After the oceans rise San Francisco was inundated, the pumping system that was designed to take care of  the whole City was co-opted by the Bureaucrat. For the last twenty years the tech and grunge workers lived along the sloppy salty lower edges, the wealthy Mons live ecologically pure lives up on the ridges. The Mons seldom have children, when they do the kids get sent East to the Berkeley Hills for school. The other children usually disappear into the factories in what used to be the hills of Marin City.

Even in an ecological paradise, everyone eventually dies and bodies need to be dealt with--not easy in a world already drowned. 

Doc and the Reverend Alma Deterra had a house in the lower corner of the City, taking care of business: death and dinkies and changing the basic power structure of The City, one body at a time.

Additional chapters can be found on the BLOG!

FRANKENSTEIN CLUB - by Sin Soracco and Andrew Ahn, copyright 2015, 2016


The wind snapped her black robe open, exposing her long dark legs, ribbons of tattoos twisted around them curling upward toward her trimmed triangle. Shivering, the Reverend Alma Deterra slapped the robe closed and lifted the corner of her thin mouth at Doc.

"Drink your coffee, Deterra." Doc stretched her arms behind her, loosening her shoulders. "It'll improve your disposition."
The Reverend growled, took a swallow, stared out over the drowned city.
"What? Hobs didn't come home last night? Or what?"
The Reverend shrugged, shoving a length of wild cherry hair out of her eyes, she glared down at the techie ghetto a couple stories below her.  "I miss trees. Some mornings I wanta walk away from all of this."
"Nah. You just wake up grumpy."
The Reverend raised a finger at Doc. "Death makes its own demands. I'm sicka the whole thing."
Doc stretched forward, hung her head down, peered up at Deterra from between her knees and muttered, "Every fucking morning."
"It ain't every fuckin mornin."
"Every. Fucking. Morning."

 "We'll talk inna minute." The Right Reverend Alma Deterra took a deep breath and poured some coffee on the boards of the balcony. She sang out her morning prayers in a clear voice: "Hear me now. I welcome this morning. I am grateful." She didn't look grateful. She looked pissed off. "I send these words out." She inhaled, forcing a less angry expression; she knew that it was evil luck to begin the day with anger. "A salutation to the ancestors." Her voice grew round, compelling, she tipped back her head and called out to the leaden winter's morning sky: "I hail and salute those who go before us. Gone. Gone. Gone beyond. Beyond. All hail the travelers." She bowed her head, took a breath, and sang the words two more times, finally whispering, "All hail the travelers."
This wasn't a song, even though it had melody and traditional words. It was something more, the Rev's voice rolled in the air until it reverberated up, up to smash against the sodden sky. It slid back, a delicate wisp, a wish floating on the morning wind, shimmering like a memory of sweeter times.

Squatting next to a large spun copper bowl on the east corner of the balcony, Rev poked her thumb with a needle. She growled, "And a bloody good morning to you, dinkies."

The air above the bowl swirled with fat lazy clouds but no tiny birds appeared.

The Rev sighed and moved to the south corner, dropping blood into that bowl. "Good morning?"

The embers in the center of the bowl spurted as the blood hit, then returned to their sullen glow.

"Well, crap." She trotted over to the west bowl, a little waterfall, and stood over it, dripping blood. "Wake up!"

The waterfall oozed across the rock in the center, no stronger or weaker than before she approached it.

The Rev looked over at Doc with a scowl. "Where the hell they get to? They all off playing with Hobs?" When she got to the bonsai maple in the north corner, she shook the last coagulating drops of her blood onto its roots, muttering, "Come home. Come home."

The summer green leaves shivered but no small creatures came out to greet her.

"Well, shit." The Rev scowled. Her scowl was scary. 

Doc twinkled as she came upright from a backbend, "Maybe it's just too early in the morning?" She stood beside her, avoiding Deterra's stormy eyes by staring down into the bowl. Intent on the nothing-happening in there. "Well. I suppose he got laid."

