Follows Her Everywhere
She was number 1,435 off the assembly line. Before the
finishing stage, she looked like every model before her: bald, smooth, bland,
with eyes of no discernible color. Bereft of programming and battery pack.
Giacomo would take care of all that when she arrived at his station.
As a finisher, Giacomo was an artiste, famous for taking
great care with small details, like the tint of permanent lipstick applied, the
quality and style of hair, length of fingernails, color of eyes, and tone of
voice. The root of his creativity? Boredom and madness—though his superiors had
no clue. If they had, he’d have been fired. So with a mischievous gleam in his
watery eyes and a sense of divine purpose, when #1,435 came to his station, he
went to work. Bent over her form, frantically whispering to himself like the
mad scientist he actually was, Giacomo speedily poked and painted and put all
the accoutrements of socially accepted beauty in place.
Lastly, Giacomo gently inserted her program chip. He didn’t
use one of the standard chips Ladytron Inc. supplied by the thousands, all
dumped in a cardboard box on his work-desk. No, he used a chip he’d
accidentally damaged when he tried to mate it with a musical program chip.
There was a reason he was a finisher, and not a programmer.
In another unusual and absolutely forbidden move, Giacomo
dressed her himself: white, mid-calf, patent-leather go-go boots, rainbow
striped mini-dress, over-large purple-lensed sunglasses (to hide her
intentionally heterochromatic irises—one dark brown, one bright blue), a stack
of plastic bangle bracelets, and a shiny switchblade (which Giacomo nicknamed Penny—for
penetrator) snug in her frilly
garter. This was fun! No wonder little girls liked to dress up dolls. He rubbed
his soft pudgy hands together in maniacal glee.
She awoke with the press of a button on the nape of her
neck. “I dub thee, Alice,” Giacomo
giggled. “Now wander forth into Wonderland, and do as ye must with a
vengeance.” He led her to the back of the factory, and opening a forgotten door
in need of a good oiling, pushed her through and into the desert waiting
Warmed by the sun, her programming chip livened, and with
each dusty step soft, strange music emanated from her head. She trudged through
the sucking sand and dry brush and hostile cacti until she came to a small
highway town. From there she took a bus to New Brass City. Being recognized as
a highly desirable Ladytron Star-Star Model, she needed no currency.
Once she landed in New Brass City, children stared at the
hyper-feminine, animated adult-sized dolly, while grown women grimaced, and men
leered. Following her unconventional program, she wandered, day and night,
until she located the city’s quaintly-named Red Light District. There she
planted herself beneath a flickering streetlight, on a littered,
graffiti-smeared corner by a seedy strip club.
In the wee hours, drunks would approach her, one at a time,
attracted by her beauty—and her perceived blatant sexual availability. The
cherry on top of her magnetic draw was the odd music surrounding her, like a
halo of atonal, treacly bliss. And true to Giacomo’s damaged program, she’d take
them by the hand to lead them into the dark alley behind the noisy, neon-lit
club…and show them her shiny Penny.
Hillary Lyon, Lyonwrite@gmail.com, who wrote BP #83’s “Strange Music
Follows Her Everywhere” (+ BP #78’s “The Lucky Break”), lives in southern
Arizona, where she founded and edits poetry journals for Subsynchronous Press.
Her stories have appeared in 365
Tomorrows, Eternal Haunted Summer,
Night to Dawn, The Sirens Call,
Trembling with Fear, Yellow
Mama, and numerous horror anthologies such as Alternate Hilarities 5: One
Star Reviews of the Afterlife, Fright
Mare, More Tales from the Blue Gonk
Cafe, My American Nightmare, Night in New Orleans: Bizarre Beats
from the Big Easy, Stories from
the Graveyard, Surreal Nightmares II, and White Noise & Ouija
Boards. When not writing,
she hand-paints boxes and furniture in the colorful, Dia de los Muertos style
and creates artwork for horror and pulp-fiction magazines.