Cliches of the Genre

by Vincent Jarrod

Professor Paraffin adjusted the wax thermostat, and watched the steam begin to dissipate over the surface of the cream colored liquid.  The wax impresario was proud of this particular mixture.  Just as his newest waxworks were designed to redefine and reinvigorate a dying institution, this ‘lifeblood’ of his new creations was also a vast improvement over traditional wax.  Traces of special rubber and plastic polymers had been added to enable his wax figures to be molded and posed indefinitely, helping them to achieve a more lifelike permanence.  And experimental preservatives had been added to the mixture, bringing the cliched claim of ‘immortality in wax’ even closer to reality.

And yet, as the bespectacled, goateed wax master surveyed the gallons and gallons of waxing mixture that lapped against the side of the giant metal container, he realized that some things didn’t change.  Like the old white lab coat he wore each time he made a new figure for the museum.  Or the look of his studio, with wax limbs and heads stewn about, empty pedestals for testing various poses and displays, chains and harnesses and pulleys for transporting his works of art - pre- and post-waxing, and enough beakers and test tubes and chemicals and machinery with bright lights to outfit any classic mad scientist’s lair.

There was one more element that gave his studio the classic waxworks look.  A couple of feet above the middle of the smoking, swirling wax mixture was the final and most important piece of the puzzle.  Two small, attractive, stockinged feet swayed gently back and forth.  Professor Paraffin followed the sheer white nylon from the feet past the ankles, up two shapely legs and thighs, past well shaped nylon covered buttocks, past the thin pantyhose waistband just above the navel, up to two smallish but well-shaped breasts, then a lovely neck, and finally a beautiful face framed with long and wavy blonde hair.

The young woman’s arms extended above her head, wrists held together by a wax-splattered leather shackle, attached to a large chain that held her suspended above her future coating.  The girl’s eyelids opened and shut intermittently, and her lips emitted a low moan of pleasure at intervals, followed by a slight rocking in her hips.  All as a result of the pleasure inducing sedative she had been given during her capture.  One more innovation the Professor had introduced to the art of wax statue making.  The old method of hurling naked beauties screaming into a boiling vat of wax was not very conducive to making attractive wax figures.  The wax should be very warm, but not scalding hot.  The model should be awake, but not in a terrified state.

Some of his colleagues at various wax fiend conferences and workshops were strict adherents of using head to toe dipillatorys, and making sure the models were completely nude when coated.  But Paraffin liked retaining the model’s natural hair, even if it meant coloring or styling it after the model was coated and the wax melted from the locks.  And while the Professor often used nude models, sometimes waxing undergarments like panties or stockings gave the model a special sheen, depending on the display.

For instance, this young woman was to become part of a new “Monsters at the Prom” display, in which young dance goers were attacked by a parade of classic monsters, including Dracula and Frankenstein, a werewolf, Medusa, and even a giant coed eating plant.  Paraffin’s first thought was that her long blonde hair and lovely neck would make a inviting target for Dracula’s fangs.  But if the white pantyhose waxed just right, he might make the blonde a terrified victim of Medusa, with the pantyhose signifying the petrifying process running up her legs.

Ahhh, Professor Paraffin reflected, it was this creative, artistic process that made his job so rewarding.  That, and the opportunity to capture and remove the clothing of beautiful women, of course.  As the Professor waited for the temperature gauge to settle at the ‘Coating’ mark, he reflected on the events of that evening.  It certainly was an easy - classic, one might even say - capture.

Paraffin usually acquired his victims through shady means: models working with unscrupulous agencies, inexperienced prostitutes working alone; hitchhikers on two lane country roads, overworked office workers in dimly lit parking garages, and an occasional broken down car returning from the beach.  His waxworks-to-be seldom just strolled in the door.  But that’s exactly what happened today.

It was just before closing time on a quiet weekday.  A children’s day care class had visited in the morning, and a couple of senior citizens had dropped by just after lunch.  But that was it.  Paraffin hadn’t really expected much more, and was spending most of his time tuning up his ‘motorized’ displays.  In fact, he had planned to put the closing sign out a bit early and do some preliminary work on his future ‘T-Rex Menaces a Cave Girl’ exhibit, when she walked through the door.

