. Or really, any "carbon source" you choose -- their words, not mine! And hey, you know what's poorly guarded and full of carbon? Celebrity cemeteries! Now, you could easily boost some Telly Savalas or a couple handfuls of Anna Nicole Smith (I bet she'd make a sweet emerald), but LifeGem themselves offer a few custom products of their own, and they really won me over with this tasteful Michael Jackson hair diamond.
What better way to say "I will love you forever" than the reconstituted remains of the King of Pop's scalp, compressed and burned into shiny rock form? If you really want to seal the deal, try reminding her that she's one cremation away from being a diamond herself! That's romantic as motherfucking shit.
#1. Liquid Wood
WARNING: This product is not what it sounds like.
Or rather, it's exactly what it sounds like. And that sucks.
If you're just looking for some good ol' fashioned boner juice, do not Google "liquid wood" and order a case of the first thing that pops up. I know we're all busy men these days. We have computers pretending to listen to our loved ones while we take shots every time KITT ramps some shit -- we don't have time to read "product descriptions" like a bunch of chumps. So just know that if you order Liquid Wood expecting some Cocka-Cola, you're going to get a papier-mache milkshake instead. I mean, I guess it's pretty neat, deceitful name aside: It's made out of lignin, the ingredient that makes wood woody, but it comes in the form of moldable plastic. You can essentially injection-mold a tree into any custom form you want.
Hey, wait ... maybe this was intended as some sort of futuristic custom-molded dong splint? Man, I've been thinking so last century on this.
After I'd transferred all of the company's petty cash onto a weird kind of Japanese Skype Card that smelled like panties when you scratched it, contacted an Anigao Girl willing to be my online girlfriend in exchange for a small fortune delivered to her through an online customs loophole, and found a completely, hilariously unreliable chat translator to facilitate our communication, I was ready: I was ready to finally begin my first real, adult relationship. Her name was KumikoParties92, and she had the hard, lean body of a swimmer, and the head of Sailor Moon. She was as beautiful as she was terrifying. Chatting with her was like chatting with one of those magazine collages they find in serial killers' apartments. It started out about like you'd expect: She asked me what my name was, and I asked if she'd ever fought, or considered fighting, a small army of cats while topless.
"That part's easy, baby! Just cover yourself with Fancy Feast and start slappin' ..."
"So desu ne?" she typed, which my chat translator helpfully transformed into: "Concern of uncertainty. Do you?"
Shit. Uncertainty? I assumed that all of Japan was set to "down to clown" by default; could it be that pop culture racism and Internet stereotyping have misinformed me? I decided to back off a little bit, just at the start, and blamed my absurdist sexual demands on faulty translation software.
"What songs dream you?" The chat translator supplied.
Was she asking what music I liked? Yes! At last! This is exactly the kind of small talk years of Cracked articles have prepared me to simulate.
"Well, Saturn's pretty good," I typed nonchalantly, "but it's a little intense. When it's time to wind down, I mostly jam out to the moon these days."
"Concern of uncertainty," the chat window displayed.
"Oh! That was still too weird, huh? OK, haha! This darned translation tool!" I typed with an almost ridiculous lack of chalance. "The Beatles. Is what I meant to say. That's a normal band, right? I like that one song they have about love."
It goes like "Love is good," and I think there's a girl in it.
After a few scant weeks and thousands of dollars of undecipherable Skype charges from "EROTIPHONIC TELEPRESENCE! YOU HAVE FUN TOO," KumikoParties92 and I finally established an uncertain but frisky rapport. She was curious about the device on my arm, the Hiro III Haptic Glove, and asked why I kept air-groping the space in front of me whenever we were chatting, but I told her I'd been in a terrible accident and had become part RoboCop as a result.
"It pains me to speak of my disability," I typed one-handed, groping the crude robotic guess at a breast that had been extrapolated from her Skype window.
"The apologies will never die," the translator supplied.
"It's OK, baby. I forgive you. Listen, did you get my present?"
KumikoParties92 giggled, the sound muffled by the expressionless rubber mask she wore, and held an oblong plastic box up in front of her webcam.
"Open it," I encouraged her. She did so.
"Why give the face of a monster?" She asked.
M ... monster? Must've been a translation error.
"That's no monster! It's the most beautiful woman in the world: It's Blanche, baby! Put her on. Be my Golden Girl."
"I do not want the face of a monster," she typed, tilting her head like a sexually terrified puppy.
Okay, but most of Japan and my nightmare erections say that you already kinda have one.
"Baby, look: All I'm saying here is that I don't like your face, and that I will pay you money to change it for me. Is that so unreasonable?"
"Annoooooo," she crooned, and a soft chime emanated from my speakers as the payment prompt popped up.
