With a Body Like This....

by Upright & Long Haired Hippy Freak


"Welcome to 'Phobos Today,' the only show shown on Phobos for Phobos! This is Mara Taglietti in for Hamilton Smith, who is on vacation." Mara smiled brilliantly for the camera. "Today's special guests include Greased Lightning of the Galactic Hero Carps, Harvey Winthrop, the last living descendent of Martin Swanky, the first man to ever walk the surface of Phobos, and Maria Punicello, who will give the viewer audience their tailor made astrological horoscope.

"We'll return right after these messages from our sponsors!"

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"Turn down that damned ad, for Christ's sakes!"

"Calm down Mara, you go back on air in one minute. No frown lines now."

"Go to hell, Tonio!"

"Make up! Touch her up! Mara, please, we need you to calm down."

"Why do we have to interview Greased Lightning today. He's the most hated person in the galaxy!"

"Well, that's why the Corps sent him out on interplanetary tour, Mara. He needs to make up popularity points and quickly before he's drummed out of the Galactic Hero Corps."

"It's not simply a matter of popularity,. The guy's a pig! He..."

"Shush, Mara, were on in ten seconds."

"Why today? Why not some other day when Hamilton is here?"

"Six, seven -- why do you think Hamilton's on vacation? -- three, two..."

"Hey!"

"One! Go!"

"Welcome back to 'Phobos Today,' the only show on Phobos where Phobosians can actually call on the air without paying interplanetary phone rates! Please help me welcome Greased Lightning to our show!"

Greased Lightning entered, the sound of Mara's lone applause echoed hollowly throughout the studio. The cue light labeled 'Applause' flashed, then flashed urgently.

Clap, clap, clap.

Greased Lightning was dressed in a white spandex one piece uniform with a shiny black streak of lightning racing across his chest in an inverted triangle from his shoulders to his abdomen. Black leather knee high boots, black belt, and elbow length black gloves rounded out the outfit. Muscles rolled underneath the tight cloth, long chestnut hair waved out in majestic wave after wave, a black visor is all that separated his perfect face from the rest of the universe...

"Why don't you drop off the face of Phobos and die, you big shit!" someone in the studio audience hollered. The audience snickered.

Greased Lightning smirked. "Gee, and here I thought Phobos was Earth's moron colony, but it seems you have the burning flame of wit in your studio audience."

Not sure if Greased Lightning was complimenting or making fun, the studio audience sat quietly and kept a careful eye on him.

Greased Lightning flexed a couple muscles for the cameras. He stood right in front of Mara, so he flexed his butt a couple times too. God, thought Greased Lightning, I'm so cool...

"Ahem, yes, all very, hmm, well, Mr. Lightning --"

"Just call me Greased, " he said, winking.

My God, he's a man among children, thought Mara.

"I know."

"Wha..? How did you know..."

"What else would you've been thinking about? Look at them." Greased Lightning tilted his head, indicating the audience. All fifteen buck-toothed Corky-look-alikes in overalls were squinting down at him, still wondering what he meant by his last comment.

Mara decided to move on. "Well, now that Phobos has been introduced to the man, let's get to know him a little better. Greased, why is it you have such a problem with the public?"

"Mara, it isn't me who has a problem with the public, it's the public that has a problem with me. You see, when you're so perfect, you tend to draw the hostility of the majority of people who are not, and never can be, as great as the man before you now. I mean, let's face it: who on Phobos looks as good as I do?"

No one, thought Mara, though it disgusted her to think it.

"Exactly. But who wants to acknowledge that I look better than everyone else, especially since I know it and face the truth by telling everybody. I mean, really, who could call me a liar?"

Is there anybody? she thought. Please say there's some --

"No one, that's who. You see, the public can't face the real truth. If they had to, civilization would collapse all around us, for as Joseph Conrad showed us in The Heart Of Darkness, civilization is dependent on little lies because the truth hurts to the point of destruction. Oh, but I'm sure your viewing audience already knew that. Heh, heh."

A pause. Mara caught her breath. "Hmm, yes."

Another pause. No one seemed to know what to say.

Except for Greased Lightning, of course. "You see, I'm not really a bad guy. Obviously I'm not a bad guy, I'm always so busy saving everyone's butt. I could kick everyone's butt just as well. You guys should be happy that I'm happy with the money you guys are paying me to be on your side."

