Hi, hello, hi. So good to meet you – I’ve really heard so much. All of our mutual friends tell me that we’d get on famously, and your professional reputation certainly seems to precede you. I am a pig living inside of a woman-shaped robot.
Have you eaten already? Oh good – I’m starving. The pig who operates the complex system of levers and pulleys within me is tirelessly hungry and needs to feed. Let me peruse the menu, and pretend as though I would also love to share a starter with you. Ideally, I would like my own starter. Ideally ideally, I would have seven starters – but the pig knows this is not possible. His efforts to help me blend in with human women -such as yourself – were part of a precisely orchestrated slaughterhouse escape plan that he now has no exit strategy for. Were he to leave the robot-woman costume, he would have no place to go.
What life is there for a pig that can operate heavy machinery?
And so now he goes to breakfast meetings. He goes to yoga. He makes dinner plans with bright, handsome young men. He lives this half-life, as a 2015 woman, and he lives it well. He is a survivor.
There are times when something threatens the pig’s baser instincts, and the day gets complicated. There are some days when the pig goes to a party, and the host graciously leaves out some wine and cheese, or a bowl full of artisan crisps. The pig knows that he needs to eat all the crisps, every single one, right now. Any other outcome would render the day a living nightmare. But should he plunge his snout, heaving and snorting and inhaling and licking every bit of salt from the inside of the bowl, his cover will be blown. He will be sent back to the slaughterhouse. And so, he bides his time. He waits. He makes the robot woman costume ask thoughtful questions, questions with long answers. Questions that will distract the host, while the pig devours.
Whenever the pig is confused by human conversation, he makes the woman robot smile. He makes her seem acerbic and dominant. “Is that even a thing?” he will make her say, in response to virtually everything.
Sometimes the pig thinks he has found a kindred spirit – a fellow escapee. Sometimes he recognises another pig operating a woman costume – another vessel smiling wanly at a tube of Jaffa Cakes, wondering how she can fit the entire thing in her mouth without anyone noticing.
The pig snorts when it laughs. He panics. A red light goes off inside of the robot, and a siren sounds. He takes his goggles down from his forehead and fixes them on his eyes. A bead of sweat runs down a folded, triangular ear. This has happened before, but that does not mean it’s not serious when it happens. “Did you just snort?” someone will say. The pig sets the woman robot to “cooly bashful”. “Yeah” he hears the robot say. “I snort when I laugh. It’s so embarrassing.”
“No it isn’t.”
The siren stops sounding and the pig relaxes. He has followed protocol beautifully: his own protocol, protocol that hadn’t been there before the night he left the slaughterhouse, under the guise of a 5-foot-8 woman. “Always prepared, never scared.” he says to himself. And he is right.
He lives undetected another day.
Posted by Caroline
Caroline is the creator of Work in Prowess