"Right." Rev nodded. "That worries me as much as anything else."

They both stared down at the bowl together for another moment. Doc said, "Fucking's not illegal yet."

"And the dinkies get off on it." The Rev shrugged, her long eyes went narrow, "We never should have brought him along. He's goin ta get into trouble." She turned back to peer over the balcony.

"What else is new?" Doc's blue eyes simmered. Laughing. "C'mon, Deterra, m'love. It's still early- Let's go back to bed? Scare up some dinkies?" Doc shimmied with the taunt.

"Have you always been like this?"


"I thought so." The Rev stared at the sky, humming.

"There was a time," Doc slipped her arm around Deterra's hips, "when you were far less dour."

"Dour? Right." The Rev twitched her ass. Sharp. "We were kids still. Before Hobs came around."

"We had to be children to take him in. But you know what they say." Doc hip-checked Deterra. "If ya make them..."

The Rev finished the sentence, "Ya can't fuckem."

Doc  reached for Deterra's hand, "There's always me."

The Rev said, "Saints be praised, love. There's always you." The Rev didn't smile but the edges of her tight face relaxed.

Doc tugged Deterra back inside, "It will be alright. He'll bring home a job."

"His jobs are filled with stupidity and madness." The Rev pulled back, grumpy again. "We shouldn't let him do this."

"Deterra. Give it a rest. We don't have a choice." Doc stepped inside, reached her arms above her tousled blonde curls and twirled down the hall. The Rev followed.
An orange creature, about the size of a human hand and twice as much trouble, wolf-whistled from the flames in the south bowl, pointing and laughing at them.


Hobs bowed over the young woman, his naked back a tight-muscled V of golden skin, long bones roped with sleek muscles--shivering now, ethereal, androgynous. His metallic-blue hair framed his large eyes closed in ecstasy. He reached a delicate finger, manicured nails shining, and ran it along Fem Renaldo's sun-blotched thigh.
"More." She shuddered. "Please."
Hobs opened his eyes, sighing, "Sorry. I must leave you for awhile."
A gentleman's regret, he had no intention of repeating his performance. His curiosity was satisfied, even if his lust lingered. He needed to get out and home where it was safe from unannounced husbands. Or brothers. Or girlfriends. Whatever Fem Renaldo's attachments might be. Mons society feminas always had attachments, a tet or another fem of prestige and wealth. Someone who would pay the astronomical bills.

"Ah. No!" Fem Renaldo sighed. "The time! You are right. I have plans of my own. My tet will be back from his business soon."
Hobs nodded. Too right. Sex play over, he was eager to leave. He pulled on a black t-shirt, studded polyleather pants and soft gripsole slippers--a burglar's masquerade always intrigued the wealthy Mons.
Fem Renaldo jumped and snatched at her ear. The stud earring shimmered green. "Hello. What? Hold on a moment." She shrugged a dainty shoulder at Hobs. "I have to take this."

Hobs ambled towards the door, raising his hand. He glanced back at her, pouted his lips in a goodbye kiss.

"Impossible!" Fem Renaldo shook her head. "The Lost Children's Ball was canceled! No. Canceled. I did. What? No. How much money? But I have a dinner appointment with my tet on solar night for the Esoteric Art opening. It's business. I don't want to go. This is more important. You have to--No I can't. I can't. Where do you think the money comes from? You don't understand. I can't be in two places at once."

"Maybe you can." Hobs came back across the room, his hand slid along Fem Renaldo's bare shoulder. He twisted his mouth.On a less attractive man it would have been a smirk. "I have a proposition to make."

Fem Renaldo's eyebrows lifted, she tipped her head to one side, coy. She touched her earring again, "I'll call you right back."

Smooth. "Which would you rather attend?" Hobs didn't lift his hand from her shoulder. His gray eyes smiled, sunny skies just out of her reach. "For a small fee I'll cover the other one."

"Really?" Fem Renaldo sighed and struck a new pose.

Hobs watched her calculate cost and commodities while she bought time fiddling with her earrings.

