by Ward Parkway
"I HATE YOU, I hate both of you, you stupid, unevolved HOMO SAPIENS" screamed Angel58743.23, yet another unhappy teen somewhere in the Earth's countless sectors, having a row with her parents. "It's Friday! Tomorrow morning EVERYBODY ELSE is catching the ziptrain south to dive off Baja. And ME?! Oh noooo, not ME! I'm staying HOME because I'm A FREAK!!!!"
"Oh honey, you're not a freak," purred Mom. "You're beautiful! Why would you say such an awful thing about yourself?" she asked, fingering the strand of pearls around her neck.
"Because it's TRUE!! And you know it! These stupid, idiotic, insane WINGS growing out of my back make me look just plain ridiculous! How could you possibly have thought that genetically programming me as an ANGEL would be a good idea? Did you even give a single thought to what it would mean as I got older?!" Angel58743.23 was, to put it bluntly, pissed.
"But Angel, your CuddlePharm GenPak also came with those beautiful crystal blue eyes of yours, not to mention your silky golden hair. I'll admit, angels *were* a fad back then. But your father and I were quite the envy of the neighborhood with our little angel. You were sooo darling! We couldn't go anywhere without being asked constantly to show you off."
"Well, that stopped after I was FOUR, didn't it?! After I molted for the LAST TIME!! You're both completely MAD!!!! Now I'm stuck with these awful, shriveled up things that look like naked chicken wings in the GROCERY STORE! I can't shower at school! I can't even wear a bathing suit for crying out loud!!! I'm terrified of having anyone see them, EVER!! Don't you UNDERSTAND?!?! You've RUINED MY LIFE!!!"
"Now precious, you remember what Doctor Bill said. After your third birthday your wings were programmed to begin shrinking automatically. Eventually they'll be completely gone. Now you know that."
"But you said yourself that Doctor Bill had PROMISED before I was born that they'd be gone by my ninth birthday. I'M NOW SIXTEEN YEARS OLD and they're STILL NOT GONE!! Admit it, they didn't know enough to do reliable staged feature morphing when I was put together! It was a MARKETING SCAM, played out on open-gulleted DOLTS like the two of you!!! I'll probably have vestigial remnants of these damned things for years! And your crummy MedPlan doesn't cover "Feature Removal" because PaternalMan over there's only a level 2 monkeybot!!!"
"Now I resent that, Angel" piped up Dad. "You know I'd do anything for you and your beautiful mother."
Mom smiled at Dad.
"I'm going to my CUBICLE!!! I never want to see EITHER of you ever, EVER AGAIN!" Angel58743.23 stomped out quite dramatically. A few seconds later a hatch could be heard to slam at the far end of the corridor.
"Sigh... Well, you know what's really bugging her...," offered Dad.
"Oh, of course, it's because we didn't get her gills like the rest of her friends," replied Mom. "But we've been over that time and time again. We just didn't have enough money to get the Little Angel GenPak *and* the AquaTeen setup too. Why, you weren't even a Level 2 then, dear."