Mara nodded. "Well, it's true that you've single-handedly saved cities and even a lunar nation before. And that's not even counting the times you've gotten the Corps out of a jam --"

"Yeah, I've saved their butts a bunch of times too."

"But you've never been able to capture the public's respect like Captain Dick, Dirk Daring or the late Thirty-Minute Man --"

"Sure I have. I capture the imagination of young women all over the solar system. I was voted Sexiest Man in Solar Woman's Weekly last two years running. And when young men dream about being a hero, who do you think they dream of? Captain Dick? Who'd want to wear a red and white pinstripe uniform with a big black dorky D on the chest? Who'd want to only be able to fly and bark orders to people who don't respect him? Who'd want to be forty years old, stupid and slow? Who'd want to be a leader no one listens to? Who'd want --"

"Yes, yes," interrupted Mara. "But why are you such a -- for lack of a better word -- a jerk?"

"Who's a jerk? Me?"

Mara smirked. I have him!

"Roll the film, Tonio. What we are about to show is a collection of segments put together as a sort of documentary on the career of Greased Lightning."

The lights dimmed. All eyes were turned to the viewing screens placed strategically throughout the studio.

The film began...

° ° °

An iconic, abstract image of Greased Lightning appeared, making him look some what like a pig. Below the image ran the title of the piece:

Greased Lightning:
Protector of State,
Public Enemy #1

The narrator spoke. "One man in this century has been voted more unpopular than Hitler. One man in this nation of worlds has been impeached by the government concerning the legality of his citizenship. One man has done his best to make everyone hate him, absolutely and with no remorse. This man is Greased Lightning."

The abstract picture shifted into the real life photo of Greased Lightning, who turned to the camera and flipped off the audience.

The audience gasped.

"Greased Lightning hit the big time in his quick, flashy way four years ago, during the time when the Hero Corps, literally decimated in the Gobi Campaign which took the life of Thirty Minute Man and several others, was desperately recruiting anyone. Considering that other new recruits had code names like Homewrecker, Ordinary Joe and Bill, Greased Lightning had seemed to be a promising young hero. Until, at least, he participated in his first mission.

"The four new members of the Corps were sent to Tokyo, under the command of Assistant Executive Vice Commander Richard, to end the Conglomerate Wars that had raged between the cartels of business for seven years. Daunting under any circumstance, but even more so when three of the five had code names such as Homewrecker, Ordinary Joe and Bill."

The film showed the five disembark the official Hero Corps transport. The former Assistant Executive Vice Commander Richard waved to the crowd. Behind him stood Greased Lightning in his old blue and yellow costume; an overpainted Asian woman with dyed blond hair, red dress and high heels; somebody in a tank top and shorts who looked like he had suddenly been pulled away from a picnic and handed an official Galactic Hero Corps Membership Card; and Bill.

"Considering the job, the mission seemed to be going well." On the screen, Assistant Executive Vice Commander Richard was flying around, pointing and gesturing and telling everyone they were pathetic. Greased Lightning was dismantling the right flank a platoon of techno-soldiers. Homewrecker was slapping a techno-soldier silly. A techno-soldier was slapping Ordinary Joe silly.

"Then came the grand finale, the last battle, the end to end all ends." Assistant Executive Vice Commander Richard lead the group to the entrance of the Tokyo Pyramid, headquarters to Toyota-NEC-Bishi-Ungai-Sony Conglomerate. TNBUS techno-soldiers blocked the way. The battle ensued, much like the first one. The Corps made it past the soldiers and entered the Pyramid, camera man following. They were intercepted by another group of techno-soldiers, these more heavily armed than the last ones. It was apparent that the Corps was kicking butt when all of the sudden a blinding light shook the entire structure. The image cleared a split second later. The camera swung and there was Ordinary Joe, sprawled up against the wall and dead, dead, dead.

"Nooooo!" screamed Homewrecker, running like her mascara and hose. She charged off the screen, swinging her deadly red nails. The camera followed.

"How could you! He didn't have any special powers! He wasn't nobody special, just an ordinary guy!"

The last moments of Homewrecker were recorded as she was consumed in the same blinding light that killed Ordinary Joe. The light cleared and was replaced by the image of a menacing and clearly dangerous robot. It had a huge cannon in place of a head.

"Get it you (BLEEP)ing underling!" screamed Assistant Executive Vice Commander Richard from somewhere off screen.

Greased Lightning simply stood and waited. He was frowning.