"Well, I'd much rather appear at the Art Show, so much less dreary than trying to give a damn about the plight of toss-offs." She slouched in exasperation. "They're just children, you know. No one really cares."

"Indeed." Hobs knew. "Art's more interesting than life." He gave her his classic smile, adding just the right sardonic twist to the cliche.

"You understand me." Fem Renaldo leaned back on the mattress. "But no person can be in two places at once."

"Not so," his voice dropped. "I can provide you with a double for the Children's Ball."

"A double?"

Hob's pulled the femina to her feet. Economy in motion. He touched his wrist, a miniscule camera clicked. "I just need several good pictures to capture your likenesses."

"Oh? You are hiring an actress." Fem Renaldo touched her chin, ran a careful finger up her jaw and pushed her hair behind her ear. "Just for me?"

"In a sense." Hobs held her out arms length.

She hesitated. "Will she be good?"

"Nobody will know the difference between the two of you." He spun her around, snagged a couple strands of her hair as she turned and continued clicking the camera. "Trust me."

Her tongue slid across her top lip, considering. "I do."

"Good." His eyes seduced her into motion. "Then dance for me."

"Like this?" Fem Renaldo shimmied and slithered for Hobs, her pouting  ecstasy matched the bed play only minutes before.

"There will be a questionnaire coming across your readout in ten minutes or so. When you finish filling it out please be so kind as to deposit the full amount in the account specified." Hobs pulled her golden negligee around her shoulders and breasts, flashing the camera for some more gimme-likes.

She preened. "Oh, wonderful."


The Rev was back on the balcony, watching the machinery roll through the soggy alley below her: the rolling advos gave time, temperature, inventories, spreadsheets, bargains, betting odds and household hints. "Stupid. Splashin water all over. Nobody wantsa know that shit down here." Rev's voice chopped away at the late morning, she cleared her throat to chant nonsense at the street: "Particles of pollution per poppy pod. Queer quotas for quagmires." It was as if she practiced scales, up and down and up again. The advos rolled on, flashing more happy bargains at the indigent.

"What?" Doc placed a saucer full of milk by the back door.

"Rrrrr. Reasonable rationale for ridiculous rhetoric." The Rev growled, "I'm just waking up my stupid voice and challenging the morning alphabet of horrors." She bent over the eastern bowl, wiggling her fingers. She glared at the unresponsive clouds, and turned away. "Preparation before I hit the streets. Yunno?"

"Ah." Doc raised her arms, she could almost touch the top of Deterra's head. She bent over, tried to see up The Right Rev's robe. Heh. Upright into the horse stance, her arms curving smoothly in the motions of cloud-hands. Graceful.

The Rev watched her, remarking, "Perhaps the east side dinkies will respond to you if you do that for a long time?"

"Ha. You're the one they answer to. Not me." Doc's breathing was deep and even.

"Not today." Rev leaned back on the railing to watch Doc flow.

"I just had a thought," Doc said.

"It's all that blood rushin to your head."

She ignored Rev. "I bet we're the only ones in this techie slum who've even seen horses. Ever wonder what the hell folks think they're doing when they assume the horse stance?"

"Pictures, oh-most-flexible-gnobewon. Everybody seen horsies gallopin across the range. Of course, the range is problematic. Being either dead dry or under water." Deterra waved her hand at the surrounding buildings, at the clear lack of 'range'. "You homesick?"

"Nah. Got too much work left to do--but some day. Not too far away. We be gone. Gone. Poof."

"Gone? Poof?" The Rev thought about that. "Sounds like a plan." She admired her lover's tight ass. "Well, I'm homesick. Every bloody day. I ache to be back under our trees." Her long fingers caressed the railing of their balcony. Rare wood smuggled in from the forests of the prohibited north.

"You wanta sneak out sometime soon? Go home for a quick visit?"

Gruff. "Yes, I want to. And no, we won't."

