Friday, December 12, 2008

The Queen of Guilty Pleasures (Part 1)


Just as the development of the internet ended up being utilized the most efficiently for pornography, I would suppose the same will apply when cloning becomes common and relatively simple.

This conjecture led me to whip up a story back in 2005 about what would happen if someone stole DNA from an old woman who had once been a pinup to make a pretty little sex toy. The death yesterday of Bettie Page leads me to revisit my story.

It was originally published in Bewildering Stories in two parts in 2005. I'll take a little time this week to post the story here, just for your enjoyment, scene by scene.

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THE QUEEN OF GUILTY PLEASURES
By Lou Antonelli

Bob the Stockman was absent-mindedly loading a shelf with dollar pasta when something caught the corner of his eye.

Bob used to be a telecommunications specialist — but the gigantic corporation went bust, and now he felt himself lucky to get a minimum-wage job at a Bargain Bucks store.

He turned and realized why his peripheral vision had tugged subliminally at his consciousness.

“How special,” he thought. “The Trash Perfecta. Cheap Trash, Old Trash, Euro-Trash.”

The astoundingly-dressed hooker was just picking up her yellow plastic bag full of junk food. An old overweight woman standing behind her stepped up.

Euro-Trash was behind her. Even in LA, this guy stood out — wraparound mirrored sunglasses, slicked back hair, olive complexion, a narrow white tie on a silver lame’ shirt and navy blue chinos. All under a heavy dark long overcoat.

“This dope is a slave to fashion,” thought Bob to himself. “Wearing a coat like that in LA in July.”

The elderly woman's pretty blue eyes sparkled as she made small talk with the clerk, who took her cash and turned to the cash drawer.

Before the old woman had a chance to pull back her arm, Euro-Trash reached into a deep coat pocket and pulled out the god-damnedest big syringe Bob had ever seen. In one smooth gesture he raised it and pulled the cap off the large needle. Leaning around the old woman, he plunged it deep into the fleshy part of her upper arm.

It took a moment for the pain to register. As she turned and started the scream, Euro-Trash raised his forearm to block her head, and then pushed her away, letting the needle pull out at the same time.

With his free hand, he pulled a narrow black container out of the opposite pocket and he dropped the syringe inside as he ran out the door.

Blood ran down the old woman’s arm and onto the counter as she sobbed. The clerk pulled a roll of paper towels out from under the counter.

Bob saw the whole business, which probably took all of ten seconds. He ran down the aisle and for a second thought to help the old woman, but instead sprinted to the door and into the parking lot.

Despite the heavily tinted windows, he could see Euro-Trash wildly turning the steering wheel as he sped into the street. In the split second the Porsche slowed as it entered traffic, he read and memorized the license plate. It was from Texas.

Bob went back into the store, where the cashier was hugging the old woman.

“There, there, Miss Bettie, the ambulance is on its way.”

The old woman pounded the counter with the fist of her uninjured arm, and clenched her teeth in pain. “A kook, another damn kook! Jesus help me!”

* * *

(to be continued)

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This is one of my best ever alternate histories.