Petty Civil Disobedience
by Moonslash

It's an unusually chilly and damp day in LA, but the Whole Foods chain was one of the first to get an outdoor/indoor climate modifying system, so Lee May sheds her antique coat upon walking in and drapes it casually over the top of her minicart.

When the doors open to let in the next customer, the draft of air swooshes gently over the shiny floor of the store and sweeps around her bare ankles like cool silk. She feels a momentary delight at the sensation, then tries to think of a curse more original than "fuck this shit".

Heels clicking over the floor, she walks briskly away from the door and the draft. It's one of those days when getting delighted over The Little Things in Life makes her want to drive a Mack truck onto the smart freeway at rush hour, unplug its GPS from the traffic grid, and take a very, very sharp turn.

Some days, "fuck this shit" just doesn't cut it. So she goes shopping.

Swerving the minicart into the cereal aisle, Lee May decides she's glad that the Genetic Prototype Project masterminds failed to find -- and disable - the PMS gene. Sure, this hormone-induced misery is just another way in which her body controls her mind and emotions, but at least she's not fucking happy as she's been programmed to be.

Mom once told her that, a few decades ago, people could only take drugs to make themselves feel cheerful. Drugs were a more humane method, she thinks. At least people had the choice to stop taking them.

Oh, thank Mother Nature for the mystique of female physiognomy.

And thank the owner of the Tailored Lily boutique in downtown Santa Monica for showing her the lower level of the store, closed to all but the most loyal and discreet customers, and filled to the brim with antique clothes -- the kind that don't contain thermo-adaptive fibers, don't read her vital functions, don't memorize when they've been worn or how they've been stained.

And most importantly, they don't administer painkillers. Which is good, because Lee May is developing a masochistic possessiveness for her cramps. They're all hers and they help her be cranky, dammit.

Plus, these old clothes are gorgeous: obviously not the kind to be taken to the black market and sold to criminals intent on escaping the omniscient monitoring system of the Land of the Free. No, these clothes are beautiful, professional yet sexy and classy, expensive- looking, made to be worn with a certain attitude of arrogance. These clothes are made to be noticed.

And they also make her invisible.

In other words, they're perfect.

The store is growing busy with the after-work crowd, and Lee May zigzags her way through the display of tropical fruits. She picks up a bag and fills it with organic mangoes, turns toward the veggies department, stops at the section containing some twenty kinds of potatoes, and gently slips a mango into the pile of Dutch Russets. She remembers reading about this kind -- one of the first GenMod species ever introduced in health food stores, advertised as the superior food for the superior people.

Well. You may be what you eat, but you don't have to eat what you are, because that would be either incredibly vain or incredibly gross.

Lee May grins to herself, pushes her minicart to the more expensive NonMod section, and fills up another bag. In passing, she picks up an eggplant - the vegetable she hates the most. She'll drop it into the avocadoes when she walks by.

But she's in the mood for something a bit more daring today. Sucking on her lower lip, Lee May scans the store trying not to look shifty.

Last time, she almost got caught when she punctured the bottom of a bag of flour; the store was still too empty, and her nails were not as sharp as they needed to be to cut effortlessly through the enhanced plastic.

This time, she decides to lose balance at the refrigerator section and lean momentarily on the aluminum-packaged eggs. In case the crunch is heard by the store detectors, she can pretend that it was an accident. She is not a very good actress, but she is good at acting normal, thanks to a lifetime of practice. Look normal, honey, and nobody will be freaked out by the fact that you're a superwoman. Well, sort of.

The noise made by other customers covers up the crack of eggshells under her palm. Lee May straightens quickly, picks up a small box of MereWhites as if nothing happened, and pushes her minicart into the next aisle.

The thrill of her little sabotage feels amplified by deliberate suppression: finally stopping between air fresheners and soaps, she lets her eyes roam across brand names in a pretense of purpose while she drinks in the sensations overwhelming her body. Her quickened heartbeat is throbbing in her chest, the air rushing through her throat is full and palpable, her cheeks are decidedly warmer and probably pink, her pupils must be dilated because everything looks almost fantastically bright, and her skin prickles in contact with, well, everything.