Hobs bounded out onto the deck, pointing at his wrist projector. "Got us a job. Got us the gimme-likes. Gonna be easy." He picked up the saucer of milk, downed its contents in two swallows. "Fem Renaldo needs us. Oho and ho." He bowed to his two partners.

Doc picked her tools out of her bag in a prescribed order. Her strong short fingers curled around the obsidian blade's handle for a squeeze before she laid it in the exact center of the red cloth. She listened to the Rev's voice crooning down the corridors: Unusual ubiquities uniting under urban uproar.

Doc smiled and placed the modified Zippo below it just so, to the right side an old horseshoe magnet (references to horses were always important), above it a mallet made from the heart of an oldest-redwood, and on the left a small pile of polished stones, a pouch of beach sand from some place so far to the south no one living had ever seen it. She pushed the rolling table to the side of her operating room and returned to the front office for more coffee.

"I am soooooo sick of being a ditzy curvy blonde." Marymary posed in full calendar girl glory behind the reception desk. "It was okay for a few months, having people be real nice to me and all. But. seriously, Doc. I mean seriously serious. Nice is not sustaining."  Marymary peered near-sightedly at Doc. "I want to be a dark brooding intellectual."

"Like the Rev?"

"Yeah. Only happy. Yunno?"

"No, I don't know." Doc was, after all, a short curvy blonde herself, but no one ever considered her ditzy. She could only imagine how unhappy it might make someone. "I mean, I don't know if you can get the happy--you have to bring that yourself."

"Oh. I will. I will." Marymary's voice slipped for a moment into the high-pitched register of a dinky, "When can we do a change?" Sorrow oozed around the edges of her eyes, fat pearls rolled down her petal cheeks. "I don't want to be nice anymore."

Deterra opened the door, peeking around the edge. "Marymary you still have time left on your contract. You know that."

"Oh, I don't care. Please, please let me be tall and darkly mysterious."

"I believe someone has a crush on you Deterra."

Rev scowled. "Marymary, your job is to be nice to people who come to Doc for surgery, you smile and tellem she's busy. You make them go away. And they like it.  When the Bureaucrats investigate us, you're our first line of defense. You must be brave."

"Brave." Marymary paused. "How's that work? Brave? And dumb?"

"That's often the way it goes, lovey." Hobs sidled in, uncomfortable as always in Doc's clinic. He took a breath, smelled formaldehyde, rubbed his nose and said, "Let's look at the gimme-likes." He flicked a switch on his wrist projector and Fem Renaldo appeared on the office wall in full glory.

"Here it comes." Hobs read the fem's answers to the questionnaire as the printing scrawled across the translucent cyber-paper on Marymary's desk. "We're lucky, very few people attending the Children's Charity Ball have met her. She's given a short list of names. Seems most people avoid these things." His mouth slid down on one side. "Well, we're also unlucky. She's as vain as a peacock. Wants a very revealing dress. Full back exposure, skirt slit to the hip, and in front, nipple cover, no more than that."

"Belly covered?"

"Yes. She's not happy with her abs."

Doc chewed on her lower lip, concentrating on the femina's body displayed on the wall. She placed the fem's long blonde hairs in a test tube, and added a violet solution.

"Pubic hair?" Deterra asked, gloomy.

Hobs smiled.

"You've been doin a lotta feminas lately."

"It's what I've been hungry for. The mood I'm in."

"Ya should stick ta chocolate mebbe. Be healthier."

Doc waved the bickering to a halt. She crooned: "Three drops. One drop for the genes. One drop for the memoreems. One drop for the hopes and dreams." Her eyes gleamed as she tapped the tube. "We'll need to make a pretty clean match then, eh?"

"Marymary? Has our account been credited?" Hobs smiled at the receptionist, he appreciated her beauty even if she couldn't.

"Coming across now. Ooooooh. It's a lot." Marymary simpered, wiggling her curves in an enticing manner. She muttered under her breath, "Balls. I'm so fed up with this job."

