In the liberated city of Altobello, a jellyhead woman entered the Saposcat’s Deli on Arden Boulevard last night with five severed heads in a suitcase, those of husband, Barry; Muffy and Dale, the twin 10-year olds; Earnest, the blind and deaf son, and George D. Bennett, an uncle visiting from Bunkerville.
Observers say she sat down with a calm demeanor, though her clothes were blood soaked and glistening with gel, the suitcase oozing, and ordered a sapsap plate and milk from a trembling waitress. After eating the sapsap and drinking the milk, she suddenly shouted, “Oh, sput! I forgot about little Timmy,” and dashed from the diner.
So in shock were the diners that they made no effort to contact police or any other authorities. Instead, they waited until she returned with little Timmy, her youngest, whose head was in a paper bag, soaked and dripping. Now her family was complete.
Police were eventually called and as horrified Saposcat’s patrons looked on, the suitcase and the bag were opened. A police sergeant on the scene was quoted as saying, “We’ve got six heads here. Personally speaking, I’ve never seen a jelly bring in more than three at once. Don’t ask me why they sever them like that or why they invariably drop them off at a Saposcat’s. I don’t have a clue.”
The beheadings of loved ones was something new to the jellies, who were formerly devoted to family, to the home, to community values, until they set up an encampment out near the old reactor a few years ago. After that, there was no predicting how a given jellyhead might behave.
It has been revealed by City Moon reporters that a jellyhead was arrested for pouring ammonia into a drunken man’s bitters. For the offense he was ordered to spend eight months civilly dead, without the protection of the law. Those under such a sentence were vulnerable to any sort of depredation from robbery to murder. A person’s enemies saw this as an opportunity to revenge past injuries and affronts. One could sometimes see rowdy children spitting on the civilly dead who dared to walk the streets. It was not unusual to see their bodies left in the gutter to rot.
Only days after serving his sentence, the jellyhead exposed himself to a Sister of Comfort and was declared civilly dead for three additional months. When that time was up, it wasn’t long before a woman who lives on Myrtle Lane reported to police that she had been drinking bitters with the offender earlier in the evening and that about 1:30 a.m. she swallowed a jigger of lye rather than bitters, causing severe throat burns. Later, under questioning, the jellyhead confessed to filling the glass with the caustic concoction when the woman wasn’t looking. For this last offense, he will do twenty years of civil death. Legal administrators estimate his chances of surviving that long as zero. More than two hundred kill orders will be issued in his name and distributed in the City.
Altobello’s men love to root out very young jellies, particularly in the area west of the City where the damp woods abound in them. The men just wade through the rye and timothy and head for the bramble thickets where these small jellies sleep away the days in the shade, taking refuge under stones, roots and overhanging foliage. The preferred method among the men for bagging them is to rig a 12-volt K-motor battery to a strong convective wire fixed with staples along a broomstick. To the wire is attached a bucket or a deep tin pan, then coarse steel wool is glued into the receptacle and it’s all connected to a live wire. Now, all that is required is to place the “hot” bucket over the sleeping quarry.
Lame duck mayor Felix Grendon is among those who hunt this way often. Sadly, his most recent bagging has ended in disaster for his loving wife, Dilly. After the hunt, Grendon brought home a bagged jelly for the barbecue. While Dilly prepared a sauce and a yard-green salad, Grendon built a fire of dry bramble and fallwood. When the coals were ready, he gutted the jelly, cutting off the head first, then pulling out all eight little gel sacks from the abdomen. When that was done, he stuck the carcass onto a makeshift spit.
After a good hour, when Grendon declared the jelly cooked, he and Dilly tore at the meat like animals even though it bled at the joints. Dilly savored the crisp skin and chewed it down no matter how tough. Grendon had none of it. “I’d rather eat burnt leather,” he was fond of saying. “And the meat smells like it’s dead.”
That night Dilly fell into a swoon at bedtime and collapsed. Her breathing was labored, her face as pale as a dinner candle. She became a waxy image of her former self and in three or four hours, passed away, killed by something in the skin of a small jelly.
On the day after Coward’s Day, the eyes of the captain of a sapsap trawler off Point Blast widened at the sight of a big jellyhead thrashing against the boat’s nets. He had wanted gel sacks for some time as souvenirs. He lifted the struggling, half-drowned four hundred pound jellyhead onto the deck, stroked his belly along the sternum until he slumbered peacefully, then cut the gel sacks out.
More and more jellyheads have been taking to the sea for recreation, though all are poor swimmers. This Coward’s Day, hundreds were seen wading into the turf, with only a dozen returning. The rest had drowned, or were caught in trawlers’ nets.
When asked why jellyheads engage in this behavior, Scientist Zanzetti said, “They don’t think at all, they act, and there’s no seeming interest in furthering their kind. They behead their loved ones, they drown themselves like lemmings, they celebrate cowardice once a year. We’ll never understand them. So it isn’t a surprise that so many kill orders are being issued.”
For jellyheads, dream clubs are the latest in social fun. One such club has been named in the stalking and slaying of a man named Dewey, a dream figure. These dreamers, who often meet to tell the secrets of their dreams to one another, began to recognize, in common, a shadowy, poorly dressed figure standing in the landscape of their nightly adventures. Independently, they all called him Dewey and thought him malicious. He threatened the peace and privacy of the jellyhead dream world. The nine members of the club, thinking that dream figures would feel no pain, agreed to murder the innocent Dewey. It would be no more of a sin than popping a tick between the fingers without a thought of mercy. Each dreamer, as they arranged it, would arrive by K-motor in front of a Saposcats during the 3rd REM period on the night of December 12. Inside the deli, it was supposed, Dewey would be waiting to haunt them, to brandish a shiv in their faces, spit on them, or spray them with deformant. On this occasion Dewey little suspected he would be facing an organized team of hostile dreamers bent on murder. Yet in through the door they arrived like a family walking into church. In a moment, Dewey was thrown to the floor and kicked until he was dead.