|The Story||The Authors|
|Suddenly a telephone began to sound persistently in the near distance. An answering machine snapped into life and a voice came floating out of the enveloping gloom. "Hello there Iím calling only a few specially selected folks in this neighbourhood with a valuable offer from Coronersí Life and Casualty. Did you know you can get life insurance with no physical and that no one will come to your house and with a premium that will never go up? Pick up your phone now for the offer of a life time! Donít wait, you may never have such a chance again! Pick up the phone now! The heavily cowled figure withdrew a thumb from the START button of the Iron Sausage and listened intently.|
|The Iron Sausage came to a slow grinding halt. Tiki and Demetrius were only somewhat temporarily relieved. The cowled figure was just reaching for the phone when a tall, lanky, dark figure appeared behind him and whipped him mercilessly with a cat o' nine tails. The cowled figure wailed and returned to the Iron Sausage. He pressed the start button and the machine roared to life again. "Damn you Tabitha!" the tall figure scowled and Tiki immediately recognized the voice of MTV's Kurt Loder. "Haven't I warned you time and again about telemarketers?" Tabitha nodded and whimpered. Kurt Loder stepped out of the shadows and approached the hanging prisons of Tiki and Demetrius. "Well, your friend is late." he said matter of factly. "So let's have your arm, Demetrius." Demetrius shrank back in his cage but three dark, heavily cowled figures snuck up behind him and chopped off his arm through the bars of his cage. Demetrius screamed in pain and horror as blood gushed from his ragged stump. One of the cowled figures tossed the severed arm into the Iron Sausage and it ground it up bones and all into a pulpy mass of meat.|
The phone rang again. The cowled figure tore the handset from its cradle. "Hello? What the hell do you people want want? Have I what? Huh? Ten free hours a month? Four cents a minute, anywhere in the world, all day Sunday? Well, sign me up right now! That's a deal I can't refuse!"|
He drew the hood back from his head. It really was Kurt Loder, the former MTV VJ. The station still used its digitized audio amd beta footage d-banks of him to reconstruct new news updates (often one syllable at a time), but the man of flesh and blood had long ago been fired for his uncompromising three-hundred-dollar-a-day heroin habit, his propensity for sodomizing young boys, and his incurably nefarious nyuck-nyuck-nyuck-nyuck-nyuck chortle. Now, nearly a decade since he'd left the public eye to devote his considerable energies to world domination and the constant demands of a part-time Administrative Assistant position at NAMBLA headquarters in scenic downtown West Bumfuck, South Dakota. He'd aged a bit, especially around the eyes, into which he was forced to inject his multiple daily fixes, having systematically collapsed every other vein in his body; his skin had gone a subtle but permanant urine-yellow from chronic jaundice, receding gums had lengthened his teeth into the snaggly chompers of an old possum, but otherwise he was still the same dashing, charming, neo-Promethean Kurt we'll all grown up with, an afternoon hero, a true role model, reliably sandwiched between Monkees reruns and Wheel of Fortune, then again an hour later between The New, New Scooby Doo Mystery Hour featuring Scoob's Sleuthing Young Nephew Doggy Doo and "All My New Daddies: A Boy Comes of Age in NAMBLA" on the ABC Afterschool Special. Our Kurt.
In her cage, however, Kiki felt none of this. The minute Demetrius had had his arm removed and had begun to scream her name in agony, blood pumping from his stump and across the room in ragged jets, a pilot-light in her had gone out; she'd fallen to floor of her cage and curled into a fetal position, knees drawn to her chin and hands over her ears, trying to drown out the twin cacaphony of Demetrius' shrieks and the horrid churning of the Iron Sausage, which now began to advance across the floor of the attic towards Demetrius' cage, as if to assert that under the right circumstances, even a thing of iron and bronze may be enough inspired by the smell of blood as to seek out its source.
All in the room were so absorbed with this, even the sentry failed to observe the door at the far end of the converted attic opening, and the shadow-dimmed figure of Janice slipping into the room.