Laughing, Hobs put his arm around her supple waist. "But the job isn't fed up with you, love. Half the fems in the city would trade their most recent art purchase for half of your allure."

"Not mollified. No."
Doc stared at the fizzing solution, rainbows of light pulsed through the tube, her bright blue eyes glittered along with them. "By all that's holy, this woman is a piece of work." She read the energies aloud, "Massive insecurities, reality avoidance by loser-infidelities." She raised an eyebrow at Hobs. "And crummy artistic endeavors."
She continued to look at Hobs. "Did you know she fancies herself an ecological sculptor? Tries to sell her work under a naive-art name?"
Hobs shook his head.
"Get ready for it." Doc paused. "She calls herself Kitten."
Hobs looked stricken.
"Kiiiitttten." The Rev glared at Hobs. "Pussy?"
"And she's a lousy artist. Knows it. Knows she has no taste. Makes her crazy." Doc smiled, mean. "And she's bulimic."
Rev drawled, "Hobs. Hobs. You really did it this time."
Hobs didn't look especially chastened. "Well damn, I'm sorry. It seemed like a good idea at the moment. I mean, I thought we needed the work?" He shoved his hands into his pockets. "Look at the money, hey?"
"The Ball is Sunday night. Two days." Doc tipped her head at him, shot a quick glance up at Deterra. "Two days. Sometimes it's just better to let things go." Another look at Deterra. "Eh. Okay. We won't return her deposit. I'll check the drawers in the morgue, but I don't think we've got any body that will work." She went to a side door, down the hall. The Rev followed, Marymary fell in behind her. Hobs sat on the desk, arms folded, saying, "I'll, uh, just watch the desk then."

Doc slid a wall panel open. A faint pulsing light came through the exposed doorway. They stepped into the room, the door slid shut behind them.

The room was icy, smelled spicy, had floor to ceiling glass racks holding drawers and drawers of frozen bodies and body parts. Several thick glass slab tables on wheels were pushed against the opposite side of the room.

Doc pulled open a drawer, exposing a silvery shape, she ran her hands over the dead body inside, closed it, disappointed. Another. Another. She shook her head. In the heavy silence she opened smaller drawers containing hands, feet, ears, complete legs and arms, left and right. Torsos. "Nothing I can use for Fem Renaldo without complete reworkings." Her mouth curled down in frustration. "I can't do it in this short time."

"What about that one?" Marymary indicated a frozen corpse in a lower drawer. "For me?"

Doc shook her head, "Not a chance." She slid open the door back into the hall, the light dimmed behind them and the door closed on the morgue, blending in with the wall once again as they returned to the reception lobby.

A green glow from his earring surrounded Hobs' head as he recorded an interview with himself. "And then what did I do? I SAVED the day." Hearing steps, the glow blipped, gone.

"Two days." Doc chewed on her lip. Apologetic, she turned to Deterra, "Have you got any calls?"

"Couple. You know me." The Reverend snapped the brim of her top hat before putting it on. Standing seven feet tall in her full Reverend Alma regalia, she was an intimidating figure. She intoned, mocking herself, "Just another lowly grunge scouring the edges of the City in the ocean waste basins to serve the fancy people's weird fetishes. God's work. Techies work in the grimy awful for gasoline and car parts. I work the edges of the edges. Don't worry, love, I'll get you a good body."

Marymary said, "What about me?"

Rev stared at her, considering. "We might discuss your contract if I return empty-handed." Her scowl deepened, "And we might discuss your contract even if I succeed."

Marymary smiled.

Rev continued, "If only to remind you how serious it is to change a contract midway through. Not to mention painful. Frightening. Confusing." She left.

Marymary stuck her cute tongue out at the Rev's back.


Frankenstein club cover by Gent Sturgeon
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Illustrations by Gent Sturgeon.
Right Reverend by Gent Sturgeon
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Rev by Gent Sturgeon.
Doc by Gent Sturgeon
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Doc by Gent Sturgeon.
Hobbs by Gent Sturgeon
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Hobbs by Gent Sturgeon.