The Dancing Dead
Copyright © 2016 by Richard
All rights reserved
stepped lightly through the bathroom doorway, and the light
winked off behind her. With a lovely, round, youthful face,
pale green eyes, clear skin, and flowing dark-brunette hair,
Molly was the picture of nubility. Her small, firm breasts bounced
beneath a filmy red stretch halter top, which revealed every
nuance and jiggle. Her slender waist was naked, smooth, and
flat above apple-round hips. Tight blue-denim cutoffs showed
off her perfect, long, athletic legs. Her bare feet padded onto
her grand entrance went unwitnessed.
sat hunched on his tan leather sofa, his attention fixed on
the display screen covering the opposite wall. He muttered to
himself, “All dead now.”
that, honey?” Molly asked, as she sauntered to his side.
“I couldn’t hear you.”
nothing,” Clive mumbled, his eyes still on the monitor,
which was playing a soundless black-and-white rerun of Lawrence
Welk waltzing with a gray-haired matron amid the sea of his
elderly audience. Clive nodded at the picture. “All long
pouted as she slithered onto the sofa beside him. “Let’s
turn off the telly for now, okay, hon? Jus’ for now?”
whole studio full of dead people dancing,” he ruminated,
apparently not noticing her. Clive looked to be in his mid-twenties,
handsome, muscular, fit, and healthy, with a head of wild blond
hair. But his words scratched crisp and dry like fallen autumn
curled those pouty lips into a beguiling smile as she slid her
hand onto his thigh and squeezed. “How about us right
here’n now, sweetie?” Her finger traced the inseam
of his white linen trousers. “Jus’ you an’
Alright, fine, but . . .” He turned and was
caught in the net of her youthful allure. “Wow. Aren’t
what?” she purred.
. . . I’d just like to get to know you a little
first.” He punched the remote and the screen went dark.
“You okay with that?”
straightened. She really wasn’t okay with it. But she
nodded anyway. “’S’okay by me. But the clock’s
runnin’ y’know.” She glanced over at the antique
timepiece ticking on the mantle. “It’s all on your
got plenty of money. No need to concern yourself about that.
Money’s never been a problem.”
nice. So . . . what’s botherin’ ya, hon?”
The pout returned, like a mask pulled over the face of an accomplished
drew in a deep breath and let it out in a long sigh. He turned
back to stare at the darkened screen. “Y’ever watch
the Lawrence Welk Show?”
what?” Molly stiffened. A shock sparked down her
spine and burst into a shiver. Something was not right.
It’s okay.” Clive raised his hands. “This
isn’t anything kinky. You ever watch the Lawrence Welk
studied him in silence. An almost-familiar shadow seemed to
lurk behind his clear brown eyes. “I guess I . . .
well . . . maybe my Gramma used to tune into reruns
sometimes. I guess I looked at it too.”
see those old folks dancing? Welk himself dancing a polka or
a waltz with some old biddy out from the audience. You ever
nodded, disoriented. “Why do ya call ’em ‘dead
people’? They were just . . . old.”
laughed. “Yeah. But think about it. You were watching
reruns. Old reruns. And those old folks were already
dead. Even while you were watching ’em dance. You never
heard that before? ‘Dead people dancing’?”
she lied too quickly. At least it seemed to be a lie.
His eyes weighed heavily on her. This was not going as she had
that was . . . how long ago?” he asked gently.
was exactly the sort of sideways interrogation Molly wanted
to avoid. “Molly” wasn’t even her name. Not
the name her parents had called her. She couldn’t remember
them any more, nor the name they had given her. So many names
had come and gone since then. So many lives. Some remembered.
More forgotten. A forgotten foreign landscape to which she had
no desire to return. She tried to regain control by bantering,
“A gentleman never asks a girl her age.”
studied her pretty face. Her reticence kindled his fancy. There
was something there, he thought, and his heart sped up. “No,
really. How old are you, Mary?”
Molly. You don’t even look old enough to be street legal
yet.” He grinned to soften the gibe.
thought that’s what you ordered.” Molly frowned.
“What are you, some kind of cop? A morals cop?”
No. You are what I signed up for. You are. Perfect.”
Clive placed his hands on her shoulders to prevent her from
rising. “No, I’m no cop. I think you’re beautiful.
The escort agency got it just right. And they already vetted
me. It’s just that . . . well . . .
it’s just that I’ve been . . . well . . .
looking for someone . . . special.”
brightened. “Well, okay then, big boy,” she smiled,
“looks like you’ve found me. You ready to get on
with a little action?” She reached for him.
He held up his hands. “There’s something else. I
just don’t know quite how to put it. Do you know the name
. . . ‘Deecy’?”
word hit her like a slap on the face. Deecy! Where the
hell was that coming from? Where had she heard it before? Deecy
was her name! The one her mother had given her. The one
she had forgotten. Deecy. Only her real name had been
something else. “Deecy” was just a nickname she
sorry,” Clive said. “I didn’t mean to frighten
you.” He tried to curl an arm around her shoulder, but
she pushed it off. “I’m sorry. I just had to . . .
are you?” she demanded, wrapping her arms around
her body, which had gone cold with goose bumps. “Who the
hell are you?”
searched her eyes until she grew uncomfortable. At last he said
word meant nothing to her. But then it did. It shocked something
awake inside her that long had slumbered. “Bert?”
Who . . . are you? My memory . . . I lost
. . . a lot has been taken away . . . lost
. . .”
know. I know. How long since your last reconstruction?”
stared at him. “You know about that? How do you
. . . ? Some of the patients don’t
was a long time ago. Before it was all legalized and regulated.”
stared at her hands, which suddenly seemed strange and alien,
then shrugged. “Three weeks. Maybe a month.”
sat in silence, mulling it over, avoiding his gaze. She mouthed
the word again, “Bert.”
Deecy. It’s me.”
and I . . . we were . . . were we . . .
Yes, we were married. Still are, far as I know.”
. . . ,” she shook her head. “They had
to prune so many memories.”
looked into his eyes. “How do they know which ones to
don’t. It’s all a crap shoot. They have this algorithm
that’s supposed to thin out the tangles of neurons along
with the plaques. To make room for new memories. There’s
only so much space in there. It’s like weeding the garden.
Except . . . in this case . . . the gardener
told me I would outlive the folks I would have remembered anyhow.”
Unless those memories are of someone who is reconstructed too.”
gazed into his eyes. “Like you, Bert? You’re reconstructed
times now. While I was waiting for you.” He laughed. “And
look at this ridiculous adolescent I’ve become.”
was me who called them that. Wasn’t it?”
‘dancing dead.’ I’m beginning to remember.”
hated them. I think they frightened you.”
was afraid of growing old.”
spent too much time in front of the mirror.”
crinkles around my eyes. My turkey neck.”
looked bad to me.” He smiled. “They say the second
hundred years are the hardest. But we’re beyond that now,