“Truth in Beauty”
CHEAPJACK PULP, Issue 916
Homely Molly wakes up in a changed world to find she is beautiful.
“Looking good, Mollster, looking real good.”
Jim, her office mate, stepped into her path almost as soon as she arrived. He had a classic set of good looks, with regular features and expensive clothes. He expected attention, and received it. Startled, Molly hoped her mouth didn’t open, showing the shock that lanced through her.
There was something wrong with his face, although she couldn’t have said what. He still had regular, perfect features and clear blue eyes. His face was still symmetrical, his expensive haircut perfect, and his skin poreless. Yet he was…ugly. She blinked, a sensation of something rotten making her want to back away from him and flee. Her skin itched and she looked down, expecting it to be rippling.
“Thanks, Jim,” she said, avoiding his eyes. Molly ducked away from him and darted into her tiny, windowless office. Before Jim could follow her, she shut the door.
Molly rubbed her eyes. It had to be her. After a moment, she shrugged. She was tired, nothing coffee wouldn’t fix.
She booted up her computer and then peered into her screen while the prompts were cycling through. Her flashed onto the glass before the boot message came up, showing nothing different.
There was a knock on her door. “Molly?” a voice called.
She sighed. As the office manager, HR person, and nominal boss, Winnie couldn’t be ignored. Molly opened the door, and returned to her desk.
Winnie was in her early 40s but dressed as Molly imagined she had when she came out of college. The clothes, judging from their current state of stretch, may have been from that time as well. Winnie was very proud of being a size 8, just like she had been in college. That the seams of the purported size 8 clothes were threatening to explode did not seem to concern her.
Molly looked up at the woman, and breathed out a sigh of relief. Winnie looked as she had on Monday, an averagely pretty woman with too much heavy makeup. Nothing had changed.
“Molly!” Winnie said, her breath escaping on a shocked exhale. “What did you do to yourself? You look…” she broke off, and her eyes darted around the room, landing on Molly’s abstract wall painting, then the wire metal inbox and finally Molly’s desk. She did not look at Molly.