1956. After a sock hop at the local high school gym, teenagers Betty and Cody drive out to Lovers’ Lane together. Betty knows only too well that good girls don’t go to Lovers’ Lane with boys. But Cody is her one true love and besides, he swore that he’d love her forever or may he be struck down where he stands. But then, an alien invasion shows Betty just what Cody’s word is truly worth…
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- Lovers’ Lane is a short story of 6200 words. This story is a digital premiere and has never been published previously.
- Lovers’ Lane was initially planned to be a story in a collection entitled The Day the Saucers Came. The collection was supposed to include various short stories narrated from a first person POV by eye witnesses to a massive alien invasion (via B-movie style flying saucers) back in 1956. So far, only three stories exist, Acacia Crescent, Lovers’ Lane and Double Feature.
- In many ways, Lovers’ Lane is a companion piece to Double Feature, because Betty, the narrator of Lovers’ Lane, is a supporting character in Double Feature, whose narrator Judy appears in Lovers’ Lane.
- Blonde and perfect Betty was named both for Betty, the blonde good girl love interest in Archie, and for Betty Draper, Don Draper’s beautiful, but unpleasant first wife in Mad Men. Meanwhile, Judy was named for the bad girl rival in the Lesley Gore song “It’s my party”, since naming her Veronica would have been too obvious.
- One main inspiration for Lovers’ Lane was the Meat Loaf song “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”. Both Betty’s insistence that Cody swear that he loves her forever as well as the baseball game to which Betty and Cody are listening on the radio were borrowed from the song.
- The various baseball players mentioned in the radio broadcast were all actual players for the New York Yankees or the Brooklyn Dodgers (since 1957 the Los Angeles Dodgers) at the time, though the match itself is fictional. Coincidentally, the baseball broadcast of which snippets can be heard in “Paradise by the dashboard light” also involves the New York Yankees, which I for one did not know when I wrote the story. Apparently, the clue is that the broadcast snippets include the voice of the official New York Yankees announcer.
- For those wondering whether anybody can really be as naïve and clueless about sex as Betty is in this story, yes, a lot of people, particularly women, really were that clueless in the days before widespread sex education. For example, when my great-aunt had her first baby in 1939, she actually believed that the baby would come out of her belly button. And lady now in her seventies (i.e. born around the same time as Betty) once told me that after a session of heavy petting with her then boyfriend in the late 1950s, she mistook the boyfriend’s ejaculate for the male version of menstruation.
- “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” subverts its own story of teenaged passion by pointing out that swearing to love someone till the end of time can mean a very long time indeed. Meanwhile Cody’s own vow that he will love Betty forever or that God shall strike him down comes horrifically true, when the saucers attack.
- The movie adaptation of Gudrun Pausewang’s post-apocalyptic YA novel Die Wolke (The Cloud) has the first kiss of the heroine and her boyfriend interrupted by warning sirens announcing that a nearby nuclear power station has suffered a catastrophic meltdown. It’s an unintentionally funny moment in an otherwise depressing movie, because warning sirens announcing a nuclear meltdown must be one of the worst cases of coitus interruptus ever. This scene was also in my mind, when I gave Betty and Cody a case of coitus interruptus (though not interrupted soon enough, it turns out) via an alien invasion.
- Judy, the town slut, and her retinue of hot rodders (only one of whom actually is a hot rodder) feature in a story of their own called Double Feature.
- The cover image is stock art by Phil Cold. The typography is supposed to evoke the posters for 1950s science fiction B-movies.