Star vomit wakes Sasha from a deep sleep. She pulls the dreams from her tangled hair. It’s the same one over and over. It’s been like this for a while now. The same dreams every sleep.
Sasha catches a rare glimpse of Yoyo’s face at rest. A featureless, melting countenance sleeping against a tree trunk. Her face glitches and blurs. Sasha grabs her mask and hides under it. Her golden pupils meet Yoyo’s eyes as they return to the world.
Yoyo runs her hand through Sasha’s hair, examining it.
Yoyo: That dream again?
Sasha: Yeah. I think she was painting this time.
Yoyo: Ya think? That’s all she did this time. Five hours of watching her trying to paint trees.
Sasha: There was something sort of peaceful about it. It seemed calming. Maybe I could be a painter.
Yoyo: It looked awful. Don’t waste your time on that. In case you forgot we unleashed a bunch of mutant creatures on Unthinkable Cramps.
Sasha: Can’t we just alert the neighborhood watches and the dog catcher?
Yoyo: We have to keep moving. Stay on our toes. There’s the old mining spot we can search for dynamite to break into that vault.
Sasha: You wanna go back to the Shapeshifting Factory? I just want to go home. I’m tired. There’s a weird lady haunting our dreams. And I’m missing an arm.
Yoyo: You’re really going to complain at a time like this? We’re about to be so rich and you’re what…worried about an arm?
Sasha: Crazy. I know.
Yoyo: You need to just accept what is. Okay? And move on. You’re the One-Armed Lady Bandit now.
Sasha: I don’t know if that’s who I want to be. I don’t know if any of this was who I wanted —
Yoyo: Identity is a fluid thing. Ever changing. Never fixed. Just an illusion to ground you into your humanness. So why not choose an awesome one. And a one-armed andit is a pretty awesome one.
Yoyo picks up her rifle and mounts the poisonous horse.
Sasha: Maybe I want to choose to be a painter.
Yoyo extends her hand, offering it to Sasha. Sasha grabs it and Yoyo pulls her onto the horse.
As the sun begins to rise they arrive on horseback at an abandoned mining facility. Tumbleweeds and snowflakes greet them at the border. Yoyo spots a large rectangular machine in the distance.
Yoyo: I know what will cheer you up.
Yoyo steers the horse over to the machine. An oversized vending machine. Filled not with chips and candy. But with…
Sasha: Spare parts? A vending machine of spare parts?
Sasha reads the sign posted on the machine. But Yoyo is quick to correct her.
Yoyo: A vending machine of spare parts. Human edition. You missed the parenthesis.
They hop off the horse and gaze into the machine. Sasha’s stare bounces back and forth between her reflection and the various human parts to choose from. Clavicles. Rusted spines. Refurbished knuckles. All were at one time or another the best option for workers mutilated in mining explosions and other accidents.
Sasha slides a dollar bill into the slot. It takes it. Then spits it back out. She tries to straighten it out with one hand, but fails. Yoyo reaches into her pocket and pulls out a crisp dollar bill. Sasha raises an eyebrow. The machine accepts her perfect currency.
Yoyo: Big decision. Make it a good one. Remember it’s only an identity.
Sasha pushes the button and her new arm unravels from the machine’s coils.
She fixes her new arm in place. It’s longer than her own arm. The skin tone is darker. Even multi-colored. It appears older. Weathered from the storms of life that show in the wrinkles. Tattoos. Primitive. From a prison. Or a navy ship. Of Japanese dragons. Anchors. Pin up girls. The most beautiful arm she could ever imagine.
No longer the One-Armed Lady Bandit.
Yoyo: You look like a Pukemonster.
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