“. . . the Declaration of Independence no longer arouses enthusiasm; it is an embarrassing instrument which requires to be explained away. The Constitution is said to be ‘outgrown.’” Lizzie read from her oration lesson for the day. The year was 1963, and despite nearly 20 years of training and preparation, she still fought the trademark multitonal wheeze of the undead when she encountered the letter H.
Charlie winced at the raspy tell, wondering whether parents of kids with lisps felt the same way. The stakes were obviously higher for Lizzie, because at worst the lispy kids would be called fruits like Liberace. Lizzie was the last opportunity to seize the reins of power before the responsibility fell to the next generation. Charlie was too old for another Plan 9.
“I not only use all the brains that I have, but all I can borrow.” Lizzie continued to read through her custom-printed Woodrow Wilson reader, completely oblivious to the cringeworthy irony of the quotation. Charlie had learned during the years of growth, pain, confusion and horror that was the maturation of this abominable creature that each undead monster had its own maturation process. The personal aspects retained from the donors varied greatly between the Kennedy creature and Lizzie. Jack Kennedy had virtually no recollection of events prior to his emergence, and he matured from emotional infancy to adulthood. Physically, he was an adult from day one, but his hormones appeared to be additive or even multiplicative of his donors’ contributions. Poonhound was an understatement.
Lizzie, on the other hand, seemed to have some vague recollections of her past. Her description reminded Charlie of the sense of deja vu one gets about a long forgotten dream. However, the feeling seemed to comfort her, and she preferred to practice her reading, writing, and oration skills using her Woodrow Wilson reader.
“Lizzie, it’s time to go. We’ve packed the Airstream, it’s time to start your whistlestop tour of the US.” Charlie warbled his voice in a faux lecturing tone. Lizzie was a bit too socially dense to understand Charlie’s joviality, but what could the harm be? Jokes go over little kids’ heads all the time. “First stop is Philadelphia!”
Lizzie curled into a seated fetal position, her eyes glazing over. Charlie and the Scientist had been telling her about this trip for a long time, easing her in, but she couldn’t relate to anybody of any age. Her mind was filled with the stern statesmanship of a former President, the nagging insistence of a schoolteacher edging for headmaster (who was really a scorned housewife), and something else, something dark and primal, instinctual but intelligent, something Charlie called the Demon. Other people were so simple, little puppets driven by base urges and simple abstractions piled up like a block tower erected by a 2 year old. They were just asking to be molded, formed, reconditioned… punished. A quote from her reader inhabited her conscious mind, “How is the schoolmaster, the nation, to know which boy needs the whipping?”
Her grasp of the concept of a rhetorical question was limited, but her grasp of the concept of a trick question was well burgeoned by the consistent exposure to Charlie’s wit. She knew the answer to the question.
“They all do,” she half-consciously muttered beneath her breath, unfolding from her defensive cocoon and preparing for the harrowing task of interacting with and learning from ordinary people. Charlie, by now well acquainted with Lizzie’s occasional inability to keep her inner dialogue from seeping out, ignored the seemingly random utterance and returned his attention to packing the mirror polished trailer full of necessities.
After a few weeks on the road, having traveled from the East Coast to the West Coast across the northern states, the weather had turned cold enough that the return trip would have to be to the south. The Scientist, the multi-talented genius that he was, had planned all of this out so that they would be back home right as the spring thaw took hold in 1964. So far, the trip had gone off without too many hitches. There was that boy from Woodrow Wilson High School in Tacoma that they caught peeping in the window at Lizzie. He was in for quite a surprise when he saw her less-than-human physique. Hopefully she didn’t mess the boy up too bad. They stopped trying to find schools named for Woody after that incident. Lizzie was disappointed, but she took it in stride.
After an intensely monotonous transit across the desert, they arrived in Dallas in late November.
“How long are we here?” Charlie asked, knowing that the Scientist had already planned and discussed this stop with him. He had already taken Lizzie to a football game because his Eagles were playing the Cowboys, but he wanted to know whether how many additional days’ worth of interpersonal enrichment to plan for Lizzie.
