"Where is it?" barely escaped me while sweeping my hair off my damp forehead. Papers everywhere, I couldn't be sure it wasn't in here somewhere. My cover will be blown and this family will be lost. I might have a chance at joining my people – that was the endgame – but only if I survived. Third methodical search and nothing: my security was compromised, but appearances mattered. After changing my sweaty t-shirt, I headed downstairs to my executioners.
The family's house was like every other, a roughcast cube with two faces and space for offspring: 3 bedrooms for the perfect 2Point4 Children family – I play mature Point4. Everyone follows the one pattern here: birth, education, mate and then claim a roughcast cube to breed in. Generations lived this pattern, each inheriting a mass-produced model of Normal Life. Normal Life was the only model on offer: neither one-size-fits-all nor no-size-necessary, it fit or you were branded defective. I am a Defective Point4 surrounded by Normal Lifers.
A Normal Lifer caught me approaching the stairs: "Is that you up there Rob, yi wantin' tea?" Good, safe.
Reassured I said, "Aye, please" and I'm in the family's lounge using the cover an occupied Normal Lifer and an old kettle provide. Swiftly and thoroughly the room's cleared: again nothing but sweat. Compromised I reprimanded myself for daring to contact my own kind here. There was no extraction after breaking protocols.
"Yi hay'n' this through there or yi joining mi?"
Knowing her Normal habits I said, "Aye" and started towards the family's kitchen, greeted with, "Yi lost some'hin'?"
In understanding life without a pattern and having to play a part, Defects required greater introspection and self-consciousness. Unwittingly she taught me never to mistake this for superiority.
Adjusting my mask I replied, "No…" continuing after tucking my hair behind my ears and adjusting my glasses, "…a white envelope".
She said, "Ah'll hey a look after Ah've finished this," lifting her mug and maintaining eye contact with my empty chair.
Not "Ah've no seen it" or "It's oor there" or even a "Who've you got tae write tae?" My heartbeat changed: F-LEE…F-LEE…F-LEE…
As I grabbed my coat, the roughcast cube spat me out into the cold. One hand found its pocket, unnaturally palming … paper? On checking I gasped, "Mum's pit a stamp on it!"
Newsflash - Fife a disaster zone for single gay men
One 18 year old, 6'1", intelligent, honest, sincere, GSOH man said
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All 18-30 volunteers considered with photo".