She was stunningly beautiful and sexy, dressed in a skin tight white dress that barely covered her backside, and wasn’t even in the same zip code as her knees.  She asked breathlessly (and a little nervously, Paraffin remembered) if the museum was still open.  She was from out of town, had just attended some travel agent seminar, and wanted to visit a couple of family attractions before going out on the town.

The wax master adopted his most formal and polite grandfatherly tone, and welcomed his new visitor to his modest gallery of waxen art.  Professor Paraffin couldn’t help but notice the contrast of the young woman’s friendly smile and innocent tone of voice, with the tenseness of her body.  Particularly her hands, tightly gripping her white purse as if her life depended on its possession.  Something was amiss, and the old man knew he had to be cautious.  This was the downfall of so many of the younger waxwork fiends’ generation.  At this point they would be focusing on the beautiful victim before them, imagining her in their clutches, struggling against her bonds before a waxy spray sealed her fate, then put on public display as a beautiful wax figure, the next object d’art in their collection.  And something would go amiss, the beauty would turn against them, they would be the captured party, and their promising career preserving feminine beauty would come to an end.

Paraffin knew that every perfect statue required a perfect capture.  And a perfect capture required a clear head, a sharp wit, and self-control.  The Professor invited his lovely guest to take her time looking at the exhibits, while he retrieved some information and a few brochures for her to take back to her travel agency.

The sexy blonde seemed relieved that Paraffin was going to leave the room, and she quickly thanked him, then headed toward his Swingin’ Sixties display area.  While she paused momentarily to glance at passing exhibits, Professor Paraffin could tell she had a specific destination in mind, and a specific reason for showing up so near closing time wearing such provocative attire.  She was definitely baiting a trap.  But was it her trap, or someone else’s?

As soon as he stepped into his office near the front of the museum, the wax master activated his surveillance cameras.  He located his voluptuous tourist, staring back toward the front door of the museum.  Checking to see if the old man was locking her in, no doubt.  Clever girl, thought Paraffin, and then opened a desk drawer and activated the remote locking device.  Just not clever enough.

Then Paraffin had the cameras carefully survey the rest of the museum’s interior.  No stragglers hiding behind or among the wax displays.  Outside cameras detected no one near the museum’s perimeter, or even parked within the same block.  Apparently, even his visitor had walked some distance to visit Paraffin’s Wax Gallery.  Thus the lovely young woman was baiting her own trap.  But why?

Once more an interior camera focused on the ‘travel agent,’ now stopped in front of the “Beach Movie” display.  Her caution was momentarily set aside as she stared at the wax bikini bunnies on either side of a volleyball net.  Paraffin watched the young lady wipe a tear from her eye as she stared at one particular statue: a short-haired brunette in a red two piece.  In the space of a few seconds, the wax master saw the facial resemblance between the two, and then saw the living sister reach into her purse, pull out a small black handgun, look into its loaded chambers, and slide it back into its purse.

So, his sexy visitor had come to the Wax Gallery for revenge.  The Professor decided that a reunion would be more to his liking.  He placed a few brochures in his left hand, placed his right hand in his coat pocket, shut the door of his office loudly behind him, and headed for the Beach Display.

“It’s one of my favorite exhibits.”  The blonde jumped a bit at Paraffin’s observation.  She had been focused on the brunette in the red bikini.  “It is always the goal of the sculptor to retain as much life and vitality as possible, even in the immobility of a wax statue.  This display, with young people frolicking on the beach, creates that illusion.  It’s almost as if they could move - were alive - isn’t it?”

Paraffin chose his words carefully to gauge the young woman’s reaction, and perhaps throw her off guard, in case it was her attention to pull her gun and shoot him immediately.

The Professor thought he noticed a slight tremor in her mouth and eyes, but the beauty regained her poise.  “Your statues do seem so lifelike.  How do you get your models - I mean, do you advertise or just choose people off the street?”

“Well, sometimes it’s a matter of making the right connections - knowing the right people.  Sometimes I have a particular look in mind, and I seek out just the right model.  And sometimes, as you say, it is a spur of the moment decision.  Like that beach bunny there in the red bikini,” Paraffin nodded toward the previous object of the blonde’s attention.  “I saw her working in a real estate office in a town up the coast.  She stopped typing some document for a moment, and stared out the window toward the ocean.  I knew she longed to be someplace else, away from her desk, out of the office, out of her dress and stockings and heels, toes in the sand, hearing the crashing of the waves and smelling the salt air.  The tableau came instantly to mind, and I built this display around her and that wistful, wishful look.  Oh, well, I do go on.  But, to answer your question, the process usually takes a great deal of effort on my part.  Models don’t usually just walk in the door.”

