Monday, October 18, 2010

My Lovely Frankenstein, Part 9

During the last week of school before Christmas, Boris was arrested after a gang fight and thrown in the town jail. Dr. Laren had to bail him out.

"Oh, Boris, what am I to do with you? Perhaps I should withdraw you from that school. Maybe it was a mistake to think that society could accept you."

Boris looked down sadly. "Dr. Laren... why... did you... make me?"

"I made you, dear Boris, to be the son I never had. You were so wonderful at first. But now you're breaking my heart."

Boris couldn't help but cry this time. "I'm... sorry... Dr. Laren. I just... want people... to like me."

"I know, Boris, I know. I'll tell you what. You don't have to go to Elmville High any more. From now on, you can stay here and I can teach you, and you can have your friends in the woods."

"Okay," said Boris, sniffing.


Boris tapped at Judy's bedroom window. She opened it.

"Boris, what are you doing here? You know I can't see you anymore."

"But Judy... I am going... to be good... again. No more... fights."

"Oh, Boris, have you really come back to your senses?"

"Yes. Dr. Laren... is taking me... out of school."

"Out of school? Well... I suppose that's what's best." She sighed and put her hand on his green cheek. "Are you going to be my old, sweet, gentle Boris again?"


"Well... all right, I suppose I'll give you another chance. But Dr. Laren might need to do some talking to my parents to convince them that you really are reformed."


Dr. Laren did talk to Mr. and Mrs. Parker, and explained how Boris had reverted to his former gentle self after withdrawing from school. They agreed to allow Judy to see him again.

Judy helped Dr. Laren and Boris decorate for Christmas. They listened to Bing Crosby records, baked cookies, strung lights, and hung ornaments. Boris's favorite part was putting the tinsel on the tree. And, of course, he placed the star on top.

Judy sat on the sofa beside Boris and lay her head on his large square shoulder. She closed her eyes and sighed with contentment. "Oh Boris," she said, "it's so nice to have you back."

"It's nice... to have you back... too," said Boris.

"No boy could be more beautiful than you, Boris Laren... my lovely Frankenstein."


Friday, October 15, 2010

My Lovely Frankenstein, Part 8

The next morning Boris walked down to Judy's house and rang the doorbell. Mr. Parker answered. "Well, hey there, Boris. Did you come to see Judy?"

"Does Judy... hate me?"

"Of course not, Boris. Why would Judy hate you?"

"She missed... the game."

"Oh, that. She stayed home because she wasn't feeling well. Would you like to see her?"

Boris's spirits lightened. "Yes.. want to see... Judy."

He lumbered down the hall to Judy's bedroom. She was still in bed but sitting up reading. Her face lit up when she saw him. "Boris, darling! I'm so happy to see you!"

"I'm... happy... too."

They embraced. Judy said, "I'm so sorry I missed your game last night. I caught cold. I'm still not feeling well. Father told me the bad news about the game. I'm sorry, Boris. Achoo!"

"Bless... you."


"You... still love me?"

"Of course I still love you, Boris dear, don't be silly."

"Chip... told me... you... did not love me."

"Chip told you what? Why, that hooligan! You shouldn't listen to him, Boris. You know he's just jealous. You don't need to doubt my love for you."

"I know," said Boris with a shrug. "I was... afraid."

"Oh, Boris," said Judy, putting her arms about him, "I'll always love you, my big, green, adorable creature."


The other kids, however, had stopped loving Boris. Now, instead of admiring looks or friendly greetings, the other students gave him cold stares or just ignored him altogether. They also called him names and teased him. Frustrated, Boris started wearing jeans, T-shirts, and a leather jacket, put grease in his hair, smoked cigarettes, and got involved in gang fights. He even formed his own gang called The Creeps. Judy was worried.

"Boris, what has gotten into you? You used to be such a nice boy. But now..."

But Boris didn't care. Eventually Judy's parents forbade her to see him.