I reflexively authorized the ridiculous charges -- I don't know what Japan thinks zeros mean, but looking at their price tags is like hearing the word "banana" a bunch of times in a row: After like the 16th repetition, it just stops meaning anything. The Sailor Moon head disappeared from the camera, and she re-emerged wielding the friendly, accommodating wrinkles and radiant old-lady perm of an angel.
"Does the face of a monster embellish you?" she asked.
"I'm so embellished, I just broke the zipper on my jeans," I typed frantically. "Listen, honey, I know this is going to seem like I'm moving fast to you, and maybe I'm just deluded here, but aw, heck: Take a look in the bottom of the box. I've sent you something else."
"A therapy gift card! You shouldn't have! ... Actually, yes, basic morality practically demanded that you did."
There was a soft rustling as the unblinking visage of a plastic Blanche-face rummaged around in the excess wrapping paper. She came back up with a gargantuan, shimmering diamond. She squealed.
"That's for you, baby. I know it's crazy, but I really think we have something special here, and I ... I want you to marry me, KumikoParties92."
Time stopped as I awaited her response. She typed something, deleted it, and started typing again. She thought, and giggled, and reconsidered, but at last she entered:
"Marriage forever! For all the best you can, we can also."
"Yes!" I typed ecstatically, haptic second-basing her with the solemn and reverent gratitude of love requited. "I thought we had something special, and when I had Michael Jackson's burnt scalp forged into a diamond for you, I just knew you couldn't say no!"
She read the text, and tilted her head again.
"Concern of uncertainty," she typed, "Michael Jackson headburn gem? Translation error?"
"No, baby. No translation error. That is exactly what I mean to say. Exactly."
Every kiss begins with secondhand grave robbing.
She screamed and threw the ring across the room, the Blanche mask rippling in revulsion.
"What?! YOU PUT THAT BACK ON, HARLOT! THAT IS THE EARTHLY REMAINS OF THE GLOVED ONE!" I scolded her.
She shook her head frantically.
"You put it on or we are over," I typed furiously. Who wouldn't treasure a diamond forged from the flaming Jheri Curl of pop's greatest superstar? Some girls wouldn't know true romance if it lit their head on fire and pressure-cooked the wound into a beautiful ruby.
"What about nice things you inform on repeat. Love of outdoor food. Love of extended walking ..."
"Extended walking? Wh...ohhhh no, baby, that was Brainput, my virtual assistant. He took over for the boring stuff, like talking to you about feelings, while I watched old Dukes of Hazzard reruns on YouTube. Did you know they had that shit on YouTube? It's amazing! Have I not introduced you to Boss Hogg yet? I have this theory that he's actually God and the Duke Boys are-"
Dukes of Hazzard Wiki
"... and that's why a kind and loving God would allow such evil in the world. Makes perfect sense, right?"
"Kind words of family and dog are not original? Robots speak of love?"
"Well, yes, that stupid robot insists it likes walking, and I'm all 'What? You don't even have legs, robot!' Haha! You know how robots are."
Two shaky tears rolled out from beneath Blanche's perfect chin and fell to her keyboard.
She signed out of my heart, forever.
Last I heard, she and Brainput were living together on a Second Life island that transforms into a giant moth on weekends. I sincerely hope they are happy.
So, what conclusions can we draw from this heartbreaking experience? Clearly, my efforts to find love were an overall failure, but I don't know that I can blame that on any one particular product. Most of them did their respective jobs admirably: The haptic glove simulated the rubbery, unyielding feel of a cyberbreast perfectly, which wasn't exactly pleasant, but who am I to argue what cyberbreasts should feel like? We're blazing new trails here. The Anigao Girls, though fickle and unprepared to honor holy bonds based on corpse diamonds, were remarkably flexible about wearing the faces of dead geriatric sex symbols during stripteases, and according to Wellington's Great Encyclopedia of Whores and Whoring, that's the only measurable criteria by which one can objectively judge an escort service. And Brainput, though it ultimately betrayed me and stole the only thing I ever loved, did allow me to watch all eight seasons of the Dukes of Hazzard instead of talking to girls. That's all we can really ask of the future, isn't it?
And as for this Liquid Wood -- well, for better or worse, it has kept me mockingly erect for like 18 weeks now. But after following a truly esoteric path of recommended YouTube links, I've just stumbled across the hottest video I have ever seen.
So if you'll excuse me, I'm about to shatter this wooden dong shell like a motherfucking Gargoyle.
Buy Robert's stunning, transcendental, orgasmic science fiction novel, Rx: A Tale of Electronegativity, right here. Or buy Robert's other (pretty OK) book, Everything Is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead. Follow him on Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook.