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Belter Skelter

by Edd Vick

Driven. Obsessed. Fixated. Those words seem weak when applied to David Mattucio Paradise. Sure, you've heard of him. Everybody has. He's the poor little rich boy who grew up sculpting asteroids.

It started thirty years ago when he turned twelve. All seven of his parents gathered for his birthday, and just before he got there a shield generator failed and they all got sucked out to space and died. Made him faboo wealthy, of course; they were Reagans and Gateses, Murdocks and Rossums, and like that.

David took it a bit badly.

As soon as he held the reins, he repurposed entire divisions of many of his companies. Design, fabrication, IT, transport, demolition--he called for quite a lot of demolition.

The first seven asteroids were reshaped within a month into busts of his seven parents. They were designed to rotate in a circle fifteen klicks in diameter. Not satisfied, he moved on to transform another ring of rocks into famous ancestors. Movie stars were next: Greta Garbo, Humphrey Bogart, Groucho Marx. Then presidents, then musicians. He's got forty thousand asteroids over a half-mile wide to work with, so I figure he'll be down to plumbers before he's done.

Just to show he hadn't entirely lost his marbles he transformed the largest asteroid, Ceres, into the spitting image of Marilyn Monroe and hollowed her out to make a hotel. It's phenomenally popular.

That's where I come in. Patrick Pindaccio Paradise. David's younger brother. I was ten when mom and mom and mother and dad and dad and father and Laura died. Where David was calm I was the wild one. Where losing his parents drove him crazy, it drove me sane. I graduated from playing with shield generators, for one thing.

Now, I play with English. 'English', as in snooker. In my armored darksuit I carom off asteroids in carefully computed strikes. Hit one just so and in eight months its orbit is perturbed enough to collide with another asteroid, then they bounce off two more. I've already ruined Russell Crowe and Frank Sinatra. David's got his goons out searching for me, but it's too late.

Four years down the line Marilyn's history.

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