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Chapter 3
Alternate Relationships

What Price, Vanity?

by LAURIE NEIDERGAARDEN, Alternate Reality News Service Medical Writer

Los Angeles resident Little Timmy Turkle wanted to have a normal 10 year-old’s life. He wanted to fight with his sister over which cartoons to watch on Saturday morning. He wanted to know what it was like to be hit over the head with a Runway Anorexic Barbie when his sister refused to accept that he had grabbed the remote fair and square.

He even wanted to know what it was like to get an atomic wedgie from the school bully.

Little Timmy Turkle never had a chance.

When he was three, his bones started to melt, not unlike those watches in that famous painting that nobody actually likes. By the time he was six, he could have been a rubber boy in a circus geek show, if they still existed.

Years of tests finally revealed the cause of Now Not Quite So Little Timmy Turkle’s illness: he had a concentration of silicone in his blood that was 153 times the level considered acceptable by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“We had no idea how this could have happened,” Now Not Quite So Little Timmy Turkle (NNQSLTT)’s mother, Big Frieda, stated. “I…I’m all natural.” She offered to show this reporter, but I declined as tactfully as I could.

It fell to Jonathan Swackhammer, a passing epidemiologist, to determine the cause of NNQSLTT’s ailment: months of tests on every conceivable possible source (and some that I’d rather not think about) proved that the silicone came from Los Angeles’ drinking water. Swackhammer even developed a theory about how the chemical got into the drinking water: it came from the breast implants of movie starlets who had died and been buried.

“See, as their bodies decompose, the breast implants collapse, oozing silicone into the soil,” Swackhammer explained. “The silicone that has, in this way, leached into the soil eventually finds its way into the groundwater and, well, disgusting illnesses among people who live in the area naturally ensue.

“Mmm,” Swackhammer added, “would you like one of these chocolate covered roaches? They’re really tasty!”

Reaction to Swackhammer’s theory was swift: the porn industry vehemently denied it had anything to do with NNQSLTT’s illness. “Yeah, well, silicone in the drinking water, right?” porn industry lawyer Dinsdale Piranha sniffed. “It don’t make no sense, do it? I mean, it just don’t make sense, alright?”

When he was told that the tests were fairly conclusive, Piranha decided to take a different approach: “Yeah, right, course they are. Silicone, it’s a naturally occurring element, innit? I mean, it’s been in drinking water since we been drinking water, right?”

The interview went back and forth this way for over 20 increasingly heated minutes, until Piranha nailed my head to a table. But, to be fair, I did deserve it.

Over the objections of the makers of silicone implants, the EPA decided to run its own tests on the drinking water in Los Angeles, finding that the level of silicone was only 147 times the acceptable standard.

“Well, there you have it, then, don’t ya?” Piranha sniffed. “The problem is completely being blown out of proportion, innit? In fact, did I say it was a problem? No. I didn’t say it was a problem at all, because it isn’t. You got a problem with it not being a problem?”

I quickly said that I had no problem with that.

In response to pressure from the porn industry, President Bush fired the entire EPA. However, owing to cutbacks to the agency that go back over 25 years, this amounted to letting go of a mere three full time scientists, six janitorial staff and 14,012 bureaucrats.

“We want a safe environment in which our children can grow up without the fear of their bones turning into Silly Putty, a registered trademark” President Bush explained, “but, see, we want business to grow and keep our economy strong. I mean, as long we’ve got a viable corporate sector, see, they can find ways of helping people deal with having plasticene bones. On the other hand, see, if business is crippled by frivolous lawsuits, well, who will help people then?”

NNQSLTT is optimistic about his physical condition, hoping to try out for the New England Patriots. “If I scrunch myself up real small,” he noted, “I can be used as a football.”

Pop star and actress Vanity was unavailable for comment, and her agent wouldn’t name a price.

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Welcome, Science Fiction Fans!

If you came to Les Pages aux Folles curious about my writing thanks to science fiction or fan fiction, welcome! You can find the complete text of Alternate Reality Ain't What It Used To Be, +

Welcome Back My Friednishes To The Show That Never Ednishes

I now have a Facebook author/fan/whatever you want to call it page: Ira Nayman's Thrishty Friednishes. Go, look around, like it if you feel so inclined and feel free to leave a comment. I have only just started it, so it may be a little sparse at the moment, but I will add content based on what people post they would like to see. Within reason.

Would you be interested in immortality?

The Alternate Reality News Service (ARNS) has two advice columns: Ask Amritsar, a column about love and sex and technology, and; Ask the Tech Answer Guy, a column about +