“At least a week, maybe longer. I need to check a few things before I can give you an answer. Lizzie, now is the time that we will use your training.” The Scientist replied matter-of-factly. Charlie didn’t know what training the Scientist was talking about, her training had been used almost every day since they left the lab. She was making slow progress at interacting with normal everyday people after being a shut-in for the first two decades of her existence.
“Yes sir,” Lizzie replied, unemotionally, “I will ensure the weapon is in working order.” She shuffled out of the car and into the trailer, rummaging loudly through the packed gear.
“Weapon? What is going on and why am I not aware of it?” Charlie blurted, his voice rising in incredulity.
“We’re cleaning up your mess, you blithering fool!” The Scientist displayed a rare flash of emotion. He tossed a copy of the Dallas Morning News in front of Charlie. “Storm of Political Controversy Swirls Around Kennedy on Visit” read the front page headline. Charlie turned red faced and slammed the door to the car, angrily pacing on the sidewalk next to the idling car.
*BANG* *BANG* *BANG*
Shots rang out across Dealey Plaza. Lizzie nonchalantly packed her highly modified Carcano into her briefcase and walked behind the grassy knoll toward the designated rendezvous point. She didn’t mind dressing like a man, but the suit didn’t fit well and she was self-conscious about somebody disciplining her for not acting like a girl. Charlie had promised her that it was okay in this situation, but she still felt that all eyes were upon her, gawking, probing, hating the Demon. She quickly realigned her thoughts to the mission at hand. She felt a pang of an unfamiliar emotion when she thought of Charlie completing the most dangerous part of the mission, planting the gun on that retard commie librarian. They found the fool a few nights ago strung out in a dilapidated tenement and decided that he would be a better cover than their existing plan. Charlie risked capture, but the Scientist made clear that he would take the bulk of the risk since he did the bulk of the fucking up. Kennedy wasn’t even supposed to be alive in the 1950s, let alone putting together a political career that would culminate in the Presidency.
As she finished her determined path to the rendezvous, she was greeted by a waiting Charlie and the Scientist idling the car in a parking zone. She quickly shoved the briefcase into the trailer and took her appointed spot on the back bench of the car.
“Everything went as planned,” Charlie reported, stripping a pair of latex gloves off of his hands. “If we’re lucky we’ll be able to grab the blood samples for your study. Hopefully we can figure out what went wrong with him.” The only noise for the rest of their short trip was a shuffling of costumes as Lizzie discarded the ill-fitting suit and the occasional crunch of a wrapper as they ate a small lunch.
The Scientist, dressed in a pale blue smock, put a mask on his head and a pair of safety glasses over the mask. He stepped out of the car in front of the employee entrance of Parkland Hospital and opened the back door of the ’61 pastel green Cadillac DeVille, extending a hand to Lizzie and pulling out an ER nurse, white uniform complete with hose and a paper hat covering a perfectly coiffed bun. The makeup was a bit heavy handed, but wasn’t quite to Kennedean hooker status. An unsuspecting bachelor could get himself into quite a pickle if he ran across her all dolled up like this.
The plan was simple, infiltrate the morgue, get past secret service, and draw two vials of blood. Lizzie walked in first, carrying a clipboard and a body bag. The Scientist lagged behind, also carrying a clipboard. They both had forged ID badges clipped to their uniforms. Once the Scientist walked into the hospital entry, Charlie pulled away to park the trailer in an adjoining employee lot. He was dressed as a secret service agent, and he was the backup plan they hoped they didn’t have to use.
He began the short walk to the employee entrance, visualizing his nervousness escaping like ectoplasm with each deep breath he exhaled. Once he reached the door, he paused for a second to steel his remaining nerves, and walked into the hospital like he had a purpose. He knew that he wouldn’t fool the secret service agents in the hospital, but he only hoped to evade the notice of the hospital staff. He knew approximately where to go, but it would likely arise suspicion if he started ambling around the morgue looking for a body of a dead president.
Was the Kennedy creature dead? Although Charlie and the Scientist had studied undead creatures together for over 50 years, he had no clear answer. He had watched the explosive results of Lizzie’s third bullet, but there were rats in the lab that were ambulatory for hours after full decapitation. Knowing Jack, his brainless body was probably humping his pillow.
