Only a Paper Moon
by Jennifer Stevenson
Seven corny short stories with happy endings
Spy Beanie – Okay, fifty-one years is a looong foreplay.
I Remember You – Memory makes our relationships meaningful – trust makes them strong.
Value for O – Probably the only sexy story ever written that includes both Chewbacca and the lunar lander module.
Tragesangre – This is a work of fiction – no vampires or senior citizens were harmed in the creation of this story.
Lideric – A dead-sexy Roumanian-American house spirit does daycare.
Dezyrah’s Talk Dirty To Me – In all-dialogue format, like a radio play, because phone sex.
Perfect for Her Setting – A red hot Regency second chance at love.
Read a sample:
Nice lab, Egon. Business must be good.
Surveillance has been very, very good to me, Esme. Let me show you my invention.
Can you let me get my coat off? Sheesh, I come all the way from Australia, haven’t seen you except on email in fifty-one years—
Yeah, yeah. Sit by the desk.
I reread all your emails on the plane.
That’s a lotta email.
It’s a long flight.
’Kay, this is my latest genius project. You’re gonna love it. Sit here. I’ll sit here—
So much for sentiment. All right, show me the dingus.
You’re looking good, Esme.
You too, Egon.
How’s emu genes?
Emu genes are crankin’. C’mon, let’s see this invention. Goodness, Egon, it’s an antique! I thought all spy gear was digital nowadays.
Couldn’t get the sigils on the chips in the right proportions. Turns out there’s an ideal size ratio…here, let’s put your beanie on.
It’s on a cord? Hoo boy. Like two cans and a string.
And now I’ll put my beanie on.
Boy, this string is short.
It’s the wavelength of signals to the brain stem. I hadda simulate memory sending sensory data to the reptile brain. Short cord.
I mean, how can you spy on somebody’s memories when you’re staring ’em in the eyeball?
Think of it as kissing distance. You’re as beautiful as ever, Esme. You still smell like lavender.
You and your brain stem!
I’ve been lonely since Muriel left.
You still smell like a cookie, Egon.
Uh, okay, now. You’re an erring wife, say, and you’re sitting here thinking about your latest tryst with your boyfriend.
With a beanie on?
I’m working on that. That’s a detail. Now, I’m the husband with the transceiver controller. Notice it looks like a normal walkie-talkie.
I notice it’s huge. What did you do, raid the secret Radio Shack graveyard?
I told you, the sigils have to be a certain size to work.
Oh, Egon, you have a picture of the cabin on your lab wall!
I used actual old walkie-talkies. I disassembled the tuner rack, separated the disks, scribed each pair with half the sigil—this is the brilliant part—
Do you remember that summer on the lake? We were, what, fourteen?
Esme, don’t you care about my invention?
I thought you wanted to see how it works.
Sorry, Egon. I do.
So. I mean, we’ll get to that.
I mean, sure I remember that summer.
But, uh, let’s get back on track. Okay? You’re Muriel and you’re screwing your tennis pro.
Oh, Egon, did she?
And I’m in the next room. And you put the beanie on and I tune to the frequency of your third-eye chakra.
For goodness sake, Egon, you aren’t still messing with that baloney!
C’mon, prove I’m wrong. Start thinking about the tennis pro.
Egon, I don’t know Muriel’s tennis pro.
So pretend. Think about cheating on your husband.
Melvin died twelve years ago.
Humor me, Esme.
She really hurt you, didn’t she? I’m so sorry, Egon. You barely mentioned it in your e-mails.
It was a big disappointment to me, Esme, that’s all I’ll say. Now. Can you picture something, something specific?
Oh, all right.
Okay, my transceiver is tuned to your third-eye chakra. And I’m putting on my beanie. And I’m picking up images.
Oh, for heaven’s sake.
I see water.
I see sunlight on water. Am I getting warm?
I think you’ve got the thermostat way up.
Now I increase the gain…I’m picking up sounds…loons calling. Gulls crying. Splashing.
You’re making this up!
No, I’m not. We were just talking about the lake, and now you’re thinking about it.
Liar. My tranceiver never lies. I’ll prove it to you. I tune in on your navel chakra.
Leave my navel out of this, please.
Now I’m picking up sensations. Smell the lake, oh yeah. Warm, silky water. Feels good. I see a kid in the lake. Christ, he’s skinny. Was I ever that skinny?
Wiry. But Egon, this is baloney. Did you try it on Muriel?
You’re determined not to give this a fair trial, aren’t you?
You did, didn’t you? You’re nuts.
She didn’t want me anymore. She was always over at the club. I had to find out for sure.
So you fried her brain with this thing.
Esme. This is totally confidential. I believe I’ve isolated the wavelength for adultery memory.
The hell you have. Did you tell Muriel you were going to prove she was taking service from her tennis pro?
Not as such, no.
I asked her to put on the beanie. And I put mine on. And the next thing I know, she’s slapping me across the face and calling her lawyer.
This is the guy who won a Fulbright in high school.
… To read the rest of “Spy Beanie” and six more stories, buy Only a Paper Moon at BVC Ebookstore!