maxx with two x's

maxx with two x's

A Story by D.G.

it's a sci-fi sort of deal. read it.



Maxx with 2 x’s


Maxx was there. Walked beyond the double glass doors of CIA regional social development offices. Long godamned bus ride down. But, Jesus, he didn’t have no choice to it. The receptionist was dull and pale, looked like she’d had all the blood sucked outa her flesh. This didn’t surprise him so much. He’d heard that a lot of the government folk had a lack of pigment. Good for P.R. But there was an indefinably disquieting quality to her. He was holding a cigarette. She stared at him in a most disturbed of ways till he put it out- dropped it to the floor and crushed the life gone. There was a line of maybe a hundred folks standing in that there lobby which led off and away, somewhere.

“Can you be helped?” she asked.

“I have an appointment. The White office. Is all this the LINE?”

“That is the line for those that do not have an appointment.”

“Ma’am, that is one hell of a line."

“Sir, it is illegal to use profanity in a government building. What is your name?"

“Maxx. Maxx Ice. Two x’s”

She opened a folder and drew her index finger down the list. “Yes. Here it is. Go down the hall to your right. Room 111.”

“All these folks waiting just because they didn’t make a phone call?”

“That is correct. Down the hall. Room 111. Please do not smoke in this building.”

“Sure thing sweets.”

He stepped past the hundred and down the hall. Room 111. White Room painted in white letters on the frosted glass. It was a large room with many people spattered about in hard blue plastic chairs. They were, well, they seemed to be very close to being asleep. It was very quiet. No one moved. There was some tepid meaningless low conversation. Less than background. Less than an old time breeze going through what they used to call trees. Maxx Ice walked to the desk.

“I have an appointment. Maxx Ice. Two x’s.”

The man at the desk went through the list with his finger. “Sit down, Mr. Ice. You will be called forward in just a few moments.”

 “A few?”


“What about all these people?”

“Most are here for a follow-up augmentation. You will be in quickly.” He said this not with disdain, but rather a certain hard tiredness. Almost a pity to the voice. Maxx found this to be unpleasant. The light too was unpleasant. Harsh and bright with almost a pink regard to it. He sat down next to a woman with heavy absurd stricken eyes. He thought for a moment that she may very well have been blind.

There was a silence. An obnoxious painful kind. Like a sea that had quit. A crumbled mountain. A withered oleander. Just something else. 

“You here to get clean, or just an augmentation?” he asked.

She did not look. She, her voice, was very far off.

“2nd augment,” she said with a long empty breathing.

“You know, I understand that the office was named when they first started turning colored folks. Lightening them, I mean,” he said with some satisfaction on his fair knowledge of history. “They don’t do that anymore. But they’re ain’t no colored folks left anyway.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” she said groggily. “Had a colored lady working at the office a while back. Said she was crazy. Anti-social or something. Never knew what come of her. Beth, I believe her name was. Wonder what become of her.”

“Maybe she got on one of them ships and they sent her back.”

“Yeah. Ship. Maybe.”

It occurred to Maxx that he couldn’t see how old this lady was. Somewhere between 30 and 60, and that was a pretty fair gap. Her skin was like see-thru parchment. Pupils red with gold flecks of nothingness. She may have once been pretty. She may have once been a child walking beautiful warm alleyways. Who knew?

“What was it like?” asked Maxx.

“What’s that?”

“The procedure. Did it somehow hurt? Was it like a death?”

“Oh, I don’t know. It was more like a lifting, I guess. I don’t remember.”

“But is it better now?”

“Better than what?”

“Than before.”

“I don’t know. It’s all fine I guess. Say, you seen that new TV show? The one where they get regular citizens into a firing squad to execute an anti-social?”

“No. Don’t watch much TV.”

“Oh, well. Don’t feel bad. They say a lot of people don’t. A lot of pre-cleans don’t is what I’m saying. It’ll be okay. You’ll see.”

“Yeah. It’ll be okay.”

“Mr. Ice?” said the pale man at the desk. Maxx arose and started away with the pale guy. “That Beth,” the paper-skin lady was saying completely to no one. “I wonder what happened to her. She could have took a ship back. I wonder. They said she was crazy. She seemed kinda nice though she was colored.”

