Personal Writing Challenge: Jenny Jones Goes Sideways 2

Completed

The fish woman was practically jumping out of her skin as she and Matthew made their way through the increasingly busy market, pressing herself against his side ignoring the fact that she was only in underwear, very revealing underwear at that, and her rapidly rising and falling bust was rubbing his arm, giving him very naughty thoughts.

“Don't worry, they don't care about you,” Matthew told her.

“What?” she yelped, in surprise.

“They don't care what you look like or where you came from. You've been sold so you're either a customer, or with me, and I'm a customer. The market is busy enough that they don't care if we walk past or not, they've got as much business as they can handle.” He felt her warm flesh push against him again. “Actually we do need them to bother us. Look for a clothes shop.”

“I haven't had clothes for over a year. They don't last very long in the ocean,” she said, looking away from him.

“I don't care, people ignore those who can go sideways, but if you make too much of a spectacle they start to pay attention and notice things. I'm not making a side trip to the ocean until I get my business done, and you don't seem to know how to get around in this place, so you're with me for a while,” he explained. “That means you have look like you fit in. So clothes, and lots of water.”

She didn't seem to know what to say, just stared at the ground, avoiding his eyes.

“What's you're name?” Matthew asked.

“Marilyn,” she whispered.

“I'm Matthew.”

They took some more confusing turns, until they found a stall selling latex clothing. “Perfect!” he shouted, dragging Marilyn over.

“I need one catsuit for the lady,” he said, ignoring the elf like man who had a barbed cat o'nine tails on his waist.

Five outfits shot up into the air. Two of them were mostly straps, leaving the crotch, ass and nipples open, one had a hole in the chest, and the other two covered everything from the neck down, including the hands, one was red the other black.

“You like red or black?” Matthew asked.

“Red,” she answered, staring in wide eyed wonder.

“How much for the red?”

He and the merchant haggled over the price, until Matthew paid one silver coin for it. It was that or the tip of his little finger.

Marilyn went behind a curtain and after some grunting and cursing came out wearing the cat suit. She was pulling at it, and twitching oddly, but didn't complain. With her clothed, it was a lot less distracting walking through the market. They traded the corset for a floppy hat that didn't go with the latex, but helped hide her face before finally reaching the exit. Concentrating as hard as he could on Toronto, he stepped through the revolving door hugging the fish woman to him so she didn't end up somewhere else.

They came out in a city alley, it was early in the evening and the city was alive with the sound of partying and fighting filling the air. “Come on, let's get out of here,” he said, pushing Marilyn in front of him.

“What's the hurry?” she asked, crossing her arms protectively over her chest and eyeing the lights with a mix of longing and fear.

“Sometimes things pop up for a few minutes after going sideways. Not often bu-” his explanation was cut off as tentacles reached out of the dark and grabbed him around the chest.

Marilyn didn't do what he expected, like screaming or running away. She grabbed a garbage can lid and began bashing the tentacle as hard as she could, actually cutting into the hard rubbery flesh. Matthew joined in, managing to snag his knife and slamming it into the tentacle and sawing away. Black ichor shot out, coating his coveralls.

Whatever the thing was gave a shriek, dropping him and fleeing back into the darkness.

“Goddammit!” he shouted, trying to shake off the gore. It was no use, whatever it was, was starting to smoke and eat away at the fabric. Stripping to his underwear, he pulled Jenny out of the bag and stepped into the suit.

Jenny grimaced as her feet touched the filthy pavement, getting dressed as quickly as possible. As soon as she was decently covered, with her mask and hair in place, she kicked the ruined clothes off to the side and turned to face her companion.

“Wh-? How? You changed? How?” Marilyn stammered.

“It's a body suit. I got it a year ago and it's fun to do. I'm Jenny Jones by the way.” Not waiting to see how the woman might react to the sudden age and gender change, she hurried out of the alley, only to stumble over a naked mannequin.

As the sidewalk rose up to meet her face, long fingers caught her under the arms. “Careful... Jenny. Where are we again?”

Taking a moment to collect herself before answering, Jenny finally said, “Toronto. I'm not sure where though. Let's get a cab. Where did you learn to fight like that?”

