ON RUSSELL’S BIRTHDAY
I am human. Here are the facts: 32-years-old male 6’2 HUMAN. Went through a surgery three years ago in which all my bones, muscles, and tendons were replaced with working robotic parts. I did it to make me better at everything I did it because no one else wanted to try it I did it because I needed the money. They told me everyone will soon be like I am – I just have to show them why it’s better this way. They told me I survived either because I am strong or because the process was finally perfected. They told me a lot of things I used to care about hearing.
I have a wife and I love love love her. I do not see her much. They said it’s better if I stay in the room with the metal walls so they can watch me – in case one of my parts needs fixing. She’s at home and she’s doing okay. I miss her and I need her, so she visits sometimes and she likes to talk to me.
They gave me my own channel on the television. They say people watch it all day and want to become just like me. If they are strong like me and the process is perfected, everyone will be like me. There is a show where all I do is what they tell me to: jump jump jump, kick, flip, run, and swim. It’s all things they wish they could do – jump through rings of fire, run up and down the side of a building, fall from great heights and land on my feet. For a while now, they’ve been ending the show by sitting me in a chair and asking me questions. An audience comes and they laugh at my answers. Laughing is a good thing when it happens.
My wife likes to laugh and she looks good when she does it, too. She mostly laughs when she visits and brings her friend with her. Her friend’s name is Russel, and that is my name too, except everyone here calls me number 506. She used to call me Russel, now she calls him Russel and she calls me number 506. I don’t think my name was ever ever ever ever Russel.
My body is getting stronger and I’m learning to do things even better. The audiences are smaller these days so I can see each face and tell each one to be just like me: better, faster, stronger. I am better than I used to be. When I was younger, I always wanted more from myself; I always wanted to be better and see more and be more and live more. I don’t want more than I have now. I don’t think I was ever younger.
“She didn’t make it.” Russel said that to me, and I don’t know why he did. He asked me today if I was hungry but I told him it is better when I’m not. I am better than I was. Russel said, “I don’t think you’re better” so I told him about how they put me in a room and stuck things inside of me and pulled them back out and things were falling out of me but they put something new in its place and I think I might have screamed but I don’t know why I did. I don’t think I have ever screamed.
When Russel told me, “she didn’t make it,” I thought I should scream scream again, so I did and he smiled. I don’t think I was ever hungry.
I am better than I ever was before and I don’t need skin anymore. They say I have been alive for one thousand years and everyone loves me. Today I went to be on the show to run, jump, kick, and flip and no one was there to laugh and no one was there to clap but they all were there to write and to stare. I asked where Russel was and they asked what I meant and I said I didn’t know.
I don’t think I ever ever ever ever.
I’m Kelsey Desiree Pinckney. Making sure my middle name is known is important to me because it’s also my grandmother’s name and she is legtitmately the sweetest woman in the world. I’m honored to have her name as part of mine. I’m 22-years-old and sometimes I act like it. I only recently moved from a desert in California to this desert in Arizona and I have absolutely no regrets. I think Phoenix has always had my heart and it feels good to be a part of it. I enjoy words and all the fun things they can do when sculpted by the right person. I sometimes write, but I like reading just as much. I’m eventually going to finish my BSW in Social Work, but don’t rush me, okay, I’m busy. Meeting new people gives me hope and energy so I make an effort to do that almost every day. If I like you, I”ll probably make you a mix tape and crochet you a beanie. I smile a lot.