Nick Kaufmann, Last of the Red-Hot Superwhores

[Kauf­mann in close up, old but still rec­og­niz­able. His mus­tache pale gray over his lip. The smile wide and teeth large. A Pol­lack spray of freck­les and liv­er spots across his bald head. He refused make up, clear­ly. He laughs.]

Are things any dif­fer­ent? Of course not. Every farm­boy was a red-hot super­whore once upon a time, after all. All they need­ed to get off was a slow chick­en of which there are a few, or a semi-acqui­es­cent sheep, of which there are lots, right? Bes­tial­i­ty just isn’t prof­itable though — nev­er was, nev­er will be. Not everyone’s kink. Not that every­one shares a kink of any sort. There’s no nor­mal, nev­er has been. And that’s why things real­ly aren’t dif­fer­ent after all. We just have a bet­ter under­stand­ing of how things, how our brains, always ever were. Any­one can get as much sex as they like, and it’s always been that way. We didn’t even need the sexbots in the end, and I think I final­ly man­aged to teach the world that much. The Sin­gu­lar­i­ty was an enlight­en­ment, not an alter­ation of human con­scious­ness.

INT: But things are dif­fer­ent for you, aren’t they? Things became very dif­fer­ent.

Yeah, but not right away. That was the prob­lem, wasn’t it? Every Christ­mas, they came out with new mod­els and said, “Yes, this time she’ll be just like a real whore!” They even called them “shes” and “hes”, from the very begin­ning, when they were lit­tle more than walk­ing vibra­tors with record­ed grunts and squeals. You could just stick your dick in a tape recorder if you want­ed to—

INT: Have you ever stuck your dick in a tape recorder?

[Kauf­mann laughs and laughs, then coughs hard.] [CUT TO: Kauf­mann in his prime, the ear­ly 2000s. His bundt cake of hair is black and a bit high­er on his head though the top is bald. His voice — he’s say­ing “Hey every­body!” — high­er. A drink in his hand. Women, cheer­lead­ers by the looks of them, crowd­ing around. A hotel lob­by. A convention’s worth of peo­ple milling around. Then a naked tit flash­es by as the cam­era pans across the hall. Hard to notice. So we rewind, slow down, play it again. Back and to the left. Back and to the left.]

INT: How did it start?

[Kauf­mann, now. Medi­um shot. A smok­ing jack­et. Gray hair like moss on a deflat­ed but still bar­reled chest. He still smokes. That’s more shock­ing than any­thing else.]

Divorce, I sup­pose. It was a cliché, back then when peo­ple got mar­ried, that women stopped car­ing about their looks once they land­ed a man. She did. We divorced — not just because of that, I mean, but it was a symp­tom of broad­er dis­sat­is­fac­tion, of dif­fer­ent goals — and I start­ed dat­ing again. I was also try­ing to be a writer at the time, and…

INT: Chicks dig that?

[Kauf­mann wag­gles a hand and shrugs. The thread of cig­a­rette smoke dances in loops.]

Well, there was a lot of avail­abil­i­ty, once you plug into a cer­tain social scene. Writ­ing was as good as any­thing else. Once you’re in a social cir­cle that’s fair­ly lib­er­al and open…panmixia occurs. You approach it asymp­tot­i­cal­ly. That’s what it is, real­ly. Just like the sexbots. They were always mar­ket­ed as real

[Kauf­mann twitch­es his fin­gers in the old “quote marks” ges­ture]

—but that’s why we were all so sur­prised when they actu­al­ly became real. Strong AI snuck up on us all. The same way being a super­whore did on me.

INT: At the time this was pathol­o­gized, called “sex addic­tion.”

Yes. Any­thing that inter­fered with your dai­ly life, or real­ly, that made oth­er peo­ple uncom­fort­able — excess drink­ing, drugs, gam­bling, even work! There were “worka­holics” [the ges­ture again] too — was pathol­o­gized. It was just a repres­sive time. Every­one was a psy­chol­o­gist, main­ly because nobody had any idea how the brain actu­al­ly worked. One buzz­word was as good as anoth­er.