Maxx was led to a cubicle. A young woman was seated. Perhaps even less with blood than the rest. Her hair was pure white, as were the pupils and lips. Under her dress shirt he could make out the wrinkled lines of a particularly tight mammary girdle. For some reason this was erotic to him. She must have been quite buxom to have such an elaborate wrap. Not many b*****s around like that nowadays. He remembered a very old porno from back when they were still legal, of a woman wrapped up so tight in nothing but one of them girdles. She had a fist-gag shoved in her mouth. She was being slapped with a summer squash to her thigh and a guy with two penises came in one ear then the other. He was annoyed to find that he had an erection. But not nearly as annoyed as the white haired chick. She looked almost ill.

He sat. She turned away quick. There was nearly a flush of something like color to her, but not quite. She was at her notes, tapping a pen to her small fake-plastic cubicle desk.

“Mr. Ice, have you scheduled an appointment with the registration bureau of the change?”

“Uh, no.”

“You should do that soon. It is mandatory by law and you get a tax credit for the procedure.”

“Oh yeah?’

“Yes. It is a new incentive.”

“Isn’t misery incentive enough?”

She finally gazed at him. “Yes. Certainly,” she said.

No one spoke for several moments as she went over the papers. He was nearly certain that she swung a quick glance back at his crotch, which was all shrunk and dried off by then.

“Can I ask you something?” he said.


“Will it be painful?”

“Not at all. You will feel nothing. You will merely be put to sleep, and when you awake you will be clean. Any anxiety, any deviant thoughts, all anti-social ways will have been erased. And, Mr. Ice, we offer a lifetime guarantee that this unwanted behavior will never return.”

“And I will be content?”

“You will be completely content.”

“Ah, sounds good.”

“Most of our clients come here to eliminate certain intimate desires or career challenges.”

“Career challenges?”

“Yes. By clearing away the psychologically unnatural wishes of unneeded and socially undesirous positions, we not only clear society of negative actions, but we eliminate unproductive citizens. We offer full job placement after the procedure. It is of a nominal charge if you desire this service.”

“Sounds sweet, baby. I was a lounge singer before the war. But they don’t need that sorta thing anymore. Ever heard of Sinatra?”

“Sorry, no.”

“Hmm, how about Faithless P***y? Post punk band from the early…”


“Well, that’s okay. Been banned a few years now anyway.”

Maxx had a sudden hit of severe depression that had come on, as it always did, like the zip of a body bag. He tried to understand but it only made him tired. He wanted to BE something. Business man, something. There wasn’t any good music anymore. A cold beer was a buck but the Tao was 5 grand on the black market, and without the incense. He felt like a foot was always at the back of the neck. He wiped his eyes.

“I quit,” he uttered simply.

“I understand,” she said in what could have been construed as nearly compassion.

He raised himself from the plastic chair and shook off the mood to some degree. Why she hadn’t gotten a chest reduction he couldn’t comprehend. That wrap was so terribly obvious. Being in her position, she surely must have been reprimanded by some superior or another. It was just so damn hot it made him ache. Yet another pain on the list.

“Well then. When’s the date?” he asked.

“She handed him an appointment reminder. “It will be a week from Thursday. You can pay at the office listed. We accept quarters and dollars, but no checks. It will be 3 dollars for the procedure plus fifty cents for job placement. All augmentations, if needed, will be of no extra charge. Have a nice day.”

Three dollars Jesus Christ he was thinking. He’d forgot all about the money.

“Say, how is it that you can charge so little?” he said in a large bit of shock.

“We are a non-profit governmental organization. It is just a service to the citizens.”

“Like the ship crossings?”

“I can’t say, Mr. Ice. That was before my time.”

“That was also before the White Room I understand.”

“May be. I can’t say.”

There, there it was. She was definitely watching at the crotch. She appeared almost confused. The static confusion of prepubescent want polluted by a need to vomit. A flash of a thought of white hair dragging across his thighs came to him. He hurried away as she darted her eyes deep into her papers.

