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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Such Art his Art Concealed

By Adam Cesare

The liquid foam latex he poured into and painted onto the mold had a consistency not unlike pancake batter. The section Paul was working on was her right leg. He wore yellow dish gloves and used his fingers to make sure the inside of the plaster mold was fully coated. This was his favorite part of any project, pouring the solution and letting it set. When the right leg was done he put it into the oven with the other pieces and prepared to leave for the night. The oven was an old converted walk-in refrigerator and the latex had to cook overnight before it could be worked with. As usual Paul was the last to leave. He looked around at the deserted warehouse filled with monsters in various stages of construction, turned off the lights and went home.

The job was some B-movie; it was amazing to Paul that the filmmakers had the money to afford the services of IBX Effects. He had not been at IBX long but already he had worked on several big movies. His first job for the company was making a plaster cast of Will Smith’s head; Paul felt he had escaped the cheap gore flicks of his past. No sculpts or sketches or maquettes for this job. The movie, Bloody River, called for a girl to be ripped in half. Paul was sculpting the girl and prepping the gag. Child’s play but he was still stuck with the grunt work until he gained some seniority at IBX. The sculpt was below Paul but that did not mean that he was not going to do a good job, on the contrary this latex girl would be so miraculous the director won’t even want to pull her in half, he thought. He would put days of work into something that would be on screen for less than a second, possibly not at all if the MPAA was feeling particularly picky come screening time.

The next day he arrived at the workshop early. He took the molds out of the oven and went to work constructing the woman. There were seven molds in all, two each for the arms and legs, one for the torso and head, and two for the hands. He went to work on the arms first, cutting off the excess latex and smoothing the seams. It never struck him how much like flesh the latex felt when warm and fresh from the oven.

By the time the rest of his co-workers arrived he had the hands cleaned and was in the process of attaching them to the arms. Whoever had sat for the plaster cast had very dainty fingers. Paul had figured the actress for some no-name scream queen, but with fingers like this she might actually be talented, he thought and smiled to himself.

In the time it took him to attach the hands everyone had shown up for work and was slaving away on some piece of Bloody River’s production. Howard was running wires in and out of the skeletal frame of an animatronic werewolf. Howard was a buffoon, but his connections went high up which landed him more important work than Paul.

Paul moved on to the torso. He cut the bands that kept the mold firmly in place and used a small chisel to loosen the top slab of plaster. He then carefully peeled the edges of the latex and lifted to top half of the mold to reveal the naked girl staring up at him. He had molded bodies before, and was never before struck by their realism right out of the mold. The girl was not painted or made up in anyway but the flesh colored latex could fool anyone at a casual glance.

Bald, smooth and bare the torso lie on its back before Paul peeled it from the bottom half of the mold. His fingers found purchase around her slim waist and he lifted her out, cradling her head like an infant.

“Honk,” Howard was behind Paul, and ripped him back to reality by squeezing one of the doll’s latex breasts. “Good work buddy.”
Howard was always saying things like that; little condescending bits of encouragement that would be considered kosher had Paul not had nearly fifteen years in the industry under his belt.
He ignored Howard and sensing the resentment in the air the fool sought his way over the molds and worktables back to the werewolf.

Alone again with the false girl Paul set about attaching her appendages. He took a fine brush from his kit and mixed a two part epoxy. The sealant would do a pretty good job invisibly joining the doll’s seven pieces and after it had dried Paul would go to work with paints and a sculpting knife to make the seams impossible to see on film. It was a shame that when he was done he would have to cut a hole up her spine so the on set crew could load her belly with blood and fake entrails. These amateurs would probably just use condoms filled with water, ruin the illusion, he thought with a snort of disdain.

