“Everyone Loves a Bionic Man” by Jessalyn Johnson


The infection in Myron’s tendon had gotten to the point where there was no choice but to remove the leg completely. the doctors were shocked that someone of his age and otherwise normal health had allowed such a thing go untouched for so long, but removing the limb was the only option. He was excited for the procedure, though he pretended to be just as nervous and heartbroken as his loved ones for show.

He was provided with the latest in prosthetics, computerized limbs that went above and beyond any normal man’s physical ability.

After the third amputation, it was clear Myron had a bit of a hidden agenda, but no one dared accuse him of anything. He was an anomaly, as the doctors called him. They had never seen someone need so many prosthetics in such a short time span with no profound explanation.

A few decades back it wasn’t so safe to have so many artificial moving parts, but the rate at which technology was advancing allowed those who needed it access to extraordinary limb replacements. It was slowly becoming more common, seeing folks out and about with their bionic parts. At the laundromat, buying groceries. Most often it was a leg and and an arm at most, but at thirty-seven Myron became the first to have all four limbs replaced by computers.

His wife said he had a horrible addiction, and though he denied it as something he could control it was clear he wouldn’t stop until he was almost entirely built as a machine. He was fast as light, sleek as a new car.

It feels great, he said.

He ended up with an artificial heart as well, something the doctors said would save his life completely.

Myron concerned himself only with the TV networks, the online fame. The world was mesmerized by Myron, the bionic man.

Everyone loves me, he said.

Talk from the neighbors, even his closest friends and family, slowly began to voice concern. His eating dwindled, as did his sleep.

You can’t keep doing this, his wife pleaded.

It’s for my health, he said. All the doctors agree.

The places he frequented stopped asking him how he was doing, because everyone already knew. When he was out in public people of all ages would ask for a photograph and to touch his arms, which were always exposed, shiny and flawless under light, slick and noiseless during the night hours.

Producers asked him to star in their commercials, and Myron accepted every offer.

You’re like a superhero, they said. Everyone wants to be like you.
He was the first to know about what organs he could replace with electronics, what pieces of software he could acquire. The brain was his latest concern, and he knew when the phone rang that would be it for him. They found tumors, dozens of them, and the success of the surgery would make history.

It’ll save your life, the doctors told him. Maybe even prolong it.

A new brain. The things he could know, the people he could impress.
His wife and kids asked him not to, but it was an impossible offer to turn down. She said she would want a divorce, take the kids, the house. Myron let the surgeons wheel him into the operation room.

This won’t hurt a bit, the doctor said. Myron grinned for the last time and let the anesthesia rinse his blood.
To the sound of his own gears waking up he opened his eyes and saw the world in static, without its vibrant colors, electronic and measurable and rigid.

This is just want I wanted. He said. I feel nothing, I feel nothing at all.


Jessalyn Johnson is a fiction writer and poet from Central Florida currently living in Brooklyn, New York. She recently graduated with a degree in English Literature and currently attends The New School’s MFA Creative Writing Program. You can follow her on Twitter @jessalyn451 and Instagram @jessalynjohnson.