The sexy visitor did not catch the irony of Paraffin’s last sentence.  His reminiscence about the brunette figure had focused her attention.  “So, the . . . uhh . . . red bikini statue,” she started, her voice breaking a little with emotion, “you saw her in an office, and invited her to model for one of your statues?”

The Professor walked a few steps away from the girl to the end of the display.  The blonde followed, turning her back on the red bikini and the other volleyball players.  Discreetly noticing the girl’s position as they walked slowly along the velvet cord at the edge of the tableau, Paraffin stopped when the blonde reached a certain point.

He turned to face his visitor.  “In a manner of speaking.  I waited until the office was just about to close - much as you did today here at the museum.  The young lady was just closing the blinds and about to lock up.  I asked for directions which she wasn’t sure about, and when she turned to go back to her desk for a map, I placed a chloroformed cloth firmly over her face, and in a matter of seconds she was unconscious.  I pulled my van around to the back entrance of the building, discreetly loaded her in, and returned to the museum.  That night I carefully coated her very lovely body with my special wax, and stored my new figure until I had constructed my beach display, and collected other attractive young people to join her on the sand.”

When Paraffin mentioned chloroform, the lovely blonde began to lose her composure, and her eyes welled with tears.  As the old wax master finished his story, her expression had gone from shock to rage.

“Oh, my God!  That’s her!  That is her!”  She looked back quickly at the wax figure, and then gave Paraffin her most hateful stare.  “You killed Jenny!  You bastard!”  The blonde fumbled with the latch on her purse as she cried and ranted.  “Dipped her in wax, and put her in this . . . this . . . morgue!”

“Now, now, my dear.  I know you’re upset, but that’s no reason to be insulting.  And you’ve got this all wrong.  First, I didn’t ‘kill’ Jenny, I simply preserved her beauty for all eternity.  And second, about that dipping . . .”

The blonde finally opened her purse, and pulled out a small revolver.  “Shut up, you son of a bitch!  I don’t want to hear about your ‘creating art.’  You’re no artist.  You’re nothing more than a perverted murderer, who gets his sexual kicks capturing women and putting them on display.”  She waved the gun at the Professor.  “Well, that’s over!  You’re finished!  Your ‘creativity’ has come to an end!”  She smiled through her tears.

“Not quite, my dear,” the old man said calmly.  The hand in his pocket keyed in a special code on a powerful remote.  The wax figure posed ready to serve a volleyball lifted his arm and struck the white ball sharply.  The blonde accuser heard the sound and turned slightly to find its source.  Paraffin’s spatial judgment was on target, as was the volleyball that struck the blonde’s right arm, jarring the gun loose and knocking her to the floor.

Professor Paraffin was quickly on the fallen intruder, and was reaching into his other coat pocket for a needle that would definitely have a calming effect on his newest acquisition.  But the old man had been so intent on disarming the young woman that he forgot about her purse.  She swung the small leather pouch at Paraffin just as he was pulling the syringe out of his pocket, and the old man fell back stunned.  The young woman quickly pulled off her heels, and ran onto the beach display in her white stockinged feet.  She planned to grab the wax figure of her sister, leave the museum, and head straight for the police armed with evidence and not just crazy suspicions.

But she hadn’t figured on two obstacles.  The first was that the wax figure of her sister was attached to the floor beneath the sand, to prevent her from toppling over when her special ‘twisting’ motion was activated.  And the second was that Paraffin still had his powerful remote, and various traps built into many of his displays.  The old man punched in a new code, and the rope holding one side of the volleyball net came unattached.  The blonde turned to see that the strap holding the other side was elastic, and it stretched and stretched, and then was released, hurling the net toward girl.  She screamed and threw up her hands, but it was no use.  The net wrapped itself around her, trapping her in a tight embrace around the wax figure of her sister.

Before the beautiful blonde could yell for help, Professor Paraffin was at her side.  At first, she pleaded for mercy, but then only moaned as the wax master pushed the syringe into her neck.  At the moment, she was reunited with her sister by strong black netting.  Soon, she would be reunited with her sister by wax.


