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Chapter 7
Alternate Arts and Culture

Out For Blood

by INDIRA CHARUNDER-MACHARRUNDEIRA, Alternate Reality News Service Fine Arts Writer

Bad boy of the art world Andres Serrano has managed to outrage again, only, this time, his fans are the ones who are angry with him.

Serrano has just published a coffee table retrospective of his work called I Don’t Know Art, But I Know What I Make. He has been traveling the world signing copies of the book. As befits an artist who specializes in using body fluids as his raw materials, he has been signing the books with his own blood.

As reported last week, though, the majority of that blood didn’t come from his own body. One vial was taken out of him before his recent publicity tour and the red blood cells were cloned. It is this cloned blood that he has been using to sign his books with.

“Well, that just sucks, and not in a good, sexual way,” Mats Starling, a lanky, self-confessed Serrano fanatic and Academy Awards fetishist, stated. “I mean, when he signed the book, I assumed it was in his own blood. I mean, blood that had come out of his body, not…grown in some Petri dish. If I had known where the blood had come from…well, okay, I would have bought the book anyway, but I probably wouldn’t have asked for as much when I put it up for auction on ehBay.”

Andromeda Palaquin, a publicist for Serrano, rolled her chillingly deep sky blue eyes and argued that the fans had no cause for complaint. She pointed out that the DNA of the cloned blood is identical to the blood taken out of the artist’s body.

“That’s not the point,” Starling, pounding his tiny fists on the table, argued back. “It’s an issue of authenticity, isn’t it? I mean, when Serrano did ‘Piss Christ,’ would it have worked as well if he had gotten somebody else to drink his urine, piss it out and put the crucifix in that? Of course not. Well, maybe, actually. That could have been kind of cool. Still, you know what I mean.”

Palaquin shook her long, silky black tresses in disbelief. “Andres has signed thousands of copies of the book,” she pointed out with a long, thin, perfectly manicured finger. “If he had used blood taken from his own body, he would have run out after a couple of weeks, and then where would his fans have been?”

Palaquin did allow that Serrano had considered replacing the blood that he used to sign books with from his body with a saline solution that would serve the same functions. “Unfortunately, the technology for that just wasn’t available,” she explained, shrugging her delicate shoulders as a rueful smile played around her blood red lips.

Shaking his pale head with its messy, thinning hair, Starling insisted that that wasn’t the point. By using cloned blood instead of his own, Serrano had taken the danger out of the whole process. “He wasn’t about to pass out because of blood loss, now, was he? Without that possibility, it was just a…a book signing! And, what’s the fun in that?”

Supporting the fans, rogue geneticist Arturo Gide shook his leonine mane and roared in a deep, compelling voice that “cloning is an abomination of the book promotion process!” He pointed out that clones are always weaker than their genetic progenitors. In this case, that would mean a thinner blood that would likely start flaking off the page in a matter of years instead of decades or centuries.

This was actually a plus, thought Palaquin. Making a moue that accentuated her dimples, she pointed out that if Serrano had been limited to using the blood from his body, the books signed would have had to be limited in number, making each more valuable. If the cloned blood eroded faster, it would ultimately have the same effect.

“You have won me over with your superior logic,” Gide giddily stated, gazing longingly into Palaquin’s eyes.

“What?” Starling asked, confused.

“Oh, Arturo,” Palaquin sighed. “You know our love can never be.”

“What does this have to do with –” Starling started.

“Why?” Gide boomed, his rippling masculinity aquiver.

“We…we come from different worlds,” Palaquin trembled, her ample bosom heaving. “You are a geneticist with a healthy skepticism of cloning. I’m just a poor publicist trying to support her client’s work. Don’t you see? It can never work between us.”

Gide took Palanquin up into his cordwood arms and gave her a kiss so passionate that it ended all the arguments.

“What about my signed book?” Starling insisted. Poor thing. He didn’t realize that he was the odd man out…

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