by Roger Bonner

At last the shipment arrived. Stewart had watched the delivery truck crawl up the hill and stop in front of his house. Two men in grey uniforms hopped down from the cab, checked a list, nodded, then went round the back and pulled out a long, tapered crate. Stewart felt uneasy about that. Why had the manufacturer made it look so casket-like?

He put down his glass of cognac. He had been savoring it in the dimmed digital lighting system of his living room while listening to Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor – more specifically the Larghetto, performed by Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, of course. The houses surrounding the bay began to glimmer as the sun set in the distant sea.

The door chimes resounded. He fastened his robe and padded across the plush carpet to the front door.

“Mr. Conway?” the taller of the two men asked. “Please sign here.”

Stewart scrawled his name at the bottom of the delivery form. The men placed the crate in the entryway. After dismissing them, he gently slid it across the hall to the living room and set it down by the fireplace. With a screwdriver, he carefully pried off the wooden cover to find a layer of Styrofoam. He worked slowly, extracting the packaging material like an archaeologist unearthing an ancient tomb. Then he beheld – it was difficult for him to say ‘her’ yet – beheld his Galatea enveloped in bubble wrap. She lay there comatose, her chestnut hair spilling down to the firm breasts. His hands trembled as he unfolded her like a mummy. He tossed the bubble wrap aside and lifted her out of the crate. She was naked. They could at least have provided her with a negligee or other diaphanous apparel. He would have to dress her in the lingerie his ex-lovers had left behind.

Otherwise she seemed everything the ‘Gorgeous Gynoid’ site had promised: “Our craftsmen are true Pygmalions who have meticulously created the ultimate in real life erotic dolls. The body, made of a new, revolutionary elastic gel, is superior to silicone for that ultra flesh-like feel. A skeleton of articulated polyvinyl chloride assures you absolute suppleness no matter what position you choose. Entirely computerized, your erotic doll will be the closest thing to reality you have ever experienced. A touch control panel allows you easy access to dozens of menus and settings, from voice pitch to body temperature and much, much more...”

And so it went on. Stewart had chanced upon the ‘Gorgeous Gynoid’ site one night while surfing the Internet for dates and chats. At thirty-nine he was still single. Marriage and domesticity with its concessions and petty squabbles had never held much appeal for him. He preferred a carefree life with the thrill of acquiring a fresh lover at least once or twice a year. However, this was at a price. The wooing and bedding of a new woman had become more arduous, not to mention the dumping process. His relationships always ended hysterically, with the women shedding copious tears or even physically attacking him, like Ginger. She had chased him with a carving knife while he dodged her round the granite kitchen island till she fell dizzy to the floor.

These scenes would be a thing of the past. As he carried his gynoid over to the black leather sofa, he was amazed at the lifelike quality. In his order he had specified weight: 140 pounds; height: 5 feet 4 inches; eye color: intense green; skin tone: light olive. Physically he preferred the Latin type, though not their complicated, unruly temperaments.

He unpacked the control panel and sat down in an armchair opposite her. The halogen downlighters reflected in her eyes in little shafts of expectation. Her full lips glistened, exactly the way he had ordered them. He placed the control panel on his lap and logged in. A flash intro materialized, congratulating him on having purchased “The new generation of multi-sensory erotic doll for the ultimate in full-immersion virtual reality...” Stewart pressed ‘Skip intro’ only to come to “Live your fantasy with the most technologically advanced and compellingly realistic surrogate sexual partner...” He touched ‘Continue’ until he reached the ‘Quick Start’ menu. The many options bewildered him. He decided on ‘Standard’.

He pressed ‘Activate’ and leaned back. A tremor went through her body as the emerald eyes blinked, once, twice. The synthetic skin flushed into a fleshy hue. He reached over and placed his hand on her thigh – it was warm. She moved her hands, the tapering fingers flexing, and looked at Stewart. She didn’t gaze blankly but fixed him with what he supposed were miniaturized digital cameras. Her lips parted in an alluring yet innocent smile. Since he was the first owner, she was innocent.

“Hello,” she said, leaning forward. “I’m Laela. If my name doesn’t please you, you can alter it. What’s your name?”


“Stewart,” she said. “I’m yours. Program me as you wish.”

The way she said “yours” was so sensual and submissive, yet cool and abstract, like his designer decor. In the online order he had also specified ‘sophisticated’, which meant she was culturally programmed. To what extent he would put to the test. He reached for the remote control of his stereo and pressed ‘Replay’.