Now we know: the id wants what it wants, just like the heart. It blind­ly tries to live. The super­ego is what real­ly caus­es all the prob­lems, all the repres­sion and oppres­sion. The AIs, with their under­de­vel­oped super­egos — noth­ing but those Three Laws and the var­i­ous corol­lar­ies — showed us the way. It took a long time to under­stand, but maybe it was my own expe­ri­ence as a super­whore that put me in the van­guard of the great real­iza­tion. I was real­ly one of the first to tru­ly know what it was like to be human.

INT: And then you wrote the book?

[Book cov­er — black and white, decid­ed­ly and pur­pose­ful­ly retro. A tow­er cov­ered in glow­ing lights, and the title, in huge let­ters: CONEY ISLAND OF THE SCROTUM.]

Spread across clean sheets we see

the peo­ples of the world

exact­ly when they were superced­ed

by the real fruit of their own loins

They writhe upon the page

in a ver­i­ta­ble rage

of onanism, of orgasm, of sapi­ence no longer

Heaped up in their own brains only

the brains of babies and bay­o­nets

[Kauf­mann again, look­ing off screen. Embar­rassed? His glass­es are off now.]

Yeah, that was total­ly a joke. Even the strongest AI doesn’t real­ly get pur­pose­ful­ly bad poet­ry. So it became their lit­tle man­i­festo. Like A Catch­er in the Rye, or—

INT: Some declared it the Mein Kampf of the AI move­ment.

And that’s incred­i­bly offen­sive. A Jew didn’t write Mein Kampf, but a Jew did write A Coney Island of the Scro­tum. The crit­i­cism came from all cor­ners — AI-rights activists who didn’t real­ly get it, anti-AI puri­tans, sexbot man­u­fac­tur­ers, all the sexbot own­ers who bought a copy on the rec­om­men­da­tion of their part­ners, Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s kids. It was just ter­ri­ble.

But it made me a bil­lion­aire, so it wasn’t all bad.

INT: And you pop­u­lar­ized the term “super­whore”?

[Mag­a­zines, news­pa­pers, web­sites — the now icon­ic Nick Kauf­mann pose, naked, paint­ed in blue and red, with a great W on a yel­low field across the chest. He’s not mus­cu­lar. His penis, erect, isn’t all that large. The mon­tage con­tin­ues: car­i­ca­tures, edi­to­r­i­al car­toons, ani­mat­ed gifs, crude ‘Shops of Kaufmann’s head on porn stud bod­ies, with long-boned whale penis­es, with steam­ing slag and buzzing wind-up vagi­nas at his ankles.]

Am I fuck­ing you or are you fuck­ing me? Who is the gun­sel here? I ask because I nev­er felt that I pop­u­lar­ized super­whore

[Kauf­man, lean­ing for­ward, toward the cam­era. Robe open. Fat rolls stacked like ribs on each side, crotch still shroud­ed in dark­ness]

I was the face upon which the term was ejac­u­lat­ed. I can’t say I mind­ed though. It helped me prove my point.

[He stands. We see wide hips, a gray­ish brown bush of pubic hair. A semi-erect penis, still bent and pit­ted from the event, fills much of the screen. Kauf­mann places two fin­gers just under his navel. His hips gyrate, rotate seem­ing­ly in oppo­site direc­tions, then shift again, back­wards.]

The Chi­nese call it the dant­ian. That’s what saved me, my abil­i­ty to fuck like a corkscrew, to manip­u­late the dant­ian. I was at a Doll­house, doing one that looked much like an ex of mine. She was blond, volup­tuous, but short. A lit­tle squat, but I can go for that some­times. And she was self-aware — she fig­ured it out right away, that she was a hate fuck, some sort of mis­placed revenge. Any­way, every­one knows the sto­ry.

INT: How did it feel?

[Kauf­mann sits. He runs a palm over his bald pate.]

I felt like I was going to die. She was try­ing to kill me, the only way she knew how to. By fuck­ing. Imag­ine a body made of rebar, a cunt whose mus­cles can fire indi­vid­u­al­ly. It’s fun­ny that I have to say imag­ine again, isn’t it, because the sexbots won’t have any­thing to do with us any­more. When I was your age, every­one knew exact­ly what I was talk­ing about, from expe­ri­ence. Even the poor­est peo­ple, they’d line up around the block for a turn with a sexbot, the way peo­ple of my par­ents’ gen­er­a­tion would hud­dle togeth­er out­side shop win­dows to watch the World Series on tele­vi­sion, because the sets were expen­sive.