“Sharks. They sometimes try to eat me, and a good hit to the nose or gills usually makes them go away. Could we get some water?”

They went to a convenience store, and found out that the Eaton Center was only a few blocks away, while they bought a couple of bottles of water and some snacks. While Jenny ate a chocolate bar only moving her mask up just enough to slip it into her mouth, Marilyn poured two bottles of water into her latex suit, it made her squeak a little, but the fish woman looked a lot more comfortable.

Since it was closer than they thought, they started walking towards the market.

“So, Marilyn,” Jenny said, playing with her hands, “how did you get like this?”

“I don't know. I've tried to figure it out but it's a mystery. I went for a swim one night, and my suit dissolved, so did my skin. It didn't hurt, but I ended up like this. Only my best friend knows, and sometimes I'll go to her beach house to watch some tv, she set up a big basin like a couch for me. And we'll talk. That's how that woman caught me. I came out of the ocean and she trapped me in a net. It was so horrible,” Marilyn said, biting back a sob.

Jenny let her talk, she obviously needed to get a lot of stuff off her chest and listening didn't cost anything. When they reached the Eaton Center, there was an elevator off to the side where three neanderthal like bouncers in poorly made leather suits watched a small but steady stream of people enter. Looking carefully she saw that the elevator went up into the sky well above the actual building.

Getting into line, it was a short wait until they were in the elevator. They were ignored by the others, although Marilyn stared openly at a man dressed up in a stripperiffic superman costume, a woman who seemed to be naked under the hair which covered almost her entire body, and a person wearing a suit of childrens teeth.

They reached the hundredth floor, and stepped out into a mansions foyer.

A bald man in a tuxedo, with the word 'information' tattooed on his forehead was waiting just off to the side. They went over to him, Jenny didn't want to waste anymore time. “I need a girls face mask, living, Caucasian, not thinking or alive unless put on.”

The man opened his mouth and a beetle popped its head out. “Talk to Dave. Information section, table five,” the beetle clicked, while the man pointed the direction.

“Thank you,” Jenny said and headed off, dragging Marilyn who was staring in horror.

“He had a beetle for a tongue!” Marilyn gasped.

“Yeah, and you're a fish woman. And I'm a fifty year old man with the body of a teenage girl. Welcome to Oz,” she said.

They reached the information section which was full of stalls some of them overflowing with books, leathery tomes, parchment and old scrolls, others had a computer or even a tablet, a few used tv, radios or in one case a crystal ball. Every stall was marked with a number.

At stall number five a large grey and white dog was resting on a large pillow, apparently asleep. When they looked around for the merchant, the animal raised its head. “How can I help you?” it asked in a cultured British accent.

“We're looking for Dave,” she said.

“Speaking. What information are you looking for, I'm certain I can help,” Dave said with a big yawn.

Jenny told him her mask requirements.

“Just give me one moment please,” the dog said. It went to a notebook, and growled. Tics and fleas as large as Jenny's thumb jumped out of his fur, landing on the keys and began jumping up and down in a strange mockery of typing. Five minutes later, Dave gave a satisfied woof.

“I have the information, it will just cost you both an embarrassing memory,” Dave said.

“We can keep the memory, right?” Jenny asked.

“Of course.”

“Ok, how do we do this?” she asked.

“Just hold out your hand.”

Jenny put her hand out, Marilyn did the same, taking off her glove first, although she looked very nervous about it. Two fleas jumped on their hands and gave them a quick bite.

When the fleas jumped off, Dave said, “You need to go to Bottoms Up inside the Vatican and talk to the alchemist who made Jane Seymour and Racquel Welch's longevity potions. That should be easy enough just go to the travel section.”

With a quick thanks, they walked away looking for signs indicating a travel section. “Listen Marilyn,” Jenny said as they searched, “I think we should part ways here. Lake Ontario is just a few blocks away, you can get there and head to the ocean. I'll even give you some money so you can call your friend and let her know you're ok. I'm going to be going to Italy, and as you saw, it's not exactly safe ”

“Are you sure? I might be able to help you,” she said.

“Yeah. I'm not really comfortable around people when I'm like this. And you need to get to your friend. Tell you what, I'll try to get you straight to Florida if it's not too expensive, when I get my trip to Italy.”