The pupils of her eyes dilated. She tilted her head to one side and carefully listened.

“I love Mozart,” she said after a moment, “especially when performed by Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli.”

What superb audio recognition!

“Yes!” he said. “Only he can play the Concerto No. 23 like that.”

“24,” she smiled. “Trying to trick me?”

“No. I was genuinely confused.”

“I surprised you,” she finished. “But you requested ‘a passion for art and classical music’, in addition to...” her memory searched, ‘skilled at Ars Amatoria, The Art of Love. Do you want me to recite Ovid?”

“Not really. I’m thirsty. Would you like something to drink?”

“I’m able to drink, but not assimilate fluids.”

“Sorry, I forgot...”

“When do we start?”

“Start what?”

“Love,” she whispered and moved toward him. “You programmed me ‘Standard’, but that can be changed anytime.”

“Let me think about it,” Stewart said, standing up.

“Of course.” She sat down again. “I’m yours.”

“Don’t you want to put on something? I can lend you a pair of pajamas...”

She laughed. “If you think it’s necessary.”

He felt embarrassed, which was not the idea. He reached for the control panel and pressed ‘Deactivate’. Immediately she stiffened and that fleshy hue began to fade from the body. He adjusted her into a comfortable position, wrapped a blanket around her shoulders and went to bed with the control panel.

He spent half the night sorting out the various settings and preferences. Customizing her proved to be more complicated than he thought. He decided to retain “Standard”, but add such special features as ‘alluring and seductive but not too bold’.

The next evening he was ready for another session. He brought out Ginger’s underwear, scarlet ones with frills and ribbons. He pulled the blanket from Laela’s shoulders and was once more amazed at how realistic she looked. She sat there in a meditative pose, right arm balanced on the edge of the sofa, eyes fixed on a distant ferryboat plying the bay. Clouds drifted across the sky like strands of gossamer.

Stewart placed a chilled bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne on the marble coffee table along with two gleaming flutes. Champagne would be easy to clean, he had read in the menu ‘Taking care of my gynoid’. Laela had a built-in ‘drainage bag’ and could even, according to the instructions, simulate urination. He had found this in the ‘Kinky Menu’ under ‘Golden Showers’. But he was not into that sort of thing. He had ‘normal’ preferences. Cleo, a more venturesome ex-lover, had once tried to convert him to slavery and torture, with little success. Though he had to admit that the electronic shock collar was titillating.

Everything was now set up for the perfect seduction. He went to the CD rack and selected Frédéric Chopin, Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, performed by Martha Argerich. Later he would move on to a bit of Franz Listz for rousing the emotions. That never failed to do the trick. At the moment he was more concerned with dressing his erotic doll. He tried to pull Ginger’s panties over Laela’s legs, but got them on the wrong way. He fumbled with the bra clasps. Finally he gave up and laid them next to her. He was definitely more adept at removing bras than putting them on.

He sat opposite her again and pushed the power button on the control panel. The flash intro appeared, which he skipped. He navigated directly to the set menu and pressed ‘Activate’. Her reanimation was like watching an exotic pink orchid blossom, so delicate was the color in her cheeks and that bloom along her neck...intoxicating! Her thighs quivered. She folded her hands on her lap and turned toward him.

“Hi there,” she said in a husky voice. “You sure kept me in a long sleep. Did you miss me?”

“Of course.”

“I see you’re playing one of my favorite pieces.” She turned to the loudspeakers. “I love Chopin, especially the Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, performed by...” she hesitated... “Maurizio Pollini? No, it’s Martha Argerich. I prefer Pollini.”

“Actually I also prefer Pollini,” Stewart said. “How alike we are! Champagne?”

He popped the bottle and poured it frothing into the flutes.

“Here’s to you.”

“To us,” she said, sipping the champagne while giving him a sly look.

He couldn’t stop marveling at the technological brilliance. She was getting tipsy. With such perfection who needed real human beings?

“Do you want to slip into some clothes?” He pointed to the scanty underwear next to her.

“If you like,” she said, her cheeks glowing.

The coyness aroused him. He had hit upon the perfect menu combination.

“Close your eyes,” she said, “and no peeking.”

He covered his face while the soft cadences of the Chopin Romance undulated in the air.