"And you know what the worst part is, Boris?" said Judy, tearfully. "They don't even need to forbid me, because... well, I don't want to see you anymore, now that you've become a hoodlum!"

This only increased Boris's anger and bad behavior. He was called to Mrs. Allen's office several times.

"Boris, I am very disappointed in you. For most of the semester you have been one of Elmville High's best students and star athletes, and now you have become a juvenile delinquent. If you don't shape up, I shall have no choice but to expel you."

And Dr. Laren said, "Boris, I'm very concerned about you. When I made you, I thought you were the most gentle creature on earth. Now you have become violent and increasingly savage. I did not make you a monster, Boris, but you are becoming one!"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Lovely Frankenstein, Part 7

The other kids at school seemed a little more distant after that, polite but not really friendly.

"He was just trying to protect me," Judy tried to explain to everyone.

But the other kids talked.

"Don't you think he's scary?"

"Well, he is a monster, after all."

"He has too much strength. You'd always have to be careful with him around."

"That stitch is a little gruesome."

"I don't know about you girls, but that pallid green skin is enough to give me the creeps."


It was the last game of the season and the Elmville Eagles were battling the Georgetown Giants for a chance to go to the state championship. Boris was distracted because he didn't see Judy at her usual spot in the stands, and he had been kicking badly.

During the third quarter, while Boris stood on the sidelines still searching vainly for Judy, he heard someone call his name. It was Chip McPherson.

"Hey, Boris," said Chip as he approached, "I bet you're wondering why Judy didn't show up for your big game."

Boris just glowered at him.

"Well, I'll tell ya why," continued Chip. "It's because she don't love you anymore. Yeah, that's right. She told me herself. She realized she could never have any normal life with you, so... she called it quitsville."

"You... lie," said Boris.

"Well, you can believe it or don't, but that's what she told me."

Boris frowned.

"Oh yeah," said Chip as he walked away, "she said she only went out with you 'cause she felt sorry for ya. Why else would she go out with someone so ugly?"

Boris wanted to cry. Now he couldn't concentrate at all on the game, and he kicked even more poorly.

The game was tied at 24 with only seconds remaining. The whole stadium was in a frenzy, but Boris didn't care at all. He felt like he was in the middle of a bad dream.

Finally, with time left for only one more play, the Eagles called out Boris to kick a field goal that, if successful, would send them to the state championship. He walked out numbly to the field.

He botched the kick. A Georgetown player picked up the football and ran it all the way back for a touchdown, so that Elmville lost 30 to 24.

Boris heard their boos as he trudged back to the locker room. He felt like everybody hated him. In the locker room, his teammates expressed their disappointment. "Way to go, Boris." "What a blockhead!"


After the game, Boris made straight for Judy's house. It had started raining, and by the time Boris showed up at Judy's bedroom window he was shivering and soaked. He saw Judy lying in her bed asleep. Even though he was very upset, he didn't want to disturb her rest, and he was afraid that she didn't want to see him anyway. So he stood there and watched her for a moment, sadly admiring her beauty, then returned home forlorn.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Lovely Frankenstein, Part 6

Boris was invited to a Halloween party at Ace Banning's house. Judy accompanied him proudly as the Bride of Frankenstein. She put on a tall black wig with a white streak, garbed herself in a long black sheet and long black gloves, powdered her face deathly white, and blackened her eyes and mouth. Boris went as himself.

Boris handed out candy to the trick-or-treaters, and inadvertently frightened more than a few children. He won bobbing for apples and ate a little too much candy. It was the best night of his life until Chip McPherson showed up with his sidekick Biff Jarvis.

"Hey, that's a great costume there, Frankie," said Chip sarcastically. "Oh... it's not a costume! Your face really is that ugly!"

Boris ignored him, but Chip continued.

"Do you scare yourself every time you look in the mirror?" He cackled and jabbed Biff in the ribs. Biff laughed along.

