The Perils of Pinocchio (synopsis)
by Ann Maria Bell
Pinocchio has achieved his dream of becoming a real boy. He quickly
realizes his nose still grows when he lies. He alternates between
being unflinchingly honest and completely silent. He doesn't have
many friends. George Washington is his hero.
Pinocchio grows into a cranky, hormone-addled adolescent. It turns
out that it's not just his nose that grows when he lies. The more
outrageous the lies Pinocchio tells in his attempts to procure
sexual partners, the better, um, equipped he is to deal with them.
He becomes a compulsive liar and a porn star.
Alas, there are diminishing returns to scale and the weight of the
past begins to hang heavy on Pinocchio's, um, you know. He suffers
from lower back pain and faints repeatedly while working on set.
Pinocchio is something of a joke in the porn industry.
And he has to spend tens of thousands of dollars on rhinoplasty
every year. Pinocchio falls in love with his plastic surgeon.
Unfortunately, when he reveals his enormous secret she is repelled
by him and by the length of his history.
Pinocchio seeks out a new plastic surgeon who specializes in a
different area of the body. This kind of reductive surgery has never
been performed before --- it's an all or nothing proposition.
Pinocchio's new doctor persuades him to become an experimental
subject. A team of biochemists isolate the hormones and
neurotransmitters responsible for Pinocchio's unique biochemistry.
However, they are unable to synthesize them in the lab ---
Pinocchio's blood stream is the only source. They patent the extract
of chemicals and market it as "Gepetto's Magic." (There are side
effects, of course.)
Pinocchio begins each day by reciting a litany of outrageous lies
and hooking himself up to a specialized plasmapheresis machine that
removes the chemicals from his blood. His body parts quickly return
to normal size, in fact his nose is a bit on the small side now, and
he becomes fabulously wealthy.
A radio producer walking by Pinocchio's house one morning hears his
morning rant through an open window and offers him a job as a right
wing talk show announcer. On his show, Pinocchio blathers on about
adhering to a personal code of ethics and taking responsibility for
one's own actions, particularly when it comes to sexual behavior.
The plastic surgeon of his dreams hears the show on her way to work
--- she can scarcely believe it's the same Pinocchio. Why, he's a
paragon of virtue and morality! They agree on just about everything
when it comes to politics. (And "Gepetto's Magic" has worked wonders
for the entire rhinoplasty industry!) She calls him up. Pinocchio is
ecstatic --- happily ever after must be just around the corner.
But it's an older and wiser Pinocchio that sits across the table
from the plastic surgeon in a ludicrously expensive five star
restaurant. (Her choice, but he's expected to pay.) She is shallow,
vain and, it seems to Pinocchio, lives a life a built on deception.
So does he. He takes a long-delayed vacation from the radio station
and the plasmapheresis machine. He thinks about what it means to
live a good life, about the nature of virtue.
Pinocchio uses his vast fortune to create endowed chairs of
philosophy and ethics. As he travels around the country meeting with
deans and department chairs, he meets an incredibly intelligent and
thoughtful Professor of Philosophy. She'd be quite pretty, too, if
she would only get rid of those glasses and start wearing contacts
Pinocchio and the Professor fall in love and live happily ever
after. She does not get contacts.