By the time the girl was together IBX was beginning to close up for the night. Only Paul and Howard remained.
The girl lay on the table, Paul standing over her. He stared at the lines of her body, was it possible to win an Oscar for something that takes up half a second of screen time?
It was in this stage of his work where Paul always felt a bit like Dr. Frankenstein; entranced at the possibility that his experiment just could work.
“Lock up, I’m leaving,” Howard shouted. Paul, eyes fixed on his work, grunted in the affirmative. “You aren’t gonna fuck that thing right?” Howard added with a laugh and grabbed his jacket.
Paul offered a half hearted laugh and returned Howard’s wave.
*

The garage door to the shop closed with a clatter that echoed through Paul and caused him to awake from his stupor: the epoxy was dry.
The lights overhead were florescent and gave off no heat, which is why Paul recoiled with a start when he placed his hand on the pseudo-flesh of the never-alive girl and found it warm. I’ve seen too many movies like Bloody River, he chuckled.
Taking up his knife he started peeling off the brush strokes left in the epoxy. With a gentle scraping motion he took all the drips and inconsistencies out of the seams of her joints.
He was reaching for his paint brush the moment he noticed a tiny drop of blood pearling from the seam on her left wrist. Squinting he dabbed the spot with his pinky. He then brought the finger to his tongue: salty, not sweet like Karo syrup.
The false girl was alive. She was alive and by some unseen force pulling him down to her. Paul cleared the table off and lay on top of her. She was motionless but warm.
He placed his lips on hers and was shocked to feel them part beneath his own, a warm wet tongue poking against his mouth. He undressed and her latex arms, hands and legs all encased him.
Perfect legs, perfect lips, and perfect breasts: she was a living breathing dream.

*

Paul awoke naked, a semi-dry paint brush stuck to his lower back and morning light assaulting his eyelids. He placed his hand on the girl’s stomach to find it cold, bereft of the give and take of a lover’s respiration.
The night was over. He threw on his shirt and scurried to raise his pants just as the door to the shop was worked open with a sudden jolt. It was Howard, coming to get an early start on the day’s work, production was set to begin today but the werewolf was not to be shot until the second week of production.
Howard gave Paul a suspicious wave, someone more attentive than him was a threat, especially on a day he was coming in early. Assuming a faux aire of superiority Howard inspected the girl. The seams were smooth and she now wore a wig and full makeup; the girl was screen-ready.
“Done already? Fuckin’ A. Good job,” Howard: everybody’s buddy. Paul nodded and grunted a faint thank you.
“I’ll call the boys and they’ll load this bitch in the van and have her on-set for tomorrow,” Howard made a motion with his hand, bringing it down over the girl’s belly like Jack Ketch’s axe.
Was it real or delusion, Paul had no idea. The girl was false enough upon further inspection that he raised no protest when she was collected by the on-set unit and whisked off to her impending demolition.

*

Running wires was tedious but respectable. Each animatronic puppet has a fibrous network of wires under its latex exterior; each wire represents a slight motion that can be triggered by a remote control worked by a puppeteer. A talking bear was far less sexy than a werewolf, but at least the production was A-list: this was Paul’s talking bear.
The magic hour was fast approaching; the men in the shop were cleaning up their work stations and preparing to go home. When the final jacket was zipped and the door shut for the last time Paul was alone with his bear.
With its fur off the smiling bear looked far more sinister than the concept art. Screwdrivers and pliers were Paul’s scalpels and clamps. He fancied himself some kind of robot veterinarian. As he cheerfully worked away he did not notice the sound the door made when it opened and closed slightly. Nor did he notice the wet dragging sound coming closer.
Paul did however notice the dainty fingers that firmly grasped his ankles. The hands were filthy and torn. The girl had dragged her upper body three miles from the park where Blood River had finished principle production two days ago.
Paul let out a scream and fell over backwards, the back of his head cushioned by the girl’s soft dripping simulated innards.
With jerky, almost pained, movement the girl used her arms to lift herself from under Paul, and fell upon him screaming. He was struck with the thought that her eyes were so real. Teeth gnashing and muddy, destroyed arms flailing, her tears fell, tasting salty in his open mouth.

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Bio
Adam Cesare is a New Yorker raised on horror movies and candy corn. He currently attends Boston University. He will be published in Shroud (Issue #7) and works as a contributor to Macabre Cadaver Magazine (macabrecadaver.com). You can visit him on the web at: http://www.brain-tremors.com/


1 comment:

mxavier said...

"Yowza" right back atcha

MX ( haunt)

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