The deadly robot marched forward until it stood directly in front of Greased Lightning. Still Greased Lightning waited. The cannon fired. Never really striking Greased Lightning, the ray was directed right above their heads, destroying the main support beam. The room collapsed and the camera broke...

Another camera picked up where the last left off. Greased Lightning stood just as he had before the building had collapsed, a pile of debris making a ring about him.

"Afterward, at the ensuing press conference..."

Greased Lightning sat behind a bank of microphones, relaxed and very cool. A subtitle read 'Greased Lightning.'

"How do you feel about the death of your teammate Ordinary Joe?" asked a reporter.

"Not much. Couldn't do nothin' special. He's better off dead."

"You beast!" screamed an old woman. A camera was trained on her and a subtitle read 'Ordinary Joe's Mother.' "How could you say such a thing! I hate you!"

Joe's mother began to cry.

"Cause Joe sucked. He had nothing going for him, he stunk up the bathroom all the time an' he spent all his spare time thinking about how he hated me because I was so cool an' he was just an ordinary schmoe! HAHAHAHAHAHAH! Get it? Ordinary schmoe?"

"How about Homewrecker?" asked another reporter. "Did you feel anguish for her passing?"

"Yeah I felt anguish! We were supposed to get it on after the mission! Jesus! I got (BLEEP)ed on that deal! She had good piece a (BLEEP)!"

"Yan Ooong Xine Xee Pok Bao Hanbizee, Greased Lightning-San?" inquired another reporter. "Bui Ing Dao Bao Wung?"

"What the (BLEEP) did he say? Eggroll Sushi Teriyaki! Jesus Christ, I go and save all of your (BLEEP)ing butts from your (BLEEP)ing selves and you go and speak (BLEEP)ing gibber gabber at me? Show a little respect, will ya? And hey, little guy, why don't you go and sweet and sour your chicken chow mein while you're at it. HA! Which reminds me. Joe had to beat his grease all the time cause I always got the babes and he got frustrated all the time. HA!"

Joe's mom was crying oceans.

"You know what, sir? You're just a big jerk, you know that?" inquired somebody.

"Just telling it like it is," replied Greased Lightning.

"Worse, it only got worse," continued the announcer. "Many missions and many press conferences later, nothing had improved and in fact got disgusting..."

The camera was panned on Greased Lightning, now in his old black uniform covered with thousands of yellow bolts of lightning. He was boarding a Corps transport.

"Why you not salute El Presidente?" inquired the on-scene reporter.

"Salute a third-rate leader of a third-rate lunar state like Titania? Jesus, I saved your butts from Big Buster and you want me to salute? Here's your salute, El Presidente!"

A black edit square spared the viewer.

"Whoooeeee! Like that, El Presidente? Most people pay to see something this good!"

° ° °

"I think we've seen enough," said Mara smugly. The audience was shifting and groaning and it seemed like they might get out of control at any time.

"You're nothing but a butt face!" came a scream from the audience.

Greased didn't even notice. During the film clip, he had noticed from the sitting position he was in, he had a clear view of Mara's legs sitting behind the desk. She had on a short skirt that had been riding up during the interview. And Greased had a feeling that it had been on purpose.

"Well, Mara, anything else?" asked Greased, his gaze never leaving Mara's thighs.

"Let's take a quick break to calm everybody down and bring out our next guest."

"Phobos Burgers, Phobos Burgers, come and get your Phobos Burgers..." The add quieted as Mara glared over at the director.

"So, Mara, considering leaving the show early?" Greased glanced down at her exposed legs. Mara noticed his glance but did nothing to fix her skirt.

"You're a pig, you know that."

"I know that. You know that. But, I'm a good looking pig, probably the best looking pig you've ever seen. You want me."

"Ten seconds, Mara."

"We'll talk about it after the show," offered Greased as Mara turned back to the camera, trying not to show the effect that Greased Lightning was having over her.

"And now, Harvey Winthrop, last living descendant of Martin Swanky, first man to ever walk on Phobos."

Thunderous applause filled the studio. Hooting and howling greeted the crotchety old man as he limped over to the interview couch, leaning on his cane the entire way.

"Way to go, Harvey," yelled out someone from the audience.

Harvey took his place next to Greased Lightning who had scooted over. Way over, since the old man smelled like he'd been dead at least a week.

"Well, how are you, Harvey?"

"Ehh? What did you say?" Harvey leaned closer to Mara with a hand cupped to his ear. Mara winced from his smell and repeated the question a bit louder.