Boris frowned. "Leave... me... alone... Chip. I don't... want... to fight you."

"You don't wanna fight me, eh? You hear that, Biff? Monster boy here don't wanna fight me! Oh, that's right... it's because you're all sweet and gentle, right? Well, you wanna know what I think? I think you're chicken! How about that? A monster who's a scaredy-cat!"

"Go away, Chip!" said Judy. "Must you always be so childish?"

"Well, looky here, if it ain't Mrs. Frankenstein herself!"

"What is your problem?"

"You wanna know what my problem is? I'll tell ya what my problem is. My problem is that big, ugly, green monster that you seem to like so much!"

Judy glared at Chip with barely suppressed rage. "The only monster around here is you, Chip McPherson." She brushed past him.

"Judy, doll!" said Chip, following after her. "I love you, baby!"

Judy rolled her eyes. "You and I were finished a long time ago, Chip."

Chip stared at Judy as though blinded. "So that's it? You're choosing that freak show over me?"

She turned and faced him. "Boris is more of a gentleman than you'll ever be, Chip."

"I can't let you do it, Judy."

"What are you talking about?"

"I can't let you give yourself to that... that thing!" He grabbed her arm.

"Let go of me!"

At this point, Boris grabbed Chip's arm, wrenched it off Judy's arm, stared Chip in the eyes, uttered in the most frightful voice, "Don't... touch... her!", and shoved Chip McPherson violently onto the floor, knocking over a table in the process. Everyone stopped talking and turned to stare.

Chip sat up, shook his head, and touched his bleeding lip. "Did you see that? He tried to kill me!"

Boris felt everyone gazing upon him in horror. With a terrible cry, he turned and ran out the door. "Boris!" called Judy, and ran after him.


She followed him into the dark woods and finally caught up with him by the edge of the little stream. He sat on a log and hung his head. She sat beside him, in the light of the full moon, still in full Bride of Frankenstein costume.

"Oh, Boris, are you all right?" She put her black-gloved arm about his shoulders.

"They... hate... me," he said despairingly.

"Oh, Boris, they don't hate you. We'll explain everything. They'll understand that you were just trying to protect me."

"Why... do you... love me... Judy?"

"What do you mean, why do I love you? I love you because you're the sweetest, kindest, most wonderful boy in the whole wide world! Isn't that what I always tell you?"

"But... I'm... ugly."

"Oh, Boris... you are not ugly."

"Look at... me! I'm... green!"

"I love your green skin, Boris. You know why? Because it's your skin. It's the soul that makes someone truly beautiful. Why, someone could be the handsomest guy on earth, but if he had an ugly heart, that would make him an ugly person. But you, Boris... you have the most beautiful heart of anyone I've ever known. And that makes you a beautiful person."

"Even though... I have... an ugly... face?"

"I don't think your face is ugly, Boris. Why, you're quite handsome, in a spooky sort of way. And you're big and strong. A lot of the girls think you're cute, you know."

"They... do?"

"Of course, silly. Didn't you see them staring at you at the Homecoming Dance?"

"No... I was just... looking... at you."

"Oh, you're sweet."

"You look... lovely... tonight... Judy."

She smiled. "Thank you."

"Now... you are more... my type."

Judy laughed, and they kissed in the moonlight as a bat fluttered overhead.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Lovely Frankenstein, Part 5

One day after school, Boris was walking past the football field when someone shouted out, "Hey, Frank! Why dontcha have that doctor give you a new face?"

The other players laughed, and Boris, losing his temper, kicked a football that was lying on the sideline. The jocks watched in astonishment as the football soared high and far and landed somewhere in the bleachers on the other end of the field.

"Holy smoke!" said Ace Banning, the quarterback. "Did you see that?"

"Hey Frankie! Where ya goin'? We were just kiddin', pal!"

Coach Freeman chased down Boris. "Say there, Boris... have you ever thought about playing football?"


