By Susannah Breslin.
A is for Anthropophagy
He was an anthropophagiac, and so he could never understand why, if other people could, say, eat green eggs and ham, why then could he not eat a woman if he so wanted? He shook his head back and forth as he sat in his armchair in his living room. The men that he saw out in the world every day wanted to eat women, and he knew this because he watched them chew at women’s faces in big mouthfuls, and grab handfuls of women’s buttocks, and as they did it say, Yummm, and, Mmmmm. The women, for their part, he knew they wanted to be eaten because he saw them on his TV-screen longing to be devoured and consumed and taken in every piece of themselves, and it was in their eyes and the hike of their skirts and the way they rolled their tongues around in their mouths. But, instead of doing what he so wanted, he sat here by himself every night, holding a bucket of chicken wings dowsed in ketchup with his imagination working harder than his stomach. It was ridiculous, he thought, a tear coming to the edge of his lonely eye. America is not beautiful, really, he saw now. He bit down on another skinny chicken leg in the blue bask of his TV-screen, and he wondered, why is it so hard in this world for a man to eat a woman?
B is for Bestiality
Things had, of course, started down on the farm. In the distance rolled the endless green hills, in the barn swelled mounds of yellow straw. Each day, before the rabbit’s cage, a young boy would come to stand, sticking his fingers in through the holes of the bunny’s small enclosure. Each night, the boy would return, taking the rabbit off into the dark trees listing at the end of the farm’s undulating grasses. It was not until, as a teenager, flipping through the pages of a magazine, that the boy found a new kind of rabbit to love. This one took the form of a naked woman in a pink see-through bunny suit, her boobs and butt curving out towards him from underneath her flopping bunny ears. His hand, meanwhile, had crawled like a speeding crab right down to his shorts. Decades later, when the boy had become a man, who had married and divorced and had a great many women, he had engineered his whole life so that rabbits were all around him now at all times. And yet, what he had found was that no matter how many buildings he built, or how many bunnies he humped, none of them could ever take the place of that old rabbit down on the farm. Finally, when he had, at last, become a very old man, and lay dying on his deathbed with his mouth drawn into a wide-open cry, outside of his bedroom door waited only a herd of blonde bunnies. And, yes, they whispered to each other, his last wish really had, in fact, been for rarebit. And, indeed, they cooed, in the end, he had actually died with his broken hips thrusting into what every single one of them hoped was some kind of rabbit paradise.
C for Conjoined Twins
You had to love them, he thought, for how could you not, for you could not hate them, could you? There were so many things about them, after all, to love.
Take, for example, when he was having them both — for how could he not? — as the likelihood one of them would be moaning, even if the other was yawning her mouth or rolling her eyes, was still incredibly high. If one went along, the other one had to; this was the beauty of their Y-shape in God’s own design. Now, whether or not the two of them needed him at all — this was the thought that woke him up screaming into the night as they lay sleeping side-by-side beside him.
He knew it was entirely possible that one day they would stop bickering and fighting and putting their fingers into each other’s eyes, and he would be the one underneath them while one of them held his hands and the other one sliced his tongue in two with his own steak knife. Their two noodles sat suspended in divided vessels above undivided bodies, but to what degree they ever truly worked apart was nature’s greatest mystery.
Thank god, he thought, as he pushed the lawnmower past the window where the two of them were now standing with a hand on each hip, staring down at him through their four narrowed eyes as the wet grass sprayed up and across his face in the terrible summer heat once again. Thank god that I hold the key to their lock between my legs, and praise the Lord that I am the pile-driver of their undivining love for me.
D is for Dacryphilia
You never truly knew what you were getting into on the day that you were born, now did you?, she thought to herself. For here she was today, her hands shaped in two cups, as the girl’s insides tumbled into her palms. Surely, he had meant well with this gift for her of the anatomical doll who had arrived in a box marked SWEET SUE. But, when she had removed the female figurine’s breastplate all its insides had come falling out, and then, Oh, oh!, Milton had cried, grappling into the empty air with his fat, white, and pasty hands. It was too late. By the time Sweet Sue’s small lungs had toppled, and her dark slab of kidney had fallen, and her plastic heart sat woodenly up on top of it all, Darlene, for all intents and purposes, had already left the scene of the crime. Inside her mind, it was as if reality was only a chalk outline drawn around a blood-soaked body that had been gurneyed away to the morgue. She had gone back in her head to that moment in time at which she had stood across from the young boy down by the lake near her childhood home, envisioning gutting him like a fish out of water, as he had systematically eviscerated her with his small, pink, and narrow tongue. So, today, while, thankfully, he was no longer alive, having drowned himself many years ago in his own bathtub, as his wife had washed the dishes, even though the pieces of Sweet Sue were bone cold to the touch, Darlene could hardly wait to feel Milton’s heart beating hot and wet between her two hands as she squeezed out of him the sorry tears of his all too easily won love for her.