"HOW ARE YOU, HARVEY?"

Greased was beginning to crack up from his end of the couch.

"No, I was never in the army, Miss. I remember a time when I was about, oh, well, I'd say sixteen. My family was just barely making it. The royalty checks for the family colonization of Phobos weren't being sent at the time because there was some litigation in the Goddamn courts. Some jerk wanted to contest our rights to it. Hot damn, but we showed him! HEE-HEE-huck-cuff-huck. . ." The old man began to choke on his laughter, coughing up a huge ball of phlegm. "Excuse me, Miss," said Harvey around a mouthful of snot. He turned and spit it behind the chair.

Off camera, Greased Lightning exploded with laughter. The studio audience began shifting restlessly at the Corps member's amusement of their national hero.

"ARE YOU OKAY, HARVEY?" asked Mara.

"Yeah, they eventually paid us, miss. But I tell you, that guy who tried to rob us, huh, we took care of him real good." Harvey glanced over at Greased who was laughing uncontrollably. "What's wrong with him? He a comedian or something?"

"He's a joke, at the least," said Mara.

"What was that?" Harvey leaned in to Mara again. Mara again winced from the smell. Greased continued to laugh.

"Did your family ever do anything to make a living except get kicked off of the Earth to come live on this piece of (BLEEP)? How can you be proud of starting a colony of rejects?" screamed Greased Lightning.

The audience gasped in unison.

"Tell him off, Harvey!" screamed someone from the audience.

"Yeah, you make him shut up!" shouted another.

"Give it to him, Harvey!" and another.

"Make him be quiet!" yelled someone else.

"Um, yeah!" screamed the rest of the group.

"What did he say? What did they say?" Harvey was looking around perplexed. "Did he just tell a joke? Did I just miss his joke?"

"Greased, please keep your comments to yourself," commanded Mara.

"What?" asked Harvey.

"HARVEY, HOW DID YOUR FAMILY TURN PHOBOS FROM A HUNK OF ROCK INTO A PLACE WHERE PEOPLE WOULD WANT TO LIVE HERE?"

"Well, I once had kidney problems but I don't think there was ever anything wrong with my liver. My heart went about a year back and I was dead for at least an hour. . ."

"Smells like it," laughed Greased.

"What?" Harvey turned toward Greased. "What was that, young man? Did you tell another joke? Damn, I love a good joke. I hate missing jokes. What did you say?"

"I SAID 'SMELLS LIKE IT'?

"Is that what goes for comedy now-a-days? You say a curse word and everyone laughs. That's what I hate about kids today, Miss." Harvey turned back to Mara. "They think that cursin' is funny. All you have to do is sit down and yell (BLEEP), (BLEEP), (BLEEP)ing (BLEEP) and they just get hysterical. That's what's wrong with Phobos, ya know. It's these damn kids."

"Well, yes, thank you Harvey for coming on the show."

"What?"

"THANK YOU FOR BEING ON THE SHOW!"

"Well, when you gotta go, you gotta go. You're excused, I don't mind." Harvey turned and faced the camera, putting his hands in his lap.

"We'll be right back with Maria Punicello with fortunes for the audience."

Mara dropped her head in her hands. "Hamilton always gives me the best guests. Wait til he gets back from vacation. I'm going to kill him."

"I can give you this guy's fortune, Mara," said Greased as he picked up Harvey's hand. "I see a nice dirt plot with beautiful green grass in his future. Hah!"

"Shut up and sit down, Greased, we're coming back on."

"Welcome back. Our next guest is Maria Punicello, well known psychic and palm reader. She has given fortunes to such space greats as Gaglio Vernon, hero of Mars, Sameel Farchis, leader of Deimos, and she even predicted the Flagael Attack of 2095. And now, here's Maria to give the audience their tailor made fortune."

Applause filled the room as Maria came waltzing out in a red, black and orange dress swaying loosely about her body. She was covered in scarves and was wearing a purple headdress.

"Tank you! Tank you, all! Your all too tweet!" She blew the audience a kiss as she sat down next to Harvey. "Ooooooh, who is dis? He smell so bad!"

"What fortunes are in store for the viewer audience, Maria?"

"I can tell you what fortunes are in store for her if she plays her tarot cards right, Mara." Greased winked at Maria as she glanced over.

