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Mirror  Image Spa

     Sage was rushing down the hall to the boardroom when she heard a voice call out to her, “Hey, where’re you going in such a hurry?” She turned around just in time to see a streak of blonde-lightening charging toward her.  “I know we’re both headed for the same meeting,” Dara Devon said.

     Dara slipped her arm around Sage’s tiny waist and gave her a reassuring smile.  And as they walked together through the elegant lobby, Dara’s arm began to feel like a rubber band around Sage's body, and Sage knew that if she moved even the tiniest bit away from Dara, it would only draw the woman in closer.


     In a minute, Dara let go of Sage's whole self and started to giggle.  Sage, disarmed by the woman’s friendly style, took her hand as Dara led her into Avitara’s company dining room.

     All the company’s upper echelon were there eating lunch.  Kamen, the President of Avitara, choked on a raw clam, then cleared his throat and raised his voice above everyone else’s.  “As you all know, tomorrow Avatara will be issuing a press release detailing the start-up of another new division, 'Mirror Image.'  This year, we will be bringing the world of the future to the billion dollar cosmetics industry.”

     Sage remembered reading about the planned product launch.  Elegant Image Stations will be installed throughout boutiques, and stores like Sephora, where a woman would have private space to relax in a spa-like setting, while her face is scanned, her skin type is evaluated, and a patented plastics press printed out a perfect image of her own face.


     The clear, paper-thin acrylic mask, embedded with thousands of tiny pores, when warmed by the skin, allowed injected products to penetrate the epidermis at the cellular level, providing regeneration and intense hydration.


     “Our proprietary skin-care products must be infused into the masks with our "Mirror Image" patented syringes,” Kamen continued.  While the masks are generated and placed in pretty take-home boxes, cosmetics will be presented in sterile, plastic vials for the women to sample.  A touch on the computer screen and a swipe of a credit card ships the promise of younger-looking skin anywhere overnight.

     During Kamen’s talk, Dara was sipping lemon water and boring a hole through Arthur Kamen’s head with her eyes, and tap-tap-tapping her foot on the floor right next to Sage’s. 

     Kamen apparently felt her fancy footwork as well, because mid-sentence he turned to look at Dara, and said, “Oh, yes!  Did I forget to mention that this whole concept was developed by Mrs. Devon?"


    Dara squinted at him as if he had developed some kind of major memory loss.  His skin turned a bright, wet-red.  Dara has, of course, of course, been appointed  by me as one of Mirror Image's co-CEO's and General Managers.  The other she insisted on hand-picking herself.  Dara has chosen you, Mrs. Bennett,” he said.  That’s why you were asked to attend today’s meeting.”

     Dara’s foot grew still; the incessant tapping ceased.  And in her peripheral vision Sage caught an image of Dara sitting at her side with a look of defiant victory on her face.  Kamen gave Sage a packet of papers and promised to meet with her in his office to present a formal offer.  Her excitement turned to confusion when she looked at Dara to thank her, and found that Dara was looking at her as if she were some kind of trophy fish she had reeled in.


     feeling of foreboding grew up and grabbed Sage by the throat, choking her with nimble fingers.  She looked at the manila envelopes in her hands.  She never should have accepted those things.  They were bait...  They were  lure...  They would ensnare her and never let her go.... 

     “Why don’t one of you grab a seat in the Image Station?” the chief engineer said, as if he were looking for a way to interrupt the awkwardness.  We’ll print out a mask and show you how it works.”


     “Sage?” Dara suggested.  “Why don’t you give them a copy of your beautiful face?  This way, the Station will print an internal hologram of your face and it will never forget you.”

  Sage didn’t answer.  Did she really want a machine to never forget her?

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