Charlie rounded a corner, following his pre-planned ingress, when things went sideways. “Excuse me! Excuse me, sir!” A determined voice beckoned from behind the nurse’s station.
Swallowing the catch in his throat and remembering that he was dressed as a secret service agent, he turned to the cute, if a bit pudgy, nurse flittering between files at the desk. “Yes ma’am, can I help you?” he hoped the faux bravado in his voice wasn’t noticeable to her.
“Do you know what’s going on? I heard the hospital is being evacuated!” Her voice contained equal parts curiosity and anxiety.
“No ma’am, not at this time,” he bullshitted, “do you know where the VIP is being kept?”
“Yessir, he’s in observation room 1-128, just down the hall and take the second right.” She obviously bought the act and had no problem blabbing confidential information as long as one looked the part.
“Oh, he survived?” Charlie was genuinely surprised that Kennedy would have been able to return to fully ambulatory status so quickly. The rats sometimes took up to a day to recover from what he and the Scientist best guessed was a comatose state.
“No,” she sighed, “One of the other nurses said he died. They’re waiting until they can secure a place in the morgue for him. What happened anyway? I heard that the President was in town, did one of his aides have a heart attack? This seems like a whole lot of to do for one person.”
“I’m sorry, I can’t talk about it. You’ll know soon enough.” Charlie waved in thanks and in departure and followed the instructions to the observation room. He rounded another corner and walked into yet another buzzsaw.
In the hallway stood an animated Scientist conversing with a pair of no-shit secret service agents. Their body language showed impatience and his showed increasing desperation. Lizzie was nowhere to be seen. The backup plan ended up being necessary. Charlie hoped that his dress and demeanor would buy him enough time to execute his part of this intricate dance. He walked with urgency toward the Scientist until he saw one of the agents catch notice of his approach.
“Sir! Sir!” he implored the Scientist. “Sir, if you aren’t on the whitelist, you can’t be here. I’m going to have to ask you to come with me.” He turned his back to the agents and gestured back the way he came. As he twisted back toward the agents, he slid a dart gun out of his trenchcoat and fired a pair of darts into the right legs of each agent, catching them completely off guard. Evidently the scene had been more confused than he thought, because he fully expected to have to outdraw the agents and dodge gunfire as they withered under the chemicals. One agent tried to unholster his pistol while melting like the wicked witch into a puddle of wool suit parts. Charlie defused the situation with a quick palm to the wrist, causing the agent’s hand to slip off the grip and slid down his torso. The other agent brought his left arm up to his mouth, attempting to sound the alarm, but the Scientist intercepted the microphone before it was activated. Almost gently, he returned the man’s arm to his waist and helped him down to his slumber. He grabbed a key from the man’s palm and inserted it into the door.
As Charlie and the Scientist slipped into the darkened room, their eyes met a scene that was beyond their ability to comprehend. The Scientist doubled over and rested his head in his hands, trying to regain his composure. Charlie ducked his head into a trash can next to the door and purged his lunch.
On the gurney was a writhing mass of flesh, pale with discolored splotches, some bare and some covered in patchy blonde hair. The noises emanating from the mass was animalistic and procreative. If this was sex, it was a grotesque, otherworldly, abominable parody of human sex. The bodies weren’t simply thrusting in concert, but they were actively fusing together and disintegrating like a ball of dough being kneaded. Genitals were barely recognizable, but the tell-tale “birthmarks” on Lizzie’s back stood out, as well as the patchy leg hair of Jack Kennedy. The top halves of their bodies were unfused, and Jack stared directly at Charlie. His expression was a mix of shock-induced stupor and that inherent smug charisma that caused him to part ways with Charlie and the Scientist in the first place.
Lizzie, on the other hand, wore a simplistic determination on her face. The pleasurable noises she made interspersed her attempts to lick, suck and chew at the gaping wound in Jack’s head. As she reached climax, she turned her head mechanically and locked eyes with Charlie, a chunk of bloodied brain hanging from her lips. The Demon was in control.
