Body Sculpture


This is a speculative fiction prompt by D. Wallace Peach-Myths of the Mirror
https://mythsofthemirror.com/2019/05/01/may-speculative-fiction-prompt/

I graduated, in the Spring of 2075, with a degree in bio engineering, specializing in body sculpture. Six long years of study, without a break, at a cost of $1.2 million. It was worth it. I was excited at my future prospects knowing this was a growing field with lots of money to be made.

I have always been interested in the way people interact with their bodies. Most of us have a particular self image, usually different from the body we were born with. We are never satisfied with ourselves.

Before the 20th century our body image was shaped around tribal customs, rituals and acceptable modes of appearance. Erasable body paint progressed to permanent body tattoos and migrated to body piercing. The body was moulded into acceptable forms of beauty by sometimes harsh and painful methods, elongated ears, wider lips and smaller feet. All this the precursor to cosmetic surgery.

In the latter part of the 20th century advancements in medical science enabled failing body parts to be replaced by an equivalent transplant. The first heart transplant famously conducted by Dr. Barnard in 1967. Lost limbs were initially replaced by dormant prototype limbs that had no functionality. But as technology improved these limbs were designed to perform functions equal or superior to the original limbs.

Medical science designed only for the preservation of the body as a functioning unit completely changed at the beginning of the 21st century. Perhaps it was the complete mapping of the genome in 2003 that changed the medical science perspective on the human body. From that discovery medical researchers considered ways the human body could be manipulated beyond the biological norms. The first tentative steps taken in this direction was transforming the sexual identities of individuals. It was then that the medical profession crossed the boundary into unchartered territory.

Much like manufacturers advertising under arm deodorant enticed a population to smell like lilac, lavender or a soft ocean breeze the medical profession advertised it’s gender changing techniques to an accepting public. This led to the birth of the body sculpture movement.

The mid 21st century was all about the animal craze. It started with a rich Hollywood celebrity losing her pet dog. Wanting a visual reminder of her dog, she had the dog’s tail transplanted on to her behind. This trend became fashionable,mainly for the rich, as the fees for this type of body sculpture were prohibitive for the average working person. It soon became common to see famous celebrities with feathered faces, fish fin ears and an elephants trunk for a nose. The common people were left to express their own forms of personal identity.

After graduating from university my first client consulted with me on his wish to become an angel. We spent weeks discussing the size, texture and colour of feathers as well as perusing thousands of bird photos to arrive at the perfect pair of angel wings. We finally agreed on colourful peacock feathers which I grafted individually on to his shoulders. We were both extremely pleased with the results. The cost was only $5 million but I understand he went on to become a star in religious videos and recouped the cost of the wings in a few short months.

My latest client came with a proposal that challenged my ingenuity. He wanted me to sculpture his body into an old fashioned clock. He kept repeating “tick tock, I’m a clock” over and over which became a little unnerving, but I was determined to grant him his wish. It took months to review every conceivable type of time device from sun dials to grandfather clocks but we finally settled on a workable design.

His initial thought was to transform his face into a clock and leave the rest of the body alone. But I quickly disavowed him of this idea. It’s all about balancing the body parts to bring each part into harmony with the whole. We settled on the centre of his body as the focal point, replacing his heart with a pendulum that would be wired to the brain through the left side of his face. The swing of the pendulum would replace his heart beat and perform that vital function. His arms would be the hands of the clock, this seemed self evident and fit in perfectly with the overall design. The crown of his head would be the clock face. I explained to him that this body sculpture would take several visits as completing it in one operation would cause severe trauma to his body. Along with the final design I gave him my estimate of $20 million dollars for a total of ten visits.

The above image reflects my progress after 20% of the work completed to-date. I am quite pleased with the results and I know my client is extremely happy with the aesthetics and is counting the days till I finish.

I’m thinking of grafting an extra pair of arms onto my body as I can then make double the money. I have no regrets about entering into this profession, I get to satisfy my clients sense of self while making lots of money. Life is good all round.

41 thoughts on “Body Sculpture

  1. Good story. I personally am happy with whom I am. Not to say I do not wonder about aesthetics, I would not take the risk. We should all embrace what we have as individuals and we would be far happier than critical of ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This story got creepier and creepier, Len. I like how you started with facts regarding the past and then morphed it into a future without boundaries – vanity gone wild. I’ll bet that at some point this doesn’t end well. Thanks so much for taking up the prompt and for the fascinating story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Diana for your ever inspiring prompts. Images to excite the imagination. I just relax, look at the image, lay on the couch and dream about it for an hour and then go to the computer and write.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Len, this is marvelous. Your tone is do business like that it starts off nearly mundane and just drags the reader into this sci find world of body mods that are outrageous, but who knows what the future holds…. Brilliant.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Violet. I was wondering about whether to insert the mundane bit. Didn’t know if a bit of history would get too boring and readers would not try and read past it. But I thought, it’s my story, I’ll do what I like.

      Like

  4. Wonderfully, written, Len…feels very business like in a way which makes it sound very real. The idea that we can be creators of human body parts and design them the way we want to is intriguing and disturbing at the same time. Great imagination. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You hit on wonderful topics that add to the bleak possibilities for humanity. I love how the self-image and our natural insecurities control the affluent to a point of extremes in this potential future. Subtle nods to inflation and realistic advancements in science painted by a wonderful “unapologetic” narration. Fantastic!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for commenting Anita and Jaye. We are certainly starting to get into some scary stuff. Their may be future consequences because of this. I am a strong believer in preserving human life through medical technology but not at any cost.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great stuff Len. This is written in such a convincing way it makes the story seem real. It is a future I wouldn’t want to be part of but the way things are going, it is possible.

    Like

  7. Really enjoyed this… I’m kinda looking forward to the future, but things like these sometimes scare me. So much alteration would not only change our human shape but our mindset as well.

    Like

  8. You have a creative imagination and I like the way you played with time here, both for the story and within the story. You have written a brilliant piece of science fiction.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s