- Inside Miss Mystery an Institute for Studies Beyond Reality
- A giant’s heart. Nowhere near its body. It sits on a steel table and doesn’t beat. Not even when there’s good music playing.
- Scientific Sylvia
Scientific Sylvia, with a body like a test tube, sits in a folding chair reading a book made from fungus. She agreed to be here. Again. As a sort of chaperone.
Ria enters. She’s six feet taller than usual.
Scientific Sylvia: Oh my flapjacks! You didn’t eat the sushi did you? Because there’s an old saying, “Eat sushi you find in the forest once, shame on you. Eat sushi you find in the forest twice, grow six feet overnight.”
Ria: Well, since you asked Sylvia. I haven’t eaten in three days. It’s part of this thing ladies do apparently.
Ria: It’s like a turn on to guys. As you would know. I’ve been watching you. I see how you flaunt them bones. You’re weak, easy prey. You even caught Jerry the Monk’s attention.
Sylvia: I like your hair. And did you put butter on your face?
Ria: No. I don’t have butter on my face. Why would I— it’s citronella.
Sylvia: Jerry was checking me out?
Ria: Don’t get too excited. He’s got eyes in his forehead and they’ve been checking out a lot of stuff lately.
Sylvia: Well, his loss. Doesn’t matter. I’m here for business not spiritual pleasures of the flesh. But anyway. Sorry to intrude on your date. I’ll mind my business over here in my corner. Won’t even know I’m here.
Ria bends over and caresses the heart.
Ria: I’ve been thinking about you. You big, sloppy organ.
She slides her fingernail along the heart.
Ria: You have such large valves.
Sylvia: Hey, leave some space for God over there.
Ria puts her hands inside the valves.
Ria: Sometimes I like to imagine them pumping. Hard and fast.
She swings a stilt over the steel table and straddles the heart. Something squishes against her shaky hands as they massage it from the inside. There’s a damp smell in the air like a muddy, old boot. She hopes it doesn’t get stuck in her flannel like the silver chain around her neck. She pulls her hand out and dangles a worm in the flood light above the heart.
Sylvia: You’re not supposed to go in without protection. On a first date none the less.
Ria: Maybe don’t slut shame me. I don’t know.
Sylvia dives back into her book as Ria dives back into the heart with both hands.
Ria: I just want you to squirt blood everywhere.
She reaches around and pulls out a fistful of squirming worms. She waves them around like she won a prize on the boardwalk.
Ria: Hey, look it’s —
A bolt of electricity shoots out of the heart and strikes Ria’s chain. Her body flies across the room.
Fried worms stick to the wall.
The steel table jumps.
The echo of the heart pounding against cold steel draws Sylvia’s attention.
Sylvia: Oh my flapjacks! You’re so disgusting. You did it!
Sylvia rushes over to the heart and funnels a vat of mercury into the beating center. Ria peels herself off the floor and sits against the wall. She reaches into her charred pant pocket and lights the other half of a cigarette. A billow of smoke shaped like a disapproving thumbs down exits her mouth.
Ria: Eh. I’ve had better.
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