Choke Collar: Positron, Episode Two
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In this second, steamy episode of the new Byliner Serial "Positron," the Booker Prize–winning Margaret Atwood picks up where she left off in her dystopian dark comedy, mining wholly deviant territory where a totalitarian state collides with the chaos of human desire.
"As seamless as a stocking, and shockingly believable" is how the "Globe and Mail" describes "I'm Starved for You," the first installment of "Positron." In this new episode, the stocking comes off, with husband and wife Stan and Charmaine facing more troubles in safe but carefully controlled Consilience, a social experiment in which the lawful are locked up and, beyond the gates, criminals roam the wasteland that is the America of Margaret Atwood's creepily plausible near future.
Stan understands the Faustian deal he and his wife have made. What he doesn't anticipate is the stupefying boredom. What wakes him? An illicit lover's note written by a mysterious woman who also lives in Consilience. Breaking the rules, he stalks her and is delivered not into the arms of the nympho of his dreams but into a nightmare of mind games and some very kinky forced labor.
In the world of "Choke Collar," when you surrender your civil liberties, you enter a funhouse of someone else's making. Stay tuned as the episodes of Atwood's futuristic thriller "Positron" are released, and discover if anyone can overcome the greatest treachery of all-human nature.
few more of them before she leaves, hopefully at the next switchover day, which is when? The first of March, isn’t it? And it’s almost Valentine’s Day—so, not long to go! Aurora herself has never learned to knit. She does regret that. It must be calming. Charmaine clenches her hands. One more of those darn teddy bears with their bright, unseeing eyes and she’s going to go sideways, right off the tracks! They’ve filled bins of them. She has nightmares about those teddies; she dreams they’re in
circle meets. The teddy bear bin is half full, and it is their task to fill it before the month is out. Charmaine takes up her allotted bear and sets to work. But when she’s done only two rows, one knit, one purl, there’s a stir. Heads turn: a man has walked into the room. This is almost unheard of, here in the women’s wing. It must be one of the higher-ups, but why is he here? Behind him is Aurora with her clip tablet, and another woman: black hair, squarish face, a strong body, like someone
and don’t they know for sure that this is no mistake? Just cool it, buddy, look at the printout, it’s you all right, Positron identity numbers don’t lie, the system’s hackproof. That twisted fuckwit Phil had it coming. Holding this thought keeps Stan going during his sexual command performances with Jocelyn, which are a good deal more like tenderizing a gristly cut of steak than anything he finds purely pleasurable. Oh, Stan! comes the pert, giggly pseudovoice of Charmaine. You get a kick out of
formality. Someone must have keyed in the wrong piece of code, you know how such things happen, it can take such a long time to unsnarl them. Even with modern technology there’s always human error, and Charmaine will just have to be patient until they can trace what they can only assume is a bug in the works. She nods and smiles. But they’re looking at her strangely (two of them, now there are three, behind the checkout desk, one of them texting on a cell), and there’s something odd in their
happened; the system is supposed to be bug-proof. The female guards are sticking to the story of the database snarl: there are IT personnel working on it right now, but meanwhile Charmaine should just try some yoga classes in the gym and stick with the routine, and they’re sorry but numbers are numbers, and her numbers are not showing her as being who she says she is; they’re sure it will all work out, and soon she’ll be free to get back to what she claims is her life. She doesn’t believe this