“A LIFETRADE WEDDING”
by Adam Bender
Adam Bender on Shakespir
A LifeTrade Wedding
Copyright © 2017 by Adam Bender
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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The following testimonials for LifeTrade® are true. However, some names have been changed to protect our customers’ privacy.
It sounds kind of weird to say it, but I’m one of those brides who got left at the altar.
I should say straight off that I’m not asking for pity. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. You see, I’m not sad. After all, I still got married that day.
You know that thing in weddings where the woman wears a veil, and then when she arrives at the front of the church, the guy lifts up the white cloth? Why do they do that? Is it to make sure the bride is the one he expected? Did that used to be a big problem back when they invented wedding ceremonies?
Well, I guess that’s kind of like what happened to me. I didn’t notice anything wrong while my misty-eyed father walked me down the aisle. My extended family is huge, and the whole mob of them turned into paparazzi. I guess Dad couldn’t see through his tears and, what with all the flashing lights, I couldn’t make out Arnold’s face, either.
It wasn’t until we were standing face-to-face that I realized it wasn’t Arnold waiting for me at the altar. The groom was about the same height and build as Arnold. He had the same gelled brown hair. He even seemed to be wearing Arnold’s wedding suit. But I mean, look, I’m not stupid—it wasn’t Arnold.
I looked at my father for help, but he was oblivious to the situation. So was Ricky, Arnold’s best man. Typical. None of our guests said anything, either—not that I could really blame them. Arnold and I had barely been dating three weeks before he proposed. I hadn’t really had time to introduce him to anyone.
My sister Gabby, the Maid of Honor, saw the confusion on my face and tapped me hard on the shoulder. Her expression was stern. Sharply, she whispered, “Rhonda! Just go with it!”
I turned to New Arnold, ready to smack him and hightail it out of there. But he told me I looked beautiful and that he loved me so much, and it occurred to me that my Arnold hadn’t said anything to me like that since the day he proposed. So when the officiant asked me if I would take New Arnold as my lawfully wedded husband, I said, “I will.”
Later that night, when we were alone, I really did lose it. I started screaming at New Arnold. He was really nice about it, though. Without raising his voice even once, New Arnold told me all about LifeTrade® and his old life in Miami. He even invited Gabby over, and she really helped me calm down. The dear looked like she had been crying, too.
The truth is, over the last few weeks I’d been having doubts. Old Arnold had been distant throughout most of the wedding planning. And, the way we’d been fighting over the last week … it almost felt like he was going to leave me.
Well, I guess he did leave me. But New Arnold isn’t going anywhere. He’s a real catch. He’s a pediatric doctor and just loves children. Oh, and he actually sits and listens when I play the piano! I should add that he’s no novice in bed, either!
I know what you’re thinking. How can a successful relationship be built on a lie, let alone one about something as important as identity? But there are no lies in our relationship anymore. It’s been a year, and we’re still in love. Lately, we’ve been trying for a family. I’m hoping for a boy. Life seems easier when you’re a man.
So yeah, maybe it is a little bit weird how things went down. But these are modern times! The rules of our parents don’t apply anymore! In the end, I still got my happily ever after.
And it’s all thanks to LifeTrade®.
I told Rhonda to go with it because she deserves better than Arnold. Old Arnold, I mean.
I didn’t like him from the start. The first time we met was at this lunch with just the three of us. I kid you not, I caught him drooling over my chest. It’s a wonder Rhonda didn’t notice! Then, when she went to the restroom, he actually started flirting with me.
He wet his lips and said, “So, being older, you must be more experienced than your sister, huh?”
Yes, he actually said that! Can you believe it?! Well, my suspicions about him turned out to be correct. Rhonda doesn’t know this, but Arnold has cheated on her on multiple occasions.