The Professor once again checked the thermostat, and saw that the temperature was just right for maximum coating and skin preservation.  Once again he looked up at his newest work of art, pre-waxed.  Small but steady impulses of sexual stimulation were coursing through her semi-conscious body.  The Professor shook his head as he reflected on the dangers of revenge.  Ah, well, the blonde beauty’s moral lesson was his artistic gain.  Time to create his newest exhibit.

Paraffin stepped over to a large machine with several knobs, buttons, and blinking lights.  The old man knew that several of his wax fiend colleagues had already switched to computerized wax coating, but his 1950’s model control unit was as modern as he wanted to make this ancient art.  He punched a series of buttons which activated a rather loud humming noise in the machine and in the container holding the wax mixture.  He then turned a couple of knobs adjusting important settings.  He took one more look at the pantyhose clothed blonde suspended over the wax, and then turned back to his control unit.  As he reached up to push a large red button, he was surprised by a loud voice coming from the back door of the studio.

“Don’t touch that red button, old man, or I’ll introduce your brain to one of my bullets.”

The Professor slowly dropped his hand, and turned to find the source of that voice.  Walking toward him, holding a much larger gun than the blonde had carried, was a tall redhead wearing a navy blouse with a brown vest, dark brown jeans, and brown boots.

“Usually,” she went on, “I would say that such an occurrence would mess a person up pretty bad.  But considering what you’ve got going here,” she glanced around the studio, and at the swaying, semi-nude body of the blonde visitor, “it might actually be an improvement.”

“Young lady.  You are trespassing on private property.  If you don’t leave immediately, I may be forced to call the authorities.”  Professor Paraffin used a very stern voice.

“Jeepers.  Wouldn’t I be in trouble?  Guess I’d better leave you to your work, and go rejoin my pals at the malt shop.”  The redhead said sarcastically.

While the woman spoke, Paraffin glanced at this watch, and began inching back toward the control panel.  He really needed to press that red button.

The woman noticed his subtle movement.  “Whoa, there, Pops!  I meant what I said about shooting you in the head.”

“Please, my dear, it’s very important that I push that one button.  I don’t think you fully understand the creative process that’s at work here.”

The redhead looked around again.  “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand what’s at work here.  You kidnap beautiful women, bring ‘em back to your studio, strip ‘em - oh, artistically, I’m sure, dip ‘em in your wax vat there to turn ‘em into wax statues, and then put ‘em on display out in your museum.  Nothing subtle or clever there, professor.  In fact, it’s the biggest cliché in the book.”

“Now, just a minute - I resent you calling this a cliché.  It proves you don’t know what you’re talking about  . . .”

“Oh, really?  Well, I know that people have been disappearing up and down the coast for the past several months - just about the time you opened your little ghoulish gallery.  I know that the young lady you have suspended in white tights over your wax vat, Jill Conrad, came to town looking for her sister, Jenny.  And I know that she came to me with a crazy story about a wax statue that looked just like Jenny in your museum.  I know that private detectives usually make a bundle taking missing person cases, but I know I didn’t want to take this kid’s money to check into some unbelievable story.  But I know when I’m wrong, and obviously Jill was right about you, and I assume right about her sister.  And I know it was nice of you to try to reunite the two sisters in your collection, but now I know that the only reunion you’re going to experience will be with your fellow psychos at the state loony bin.”  The detective pulled a pair of cuffs from her back pocket, and used her gun to wave Professor Paraffin over to a large metal desk.  She grabbed his right arm, cuffed his wrist, and then attached the other cuff to one of the file drawer handles.  She found a key inside the top desk drawer, locked the file drawer, and Paraffin was secured.

“And now I know that you’re not going to be dipping Jill Conrad in your vat tonight,” she said finally, as she turned from her captive, and looked for a way to get the drugged girl down from the ceiling.

Paraffin sighed as he realized it was too late to activate the red button anyway.  “Ahh, my foolish, foolish young woman.  You should have let me push that button.  You are indeed very clever, but there are many things you don’t know.”