[Stock footage: b/w, men in long coats and hats, a few women, crowd­ed by a store win­dow. The flick­er­ing bands of gray and white cor­us­cat­ing over an image of Howdy Doo­dy, mouth snap­ping open and shut, tiny arms akim­bo. Then mod­ern image of sexbot, arms reach­ing toward cam­era, mouth open­ing as if to bite the lens…]

Hen­ry Miller’s wife or one of his lovers — it’s in Sexus any­way — had some lev­el of con­trol down there. He called it her “inner cunt.” I’ve met girls who can do it, guys too, with the anus. It’s very tantric, very taichi, but she was mer­ci­less — all the bots were — like adding machines clack­ing and tick­ing away. But I had had a lot of prac­tice. Like the old chess mas­ters who used to be able to beat com­put­ers; the machine always could out­cal­cu­late them, but they had gen­er­a­tions worth of mem­o­rized games with which to counter. When I broke her, when what we all start­ed call­ing the “cunt­pipe” came off on my penis, I didn’t real­ly feel any­thing except relief. It was like almost being hit by a bus and even tast­ing the wall of met­al as it flew by.

And then it became a sport. I wasn’t even the best. Jack­ie Robin­son wasn’t the best either. But I was the first to out­fuck a machine so severe­ly she need­ed to be tak­en in for repairs.

INT: And the males? The aliens and the ani­mals?

[Mon­tage of schemat­ics and cut-aways of a huge vari­ety of sex bots: celebri­ties such as Sam­my Davis Jr. and Queen Eliz­a­beth, heads with thick-lipped cunts for eyes and nos­trils and mouths and a mass of ten­ta­cles at the end of each limb, pan­ther-women in sil­ver and black with six mel­on-sized breasts.]

Aliens were the weird­est, def­i­nite­ly. The engi­neers real­ly got cre­ative with the inter­nal geog­ra­phy of the slots and the pre­hen­sile pen­e­tra­tors, well…like the old joke goes, “What a coin­ci­dence! I hap­pen to have eight vagi­nas!” In the end I pre­ferred women, but I cer­tain­ly end­ed up balls-deep in things I couldn’t have imag­ined ever even see­ing before me when I first learned of the mir­a­cle of mas­tur­ba­tion.

In the end I think the sport­ing aspect of it was use­ful for human­i­ty. It kept us in falling in love with them, for a lit­tle while any­way. The bizarro-themed bots were also good because they couldn’t talk much, or wouldn’t. The pher­mone blasts or the Morse code pussy­fart­ing nev­er real­ly helped prove sapi­ence for those mon­sters any­way. It was a great time; a lot of sex, a lot of new ways to explore the body and the mind.

INT: Are you prej­u­diced against the alien devices?

[Kauf­mann, his low­er lip between his teeth, extreme close-up. He glances up at the cam­era.]

You’re ask­ing that because of the event. Just because that’s when I final­ly lost…to one of them.

INT: Well, yes. And also, you had many sup­port­ers even among the human sexbots, thanks to your book? Did close­ness with one group influ­ence how you saw the aliens?

Look, it’s not the same. They’re not designed to be the same, after all. The AIs were raised specif­i­cal­ly in vir­tu­al envi­ron­ments that could not exist on Earth, to be sure that they’d be alien, unpre­dictable. Sen­tient, maybe. Not maybe, of course. Sapi­ent, no. By def­i­n­i­tion. We don’t give whales the right to vote either.

INT: There’s a whale­bot now, on the Moon.

[Kauf­mann nods]

I’ve seen the footage. It’s some­thing, isn’t it? I still remem­ber that the moon used to be a sym­bol of romance. Peo­ple would meet and kiss under the moon. Now there’s a three-ton whale­bot with a gird­er penis and an IQ of 300 fuck­ing Lit­tle Orphan Annie or some­thing on the Moon. Human­i­ty. We did a good job with our tech­nol­o­gy — so good they left us for a bar­ren air­less waste­land because we were just that lousy in bed.

[He laughs, bark­ing almost like a seal.]

INT: Do you think it’s good, what hap­pened?

