by Terence Taylor
Terence Taylor (terencetaylor.com) is an award-winning children’s television writer whose work has appeared on PBS, Nickelodeon, and Disney, among many others. As an author of fiction, his first published short story, “Plaything”, appeared in Dark Dreams, the first horror/suspense anthology of African-American authors. He was one of a handful of authors to be included in the next two volumes, with “The Share” in Voices from the Other Side and “Wet Paint” in Whispers in the Night. Terence is also author of the first two books of his Vampire Testaments trilogy: Bite Marks and Blood Pressure. After a two-year hiatus he has returned to the conclusion of his trilogy, Past Life. Find him on Twitter @vamptestaments.
James Dean’s ass was sheer perfection, as always. It was smooth, pink and round, covered with a hint of adolescent down that gave it a halo in the light. You never saw it in any of the movies he made, not even “Rebel Without a Cause.” What a waste, Martin thought. Surely a skinny dip in the Los Angeles River could have been worked in with Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood stripped down by his side.
Dean’s narrow back rose and fell with his sleeping breaths. Blondish brown hair tumbled from the top of his pale face as he rolled over, one arm thrown over his head as if to protect him from a collision. Martin frowned ever so slightly, knew the boy’s story ended in a car crash.
He smiled sadly.
Enough of that… Right now, James Dean had just been delivered young and alive to his bed. He turned to his second guest, rented at equally high cost for the night. Thanks to holographic recorders that hummed away in the walls, it was an evening he could enjoy over and over, like all his sessions here at the super secret location of Starf*ckers, Inc. — the coy asterisk poised like a tight, tiny anus in their logo.
“Norma? Norma Jean?”
Martin whispered her name softly, the real one she’d used in the time she was plucked from for the night, not the Marilyn Monroe moniker she rode to fame later in her life. He rolled the girl over to face him, both of them naked as James Dean. The tranquilizer injected on arrival always made them slightly groggy at first, until the aphrodisiac kicked in and they warmed up. That kept them calm and compliant when they woke in a strange bed with a strange man. Martin had been often assured that their time together would seem like a dream once the effect wore off and they were returned to the past, all memories wiped, no harm done.
“Norma? Honey? Baby?”
Beautiful blue eyes opened like retractable headlights, her gaze so bright he froze in it. “Do I know you?” she asked, her melodic baby girl voice tolling lightly in the domed room like a bell. The youth beside her woke at the sound, sat up under the sheets.
“What’s all this, man?” he asked, his brow endearingly furrowed. It was before “Rebel” for him, before he was even in New York doing television. That was the one Martin wanted, for Marilyn too. Before Hollywood and the crushing of their spirit and dreams. He wanted them when they were fresh, still filled with all the sweet promise the world would drain from them all too quickly.
“This is Jimmy, Norma. I thought we could all have some fun.” He pulled out a platinum pillbox, opened and offered it, as his other hand reached for a glass of champagne by the bed.
Norma looked at the contents of the glistening container and her eyes widened more than he thought possible. “What’s that?” she breathed, one arm over taut teen breasts, as the other hand pulled back her still brown hair to see it better.
“Something to help us relax,” said Martin.
Jimmy laughed and leaned forward, popped one out and rolled it between two fingers. “Which is it? Up or down?”
Even at this age he was adventurous. Was that why Martin had chosen him over the young River Phoenix or Judy Garland that his friends preferred, just as tragic in their own way, each as deserving of a night of comfort away from the weight of their lives? But they weren’t as playful as James Dean. Martin grinned as he held out the pillbox. “It’s recreational. Trust me.”
“That’s how they say ‘fuck you’ in Hollywood,” laughed Jimmy, and then frowned. “Where did I hear that? Crazy, man…. How can you tell a joke you don’t know?”
Martin bit his lip. He’d told him that one the last time. How good were those memory wipes? He’d have to talk to his hosts. “Never mind. Just eat up, and then we can all…”
The champagne glass and pills didn’t get any farther before the locked door slid open and uniformed officers filled the room, all armed.
An undercover detective came in behind the others, dressed more like a pimp than a policeman. He flashed a digital badge on his phone screen. “Detective Eddie Fergis, Special Victims, Temporal Unit. You’re under arrest.” The cops covered Martin’s bedmates with robes and bagged the pills as evidence. Martin’s hands were cuffed behind him.
“Martin Dutton,” said the officer cuffing him. “You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you…” He rattled through the rest of his Miranda Rights as Martin protested.
“Please, don’t! I…I love them! I always have! I just wanted to make them feel better, that’s all,” said Martin. “A night or two of pleasure away from the pain of their tragic lives…”
“Yeah?” Fergis pushed closer to his face. “Such a good Samaritan. Ever occur to you that maybe the repressed memory of being regularly whored out and brain-wiped might be why they had those ‘tragic lives’? That you got them addicted with the pills you provided? Them and all the other dead celebs you and your buddies hook up with after you drag them from the past to your whorehouse?” He waved Martin away.
“What? I…no, it couldn’t…I couldn’t have… NO!” Martin wailed as he was dragged naked from the room. “It wasn’t my fault! It can’t be! Can’t be!”
“Get off on that in prison!” Fergis snarled after him. “That’s right! You screwed them all up, asshole! You and your sick buddies!”
His plainclothes partner helped James Dean and Norma Jean to their feet and led them past the detective. Fergis stopped them.
“Hang on,” he said, took each by an arm and swung them to face him. “You okay, then?” he asked, studied their faces. They stared back, breathed faster, still dazed.
“Don’t worry. We’ll get you home,” he said. They nodded and smiled at him. Fergis sighed. “Man! If I had time I’d give you two a night to remember before the brain wipe, on duty or not…” He kissed them deeply, Dean first, then Norma Jean, licked his lips as he released them.
Uniformed cops in the doorway scowled.
“Damned Vice,” one muttered.
Fergis sneered back and flipped him the bird. “Make sure they get wiped clean this time!” He turned to his partner as they led Dean and Monroe out. The rust haired cop held up his phone.
“New case. Burroughs is back,” he said.
“Damn,” groaned Fergis. “Drug days or cut-up period?”
“Right after Nova Express.”
Fergis scowled. “Cut-up then. Damn time travel, and the day that Beat cult got access! I swear, Murphy, it’s just another genie out of the bottle. Every new tech we invent, people find a way to screw or steal with it. I’m sure Gutenberg’s apprentices were cranking out the naughty bits of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales a day after the first bible, then fake land deeds.”
“It could be worse.”
“Worse than time traveling celebrity sex slaves? Good luck with that. Let’s go stuff this new genie back in his pants.”
“Always is, until next time…” Fergis rubbed his lips, still warm from the stolen kisses, then snapped back to the present. He looked grim as they strode out into the hall, passed officers breaking the time machine in the next room down into parts and chasing down panicked technicians. “Keep up, Murphy, we have to find Burroughs and his gang before he turns the Lower East Side into a drug-fueled alien orgy…” He groaned as they settled into the car. “Again!”