The detective was looking at the ceiling, trying to figure out how Jill Conrad’s bonds were rigged, and how to de-rig them.  She decided to humor the old maniac.  “Well, that’s true in general.  But I think I’ve got a bead on your little sexual fantasy here, Professor.  Now why don’t you forget about your precious red button.  You’re not going to be doing any vat-dunking tonight.  Or for a very long time.  Like never.”  She continued her inspection of the pulley apparatus suspending the semi-nude blonde over the warm wax.

“That’s exactly what I’m talking about.  You’ve made two quite erroneous assumptions in your last statement.  The first is your implication that the red button was for initiating the waxing process.  That process is on a timer, which is quite near its activation point.”  The detective stopped suddenly, and turned back to her captive.  Professor Paraffin continued.  “The red button activates the giant fan in the ceiling, which expedites the drying process and makes the wax conversion quicker and more painless.  But, of course, it’s much too late for that for Miss Conrad now.”

The detective was in Paraffin’s face in an instant.  “A timer, huh?  You sick bastard!”  She pressed her gun to the wax master’s left temple.  “Okay, Mr. ‘Artist,’ what button do I push to keep her out of that vat.”

“And that’s your second mistake,” he responded calmly, nodding slightly toward the container holding the wax mixture.  “That’s not a vat.”  Suddenly the humming noise in the control unit and the container got louder, and louder, and a strong vibration could be felt throughout the studio.

Both the Professor and the lady detective turned their full attention to the wax and the nyloned female hanging over it.  “It’s a fountain.”  Paraffin stated matter of factly, and the detective screamed as the scene before her confirmed his statement.

Warm, pinkish wax erupted from the metal container and covered the lovely body of Jill Conrad.  The shock of being deluged in such a manner somewhat negated the sedating effect of her drug, and the lovely blonde squirmed and shook, trying to rid herself of the thick and sticky mixture.  But her efforts were to no avail.  As the wax dried, sealing off Jill’s body from the outside air, the preservatives were seeping into her skin, beginning a sedating process more powerful, and certainly longer lasting, than the sexual stimulant the Professor had given her earlier.  The shakes and twitches gradually subsided, and finally stopped.  Jill Conrad was now a beautiful wax statue.

“I’m sorry you had to witness that.  If you had just allowed me to activate that fan, the drying process would have been almost instantaneous . . . .”

The Professor was cut off by the female detective shoving her revolver under Paraffin’s chin.  “Shut up, you murdering freak!  Now tell me how to get her down from there, and I mean tell me fast!”

Paraffin could hardly speak with the revolver pressed so tightly to his throat.  He decided it would be better to tell his captor, then to risk having several bullet holes in his head.  “Under that cabinet.  A lever, and a crank.  The crank moves the pulley, and the lever lowers the body.”

The detective rushed to the cabinet, and began moving Jill’s body, hoping there may still be some way to get that wax off her face and revive her.  When Jill’s waxed body hit the floor and stiffly toppled on its side, the detective rushed over to her and tried to peel the wax off the lovely blonde’s face.  But she couldn’t even make a dent in it.”

“That won’t work my dear.  There is a special solvent I use on the wax to make it more pliable.  But you don’t know that.  Just one more thing you don’t know.”

“Shut up!  No, tell me where that solution is!”  The detective shouted, still trying to remove the wax from Jill’s waxed visage.

“But you don’t know how to use it, so it would do you no good.  And your lovely friend is beyond help, but you don’t seem to know that either.  No, you came here thinking you knew everything, didn’t you?  You took a quick look around and saw a typical wax works, with a damsel in distress, a bubbling vat of wax, and a crazed sculptor seeking to satisfy his libido in a sick and twisted way.  Well, my dear, this is not your typical wax works.  And the damsel, while certainly in an undesirable position, had indeed found her sister and was about to join her for all eternity.  You already know your mistake about the ‘vat’ of wax and that horrible dipping cliché.  And now, let me assure you, I am not your typical sex fiend sculptor.  In fact,” Paraffin grabbed his shoulder, and gave it a couple of twists, “I am not your typical man, at all.”  With that, he gave the top of his captive arm a strong pull, and it came completely out of its socket.  He dropped the arm and it banged against the side of the desk, then hung there with the handcuffed wrist and hand still laying on the metal surface.

The female detective stopped trying to remove the hardened wax from Jill’s face, and slowly stood, her mouth agape at the wax master’s action.  All she could mumble was “Who are you?   What are you?”