Boris became the placekicker for the Elmville Eagles. At the Homecoming Game against the Fairview Falcons, Boris became a hero. The Eagles were losing 17 to 16 with a few seconds left to play. Out came Boris in his jersey with the name LAREN and the number 0. From halfway down the field, Boris kicked the ball easily through the goalposts, and the Eagles won 19 to 17.


The next night, Boris, wearing a tux, escorted Judy to the Homecoming Dance. He got more than a few looks from the other girls.

"He's so mysterious."

"You know, for a monster, he's actually kind of cute."

"He must be so strong. You wouldn't have to worry about anyone with him around."

"Don't you just adore that stitch?"

"I don't know about you girls, but that pallid green skin is enough to make me swoon."

"I'm such a lucky girl," said Judy. "Oh, I'm so glad you're mine, Boris." She rested her head on his broad shoulder and closed her eyes as they danced, and the girl singer crooned:

My lovely Frankenstein
How I want you to be mine
People say that you're a scream
But to me you are a dream


Judy asked her parents if she could invite Boris over for dinner, and they agreed, if somewhat reluctantly.

"So, Boris," said Mr. Parker once they were all sitting round the table, "have you been looking into any colleges?"

"No... not yet," replied Boris. He stuffed some peas into his mouth.

"I hear you're making quite a name for yourself on the football team. Keep that up and you'll get yourself a scholarship."

"Did you want any meatloaf, Boris?" asked Mrs. Parker.

"Mother," said Judy, "I told you Boris doesn't eat meat."

"A vegetarian, eh?" said Mr. Parker. "There's nothing wrong with that, Boris. I like a good rare steak myself, but to each his own, right?"

"Do you have any family, Boris?" inquired Mrs. Parker.

"No... family. Just... Dr. Laren."

"I see. Well, it was very kind of Dr. Laren to... er... adopt you."

"Honey," said Mr. Parker, shaking his head, "you know as well as I do that Boris was not adopted. Dr. Laren
created him."

"Father!" exclaimed Judy.

Mrs. Parker looked away sorrowfully.

"Well, it's true, isn't it?" said Mr. Parker. "We don't care where you came from, Boris. All that matters is who you are on the inside."

Boris smiled. "Pass... the butter?"

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Lovely Frankenstein, Part 4

The other kids talked.

"Did you hear? Judy Parker likes that creepy new kid."

"It's a real shame, isn't it? The prettiest gal in school going for that freak of nature."

"Look, here comes the Bride of Frankenstein now."


Boris soon discovered an interest in making art. He would cut shapes out of colored construction paper and paste them onto other sheets to create pictures.

One night he decided to surprise Judy with a gift, a picture he had made just for her. He crept through backyards until he came to the Parkers' house, then peeked in her bedroom window.

Boris opened his eyes wide in amazement, for at that moment Judy was in the middle of undressing. "Wow," he said clumsily.

When Judy saw Boris's green face at her window, she gasped and quickly threw on her robe. She went to the window and opened it. "Boris, you gave me such a fright. What are you doing here?"

He wanted to tell her how beautiful she was, but felt too shy. "I... made you... this," he said, handing her the card.

"For me?" She looked at the picture he had made. It was a pink heart pasted on a black background. In the heart, in crudely drawn letters, was written JUDY. She smiled. "Oh, Boris, it's lovely. Thank you." She leaned forward and kissed him on the forehead.

Boris couldn't remember anything else that happened that night.


After a while people got used to Boris, and they even got used to the idea of Judy being his girlfriend. Everyone, that is, except Judy's parents.

"What's wrong with Boris?" she demanded. "He's the nicest boy I've ever met."

"He may be nice, Judy," said her father, "but what kind of job can he get? How is he going to provide for you?"

"There's a circus that's interested. They've even made him an offer."

"Judy, darling," said her father, shaking his head. "The circus is no way to make a living."

"I always thought you would marry a doctor," said her mother, stoically fighting back tears.

