They and Them©

Conversation

“I honestly believe that now, since we plan to legally change our names, that in a way we will fit in with the robots and humanoids to come. I mean, don’t you think?”

“Them, hand me the sander, please?”

“Where is it?”

“I think I left it in the kitchen. I wanted to clean it up a bit. Did you ask me a question? If you did, ask me again because didn’t hear it.”

Them returns from the kitchen with the sander. They is removing all the paint from an art deco piece of furniture they bought after breakfast.

“That’s going to be a beautiful piece once you’re finished.”

“I think so too. So, what is your question?”

“Well, ever since we changed our names, I feel as if I can be anyone.”

“You can. That’s part of it, no gender is defined, we’re non-binary now” They winks at Them, with a knowing smile.

“Yea, I guess. It’s just that…do we have an identity now? Or, did we get rid of that too?

“No, we didn’t get rid of it, we combined it. Now, it doesn’t matter if you’re a woman or a man.”

“Huh. So, I can be a man any time I feel like it? Then I’m a man? And if next week, I feel like a woman, I can be that too, for the day.”

“Well, Them, not that easy. It’s just combining what masculine offers and what females offer, and put them together, recognize both and combine them. Rather than having specific male or female.”

After Them opens the windows, “That sand is fine, They. We should do this outside. Or a wear a mask. Ha!”

“Uh, no, no masks. I’m so tired of that. Done with it.”

Them laughs, and looks around the immediate area to make sure all the plastic covers are really covering everything.

“They, if I can be anyone, then I don’t have an identity. Non-binary or not, sounds good being combined, but sometimes…. And how will we tell which They or Them we’re talking to when millions are non-binary. Will everyone have the same names, as They or a Them.”

“That’s funny. I didn’t think about that. But it includes the other pronouns.” As They organizes her tools for the finishing touches to the furniture piece.

“Ohhh, oh okay. Then we’ll be limited to how many names since there are only so many pronouns. I mean really then that makes my case, why I think in the future, we’re not going to be human like we know it today. We’ll become a number like license plates.”

“Them, I thought we discussed this and agreed to changing our names legally. We’re just starting the process. Are you changing your mind?”

They, finishes sanding the furniture. The bottom layer of cherry wood is beautiful. Now They, starts filling in all the little nicks.

“If we fit in with robots and humanoids, does that mean we lose our soul? Do we even really have a soul? Because think of it, robots and humanoids don’t have souls. They’re coded machines. Now, I wonder if we will be considered human beings! You can’t be a human being if you have no identity, if you’re both a masculine and female body that flexes with the mood they are in for the day. Or if they’re career calls for it.”

“Wow! Why didn’t you mention all of this before? I thought you wanted the same thing as I do. To be free, flexible, and not tethered to society’s terms of what it is to be…. Ah, shit.”

“See what I mean, They? Robots and humanoids won’t have souls. Then why should we? And do souls make us human? Wouldn’t a soul just become breath. And once we lose breath, then we’re dead. So why does there have to be a soul?”

“Then Them, maybe that means souls only exist in religion.  Maybe religion created the soul so we can believe in eternal life. Maybe?”

“Well, I was raised Catholic even though I don’t go to church anymore. But I still believe in a soul and in God, too. Makes me feel better that being on this earth is not all there is to life, you know what I mean? That looks really nice, They, good job. How much do you think you can get for it?”

“I paid $50 bucks at a thrift shop in the suburbs. I think I can sell it for at least $350 to $400.”

“Really? Wow.”

“It’s what I do for extra money. Don’t want to go to my parents for help, you know.”

“Yea, then you’re not really on your own.”

“I am on my own, but with a cushion is how I see it.”

“We should all have some type of cushion. Ha! Would make life easier.”

Them helps They with the drawers, now that the piece is almost finished. They is placing all the drawers back in. Six center drawers and the cabinet handles on each side of the drawers.

“Them, you really did a good job.”

“Yea, and I didn’t even have to refinish it. Just sand it to its original beauty. Still willing to change your name They? We should legally file tomorrow.”

“I’m still willing to change my name.”

“We’re starting a pronoun world. You know what?”

“What?”

“What nouns and pronouns mean. I was just thinking that nouns are to name a person, a place, things, you know, etc., but a pronoun is basically a substitute for a noun. Hmph, does that mean we’re substitute?”

They starts taking photos of the art deco piece.

End

By JoAnn Rodriquez

All rights reserved. No part of the short stories may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the author, “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” and email to joann@storeetalks.com

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