The Professor calmed walked over to a wall filled with wax arms.  He examined a few, then selected one near the top row.  Carefully, he aligned the top of the arm with his empty shoulder socket, inserted the arm, and twisted until the arm held fast and was turned in the proper position.

“I am simply a humble artist, my dear, who has been perfecting my craft for many, many years.”  Paraffin walked over to the hardened figure of Jill Conrad, and slowly inspected the surface of her body for any nicks or rough spots.  There were none.  “Ahh, yes.  Excellent.”  He ran his fingers along her whitened leg.  “This does create the illusion of turning to stone, doesn’t it.  Yes, she’ll be Medusa’s victim in my Prom display.”

As the Professor went about his work, the shocked detective finally convinced her legs to move, albeit very slowly, and she backed toward the waxworks’ showroom.  “You’re . . . you’re not human . . . .”

“I assure you, my lovely sleuth, I am quite human.  But also quite old.  Over these many years, I have perfected methods of preservation and regeneration that could revolutionize medical science.  Of course, I would only be willing to share those discoveries with the medical community if they would be willing to share an unlimited supply of lovely nurses for my wax gallery, but I don’t believe that particular deal could be arranged.  So, I simply use my discoveries on my creations, and on myself.”  The Professor stood, held his new wax elbow in his left hand while stroking his chin with his new wax hand, and stared at the frightened detective.  “Now, I have a new figure to plan.  A bit too old for my prom display, but perfect for one of my action tableaus.  Yes, a damsel in distress would be quite appropriate for a lady of danger such as yourself.”

The detective realized that she was the next entrée on the Professor’s artistic menu, and that snapped her out of shock induced inaction.  “I don’t think so, Pops,” she yelled, and lifted her revolver.  She fired twice quickly, and then a third time, hitting the wax master in the chest each time.  Her weekly visits to the firing range seemed to have paid off.

The bullets pierced Paraffin’s white coat and chest, sending him staggering backwards, and then to his knees.  He looked in surprise at the holes in his torso, and then up at the lady detective.  “I can’t believe you did that, my dear,” he said, his voice cracking.

“Believe it, Psycho!  You’re many, many years of creating art are over.”  The lady detective moved closer to the Professor, gun raised, to make sure he was finished.  But despite his prone position and choking sounds, something was wrong.  Something was missing . . .

Blood.  Blood was missing.  There was no blood.

The professor continued to stare at his lab coat and the three holes so close together.  “I just can’t believe you would ruin a perfectly good coat,” Paraffin continued, as he opened the coat and saw similar holes in his shirt.  “And an almost new shirt, as well.”  Next the Professor tore open his shirt to reveal three holes in his chest.  The detective gasped out loud as the old man thrust his new wax hand into his chest, felt around, and then pulled out three wax coated bullets.  He held them up to her.  “Wax, I can fix.  But you are going to have pay for this shirt and this coat, young lady.”

This time, the lady detective screamed and ran into the gallery, hoping to find another way out of this mad house.  The Professor followed, and saw her disappear into the Monster Movie area.  “An excellent choice, my dear,” he said, and punched some numbers on the remote in his coat pocket.  There was the sound of splashing water inside the waxworks, then an inhuman screech and roar, and then a very human scream from the detective.

Paraffin walked into the area to see which exhibit had assisted him, although the splashing water was a strong clue.  And sure enough, just past the King Kong and Godzilla exhibits, around a darkened corner, came the sound of struggling screams.  The lady detective struggled in vain, her boots kicking in the air and her legs high above the floor, tight in the grip of a giant octupus’ long tentacle, in the ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea’ exhibit.

The red-haired sleuth’s struggles were in vain against the mechanized display.  “If you think this is scary, my dear,” the Professor said, pushing a few more buttons, “wait until you see this.”  At his command, the giant squid’s other tentacles joined in the capture, attaching their suckers to the detective’s boots and jeans and blouse, pulling them off.  As the detective’s energy waned, only her bra and panties and socks remained on her voluptuous frame.  “The tentacles are only good with thicker clothes.  It leaves the more delicate fabrics to me,” the Professor said as the detective gave just a few more half-hearted kicks, and then collapsed in the tentacle’s grasp, unconscious and defeated, and nearly ready for Professor Paraffin’s artistic skills.

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