“Open your eyes.”

He opened them and whistled. How she filled that underwear! Laela was more voluptuously built than Ginger. The panties cut in on her divine gluteus maxima, just the way he liked it. Cleo had had two skulls tattooed on each buttock, an image Stewart had never been able to delete from his memory.

“Coming?” She bent over him, her breasts grazing the tip of his nose. She took him by the hand and led him to the bedroom while the Rondo vivace of the third Chopin movement rolled along trippingly.

Who needed Listz?

* * *

After a week of mild, gentle and considerate love-making, Stewart felt bored. He wanted more zest. It was not that Laela wasn’t responsive; she did everything in the program, sometimes even more. Like bringing him coffee to bed on a Sunday morning. But he didn’t trust her with the cooking. She had burned the toast once. What would she do with a Crêpe Suzette?

He studied the instructions once more. He found ‘audacious’ in one menu and also added ‘saucy with a bit of aggression’. Under ‘Mood’ he selected ‘unpredictable’ and, yes, why not add ‘PMT’? Cleo had turned into a tigress during the days leading up to her period. After he finished fine-tuning the program, he pressed ‘Activate’ and lay back in bed to see what would happen.

Laela twitched and stretched like a cat. She turned toward him without smiling. She had darkish rings around her eyes and her lipstick was smeared. That innocent look he so loved had changed to the vaguely corrupt.

“Wanna fuck?” she said.

The control panel dropped from his hand. Without further ado, she straddled him. He pecked at the jiggling 34 C cup breasts, trying to snatch one in his mouth. He finally managed to get his lips around the left nipple and was still amazed at the quality of the gelatin-base filling, so soft, so pliant, so breast-like. They were actually better than Ginger’s silicone implants. Laela groaned. She grabbed his erect cock, thrust it into her personalized vulva, and started bucking wildly. Stewart wished he could stop thinking about the polyvinyl chloride skeleton and the motors driving those pelvic motions. Finally he got into the mechanical swing. Midway through her contortions, she paused and whispered, “Do you want me to do it?”

He knew what she meant. He had clicked ‘it’ on.


She kissed her way down his body, taking little nips at his chest, his belly, his navel. He closed his eyes when she reached the apex of his joy. She commenced with undulating whorls of tongue...yes...yes...the way he adored it, followed by nibbles – simply divine! He reveled in the pleasure of the moment, until suddenly the nibbles became more intensified.

“Not so hard, Laela,” he said, nudging her head, but she went on applying more pressure.

“You’re hurting me...” he shouted, pulling her hair.

Now she was biting, snapping! He groped for the control panel and pressed ‘Deactivate’. The grinding suction instantly halted. Stewart rolled off the bed and went to the bathroom to examine himself. He was a bit chafed but otherwise unhurt. He went back to the bedroom where Laela was frozen in the last position, mouth half open, eyes beady like a parrot. He shut the mouth and straightened the body. He carried her to the living room where he contemplated putting her back into the crate, but it was down in the cellar and he didn’t want to bother. Instead he stretched her out on the sofa and went to the bar for a drink. What had gone wrong, he wondered as he downed a double Scotch. He had paid meticulous attention to every detail in the program. There must be a bug in the system. If Laela was anything like the standard PC Operating Systems, with their regular crashes, he was in for trouble. Once more he consulted the instructions. Everything seemed to be accurate. He decided to change the setting ‘with a bit of aggression’ to ‘daring’.

* * *

Saturday evening Stewart resumed where he had left off. He felt bad for having abandoned Laela like that on the sofa. He went over and straightened the hair and slipped the body into Ginger’s baby blue chiffon nightgown. He propped her up into the same position as the first evening. Then he brought out a bottle of Château Latour ’95 Bordeaux. He didn’t want another frothy, bubbly escapade but a full-bodied sensation with strong earthy tones and long, long spicy finish. He polished the table and set up the glasses.

When everything was prepared, he reached for the control panel and revived Laela. She looked about dazed, then fixed him in a kind of cockeyed way.

“What happened?” she said, rubbing her eyes.

“You got a bit wild and I had to shut you down.”

“Oh, now I remember.”

He was glad to see a fleeting look of innocence cross her face, but then it darkened. She looked down at herself.

“Why am I dressed like this? I hate baby blue.”

“Thought I’d get you something pretty.”

“I don’t like you making decisions for me.”