And she is suddenly ridiculously aware of the way her panties feel between her legs.

Standing close to Lukas makes her feel this way. Lee May wonders how much of her attraction to him is due to plain and simple human infatuation, and how much of it springs from her awareness of the glorious damage she'd cause in both their lives if she seduced him.

She knows she can do it; in fact, there are nights when she can imagine it so vividly that the follow-up guilt for Doing The Wrong Thing leaks into her dreams, as if she'd really made him cheat on his wife.

Sometimes, it really sucks being such a goody two shoes.

Especially at those moments of their excessively by-the-book friendliness, overly enthusiastic in their sincerity, that are supposed to cover up for the sparks that fill the office whenever they are alone. It's what Lukas does, anyway; Lee May usually plays along and idly wonders whether he can tell that, whenever he gets into another impassioned speech about the practice of law in general and his latest case in particular, all she can think of is pushing him onto the desk, forcing his mouth open with her tongue, undoing his belt and zipper, and riding him into oblivion.

In her fantasy, the walls of the office are already shaded, of course, and there's nobody within earshot.

In her fantasy, he is not shocked at her strength; he doesn't notice that they are not using protection; and he doesn't take his eyes off her face even as he comes.

In her fantasy, she's wearing her antique clothes (something she hasn't yet dared to do in the workplace) and since they're not self- cleaning like regular clothes, the scent of sex and sweat remains in them, so she can take it home and warm the fabric between her hands and smell it every time she wants to remember the way his skin tasted under her lips.

Because, in her fantasy, Lukas stays with his wife and Lee May doesn't have to deal with the repercussions of her -- their - actions.

Which, of course, she'd have to in reality, because they are both too fucking principled to have a short, sweet, secret affair. No; they'd have to do it right, so they could be together the way decent people get together -- openly, honestly, with nothing tawdry or dirty in sight to taint their relationship. In other words, Lukas would have to get a divorce, and Lee May would have to...

But breaking up families is not exactly the same as breaking a few eggs, so she abandons this train of thought, picks up an air freshener (sea breeze scent, probably nothing like the real thing that must cling to his hair when he takes his boat out of Marina Del Rey) and rolls her minicart towards the seafood counter.

There, she finds an opportunity that's too perfect to be missed.

There is a long and messy line, and there is a sampler plate of shrimp and sauce about mid-way down the counter. Oh, she's been waiting for something like this.

Weaving through people and minicarts, Lee May reaches the plate, smiles at the saleswoman on the other side, and picks up the biggest shrimp she can see. Then, taking a small bite and nodding at the saleswoman who smiles back, she excuses herself with genial politeness and steps out of the line she interrupted.

As quickly as possible without arousing suspicion, Lee May reaches the hair care aisle and carefully hides the sizeable remnant of the shrimp behind the tall bottles of FunChrome highlighter. Her heart is threatening to jump out of her chest, but the adrenaline wave is so high now it makes her feels invincible.

There is no way sketch comedy and hovertaps could ever make her feel this way. Hell, there is no way most of the synthetic opioids on the market could make her feel so alive. Lukas might; but that's not an option. She's a good person, too smart and too well adjusted, she's kind and decent and happy despite any unrequited feelings and fuck it all to hell, today is supposed to be all about getting away from her poster-child-for-Hallmark self. And she's having all these wrong thoughts that are swiftly killing her perfect buzz.

She wants it back.

The shopping adventure usually ends with a can of Melocola, useless sugar fizzing down her throat to cap the rebellious experience; but oh, look, today is a lucky day, the day of perfect opportunities, and Lee May makes up her mind in a split second. Almost as an afterthought, she picks up an unmarked bath ball out of the box someone else had opened, and puts it casually in her minicart -- under her coat. The cameras covering the checkout lines won't catch it when she slips the tiny ball into her coat pocket.

By the time Lee May steps out of the store and into the gray street of the rainy day, she is absolutely, totally, perfectly fucking happy.


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