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 instead.

Pinocchio and the Professor fall in love and live happily ever after. She does not get contacts.