“Lizzie!” Charlie whisper screamed, cognizant of the threat outside the door and the threat mounted on top of the soon-to-be former President. The Demon was capable of many things, but it wasn’t able to stand up to a stronger personality in direct conflict. “Lizzie! Get off of that creature and put your fucking uniform back on!”
The Scientist, regaining his sense of urgency, grabbed Lizzie’s wrist and peeled her off of Jack in a sensation much like separating a pair of stuck together crescent rolls in a Pillsbury tube. Lizzie’s body quickly returned to shape, perhaps looking better than before. The scars and lumps and birthmarks that riddled and pocked her flesh seemed to have faded some small but noticeable amount.
“S-s-s- sorry, sir” Lizzie stuttered, gathering her uniform and covering her nudity. A blush formed across her cheeks as she realized that she was naked in front of the Scientist, who had only seen her bare a few times before. Her modesty wasn’t inherent, but Charlie had trained her enough that it had become a pavlovian response.
With a growl, the Scientist turned his attention to the bloated, heaving body of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Jack definitely got the worst of the intercourse, and the pain in his eyes betrayed the fact that he wasn’t going to be around much longer. His body seemed to be inflating and subtly gyrating like there was a pot of water boiling under his skin. The Scientist looked into his eyes as he inserted the needle for the first blood draw, 30 years of broken relationship condensed into a single shared expression. Hate. Pure, unadulterated hate.
“hhhhh- you! I knew it would be … you,” Kennedy gurgled and gasped, forcing the words out between waves of pain. A fit of coughing interrupted his deathbed rant.
“It washnt enough that you tried to kill me multiple times. I couldn’t have what you wanted so badly.” Kennedy wheezed once more, his breathing becoming labored.
“I die knowing that you will never succeed!” A final exhale signaled the end to John F. Kennedy’s unholy existence.
His body continued to gurgle as the Scientist packed up the vials of blood and Charlie huffed with incredulity. Lizzie, who despite being a product of death had never seen death, sniffed at the body, acting more like a dog than a human.
“Lizzie! Let’s go!” The Scientist snapped, making for the exit. Simultaneously a moan and a cracking sound emanated from the Presidential corpse. Lizzie jumped back and looked on quizzically, completely ignoring the command from the Scientist.
A series of noises that could be mistaken as coming from the back room of a butcher’s shop accompanied a heaving and writhing of Kennedy’s body. Slowly, it cleaved into two, leaving a much more recognizable Presidential husk on the gurney and a human shaped glob of flesh on the floor. Lizzie, far from being afraid, approached the glob and sniffed. She emitted a multitonal raspy sound at the glob, and it returned the call in an immature, high-pitched form.
Before their eyes, the glob transformed into a young man with clear Kennedy genetic lineage and more than a hint of fetal alcohol syndrome.
“What the HELL are we going to do about this one, Charlie?” the Scientist had that same desperate look on his face from in the hallway. “We don’t have time to get this… this… this thing out of here without detection!”
“No, no, no no no no no,” Charlie whispered barely audibly, defeat radiating from him.
After a long silence, he started. “I may actually have an idea to get us out of this. The Kennedy family we created has a fourth son, Edward. Currently, the actor we have portraying him is a fill-in for Jack’s Senate seat. This . . . thing . . . could pass for Ted Kennedy. We’d just have to concoct a story about Ted coming along on Jack’s trip if we get asked any questions.”
“Fine, but what if that thing doesn’t make it easy on us?” the Scientist gestured at the ambulating creature looking more and more believable as a human every second.
“Look at him, he’ll do anything that Lizzie tells him,” Charlie smirked while he watched Ted Kennedy sniff Lizzy in curiosity. They walked around one another in a tight circle, sizing one another up. When Ted faced toward the exit, Charlie addressed him. “Will you come with us?”
Teddy Kennedy cocked his head to the side before returning his gaze to Lizzie. He smiled a disturbingly unemotional smile.
“Kennedy Sandwich!!” He announced in his unmistakably New England nasal voice, tackling Lizzie onto the gurney and repeatedly thrusting his hips, no notice given to the uninhabited shell of his brother-father.