"Oh, Mother, Father," sighed Judy. "I love him. Doesn't love count for anything?"

"You're so young, Judy," said Mrs. Parker. "When you get older you'll realize that love isn't everything."

"Well, I don't ever want to grow old then!"

"Judy, honey," said Mr. Parker, "love doesn't put food on the table."

"And besides, Judy," added Mrs. Parker, "he's..."

"He's what?"


"Oh, Mother!" Judy stormed out of the room.

Friday, October 8, 2010

My Lovely Frankenstein, Part 3

The case was decided in Boris's favor, and Dr. Laren proudly walked beside him as he entered Elmville High, followed by a battalion of police and reporters.

All eyes were glued to his green face as Boris entered his first classroom.

The teacher cleared her throat. "Class, this is Boris. I'm sure you've all heard much about him."

"Dontcha mean Boris Karloff?" someone muttered. Snickers all around.

"That will be enough," said the teacher sternly. "Boris, have a seat."

Boris sat in a chair at the left front of the classroom. He noticed the girl to his right staring at him, but her large brown eyes seemed to be filled with admiration rather than fear or disgust. She had wavy brown hair, fair skin, and pretty red lips, and Boris thought she was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.

"Hey, Frankenstein," whispered a boy in the next row. "Can I call you Frankie?" A few students giggled.

Boris tried to ignore them, remembering what Dr. Laren had told him. "Some people will be cruel, Boris. It's only to be expected. People say mean things because they're afraid of those who are different from them. You just show them what a nice boy you really are."

He turned to the boy and smiled, in his awkward, grimacing way. "My name... is... Boris. What's... your... name?"

The boy grimaced back, but not in an attempt to smile. "Man, you're one ugly cat."

Another boy mocked his voice. "My... name... is... Boris..."

Boris stopped smiling and turned away. He felt like crying, but didn't want to show tears in front of the other students.

"Leave him alone," scolded the girl, frowning at the boys. "Don't mind them, Boris, they're just a bunch of cads."

The other boys scowled but said no more.


After class, the girl followed Boris to his locker. "Hi, I'm Judy."

Boris looked at her. He felt warmed by her smile. "I'm... Boris."

She chuckled. "I know. Everyone knows who you are."

He smiled shyly.

Judy continued, "Don't you worry, Boris. You're just different, is all, and people need time to adjust. I'm sure everyone will like you once they see what a nice guy you are."


Boris and Judy walked home together after school. A boy in white T-shirt and blue jeans, his hair slicked back with grease, approached them. "Hey, Frankenstein," he called.

"Go away, Chip," returned Judy impatiently.

"Hey, Judy... doll... what are you doing hanging out with this monster?"

"He's not a monster!"

"Have you gone nuts? Look at this creep!"

"You're so square, Chip," said Judy as she brushed him aside.

Chip looked on in disbelief as Judy sauntered off with Boris. "Well," he shouted after them, "at least I don't have a square head!"

"Gosh, he is so annoying," said Judy, shaking her head. "I don't know what makes him think he'll ever have another chance with me. He's the real creep, Boris, not you."


"Isn't he dreamy?" sighed Judy. She was on the phone with her girlfriend Mary.

"Well, he's... different," replied Mary.

"That's what I like about him. He's not like the other boys."

"That's for sure."

"Now Mary, there's nothing wrong with Boris. He has to be the sweetest guy I've ever met."

"Yes, but..."

"But what?"

"Judy, he's... green."

"Mary Burke," huffed Judy, "I never thought you were superficial."

"Superficial?! Judy, don't you think he's a little... weird?"

"Boris is the kindest, most gentle boy I've ever known. Now tell me what's so weird about that!"

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Lovely Frankenstein, Part 2

At night, Boris would sometimes climb out his bedroom window and explore the town. He crept through backyards, frightened cats, and peeked in windows, curious to see what other people looked like and what they did. Sometimes he almost got in trouble, like the night when Mrs. Pritchard caught sight of his green face staring in through the kitchen window. Her bloodcurdling scream sent him fleeing in terror.