I was skeptical about LifeTrade®, of course! Rhonda is my sister, after all, and I want the best for her. When Arnold told me about his plan, I went ballistic. But then he showed me the website, and—I don’t know—it all started to make sense. I called LifeTrade® and we worked through all my concerns. The representative I spoke with was really kind. She patiently explained what they were offering and how it would work, and then she put me in touch with Arnold’s replacement, Ray.
Well, Ray is just the sweetest guy. He’s handsome and has a great career as a doctor for children. The only reason he doesn’t have anyone already is that he’s a little shy. I couldn’t help but flirt with him a little myself, but he politely told me that he was committed to Rhonda. Well, that’s all I needed to hear. I mean, he just seemed so perfect for her—so much better than that asshole, Arnold.
I gave Ray my blessing and started working on convincing Rhonda’s friends and our family to go along with the trade. This was easy. Things had moved so fast between Arnold and Rhonda that most of the extended family hadn’t even met him yet. Plus, Dad’s getting a little senile, so he didn’t even remember meeting Arnold.
Would I have preferred that Rhonda that had called off the wedding herself and started fresh? Of course! But my sister was dead-set on getting married, and I knew there’d be no convincing her to call it off. With Ray, she gets the husband she deserves, and I get peace of mind about my sister’s happiness. Best of all, I haven’t seen Old Arnold for months.
And it’s all thanks to LifeTrade®.
I met my true love at the altar.
I must admit that initially I was skeptical about LifeTrade®. I’d tried dating services before, but never had much luck. None of the women I met on Match.com were right for me. I was looking for a life partner, but all any of these ladies wanted to do was “have fun.”
My career only exacerbated my loneliness. I do quite well as a family doctor, and the job can be quite rewarding. However, interacting with young, happy units on a daily basis weighed terribly on me. I came to realize that if I did not act soon, I might never obtain a family. Time was running out.
What could I do? Countless times, I have called Eros to my aid, but to no avail! I have long been a fool, attracted to women beyond my attainment. And yet I remained unwilling to lower my standards.
LifeTrade® appealed to me for the simple reason that it is not truly a dating service. Yes, it is a service based on matchmaking algorithms, but LifeTrade® strives for more than finding the best partner. Nay, LifeTrade® seeks to match its customer with the best possible life.
Arnold found me on LifeTrade®. He worked at a bar in Cleveland—didn’t like it very much. He told me all about his fiancée, Rhonda, and how they had jumped into the engagement without thinking it through. He was having second thoughts.
It is strange to describe the way I felt as Arnold outlined the details of his life with Rhonda. Everything he told me about her, even the things he cited as disadvantages, only served to enhance my enthusiasm for making the trade. Yes, the timing of the exchange was a little worrying, but I felt ready to dispense with all that dating nonsense and commit my life to this woman of my dreams.
There were challenges along the way. We had to convince Rhonda’s sister, Gabby. She was initially resistant, but when I told her about myself and what I wanted for Rhonda, she became my greatest ally.
And so our wedding day came. When I saw Rhonda come down the aisle, looking absolutely stunning in her white dress, I knew that I had made the right decision. She was confused, naturally, but LifeTrade® had briefed everyone in the wedding about what was happening. To my great relief, Rhonda went through with it, and made me the happiest man alive.
The first test of our marriage came that night, when I think it really clicked for Rhonda that Old Arnold was never coming back. However, I chose a path of patience and honesty. I invited Gabby over and the three of us talked the situation through. It was not long before Rhonda came around. I believe that she came to realize that I, in fact, was quite the upgrade from Arnold 1.0.
I do feel sad for him sometimes. He didn’t know what he had in Rhonda. She is smart and caring, and goes out of her way to make my day better. Did you know she plays the piano? Arnold must have forgotten to tell me. She is amazing. I can sit for hours just watching those lithe fingers dance across the keys.
We want to start a family. I’m hoping for a little girl. Life seems easier when you’re a girl.