The room seemed to be brighter and pinker. A number was called. The 30 to 60 lady that he had spoken with began a slow walk toward the desk. “I just don’t know about that Mr. Gonzales,” she was mumbling. “He didn’t even have no ships for his kind. Now where could he have gotten off too for so long?” She nearly walked into Maxx. She didn’t notice him at all. She didn’t notice anything.

Maxx stopped. He was watching all that pale. Like a morgue pale. Like death tapping a shoulder and finding nothing to take. He did feel better, much better, but he wasn’t completely sure why. He moved himself out through those glass double doors and into the street. The day had cooled somewhat. White erection clouds in the distance, with a yellow sphere burning through.

Egyptians had honored Ra, the lord almighty sun. They also believed that any human thought came from divine inspiration. He went north, turned up a downtown alleyway to take a piss. Deviant. A movement from shadow doorway under brick. A man in a long coat of leather walked up. A tanned man with bright eyes. They recognized one another.

“Say there Maxx.”

“Say there Million.”

Million opened up the coat to show a brilliantly colored shirt of mauves and yellows and oranges and all kinds of colors.

“Police see that and you’ll be taken straight to the madhouse,” said Maxx.

“They don’t see it, I got no problems.”

“What you doing working this part of town?”

“Man, I got more customers here than just about anywhere. It’s a desperate town.”

“It sure is.”

“Why you in that C.I.A. building?”

“I… ah s**t. What you got?”

Million reached into an inside pocket and came out with a small crystal music pyramid.

“I got Sinatra.”

“Okay. Okay, but what about Faithless P***y?”

Million smiled. Showed real teeth. Rolled his eyes. Real eyes. Ra eyes.

“I can get it. Take a few days though.”

“How about Hendrix?”

“Ah, man, s**t. You know I can do anything. Don’t you know I can do anything? But stuff like this, well, it takes some planning. You always want the s**t that takes time. Sinatra’s hard enough. Don’t you see?”

“Alright. How much?”

“200. Can’t let this baby go for less. Just ain’t worth my time.”

“Jesus Chr…”

Maxx turned to the sun. Gold. No pink. Very nice. Very… delicious. He had a s**t load of cash. Didn’t expect the government to be so cheap a date. Yeah, he had cash.

“Okay,” said Maxx. “What Sinatra?”

Only The Lonely, baby.”

Maxx looked up again. The masses. There was an insanity. He handed over the cash and was given the crystal.

“And this one’s special. See, if you shine a light just the right way through the crystal, then a hologram of the original album cover will shine against the wall. It’s really something.”

Maxx was just gazing up and out there. He was lost in something. Ancient Egyptian thought.

“You okay there Maxx?”

“Yeah. Of course.”

Million began to move away. “See you in the cool-aid part of town,” he said.

“Sure, lower your prices, then we can talk more,” said Maxx wistfully.

“I usually do, for you.”

“God help your other customers.”

He was gone. A moving shadow melded with a static one of a brick doorway. It was a fine day, really. Maxx decided that he didn’t need to feel all that bad. There was a worse way. He’d seen it. He left that little square appointment reminder dropped in a greasy alleyway asphalt rift, with just a bit of filthy water to the bottom of it.

A small spinning cube and Only The Lonely and headphones. What a way to spend a Thursday afternoon. 

© 2009 D.G.

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I liked it... :)

But, uhhh, yeah, I dunno how to give a critique on this one. I didn't notice any literary errors, and there wasn't really any part that made me want to get up leave. It didn't grasp me 100%, but that's also good because it's sociological sci-fi, and I read it, which means it has initiative to grow, unlike most alien stories I've read here.
The only part I can think of, from a personal stance, that sort-of tired me was right after your first description of the pale lady. Somewhere in there I got lazy my first time reading, and almost again the second. I don't think it's on your craft, this fault, but figured I'd throw the personal taste in seeing as I really dunno how to critique this.

Sorry I'm not of much help. I liked the story, but I think we both know what I'm going to say about it.
It is not finished.

Expand this story, or try at least. Right here you have a foundation, a very sturdy one at that. If sci-fi isn't your total cup of tea, I'd suggest pretending it is for a while and write this tale out. It's impressive, but on a much larger scale than this story.

Write it!

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Added on March 5, 2009
Last Updated on March 11, 2009



los angeles, CA

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