E is for Eunuch
You could call him nullified, or orchidectomized, or emasculated, or a eunuch, but he was simply the possessor of a penectomy, a person who no longer bore his penis, a man undeniably lacking in what he had previously carried in his lower basket, and he had, therefore, since become the ingestor of a multitude of hormone-filled pharmaceuticals, and turned into the personal curator of his own Johnson in a jar, and resultingly realized that he was now the type of individual who could silence an entire dinner-party full of people at the mere drop of a hat with the mere drop of his pants, and yet what he had discovered since this rather sudden change of life events was that while he had fantasized rapturously as a young man of chemical castration, and spent several years seriously considering moving to India to linger amongst the third-sexed there by the banks of the Katni River, it was actually only one year ago that his brain had become wholly overrun by words like “Elastrator,” and “Burdizzo,” and “Underground Doctors,” and it was only rather recently that he had found himself lying quite awake, because he had wanted it that way, on a cold kitchen table, because they had wanted it that way, praying to whomever looked over poor souls like him that someday someone would lean over him in some dark bed somewhere and be happy to find him so wonderfully smooth, but the problem was that now, today, at this very moment, in that imaginary bed he was truly lying, and he knew without a doubt, even with the lights off, that the person lying next to him was doing nothing but snoring, and coming down the back alleyways of his mind for him was his own terrible penis, and it was angry, and it was carrying at its side an entire suitcase filled to overflowing with his whole, long, lonely life that he had lived thus far, and, already, the suitcase was falling open and spilling its whole horrible mess out all over the floor of his mind, and he knew, with no reservations needed, thank you very much, that he would slip in it, and that this new smoothness of his, which had been intended to lubricate his life, would make it impossible for him to ever get back up again.
F is for Forniphilia
She was standing in the corner. She had a lampshade on her head. The lampshade was making her head sweat. I am a lamp, she told herself. She was standing in the corner with her arms straight down at her sides and a lampshade on her head, waiting for her husband to come home. Her husband wanted her to be a lamp. Her husband was great. But he wanted his wife to be different pieces of furniture, depending on the day of the week. That was hard. For her. It turned him on. She said out loud, “I am a lamp”. She didn’t really want to be a lamp, though. She wanted to be a human being. That was the problem. A lamp, she told herself. I am a lamp, she thought again. Who knew what she would be tomorrow? Maybe she would become an armchair. An armchair is better than a lamp, she told herself. But then it occurred to her that being an armchair would probably require her to bend both of her legs all the way back over her head so that her butt would become the seat. And that wouldn’t be comfortable. At all. Then god only knew what would happen if her husband wanted to sit down on top of her at his desk to do some work that he had brought home from the office. Probably, she would break. A broken armchair. She heard her husband’s key as it began to turn in the lock of their front door. She thought to herself, At this rate, I will end up as a bike rack. Day in and day out, she imagined in her mind’s eye for herself, she would ride around on the back of her husband’s car. In the wind. In the rain. In the snow. It would never end. The tall dark outline of her husband stepped into the room. I am a lamp, she told herself underneath the lampshade. That was what her husband wanted. She turned herself on.
