Article: 288596 of talk.bizarre From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Babs Woods) Newsgroups: talk.bizarre Subject: Cindy Crawford's Basic Face (FTSD) Date: Sun, 01 Dec 1996 11:16:14 -0500 Organization: Our Lady of Perpetual Mirth, Pacifica Lines: 150 Message-ID: <email@example.com> Cindy Crawford's Basic Face The visitor follows the plant manager around carefully, trying to hear above the din of the machines all around. They arrive at the vats towards the middle of the manufacturing floor and stop at one, as non-descript as any of the others in the huge room. They pass the Paulina Poreshkova vat, the Carol Alt vat, the Donovan Leitch, yngr vat. "Ah. Here." Says the plant manager. He is a bit more than just the plant manager, to be honest, he had been the one to suggest this area of operation to his brother, the corporate vice president of that division. (Family business.) As such, he had a vested interest in this project, so he was usually on call when there were visitors. This was a young journalist, so he is especially careful in how he choses his words. "See, back when the original Super Models were still homegrown, some of them consented to being cast and collected and whatnot. We'd sand out the bumps and paint it all one color, but eventually we got a few custom orders. We have two models of the Cindy Crawfords here for example: readymade, and even that's a custom job really; and Cindy Crawford's Basic Face." He pats the vat wall as if warmly patting someone on the back, but with a faraway look. Shaking himself and looking at his visitor, "The custom job revolves around that silly mole she supposedly had. The original contract states that this model must always have it, so it can't be patched in the form and has to be hand-painted when the heads are ready." There is a momentary distraction, while he signs papers someone presents him with. A whistle sounds, he checks his watch, signs the last page. "Uh, where was I?" His visitor tells him he had been describing the custom job on this model. "Oh. Well, the part I like the best is the real custom work. The contract still stipulates the mole, of course, but usually that's the only thing recognizable as a Cindy Crawford for most of the orders." Leads the visitor to a pallet of boxes marked Cindy Crawford II, he reaches into an open box and picks up a Cindy Crawford II head to show the visitor. "This is the finished product." Leads the visitor around this area to a taped-in area a few hundred yards away and around a wall into a suddenly very quiet, large room. No one is there. "Oh, yes. Lunch." They entered the workroom. The visitor is startled. The first three rows of worktables each have a set of paints in various stages of disarray and signs of usage. What startles him is the object of their work. On almost every desk is the head of Cindy Crawford II, as proclaims a somewhat makeshift banner across the top of the back wall of the workroom. All but a few have any features on them, save that mole. They have the cheekbones, the chin, all the most basic shapes to them, but no other features as such. Only one has a nose, for example. Their skin is otherwise flawlessly smooth, aside from that mole on the upper left lip. "You must excuse the blank stares of our current charges." The visitor is startled anew, at the same moment this lame pun is made, he focusses on the rest of the tables. There is an odd array of noses from table to table, or work station to work station. Some are the expected narrow ones from the Cindy Crawford I posters in the room, but many are less appetizing, as if the order read that this model was to appeal to a variety of markets once the model was on display. "Goodness!", as the visitor finally notices the eyes, too. To his right is a gross of them in fact, all carefully arranged so that the topmost ones stare directly at the ceiling in something very like eggcrates within a display box, but he is certain he'd seen them moving as one a moment before. Then the visitor sees it, or more precisely, them. In one corner of the room stands a mannequin. No facial features other than a mole, but with the long brown hair of the Cindy Crawford I Basic Model Model (tm). Across from it is the finished Model model, looking oddly natural somehow. The visitor mentally credits the artists involved for this. They are dressed identically, the same faded "skin"-tight hip hugger blue jeans, what appears to be a tan silk t-shirt, white keds with rubber toes. The same tan "skin". It really seems to play up well the idea of the identical facelessness of fashion models. The visitor shrugs, thinking "oh well" and continues to look around the room. Various tools and paints and putties were arrayed at each table, with odd, chemically odors to most of them, much like the odd, chemically odor on the manufacturing floor outside. Nothing out of place about that. The visitor thinks briefly that if any of these mannequins were ever to catch fire, the resulting fumes and smoke would be instantly deadly. He also wonders to himself if any of the supermodels, once ignited, had such hidden passion as to burn or even smolder. He guessed he'd never know. One last look around the room and it is time to go. His guide begins to usher him out of the room, holding the door open for him. As the door closes, a very loud, distinct woman's sneeze can be heard from inside the room. Just one. The journalist pales. Turning around he opens the door quickly and pokes his head into the room. He is dead certain the faceless mannequin has moved quickly back into position. The plant manager looks as if nothing unusual has happened and hurries the shaken visitor along to the next display. Around the next corner were the finished Cindy IIs. They are arranged in various casual poses, eerily lifelike. The visitor begins to sweat. "Would you like to see them activated?" The visitor thinks fast. "Umm." Gaining courage, he says, "Uh, sure." His guide moves to a console and fiddles with a few settings. "Ready?" He asks. The visitor's voice cracks. "Ok." They all come to attention and form an organized group in rank and file fashion. They all turn as a unit towards the plant manager. "Hello, Mr. Jameson." They say as a unit. They turn to look straight ahead and all take one step forward, stop. Another, stop. The journalist steps back once, stops. Three more steps in this dance and the young visitor passesd out cold in a heap on the floor. They break ranks. "Sir, he has fainted," they say as a unit. One steps forward and begins to fan the visitor with her hand and is handed a notepad to use instead by Mr. Jameson. "Is it time yet?" She asks. "Not yet," says Mr. Jameson. The journalist begins to stir, groaning. The one fanning him moves behind him to help him stand, brushing him off with very fluid, lifelike motions. She guides him to a chair to sit. Jameson quietly sends a .banner factorywide: ARE THEY ALL READY? REPORT TO ME INDIVIDUALLY. "We wait now. You rest." Then the sound of many feet in metronomic rhythm can be heard coming their way. And stopping right out of sight. A pause. More feet. A pause. More feet. A panel slides open behind the Cindy IIs to reveal a very large, square box, resembling nothing so much as a huge Mu Metal cage. Glazed, the visitor looks inside from his seat, between the Cindys who are still out of formation and standing about causally again. Jameson, clicks on the PA System. "Cindy Crawford II" They assume strict formation. Pausing only a moment before he says, "About Face. Enter." And they march into the metal box. "About Face." They turn about. He toggles a series of small switches, the door slides closed again. There is a hum, a light from around the edges of the door briefly flashes once. The door reopens and the cage is empty. "Ashley Hamilton". The procedure is repeated. "Donovan II", again. A chorus of youthful giggles is heard from around the corner. "Mack Culkin." A small army of mostly blonde-headed boys comes running around the corner and skids to a stop at the command, a few inadvertantly pig-piling: "ATTENTION" barks Mr. Jameson over the PA, at which point they all fall in in perfect formation, looking suddenly very serious and sober. The lot of them, notes the journalist, cannot be but 8 years old, the bee stung upper lips repeated on each small face. The previous procedure is repeated, and the little boys are gone, too. "You have no idea what it took to get permission for him at the time. He later sued his father over this, did you know that?" A few more adult groups go by. The same procedure is repeated. "And you thought we just did models." -babs "Excuse me, while I dance a little jig of despair."