Boris's nightly antics soon led to rumours that a monster was loose in Elmville. Dr. Laren realized that Boris only behaved this way because he was eager to learn about the outside world. He decided that it was not good to keep him sequestered any longer, and that Boris was ready for his introduction to society. He told Boris that he would enroll him in the local high school.

"Will I... make... friends?" asked Boris in his halting English.

"Of course you will, Boris," replied the doctor. "Who wouldn't like such a sweet boy as you?"

Boris smiled and daydreamed of making friends at school.


He got more than a few stares during the walk to the high school. "Don't mind them, Boris," said the doctor. "You're just special, that's all. They've never seen anyone quite like you before. They'll like you once they get to know you."

Mrs. Allen, the principal, lost all color in her face when Boris and Dr. Laren entered her office. Dr. Laren announced proudly that Boris was ready to enter high school. The principal's response was less than enthusiastic.

"I'm sorry, Dr. Laren, but we simply cannot allow... Boris... to attend school with the other students."

"And why not? Because he's different?"

"Dr. Laren... he's... well, you know..."

"He's what, Mrs. Allen?"

"He's..."--she shook her head bewilderedly--""

Dr. Laren stood angrily. "This is discrimination, Mrs. Allen."

"Now, Dr. Laren, please..."

"This is a violation of Boris's constitutional rights! I'm contacting my lawyer!"

"They won't get away with this, Boris," said Dr. Laren after they had returned home. "I really thought Mrs. Allen would be more open-minded. And she calls herself a progressive!"


The lawyers came, and with them a swarm of reporters. Boris was a celebrity.

"Boris is a very special individual," stated Dr. Laren's lawyer to the newshounds. "He is the kindest, most sensitive person I have ever met. Make no mistake--there is much more at stake here than just the rights of Frankensteinian Americans. We are fighting against ignorance and prejudice, and for the right of every citizen, regardless of origin, to equal treatment under the law."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Lovely Frankenstein, Part 1

His first memory was of frightful lightning flash, terrible roar of thunder, and Dr. Laren screaming madly, "He's alive! He's alive!"

Those first hours were vague. His body weak, his mind cloudy. Bandages unravelled, revealing flesh of unearthly green. He saw himself in a mirror--the square head, jet black hair, bolt in neck, stitch on forehead. Dr. Laren gave him clothes to wear: black turtleneck with matching jacket, brown pants, and heavy black shoes to cover his large feet. The doctor also gave him a name.

"Boris," pronounced Dr. Laren, gazing upon his pride and joy. "I shall call you Boris, after my great-uncle in Transylvania."


Dr. Laren taught him many things during those first few days. Boris learned that he lived in a house on Hartford Street in a town called Elmville in the United States of America. He also learned how to speak.

When Boris had finished his lessons for the day, he would play in the woods behind Dr. Laren's house. In the woods he befriended the birds and rabbits and squirrels, and occasionally picked a flower to admire its delicate beauty and enjoy its sweet fragrance. He developed a taste for nuts and berries, and Dr. Laren soon discovered that Boris could not stand the taste of meat.

"I do believe, Boris," said the doctor, "that you are the most gentle creature on earth."


One day while wandering through the woods, Boris happened upon a little girl sitting by the edge of a stream, kicking the water with her bare feet. She wore a white summer dress and Boris thought she looked as pretty as a flower. "Hello," he said in his best friendly voice.

The little girl turned and, upon seeing Boris, screamed in fright and ran away.

"Wait!" cried Boris. But it was no use. He kneeled on the patch of grass where the girl had been sitting and gazed into the stream. Then he despaired, for he knew why the girl had been so repulsed. Why should such a lovely creature want anything to do with a hideous, deformed thing like himself? Dejected, Boris sat by the stream and wept.