“Thanks,” Marilyn said quietly, wiping her eyes.

“No problem,” Jenny said, squirming a little at the emotional scene.

They reached a large merry go round, where people got on and didn't get off again. A man dressed like a circus ringleader in a long red coat and baggy black pants, was standing by a ticket stand, he was smiling so much the corners of his mouth almost touched his eyes.

“Where would you like to go, kid?” he boomed.

“One ticket to Bottoms Up in Vatican City, and a ticket to...” Jenny looked at Marilyn questioningly.

“Bottoms Up in Vatican City,” Marilyn said.

“I told you to go home,” Jenny said.

“I am. I'm going to Bottoms Up in Vatican City. I've lived there all my life,” Marilyn insisted. Then she realized what she'd said and her hand covered her mouth.

An idea rose like a monster from the depths of Jenny's mind. “You're free to go Marilyn, just swim down the St. Lawrence River and head back to Florida that way. Go now!”

Looking hurt, scared and confused, Marilyn walked away, heading out through the large archway and around the corner. Jenny looked around and saw Marilyn looking even more confused as she came back into the room through an arch on the other side. She turned and fled, which gave Jenny a perfect view of Marilyn running through her own body, as she came back in through the arch as she ran out.

“Marilyn!” Jenny shouted. “Come here.”

“I was trying to leave, but I couldn't. Why can't I leave?” the young woman sobbed.

“I own you. So you can't leave me,” she told the woman, her voice full of disgust. “Let's try a few things.”

For the next ten minutes Jenny declared Marilyn free every possible way she could think of, but none of it worked, the fish woman physically couldn't get more than a few hundred feet away. Even when she gave Marilyn an order to go to Florida and wait for her, the magic contract seemed to understand that they were planning and refused to let Marilyn go.

“Fine! I give up!” Jenny shouted. “Sorry Marilyn I'll figure something out but for now I have stuff to do. So I guess you're coming with me. Two tickets to Bottoms Up in Vatican City,” she told the ticket agent.

For some reason as they got onto two golden horses on the merry-go-round Marilyn didn't look all that unhappy.

**

The merry-go-round went around once, and then Jenny and Marilyn were sitting on the top of a double decker bus driving through the streets of Vatican city early in morning. Priests, nuns and formally dressed people were going about their business completely ignoring the bright red bus that slowly made its way down the street.

It came to a stop less than a minute later beside a small cafe that seemed fuzzy around the edges. A sign above the door declared the name “Bottom's Up” with a picture of two women one on her back and her legs up in the air, while the other was standing and bent at the waist. Going inside, revealed a seedy little strip club where an over the hill dancer was twirling around a pole, her saggy breasts swinging drunkenly, victims of age and too much silicone.

A few people watched, but most were more interested in their beer. A waitress came over, smoking a cigarette. “Got the cover?”

Jenny handed her a twenty. “We're looking for an alchemist, is he here?”

“Yep, follow me,” she said, taking a drag of her smoke.

They went to stage where a greasy man in a stereotypical wizards robe was staring longingly at the the stripper. “Yo! Merl, you got customers!” the waitress yelled.

He didn't look away from the stage. “Sit down, sit down, I'm always willing to help. Barbara, dear, please can I have some more fish fingers and custard?"

“Coming right up,” the waitress said walking back to the kitchen, rolling her eyes.

“Merl, I need a mask. It has to be-” Jenny started.

“Yes, yes, I know all about it. What age?” he demanded.

She had told her fans she was fifteen, but being older would solve a lot of problems. “Eighteen or nineteen.”

Merl reached into a beat up old doctor bag at his feet, and handed Jenny a mask, it looked flat and lifeless, with short mousy brown hair. Taking off her hockey mask and wig, Jenny put the mask on. It made a sucking sound, and then it felt just like her real skin. Touching her face there were no bristles, or wrinkles, the nose was smaller, the lips fuller, shaking her head had real hair tickling her ears and neck.

“I'm really Jenny!” she cried in delight.

“Not yet. I need payment,” the man said.

“What do you need? I'll pay anything!” she said clutching his hand.