"Oh, who is dis here?" She got up and walked over to sit by Greased. She pulled his hand up and turned it over, caressing his palm with her other hand. "Oh, chyes, I see great tings in store for you. Mmmm, what manly hands you got. Oh, dis line here, dat say, you a very lucky fellow."

"Well, I think this leg says you're gonna be a very lucky girl," commented Greased as he rubbed his hand up Maria's thigh.

"Okay, Maria, Maria, that's enough with Greased's reading. You promised the audience that they'd get their fortune."

"Oh, chyes, let me tink." Maria closed her eyes and turned toward the audience. Greased continued to rub her leg. "Mmmmm, well, chyes, I feel some really weird vibes coming from dem. Oh chyes, I feel some really, strong. . OH. . vibes." Greased hand had become lost beneath the layer of scarves and ripples of her dress. The camera remained above Maria's waist.

"Hey," yelled one of the Phobosians. "He's gonna ruin our horoscope."

"Calm down, please. This is a viewer horoscope, not a studio horoscope," said Mara, hoping to calm the studio guests down.

"Hey, we're viewers, too," screamed one of the audience.

"Yeah, let's get him."

"No, wait," said Maria. "I see trouble in your future. Oh, grief and bad luck and -- OH CHYES -- death, too."

"Oh my God, we're all gonna die!" screamed someone from the back row.

"Ahhhhhhh! What can we do, Maria, what can we do?"

"Der is noting for you to do. I -- OH, OH, OH MY GOD -- see deat' and destrwuction for you ah-aH-AH-ALL!"

"I don't want to die." The whole audience begin to scream and yell. Some people in the back began to panic and started pushing their way down the bleachers. They shoved on those ahead of them, who tumbled over on the people in the next row. Pretty soon, the whole lot of them began stampeding down the metal bleachers that served as the audience's seats.

The camera panned on Mara's bewildered face as she stared as Greased began to get on top of Maria.

"Mara," whispered Tonio. "Come on, get things under control."

"Umm, well, this has been 'Phobos Today' and I'm your host, Greased, um, I mean, Mara Gorgeous, uhm, well, I mean, OH MY GOD, I've never seen a man so. . . Um, see you next time."

"And clear," yelled Tonio. "Dammit Mara, what the hell happ..."

Suddenly there was a tremendous crash as the bleachers toppled over on top of the swarming Phobosians. Screams of pain filled the studio as all fifteen of the Phobosians were crushed to death.

"OH, Greased, OH OH!"

"What?" screamed Harvey. He had fallen asleep but now he woke as the couch had begun to bounce up and down. He looked over at Greased and Maria as they lay wrapped around each other on the couch. Drool began to drip from the corner of his mouth. He turned toward Mara. "So, what do you say me and you follow suit, hunh?"

"I think I'm going to be sick." Mara got up and ran to her dressing room.

° ° °

Mara was rinsing her mouth out at the sink in her dressing room when a knock came at the door.

"Mara? You in there." It was Greased. What did he want? Mara looked in the mirror, wiped her mouth with a towel, fixed her hair and pulled her shirt down off of one shoulder.

"Just a second." She walked over to the door and opened it slowly. "What the hell do you want?"

"I thought maybe we could talk things over." Greased glanced down at her legs again.

"After what you pulled out there? No way!"

"You mean, you were considering it before than, right? That means you'll consider it again." Greased turned to walk away. He gave his butt one more flex in her direction and she screamed, "No, wait!"

The door swung open and she ran into the hall and threw her arms around him.

"Give it to me, Greased. Come on, give it to me!" Greased pushed her away.

"Maybe the next time I'm on the show. And next time, I want to choose the clips."

"I'll talk to my director. I'll ask the producer. Anything, Greased, OH, anything! Please don't leave yet."

"Sorry, Mara. You're missing out on a great thing and we both know it." Greased turned and walked away, flexing his butt all the way down the hallway.

° ° °

"I can't belive that crap you pulled on Phobos! All you're other stops on the tour are being canceled! As soon as the show aired, we began getting calls. Nobody wants you on their show! Nobody! You're a jerk, Greased! You're a total jerk!"

"Well, if you want to risk you're lives and kick me out of the Corps, go ahead."

Captain Dick stood and stared at Greased for about two seconds. "Just get out of here, you pathetic waste. And don't you ever go on another talk show again, you hear me! We don't need your kind of publicity."

Greased Lightning walked out of Captain Dick's office whistling. With a body like this, he thought, who needs good publicity?

 

Copyright © 1994 No Apologies! Press

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