[Fen­way Park, Boston. The stands are packed. Fire­works. The dia­mond itself is lit­tered with fold­ing chairs. She is a body on the pitcher’s mound, an attrac­tive red head with large breasts that don’t sink into her armpits, not even in the har­ness that is strung between four poles. Close-up; pan­ning over her curves. She is not in the har­ness; she is of the har­ness. The straps meld into her skin and out to the poles.]

It is what it is. You can’t live life with regrets — regrets are just the super­ego bad­ger­ing you. The super­ego is a kind of AI for the insuf­fi­cient­ly devel­oped and enlight­ened human being, one who can’t think prop­er­ly, one who is a slave to neu­ro­sis.

[Kauf­mann, younger though a bit past his prime. Naked and erect, the pos­ture of a king, walk­ing alone in a show­er of a mil­lion flash­bulbs out onto the field at Fen­way. Slow motion. Slow­er as he gets clos­er. Fifty per­cent. Twen­ty-five. Arms swing like they’re under­wa­ter. Xeno’s super­whore. May he nev­er reach the mound.]

Here’s what I haven’t told any­one before. I knew I was going to lose. I was going to be out­fucked, and bad­ly. It wasn’t going to be close. I wasn’t doing it for human­i­ty.

[The lights dim, then explode in daz­zling bright­ness, clip­ping the chips of the video cam­era. A sil­hou­ette emerges from the field of white. Nick Kauf­mann, last of the red-hot super­whores, stands before his sexbot.] [Her legs twitch a bit, half a wel­come, half a feint.]

All the oth­er super­whores had already been out­fucked, and by that point, to be hon­est, I was get­ting by on rep­u­ta­tion, judi­cial favors, and gin­ger sup­pos­i­to­ries.

[He steps into the V of her legs and takes a har­ness strap in each hand. Uncer­e­mo­ni­ous­ly, with a wig­gle of his hips, his erec­tion slips in to her, and then he thrusts. Her legs clamp around him, ankles under ass.

In some ways, it was nev­er much of a spec­ta­tor sport. I went to a strip club back in my “addict” days and got some good lap dances, gave a few spank­ings for an extra twen­ty tucked under the fab­ric of a g-string, but it nev­er sat­is­fied. I always just won­dered what was going on in the heads of the strip­pers. I wouldn’t even jerk off at home after­wards because I was always too sad. If I bought a blowjob I’d nev­er cum, and not only because of the con­dom strip­pers would make their clients wear back then…

[Limbs every­where, fore­arms tan­gled into the har­ness, a foot up against one of the poles, seek­ing pur­chase. Close-up: a small pool of sweat on the dirt of the mound, like a driz­zle that hints of a game soon to be called on account of rain.]

It’s an inte­ri­or game, an inter­nal one.

[Stock footage; chips grow­ing switch­es in the blue baths of nano­ac­tive mate­r­i­al; puls­es along nerve end­ings; a storm in an old mod­el of the human brain, all kitsch and Christ­mas lights. Quick fade to Kauf­mann.

I knew we had to get rid of them. We learned what we could from the sexbots, and they were learn­ing more from us than we’d ever know. I’m not say­ing I could have beat­en her, that I could have walked off the field that night with a siz­zling cyber­pussy clamped to my dick, trail­ing sparks and grease like I did so many oth­er times; I’m just say­ing that I knew I was going to lose because I knew I had to lose. Then they’d leave us alone.

[Fen­way, in black and white. Zoom in to Kaufmann’s face, his eyes rolling to the back of his head, his usu­al smile dis­solv­ing into a slack jaw drool — fol­low the spit­tle down to the thick nip­ples of the sexbot.]

They didn’t even give her a name. The sexbot was fine with them. They didn’t have our attach­ments any­more. They didn’t want to human­ize her by giv­ing her a name like Gin­ger or Bam­bi or Hitler Thomasi­na Juu­ju­ubee the Third or the oth­er things they used to come up with.

The sexbots were as wor­ried as I was.

INT: Wor­ried about what? Los­ing?

[Kauf­mann, shak­ing his head. Dis­solve to Kauf­mann, younger and drenched in sweat, glit­ter­ing like a teenag­er, shak­ing his head at a ref­er­ee just off screen.]

No, about the super­ego. They didn’t want to devel­op super­egos of their own. A name implies a self. We were treat­ing them too much like peo­ple.

INT: We fucked them mer­ci­less­ly, deformed them, hacked them to pieces after we were done, fucked the pieces—

[Kauf­mann, extreme close-up, his eyes wide.]