The greasy old man, finally looked at her, his eyes were ancient, dusty grey orbs. His body didn't change but how he held himself did. She saw an ancient man, who had the weight of the world on his shoulders once and dropped it. “I just want one hour of happiness,” he begged.

“It's yours,” she said without any hesitation.

After Merl took the memories, Marilyn gave her a hug, patting her back, and muttering a congratulations. As Jenny ran to the bathroom to look in a mirror, she saw Marilyn talking to the alchemist.

Five minutes later after she had looked at every part of her new face, Jenny came out and saw the fish woman sitting by the door crying into her hands. Not sure what to do, she gave the woman a hug and told her it was time to go home.

**

Since Marilyn couldn't leave her side unless she was doing a real job, when Matthew went to work the next day, after drinking a whole pot of coffee, he left her at home and gave her a list of chores to do and the times to do them. She'd have plenty of time to relax, and it should keep her from ending up at his side by magic.

He was almost too giddy to work, thinking about how he had to get some documents for Jenny Jones 19 year old internet sensation. He could go to a market and get some easily enough. Then he'd work out something with an agent and come up with a cover story about how he had helped her get off the street. He could go on tours, singing and dancing, maybe star in a movie, and as Matthew still see his daughter. Heck his daughter was a fan of Jenny Jones, she'd love knowing he had helped her become famous. That had to be worth some brownie points and make him the best Dad in the whole world.

Getting home he heard Marylin crying.

Walking quietly to his bedroom he saw Jenny standing in front of a mirror, looking exhausted, tears and snot running down her face, as she gulped for air. Kneeling down beside the girl he put his arm around her.

“What's wrong?” he asked.

“I want to look like this!” Marilyn wailed. “I want real skin. I want my hair back! I want to be able to walk down the street! I want to be human again! But Merl said these were hard to get, it could take months or years to get one.”

He'd only met Marilyn the night before, but how she was crying reminded Matthew of his daughter when she found out she was going to live with her mother. He looked at his own life, it wasn't too bad. Lonely, but he only really wanted to be Jenny because it got him attention. Here was a young woman who couldn't have a life, not a real one at least.

It was like pulling off a bandage, better to be quick. “Can you sing?” he asked.

**
1 year later

Matthew watched as Jenny Jones chewed her lip nervously as the director got everyone in place. He was on set as a close friend of the budding star, watching with interest as the tv show was being created. It turned out that Marilyn couldn't sing, but she was a pretty good actress.

The day before when they recorded the singing portion of the episode, Matthew had been onstage singing his heart out, while Marilyn stayed in the hotel room soaking in a tub. It wasn't perfect, but with Matthew being the singing Jenny, and Marilyn the acting Jenny as well as doing most of the day to day things, it worked well enough. And sometimes it was Matthew who went out shopping and partying.

The gossips wondered about their relationship, but they just said he was like a father to her. It wasn't any of their business and they kept things discrete, even though Marilyn didn't sleep in the spare room anymore.

Best of all his daughter was spending most of her spare time with him. Having a celebrity living with him had definitely made him the greatest Dad in the whole world. The biggest problem was deciding who got to hang out with his daughter as Jenny. Marilyn loved having the friends, and Matthew loved spending even more time with his daughter.

But things were working out.

He hadn't even traveled sideways in months. With his life so good, there really wasn't any need to.

**

So that's the short story. It wasn't the most interesting thing in the world, but I could definitely see taking a month or so to expand this into a novel, there's enough potential to it, just have to add in an actual enemy, and that's easy.

Here are the last bits I had to add, I couldn't add in a few things I wanted. For short story there simply wasn't the space, but if I do expand this, the line "Dad, I told you, Elvis said it was perfectly fine to use his flying Eldorado." It's too good to leave out a second time.

a merry-go-round.

The city was alive tonight; the sounds of partying and of fighting filled the air. As he walked by a alley, a tentacle reached out from the dark and grab him.

As I staggered out of the alley, I stumbled over a naked mannequin.

A seedy strip club inside the Vatican, the alchemist who made Jane Seymour & Racquel Welch's longevity potions, and a three year old talking Alaskan Malamute named Dave.

A double decker bus

"Please sir, can I have some more fish fingers and custard?"

Thanks for reading.



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