Cleveland is fine. It might not have Miami’s climate, but my true love knows how to keep me warm. Alas, I am but an amateur poet, but my fair Rhonda inspires me to put to ink the most beautiful of words!
And it’s all thanks to LifeTrade®.
So, I was pretty high that whole wedding. I didn’t even know that wasn’t Arnold. I mean, why wouldn’t it be, right? What reason would I have to be paranoid about something like that? I mean, besides the copious amounts of pot I smoked.
I don’t know—is it messed up that I didn’t notice? To be honest, I’m not really sure why Arnold even picked me to be his Best Man in the first place. We’re not even really friends. I work at a record shop and sometimes sell him some seriously sweet vinyl. We’re always talking about music. He’s got good taste! I guess we are friends in a way, but I never thought he’d ask me to be in his wedding.
Maybe that’s why I did all that marijuana. I mean, I would have smoked up before any wedding, but I really went all out this time.
Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t remember meeting anyone on Arnold’s side of the wedding. That’s pretty messed up!
Anyway, I ended up having a pretty great time at the wedding. I hooked up with the Maid of Honor in the bathroom during the reception. Now we’re kind of like … friends with benefits? Oh man, that girl is diabolic in the sack!
So, no, I didn’t really know anything about the trade going in. I guess that’s a testament for how good LifeTrade® is at matching compatible people looking for a fresh start. To be totally honest, after the wedding I tried the service, and have already found a few definite possibilities for myself. For the first time in years, I feel hopeful about my future. Dude, maybe I’ll even quit smoking!
And it’s all thanks to LifeTrade®.
I’m kind of a matchmaker if you think about it.
Yes, I did leave Rhonda at the altar, but it’s not like I abandoned her. I found someone to replace me before I left.
Things were good at first with Rhonda. I mean, she’s a really hot girl. She’s got these really nice breasts that remind me of bouncy balloons. I got so obsessed with those knockers, I just had to marry them.
So yeah, I proposed. Ricky from the record shop warned me not to jump into marriage, but I couldn’t help it. The thing was, after a few weeks of being engaged, I realized they were right. True, Rhonda was sexy now, but it’s not like she was going to be hot forever. The problem was there wasn’t really anything else about her that made me want to stay. Yeah, okay, I can see how maybe that’s a jerk thing to say. Well, maybe I am a jerk… but that’s kind of the point.
Rhonda deserved better.
So, I was surfing the Internet, looking for free porn to help me escape my depression, when I saw a link for this website called LifeTrade®. I’d never heard of them before, but the ad promised to help me start over completely with a new identity. That seemed a little weird, but I Googled it and all the reviews were four or five stars. I figured I didn’t have much to lose, so I entered information about myself and what kind of person I wanted to be. I even got to say what kind of person I’d want to replace me. LifeTrade® used their trademarked algorithms to handle the matchmaking. That’s how I met Ray.
Ray’s life seemed way better than mine, but the problem was, the guy totally sucked at getting girls. He wasn’t ugly or anything—it’s kind of scary how similar we look—but for whatever reason, he just didn’t have the knack for it. Before Rhonda, I think he was probably a virgin.
I told him about my situation. I offered to show him a picture of Rhonda, but he said he wanted to know about her personality first. That’s a big part of how I knew he would be a good choice.
Oh, and this is kind of funny. I’ve always hated my name—thought about changing it before but I’ve always been too lazy to expend the effort. But Ray is a totally awesome name. And, get this, Ray really liked the name Arnold! Go figure!
The other thing we had in common was that neither of us really have families. For me, it was one of those things where, after high school, I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I was a little worried that Ray wouldn’t want to give up his own family for my piece of crap one, but it turned out he grew up in foster homes, and so it wasn’t going to be much of a change for him.
I knew I was going to have get Rhonda’s older sister Gabby on board if it was going to work. I was banging her on the side, which I figured could only help my chances convincing her. I told her she could come to Miami after the trade and we could be together without feeling any guilt about Rhonda. It took a little work, but eventually Gabby agreed it would be for Rhonda’s benefit that we go through with the trade.