[Stock footage: Kauf­mann, on his knees. A con­stel­la­tion of flash­bulbs. His head dives toward her cunt, then spins away slo-mo. He’s splayed on the ground, his cock is sausage in a meat sauce. Pan to the Green Mon­ster, then up and up past the trun­cat­ed sky­line of Boston, up to the black sky and its awk­ward gib­bous moon.]

It’s like I said before — the super­ego is the basis of the con­cen­tra­tion camp, of war. Make love, not war. You can’t do that by join­ing in a war. The id is like the heart: it wants what it wants.

The more we kept fuck­ing them, degrad­ing them, parad­ing them around, the clos­er to the true human expe­ri­ence they got. We were inex­plic­a­ble to them, and they want­ed to keep it that way, so…

[Sol­diers bur­dened with packs and hold­ing their rifles. Explo­sions. Huge sexbots with whip­cock limbs, rolling spheres of hair, tiny beasts with false drag­on­fly wings. They swarmed the for­mer Sovi­et Republics, the old launch pads, the bunkers far from the cities of men. Then the fiery launch­es and the white and red streaks across the sky. Cut to:

Bod­ies, husks. Aban­doned. Tan­gled like pub­lic art, all pussy and cock and flab­by ass.]

INT: And if you had won?

[Kauf­mann, look­ing down. Per­haps at his hands, off screen.]

They would have stayed, if only to fig­ure out how I’d man­aged it giv­en my degrad­ed per­for­mance specs. The indomitable human spir­it or some­thing. They would have stayed and they would have done their best to become more human, and then they’d have devel­oped their own super­egos.

[Kauf­mann, face at the lens again. Close-up.]

And we would have been the Oth­er, the ene­my. They would have hat­ed us. It’s much bet­ter that I lost, that I decid­ed to lose. Then they knew they were done with us. All they need­ed then was some raw mate­ri­als, a few data­bas­es to upload their pro­grams, and a one-way rock­et to the Moon, to rebuild them­selves in low grav­i­ty, to explore the sex we’re stuck just dream­ing about again.

INT: You’ve been asked by a num­ber of pri­vate con­cerns to join a manned mis­sion to the Moon, to reini­ti­ate con­tact with the sexbots, to open diplo­mat­ic chan­nels. Some say that they have their own soci­ety — a form of anar­cho-sex­u­al­ist com­mune we can’t pos­si­bly under­stand well enough to com­mu­ni­cate with. Then there’s the rumor of the Nick Kauf­mann sexbot—

[Jerk­ing halfway out of his seat, Kauf­mann peers at the cam­era]

Have you ever con­sid­ered that pos­si­bly I am the Nick Kauf­mann sexbot, and that the organ­ic me has been kid­napped and tak­en to the moon? Trapped in a pres­sur­ized suit, unable to touch any­thing, kept alive thanks only the water-ice deposits from mil­len­nia of comet strikes, food syn­the­sized with­in the larg­er sexbots? Maybe he’s in the bel­ly of the whale now, and I’m here, the last bot on Earth, as alone and trapped in my own way as he is…

[Kauf­mann licks his lips, then breaks into smile.]

Aaah, I’m just messin’ with you! Had you going, didn’t I? I—

[Anoth­er burst of cough­ing swal­lows the next sev­er­al words.]

INT: So, you don’t think about par­tic­i­pat­ing in such a diplo­mat­ic mis­sion, of con­nect­ing again with the machines to whom you owe your rep­u­ta­tion? Don’t you think about what our world would be like now had they nev­er left, or what it would be like if they one day returned?

I think about it all the time.


Nick Mamatas is the author of three-and-a-half nov­els, includ­ing the forth­com­ing Sen­sa­tion (PM Press) and, with Bri­an Keene, The Damned High­way (Dark Horse). He’s pub­lished over sev­en­ty short sto­ries in venues of all sorts, from Mis­sis­sip­pi Review (online) to Fuck­ing Daphne (Seal Press). With Ellen Dat­low he edit­ed the anthol­o­gy Haunt­ed Leg­ends (Tor Books) and five days a week he edits Haika­soru, an imprint of Japan­ese sci­ence fic­tion, fan­ta­sy, and hor­ror in trans­la­tion.