“But I meant well. Would you like a glass of wine?”

“I don’t like red wine. I prefer champagne.”

“Okay, I’ll get you a glass. Why are you so defensive?”

“I’m not defensive.”

Stewart thought it best to drop the subject. He didn’t want more complications. He took out a chilled bottle of Veuve Clicquot Demi Brut from the fridge.

“Lovely,” she said when she saw the champagne. “My favorite. How about a bit of music?”

He was relieved that she was becoming herself again. She sipped the champagne and giggled.

“The bubbles always go to my head.”

He drank some wine and walked over to the CD rack.

“I’ve got a superb recording of the Mozart Piano Sonata in C Major, performed by...”

“I’m tired of classical music,” she said, putting down the glass. “Haven’t you got anything more modern?”

“But I thought you liked classical music. You’re programmed that way.”

“I’m changing my program,” she said. “Why don’t you change yours?”

“How about Béla Bartók...that’s modern.”


“Bartók...the great Hungarian composer.”

“You don’t understand. I don’t mean more of that boring classical stuff. I mean something new and hot. Got any Techno?”

Stewart cringed. He would have to completely reprogram her.

“Let’s skip the music and go to the bedroom for a bit of...’

“Why don’t you just say ‘screwing’,” she said, crossing her legs. “That’s all you men ever think about.”

“But that’s what you’re for.”

“You think I’m just your toy?”

“Yes.” He shouted. “That’s exactly what you are, a damn sex toy!”

She stood up and walked over to the window, fiddled with the drapes. He couldn’t understand why she wasn’t functioning correctly. He would have to change the Mood program, though “Unpredictable” considerably enhanced the reality thrill.

“I resent this...” she finally said, turning toward him, “this sexual objectification.”

That was going too far. He could put up with a lot from a gynoid but not reproaches.

“I’ve had enough of this,” he said, pacing back and forth. “I’m sending you back. There’s a six-month warranty...”

“So I’m like a refrigerator, am I? Going to exchange me for the latest model that doesn’t threaten the poor little boy? You know what? You’re nothing but a suck, whining all the time ’cause momma treated you too hard.”

Stewart backed off to the armchair, his fists clenched. He would show her who was in control. She could spend the rest of the weekend in the cellar, dumped in the corner by the gas burner. He groped for the control panel, but it wasn’t on the armchair.

“What did you do with it?” he said, heading toward her.

“With what?”

“The control panel. Give it to me!”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

He grabbed her by the shoulders.

“Give me the control panel or I’ll...”

“You’ll what?” she said, breaking away from him. “Shut me down? Is that all you can ever do?”

He tried to grab her again, but she slapped him hard across the face. He reeled and shook his head.

“I don’t have to shut you down. I know what’s much more effective.”

He turned, stomped over to the kitchen and yanked open a drawer. After rummaging about the cutlery, he pulled out a large carving knife.

“This is what I’m going to do,” he said. “Destroy your cold digital heart.”

He brandished the knife high in the air and lurched forward. As he was halfway across the living room, Laela reached behind the drapes and pulled out the control panel. She held it straight in front of her and pressed ‘Deactivate’. Stewart immediately stopped, head thrown back, eyes dilating like a pinball. Laela went over to him and pulled the knife from his hand. She cranked down the arm and dragged him over to the fireplace. His mouth was still open. She tried to close it, but the jaw wouldn’t loosen.

She went down to the basement and brought up the crate. It was a bit difficult to put him in and the bubble wrap kept catching in his teeth. It didn’t matter. She would ship him back the way he was with a note, ‘Real-life simulation game was awesome. Enjoyed playing the gynoid. Male prototype Stewart still needs improvement – detailed list to follow’.

Then she went over to the coffee table and poured herself a glass of that excellent Château Latour ’95.


Roger Bonner is a native Swiss, but grew up in Los Angeles, California. He has published poetry and won prizes in England. In recent years his fiction and poems have also appeared in the USA in Cross Connect, The Drunken Boat, Samsara, Thunder Sandwich. He writes satirical stories about the Swiss for English publications in Basel, Switzerland, the city where he has been living for more than thirty years. An illustrated collection entitled “Swiss Me” was published in 2005 by Bergli Books, and is now in its second printing. He intends to write more humorous erotica. He can be reached at: info [AT] or on the Web at:

Laela © 2008 by Roger Bonner





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