"What do you mean, Vagina Monologues fan fiction?" I asked, though I knew already that clarification was the furthest thing from what I actually wanted.
"I mean she went and saw it, and then came home and started writing bizarre feminist stories literally from the point of view of vaginas, although I'm not sure that's how the Vagina Monologues even works. Also, hers involve Harry Potter."
There was a sharp pain behind my right eye, and I wondered briefly if my brain was trying to develop a fatal aneurism.
"Well what do you want me to do about it?" I asked, continuing my trend of asking questions I knew I would regret.
Josh put down his coffee and pulled a shopping bag out from under the table. "I need you to be my nurse."
I picked up the box and read the label. ACME HOME LOBOTOMY KIT. The picture was of some cartoon man giving a big thumbs-up despite the fact that the top of his head was missing and someone - his cartoon wife, I suppose - was rooting around in his exposed brain. I dropped the box on the table and shook my head.
"No. No, that whole thing is creepy. And doing it to someone else against their will... it's like rape, and Nazi experimentation, and brain washing. Can't you just break up with her?"
Josh shook his head and pointed to a scar behind his ear. "If I'm away from her for too long I get headaches - and it can't be removed. We gave each other these little handmade coupons on our first anniversary, good for one brainmod. They were really cute, actually, I used construction paper and... um. Anyway, she used hers but I've held onto mine for a rainy day. It's raining, man."
I felt physically ill with disgust, and I tried to hide it but from Josh's reaction I knew I had sneered.
"Don't give me that look, like you've never done a little adjusting." As soon as the words were out he looked somehow embarrassed. It was strange, but I chalked it up to him remembering that I hadn't actually ever modded myself.
"I just think we should live with the memories and emotions and everything that we were born with. Everyone in this society is sick, you go to a club and come home with split personalities and an FM transmitter in your brain stem."
Josh sat very still for a moment, and then sighed. "I said I wouldn't do this, but I can't listen to you preach at me. Dude, go get a photo done of your noggin. And then get back here, I'm giving her the coupon after dinner."
The Walgreens on the corner has a scanner right next to the blood pressure machine, so I stuck my head in and waited while it hummed. The picture printed out at the photo center and I held it up to the fluorescent lights, trying to comprehend what I was seeing. My brain was filled with dark spots and strange, unnaturally-straight lines. I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned to see Josh there.
"Just picking up some ice cream, she's going to want something before the surgery. Nice picture, eh?" I tried to ask him what was going on but my throat was too dry. That headache started up again behind my eye and I wondered if it was stress or an implant or what. Finally Josh just answered the big question without waiting for me to ask.
"It was an intervention. You were addicted, you got mods every day. You know you spoke with a German accent for three years? Not on purpose, just as a side effect."
I shook my head. None of it sounded familiar. "I don't... but..."
"We convinced you to wipe it all out. We told you it would be an adventure."
I dropped the scan and walked out of the store. Josh yelled something but he didn't try to follow me. I knew there was a head shop just a block away, so I marched onward in search of a rush I couldn't remember.