A CLOCKWORK ZHENA
Alex is dead and gone – but the state continues to do its nasty business. Who will be next? Please comment nicely!
"This has gone too far!" cried Z.B. Dolan. "Look, Frank. Just look what's in this morning's paper. Another violent criminal released and supposedly 'cured' by the government's sadistic mind-controlling techniques."
"Mm, yes." F. Alexander looked at the blurry photo on the front page. This reformed criminal wasn't a boy, like the shifty little liar they'd tossed out the window last week. This criminal was a girl, a blonde with a scared and rather gloomy expression on her lovely face. Janelle Wilkes, the article said. Just nineteen, the young girl had a long history of enticing older men with her innocent face and ripe body, luring them into being beaten and robbed by her male pals. Apparently the government had devised a "companion" program to cure depraved and dishonest young females, just as the Ludovico technique supposedly cured violent males.
"Can you imagine the terrible things they did to her, there in that women's prison?" Z.B. Dolan asked. "We ought to start a series of articles, in the liberal magazines, to show very clearly that we are against all such treatments – even if the offenders are murderers ten times over!"
"Yes, of course." Frank sighed, and pushed the newspaper back across the table at the café. He didn't regret driving the vicious Alex to leap to his death. The boy had it coming. And the state, anxious to hush up a program failure, was only too happy to label the death a suicide. But now that his poor dear wife was gone, and her killer was dead at last, the lonely widower had no desire to push things any further.
Justice had been done. All Frank wanted now was peace.
That night there was a storm. Alone in his country home, the writer tried to type up a memoir in his dear wife's memory. He wanted to honor her gentleness, her loving heart. But the booming thunder and the shrieking wind made him restless. Frank kept hearing the screams of his lost and violated wife. And strangely, he heard that filthy boy's screams as well.
It wasn't me, brother! It wasn't me, I swear it! Let me out of here! Please sir, turn the music off!
What's that? Sorry, can't hear you over the music. Yes, I think I'll turn it up! Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, isn't it lovely? Really you must stop screaming . . .
Pacing up and down in his drafty hallway, Frank wondered if there was any justice in the universe at all. Why should he, a just man, feel any guilt over what he had done? Evil men were haunted by nightmares and guilt, and he wasn't evil. He was good. He would kill that filthy boy again if he could.
Suddenly the angry, agitated intellectual heard a faint noise over the clamor of the storm.
Someone was knocking on the front door.
"Who's there? Damn you, speak up! What do you want?" Frank Alexander hoped it would be another hoodlum. This time he was ready. He had a gun in his desk drawer, a claw hammer within easy reach of the door. Even now, in his robe and slippers, he was prepared. The image of his helpless wife made him burn with shame. It fueled his undying rage.
"Please, sir, let me in! I've just been beaten and left here by the horrible police. I'm wet all through and it's so cold!"
"Bloody likely, isn't it?" Frank's smile was grim. He enjoyed making the wretched creature wait, checking carefully through the glass spy hole in the door. Whoever this was, they were certainly soaked to the skin and shivering. And that weak, squeaky voice, it sounded almost like . . .
"Good heavens, you're a woman!" The man in the bathrobe lifted the sopping wet figure into his arms. Drenched she was heavier than she looked, though her curvy figure was slim.
"My name is Janelle," she choked out, sputtering through swollen and bloody lips.
And then she fainted.
A/N: If you've only seen the classic film by Stanley Kubrick, you're probably picturing Frank Alexander as a little old man in a wheelchair. But if you've read the original novel by Anthony Burgess, you'll remember that the writer was actually a strong, attractive man in his mid-thirties. Stick with this, droogies, and I promise you'll see plenty of nasty deceit, political intrigue, violence, and even a very weepy old-fashioned love story with lots of the old in-out in-out!