by Dawn Quixote (not my real name)
I should have known better than to send a boy to do a woman's job. But when my editor gave me the assignment to interview a pair of mute clones from a horror/sci-fi movie that not even out yet (Repo! The Genetic Opera, Nov 7), I dismissed it as below-par and handed it off to my new intern, Lew. It was the kid's first interview, and he was beyond excited. He thanked me so many times, I began to wish he was tongueless, too.
I had no idea the errand would be so perilous… which, had I known, I would have been doubly glad I'd sent him rather than going myself.
The mute clones are, of course, Rotti Largo's curt and curvaceous henchgirls. I don't have to tell you they're world famous, especially now that the aforementioned movie about their employer will soon be in theaters. But nobody really knows anything about them, yet. It was my job to find out everything, and I failed.
But at least I'm still alive.
Lew had a personal recording device implanted in his left eyeball (the glass one, of course), but it took awhile for me to get the whole story. He returned from the assignment piece by piece. Finally, when his head arrived on my desk, and I removed the PRD and put it in the player. Here's what it revealed:
Lew is walking, poised and unhurriedly, through a dark, walled graveyard. It's the old-fashioned kind, where putrid bodies rot and fresh ones are quickly procured by various grave-robbers to extract Zydrate from their brains. Zydrate, or Z and it's sometimes called, is an illegal pain-killing fluid that's used for illicit surgeries and is a favorite drug among scalpel sluts like Rotti Largo's daughter, Amber Sweet.
Lew, still seeming confident (or maybe just dumb to danger), paused and stopped to take a shot of Marni Wallace's grave. Good kid. He was getting some graphics to go with the list of questions I'd given him. He moved on, stepped through the Wallace Mausoleum entrance, and found himself in the foyer of the resplendent and opulent Largo mansion.
Before he could enjoy even a 180 look-see, my intern was accosted at gunpoint by a pair of blonde henchgirl clones, and dragged to an adjacent room that looked like something out of a Saw film. The floor was bare cement from wall to wall, there were several sharp implements lined up against the walls, an ominous operating table in one corner, and a single metal chair in the center of the room with a bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling.
Lew was jostled into the seat, restrained, and waited, trembling. He noticed the prostrate body of a brunet henchgirl lying, marionette-like, in the corner before him by the entrance. She'd obviously been deactivated for the time being.
A deep female voice emanated from an unseen sound system:
"Who are you, and what are you doing here? We were expecting a woman."
All sizzling nerves and cold sweat, he muttered, "They sent me instead. I'm sorry. My name is Lew Zer. I'm just an intern at horror.com, and I… uh," he paused, then bleated: "It's my first day. Please don't kill me!"
The heavy, steel-reinforced door opened, and an exact clone to the inanimate one entered. She wore black leather, impenetrable sunglasses, and she was packing heat. She marched up to Lew. Seated, he was forced to look up at her.
Her expression was stony. Her body was completely still. "Interview us," she commanded.
Lew stammered, "How come you can talk? I thought clones were mute. I thought…" I'd sent Lew to the assignment with an ESP add-on to his PRD, but fortunately now he wouldn't have to use it… those things are notoriously buggy.
Looking at the memory-movie shot from Lew's eye view, I thought there may have been a semblance of a smile curving the lips of the henchgirl. But I couldn't be sure. "I've had a tongue installed especially for the press junket," she said. "The movie is out in just a few days. Consider yourself lucky, peon intern, that you have a scoop here."
Lew didn't appear as though he felt lucky. His gaze roved the gleaming surgical instruments nearby. But, true to his chosen profession, he reached into his coat pocket and extracted the notes I'd given him. They were handwritten, which clearly rattled him. He squinted and stammered as he read what I'd written, word-for-word.
Lew Zer / Horror.com: Darren Bousman, the director of Repo! The Genetic Opera, thought you had such a great look, he cast you as "yourself" even though you'd never acted before. Were you nervous? What was it like to work with Paul Sorvino? How does he capture the spirit of Rotti?
Henchgirl #2: Henchgirls do not get nervous. Mr. Bousman actually hired us to protect him while on-set, and we naturally asserted ourselves in the role we knew best. Paul Sorvino is an actor. He is not Rotti Largo. Nor will he ever be Rotti Largo. Rotti Largo literally changed the faces of the world while Paul Sorvino sat in a chair to have make-up put on his. We find basic human beings, especially actors, a trying breed.
LZ: Is the movie very true to the actual story of what happened between the Wallaces and the Largos?
HG2: Will you agree to have your tongue carved out of your mouth?
LZ: [Lew gulps] You didn't have an official name before, so why did you choose "Alisa Burket" for the film's credits?
HG2: It was name of my first experimental kill during training.
LZ: [Lew contemplates the next question on the list for a moment.] I'm sorry, but I have to ask this. [He clears his throat and reads stiltedly] Bob Marley may have shot the sheriff, but you shot the messenger. Very Shakespearian of you, but really… there are repercussions to such an act. How did you get away with that?
HG2: It was just a scene in the movie, much to our chagrin. Rotti Largo would never approve of bloodstains in his office.
LZ: Even though clones aren't really people, you are made from people. We're all well-aware of the attraction and fetishism that clones must endure from birth-humans, but… do you mind?
HG2: Generally, we dispose of what we mind.
LZ: What's been your strangest experience that was directly related to the fact you began life in a test-tube?
HG2: This is not a concept with which we waste our time.
LZ: Have you ever tried to "pass" as a real woman?
HG2: We would never lower ourselves to subpar standards.
LZ: The list of TV pilots that have been picked up has been announced, and Henchie Heaven was on it. Congratulations. In a sea of reality shows, how will yours and Henchgirl #1's program stand out? Will it be more contest-based, like A Shot A Love With Tila Tequila, or more day-in-the-life diary like The Two Coreys?
HG2: We never consented to that.
LZ: [Lew's hands are shaking] You're quite stylish. Everyone wants to know your fashion likes and dislikes, and tips to attain your look. Do you have to work out? What's your makeup must-have? Who are some of your fashion icons?
HG2: You are foolish to ask such mundane questions. We are genetically enhanced clones who do not need to eat, sleep, drink or play dress up. Our life’s work is to protect and serve the Largo lineage, not to flit and flounce over trivialities.
LZ: [Going off-script] I hope you don't mind, but I have to ask a few so-called color questions. It's so not fourth estate. You know, I want to be a real journalist. Not a tabloid…
LZ: What's your most-secret guilty pleasure?
HG2: Our shock sticks.
LZ: If you were a character from an Edgar Allen Poe tale, who would you be, and why?
HG2: Unless he was a client, we do not know him.
LZ: What's in your purse right now?
HG2: Purse? Really?
LZ: What's your pet peeve?
HG2: This interview.
Lew saw Henchgirl #1 spring to her feet, a blindfold in her hands. The picture went dark. Screams followed.
But I got my interview.
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