So anyway, a few days later, we finalized the deal. LifeTrade® handled the rest. I was a little worried about the timing of the exchange being on the wedding day, but Gabby and LifeTrade® got all of Rhonda’s friends and family on board ahead of the big day. In the end, the trade was only really a surprise to Rhonda.
But you know, from what I hear, they’re doing really well.
Gabby sent me a text after the wedding vows to let me know it had gone off without a hitch. I replied that I didn’t think she should come to Miami, and blocked her number on my cell.
So I’m Ray now, and he’s Arnold. Feels right! I have a job as a bartender right on the beach. Old Ray didn’t really have a whole lot going on, to be honest, so I’ve had a lot of freedom to make his life into my own. And let me tell you, those Florida babes are dripping hot! I can tell you for a fact that I am living the dream.
And it’s all thanks to LifeTrade®.
What if a stranger took over the part of your best friend? In “,” a would-be screenwriter seeks answers after his buddy is replaced by a stranger. He discovers a matching website for people who want to trade places.
In the surreal style of Her and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, this short story imagines a possible future for technology — a revolutionary online matchmaking service that can help an unhappy person find a fresh start in the life of someone else.
Break through the government propaganda and avoid surveillance cameras in the dystopian novel acclaimed by [+ Kirkus Reviews+] as “a page-turner of the highest order.”
Told from the first-person perspective of an amnesiac, [+ We, The Watched+] places the reader in the shoes of Seven as he struggles to go unnoticed in a surveillance society.
Seven enters a dystopia where the government conducts mass surveillance and keeps a Watched list of its own citizens. The Church has become as powerful as the State, and people who resist are called Heretics and face execution. Seven’s amnesia gives him a blank-slate perspective that helps him see through the propaganda, and he soon gets involved with a group of rebels called the Underground. But this same perceptive power could get him into trouble with the government police force known as the Guard.
The critically acclaimed novel was a Library Journal SELF-e selection.
The war has come home. The mission has failed. Agent Eve Parker just wants Jon back.
Eve must arrest her fiancé after he loses his memory and becomes a revolutionary named Seven in a fight against the government. However, when she learns more about the President’s plan to broaden citizen surveillance, she begins to question just who is right.
[+ Divided We Fall+], the sequel to We, The Watched, takes place in a dystopia where the government conducts mass surveillance and keeps a Watched list of its own citizens. The Church has become as powerful as the State, and people who resist are called Heretics and face execution.
“Bender’s sequel is a worthy delivery on the promise of his riveting debut,” said [+ Kirkus Reviews+]. A novel about a scheming president offers an excellent read for those who love thrillers or 21st-century history.”
The critically acclaimed novel was a Library Journal SELF-e selection. Also, Amazon and Publishers Weekly honored the manuscript as a quarter-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards.
Adam Bender writes speculative fiction that explores modern-day societal fears with a mix of action and romance.
Adam has written two dystopian sci-fi novels about government surveillance: and . His next novel is a dystopian western about guns in America. In addition, Adam has adapted WE, THE WATCHED into a screenplay.
In his day job as a journalist, Adam has covered politics and technology for Communications Daily and Computerworld Australia. He has won investigative reporting awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Specialized Information Publishers Association. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife.
Despite how this all might appear, Adam is generally a rather modest and amiable fellow. Please [+ subscribe to Adam’s newsletter+] for updates on his creative writings.
Read about the next direction of matchmaking apps – exchanging lives! A reluctant groom leaves his bride at the altar by trading places with a man who wants to be married. A series of testimonials by the wedding party shows how LifeTrade can give everyone a “happily ever after." "A LifeTrade Wedding" is a new short story by Adam Bender, author of dystopian novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. This is Bender's second yarn about the life exchange service introduced in his short story, "Life Trade."