Dangerous Visions

Dangerous Visions by edited by Harlan Ellison

Book: Dangerous Visions by edited by Harlan Ellison Read Free Book Online
Authors: edited by Harlan Ellison
Tags: Science-Fiction
but who died a long time ago. His mother has been long buried under a landslide of flesh. When he was sixteen, he had had a lovely mother.
    Then she cut him off.
     
    THE FAMILY THAT BLOWS IS THE FAMILY THAT GROWS
     
    —from a poem by Edgar A. Grist, via Channel 88.
    "Son, I don't get much out of this. I just do it because I love you."
    Then, fat, fat, fat! Where did she go? Down into the adipose abyss. Disappearing as she grew larger.
    "Sonny, you could at least wrestle with me a little now and then."
    "You cut me off, Mama. That was all right. I'm a big boy now. But you haven't any right to expect me to want to take it up again."
    "You don't love me any more!"
     
    "What's for breakfast, Mama?" Chib says.
    "I'm holding a good hand, Chibby," Mama says. "As you've told me so many times, you're a big boy. Just this once, get your own breakfast."
    "What's you call me for?"
    "I forgot when your exhibition starts. I wanted to get some sleep before I went."
    "14:30, Mama, but you don't have to go."
    Rouged green lips part like a gangrened wound. She scratches one rouged nipple. "Oh, I want to be there. I don't want to miss my own son's artistic triumphs. Do you think you'll get the grant?"
    "If I don't, it's Egypt for us," he says.
    "Those stinking Arabs!" says William Conqueror.
    "It's the Bureau that's doing it, not the Arabs," Chib says. "The Arabs moved for the same reason we may have to move."
    From Grandpa's unpublished Ms .: Whoever would have thought that Beverly Hills would become anti-Semitic?
    "I don't want to go to Egypt!" Mama wails. "You got to get that grant, Chibby. I don't want to leave the clutch. I was born and raised here, well, on the tenth level, anyway, and when I moved all my friends went along. I won't go!"
    "Don't cry, Mama," Chib says, feeling distress despite himself. "Don't cry. The government can't force you to go, you know. You got your rights."
    "If you want to keep on having goodies, you'll go," says Conqueror. "Unless Chib wins the grant, that is. And I wouldn't blame him if he didn't even try to win it. It ain't his fault you can't say no to Uncle Sam. You got your purple and the yap Chib makes from selling his paintings. Yet it ain't enough. You spend faster than you get it."
    Mama screams with fury at William, and they're off. Chib cuts off fido. Hell with breakfast; he'll eat later. His final painting for the Festival must be finished by noon. He presses a plate, and the bare egg-shaped room opens here and there, and painting equipment comes out like a gift from the electronic gods. Zeuxis would flip and Van Gogh would get the shakes if they could see the canvas and palette and brush Chib uses.
    The process of painting involves the individual bending and twisting of thousands of wires into different shapes at various depths. The wires are so thin they can be seen only with magnifiers and manipulated with exceedingly delicate pliers. Hence, the goggles he wears and the long almost-gossamer instrument in his hand when he is in the first stages of creating a painting. After hundreds of hours of slow and patient labor (of love), the wires are arranged.
    Chib removes his goggles to perceive the overall effect. He then uses the paint-sprayer to cover the wires with the colors and hues he desires. The paint dries hard within a few minutes. Chib attaches electrical leads to the pan and presses a button to deliver a tiny voltage through the wires. These glow beneath the paint and, Lilliputian fuses, disappear in blue smoke.
    The result is a three-dimensional work composed of hard shells of paint on several levels below the exterior shell. The shells are of varying thicknesses and all are so thin that light slips through the upper to the inner shell when the painting is turned at angles. Parts of the shells are simply reflectors to intensify the light so that the inner images may be more visible.
    When being shown, the painting is on a self-moving pedestal which turns the painting 12 degrees to the

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