As told by Tommy to Marla L. Anderson
Art by Scarlett O’Hairdye
The trouble with Jesse all started when his girlfriend went and had a change of heart. Wouldn’t have been no big deal if Jesse hadn’t decided to keep her old one.
I was standing in Jesse’s living room, staring at the dark reddish blob floating inside a lit up fish tank. Tubes and electrical stuff curled from the tank to a motor Jesse said would keep the heart alive. I heard a deep rumbling in the distance. There was a storm coming. They’d said so on the radio.
“Check this out,” Jesse said and pressed a remote.
Hard rock kicked in with amplified heartbeats, “bebump, bepumb.” It made the wood floor vibrate and my chest felt as if it was being taken over.
“So what do you think?” he asked.
I felt my mouth go dry and my palms go wet. I wiped my hands across the rough fabric of my jeans. “Gee, I don’t know. It’s pretty weird.”
“Weird is good. People like weird.” Jesse grinned and slapped me on the back. He was always inventing stuff–stuff that never quite caught on. That’s why Tina broke off their engagement. Said so right in the recovery room.
“Sorry, Jesse,” she’d said, “but it’s just not working out. This surgery has made me rethink things. I guess it’s not the only change of heart I’ve had.”
Now as I watched him staring at her old one, I thought his blue eyes looked way too bright and wide, like he was on something. Except I knew he wouldn’t be. Jesse never touched nothing that could mess up his mind–made sure I didn’t either. Jesse was too smart for that.
To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Winter 2015 collection.
Tom (last name withheld) spent his early years on his family’s farm before moving to Los Angeles where he met his best friend, Jesse. Tom currently lives in northern California where he is happily employed as a farm hand and his most trusted friends are of the bovine persuasion. He never wants to live in a big city again.
Marla Anderson loves to read and write science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mainstream. She has authored four science fiction novels and a collection of short stories in a wide range of genres. She currently lives on a hill overlooking the Cleveland National Forest with her husband, her mother, two dogs, and a cat.
Scarlett O’Hairdye is a burlesque performer, producer and artist. To learn more, visit her site at www.scarlettohairdye.com.
This story originally appeared in Electric Wine in 2001.Follow us online: