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Chapter 1

     The Story The Authors

A sound came from the silence that had engulfed Barbera in introspection, like a knocking at the door that caps the end of a dream, and Barbera realized that someone was talking to her. "Barbera? You ok? Barbera?"
Emmy was looking into Barbera's eyes and holding out the scarf that Barbera had mistakenly left in the office. "You ok honey?"

pH
Barbera's attention snapped back and she smiled embarassingly. "Oh yes I'm fine", she said as she took her scarf. "Thank you."
She knew she couldn't for a moment consider taking a drink, for it would transform her into a beast of uncontrolled wantoness. From the momenet her tongue touched the sweet liquid her personality would begin a transformation. She would hear the sound of herself being unleashed from solid ground. She would begin to soar, she would laugh, she would fall into the hands of the nearest smiling person, she would do things she wouldn't remember. She would wake up feeling sick and full of regret at another black out. Joselito had done well to show her what would have happened if she'd had that drink.
pH
Feeling back in control she knew she had to leave. She walked through the crowd and with a passing glance at Monty wondered about something she'd heard on the radio during her lunch break. A study had shown that women have an average of four to six sexual thoughts a day. That measure seemed congruent with her own experience. Although the study didn't mention men, she had heard somewhere that the frequency of men's sexual thoughts was measured in seconds, not days. Even if men had only one sexual thought per minute, the difference in frequency between her and Monty would be 250-fold! Monty was such a good natured looking fellow, like the kind of person who would get a giddy look of satisfaction on his face simply after poaring his cat a saucer of milk. Did he really have 250 times as many sexual thoughts as she did? pH
She made her way out of the building to find her car. The day hadn't been sunny. In fact it had been a little overcast and chilly. But when she found her car, unlocked the door and sat down, she savored the warm feeling of the black vinyl against her legs, as it had absorbed the sun's heat even though the sun had been obscured by the clouds all day. She savored the sudden silence that was present after she shut the door. She was away from all those people. She started the car, popped in a tape of Madonna, and looked over at the little stack of tabloids on the seat next to her. Chris
"Tiny Elvis Found Growing in Iowa Man's Left Testicle!" screamed the headline of the Weekly World News at the top of the stack. Philip
With A Savage Squeal Of Tires, Barbara Pulled Out Of The Parking Lot. It Was Still Early. A Friday Night. No One Could Be Trusted. Not Even Joselito, That Miserable Excuse For A Higher Power, Snoring Away Inside Her Right Now, Sleeping Off Another Tropical Drunk. The Fucker! "Get Into The Groove Boy You Got To Prove Your Love To-oo Me" Sang Madonna From The Tape Deck And "Git Antu Tha Greeve Bay Yi Gat Tuh Preeve Yar Leeve Tay-ay Moo" Sang Barbara, As Deliberately Off-Key And Glossolalial As She Could Make Herself. Keepin The Windows Rolled Down Allowed Her To Frighten And Torment The Last Rush Hour Commuters Paused In Their Idling Vehicles At Red Lights Just Waiting For The Journey Home To Be Finished. "Fuckers," She Hissed. "I Hate You All." Jesse
To her left she could make the space-age hulk of the new Gubernatorium rising from what had once been the seedy Gomorrah of the Castro district. Now, the vice-laden streets where Barb had whiled and whored and cat-fought and skin-popped and vomited away her drinking/drug-taking years the tender alleys she'd passed out in on verminous mattresses smelling of old vegetable-ends and cheap mozzarella revealing a bevy of secret ingredients not mentioned on the label only after three or four days to ferment in the hothouse of the bottom of a dented trash-can the curbs with their foul-mouthed prostitutes of undeterminate gender and ability the fleabag roominghouses, the crazy street preachers calling the weight of heaven down upon us all, the pimps flashing their diamond teeth, and the rickety combination tattoo-blowjob-pizza parlors whose only other indigenous environment was the back streets of sundry Rickie Lee Jones songs now all of this was gone, replaced by chi-chi yuppie boutiques, overpriced "family-style" buffet restaurants (steam tables reminded her of nothing so much as a recurring dream where the sterile. orderly interiors of mausoleums suddenly and all at once belched forth all their biodegrading secrets and glub-glun-glubbing anaerobic bacteria-in-action; it was more horrible than the original Phantasm...), bright awful souvenir shops, reduced-fat Soylent Green vendors and their ilk surrounding the indescribably gigantic Gubernatorium, where for the price of a ticket one could watch former governors representing all 67 of these United States battle to the death in ever-inventive ways... Barbara shivered as she recalled the electric ringside tension of the night when George Bush, Jr. vanquished former New York State governor Pataki by systematically stuffing his every orifice with over 50 pounds of gluey, half-cooked Korean sweet potato noodles, before himself succumbing in the next round to a cloud of lethal flatulence from none other than 'Handsome' William Weld, ever a favorite among fandom's elite. Maybe I'll treat myself to a ticket tonight, thought Barbara. She switched off Madonna in favor of the radio and began to spin the dial, looking for a news station which could inform her as to who tonight's contestants might be... Philip


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