Guide to Moral Living in Examples: Tanning Beds

Wolfram walked into the tanning salon. The young man at the counter blinked at him, and Wolfram didn't have to wonder why. While some babies were born hairless or with a layer of down that quickly shed itself, Wolfram was born with a permanent thick, hairy pelt. He could never be sure whether his parents were sadists or fools when selecting his name, though he'd gotten over it. Can't blame your parents forever.

Here's the clipboard. Please fill it out. Is this, um, is this your first time tanning?



Wolfram filled out the new client sheet. He handed it back to the clerk.

So you guys are on guard, right? Some lunatic going around smashing up tanning salons?

The clerk shrugged. Please go back down the hallway and into room number six. Hit the buzzer when you're ready for me to turn on the bed.

Wolfram went back into room number six. The tanning bed took up most of the tiny cubicle. Because of the cramped quarters he shut some of his arm hair in the door as he closed it. He howled.

Fuck this, I'm not getting paid enough to be mauled to death by a werewolf! he heard the clerk yell, followed by the tinkle of the bell of the tanning parlor's door.

Wolfram slumped onto the small stool that was supposed to hold his clothes. It creaked, and then snapped, depositing him on the floor.

He began to cry. He'd been doing so well. Then one insensitive doofus of a clerk ruined it all. Wolfram hoped that if he'd gotten a tan it would've made his hair less conspicuous. Self-conscious, he hated to tan outside. All he wanted was a little understanding.

Someone knocked on the door.

Go away.

The door swung open despite Wolfram's protestations. Someone stood there in a woman's floor-length trenchcoat. A wide-brimmed hat stretched over a pair of enormous sunglasses, which perched atop a face covered by a velvet scarf.

I know how you feel. She put a hand on his shoulder, and fished a hooked hammer out of her pocket. She handed it to him. This'll make you feel better.

He took it. What? Who are you?

Smash the bed.

What? Why?

Because it'll make you feel better. Because these things are lethal.

The bed?

Yes. Smash it!

Wolfram stood up, still unsure and confused.

Then she pulled her scarf down and took her glasses off to reveal the most attractive woman that Wolfram had ever seen. Her pale skin almost glowed.

I'm a vampire. I'm breaking tanning beds. They're the root of all evil. Light is the root of all evil, and we have a great ball of it in the sky that's bad enough. We don't need more. I assume that you're a werewolf?

Well, no...

You're still cute enough to be one.

Wolfram smiled. He took the hammer to the curved plastic on the tanning bed, turning the tube of light into a tube of jagged glass and broken plastic.

Don't you feel better?

Yes, actually. Thanks.

There's more to do. My arm is tired. I've been to four other salons today.

Wolfram broke the rest of the beds.

Follow me, the police will be here soon. She led them out the back door of the salon, and into a forest preserve only a block away. They were already beyond the tree line when they heard approaching sirens.

As they crossed a clearing, they heard a loud rustle.

What was that?

The sun shone down upon the bright, flat leaves of a fallen tree. Or what looked like a fallen tree. Several thick branches flew into the air and knit together behind the pair, blocking their egress. A great big mouth, like a Venus flytrap emerged out of the undergrowth. Mucus-like digestive juice flowed like molasses out from between the jagged spines.

The tanning beds that you destroy help give sustenance to my lesser cousins in those salons. They have requested my help. Photosynthesis is not the devil.

With that, the mouth chomped down around the vampire.

Why are you destroying the light? Surely it doesn't matter to you? Surely you are angry at the moon rather than the sun?

I don't really feel strongly about either.

Hang on. This is going to feel weird. The plant sprayed a fine mist of digestive juice onto Wolfram. It soaked his clothes and collected like dew on his hair. It all burned off and now he smelled like fresh vegetation. He stood there, blinking, his eyes suddenly not obscured by a thicket of eyelashes and eyebrows. He examined his suddnely hairless arms.

Thank you!

You're quite welcome.

The Moral: Never use astronomical objects as an excuse to smash up stuff or else you might get your ass eaten by a giant plant.

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