On the Uglies series

The Beautiful People

By Charles Beaumont

Mary sat quietly and watched the handsome man’s legs blown off, watched on further as the great ship began to crumple and break into small pieces in the middle of the blazing night. She fidgeted slightly as the men and the parts of the men came floating dreamily through the wreckage out into the awful silence. And when the meteorite shower came upon the men, flying in gouging holes through everything, tearing flesh and ripping bones, Mary closed her eyes.

“Mother.”

Mrs. Cuberle glanced up from her magazine.

“Do we have to wait much longer?”

“I don’t think so, why?”

Mary said nothing but looked at the moving wall.

“Oh, that.” Mrs. Cuberle laughed and shook her head. “That tired old thing. Read a magazine, Mary, like I’m doing. We’ve all seen that a million times.”

“Does it have to be on, Mother?”

“Well, nobody seems to be watching. I don’t think the doctor would mind if I switched it off.”

Mrs. Cuberle rose from the couch and walked to the wall. She depressed a little button and the life went from the wall, flickering and glowing.

Mary opened her eyes.

“Honestly,” Mrs. Cuberle said to the woman beside her, “you’d think they’d try to get something else. We might all as well go to the museum and watch the first landing on Mars. The Mayorka Disaster–really!”

The woman replied without distracting her eyes from the magazine page. “It’s the doctor’s idea. Psychological.”

Mrs. Cuberle opened her mouth and moved  …

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