G is for Giantessophilia
“I am a lover of large.” The very tall woman cupped her hand to her ear and bent down towards the tiny man to hear what he was saying. The tiny man cleared his throat pointedly. “I,” he shouted, “am a lover of large!” The tiny man watched the face of the giantess before him. He could see by her eyes she was undecided. He looked down the street. Her bus wasn’t coming yet. He returned to her gaze. He could understand her dilemma. Obviously, she had spent the majority of if not all of her life alone. After all, how could any one man deal with any one woman so very tall? It would be difficult to manage. It would be easier to manage someone smaller, someone you felt you could push around a bit, to get to do what you wanted. The tiny man fancied himself more of a big game hunter. He had known as soon as he had seen the very tall woman waiting for the bus that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. “I AM,” he bellowed as loud as he possibly could, “A LOVER OF LARGE!” He would be a challenge for her, he knew. She would have to make sure not to step on him in the kitchen, not to roll over on him while she was sleeping and accidentally smother him to death, not to crush him with what he suspected would become an overwhelming love for him. “LOVER OF LARGE!!” he yelled and winked. The two stood there on the street corner as the world moved around them. The very tall woman. The tiny man. The bus rounded the corner. For a moment, their future swung in the balance. The tall woman sized up the tiny man. The special needs of a woman taller than most were hard to sate, she knew. He, she decided, would do.
H is for Hardcore
You’d think that porn would have helped. You’d think that porn would have made everything better. You’d think that porn would have seen that your life went as you had planned. You’d think that “Barely Legal” would have started you out on the right foot. You’d think that “Stop My Ass Is on Fire” would have answered any questions you had along the way. You’d think that “The World’s Biggest Gangbang” would have illuminated your path into adulthood. You’d think that “American Bukkake” would have demonstrated the importance of hard work. You’d think that “The Vomitorium” would have reminded you this was the life you always wanted. You’d think that “Rough Sex” would have explained you were still alive, no matter how you felt. You’d think that “Perverted Stories” would have made it clear there was no other route for you to take. You’d think that “House of Freaks” would have shown you what it was you were becoming. You’d think that “Pink Eye” would have opened your eyes to where it was you were heading. You’d think that “Midget in a Suitcase” would have illustrated just how little growing room you really had. You’d think that the coprophagy and bestiality tapes would have driven you out to find the girl of your dreams. You’d think that “White Trash Whore” would have gotten you to see it was time to finally settle down. You’d think that “Gag Factor” would have gotten you through the vows. You’d think that “Ready to Drop” would have made you want to start a family. You’d think that “Golden Showers” would have carried you through the darkest times. You’d think that “Century Sex” would have kept you company when everyone was gone and it was you and porn alone, at last. You’d think.
I is for Immobilization
The couple didn’t have a lot of money. The wife collected coupons, and the husband drove on fumes. They lived in a trailer surrounded by fire ants in a state shaped like a gun. The refrigerator was decorated with postcards featuring beaches and notes on the other side written to strangers. For dinners, they sacrificed squirrels, bowing their heads in silent reverence for the unknown lives of God’s most furtive creatures. What they valued were intangibles: marriage’s intimacies, a hand held on a night walk, the maintaining of the septic tank. Years passed like this. Eventually, the husband grew sick, and there was no money to take him to the doctor. Quietly, they circled the wagons, carried out whispered negotiations, waited for something to happen. Near the end, the husband requested his immobilization. This way, he explained, he would never leave her. The wife was ready. The next day, she emerged from the listing shed with a roll of duct tape and approached the husband in the bed. Moving systematically, she wrapped the duct tape around his body: taping his legs together, taping his arms to his sides, taping his mouth shut. For a time, she sat there, listening to his breathing. The husband breathed in. The husband breathed out. She did not want him to stop. Outside, the heat lightning flashed, but there was no rain. At this point, she had forgotten how long they had been married. A lifetime, it seemed. The day they married was one bookend; this was the other. She patted the husband inside his black cocoon. He was all in one piece. At the last minute, she considered taping herself to him, but there wasn’t enough tape left.
J is for Johns
I’m in my car across the street from a massage parlor. AMP. That’s what they call them. Asian Massage Parlor. I went to something like this in Vietnam where you got a haircut and a blowjob at the same time, but that was years ago, and this is the United States. I’ve been here an hour. I’ve got a business card in my hand. Some Asian lady almost as old as me gave it to me at a gas station. Must’ve recognized something in me, I guess. Maybe I’ve got mark written across my forehead. That’s not my name. That’s what I am. I hadn’t intended to be here. My golf game is improving. That’s what I’m focusing on. In retirement, it’s important to keep your mind, body, and spirit active, so I’ve been known to play bocce, and I’m a member of the Italian American League, and I play Sudoku. It’s not enough. Not the bocce, or the IAL, or the games. I have noticed there is no one in my world who is willing to touch me. Sure, sometimes a fellow will grab your upper arm and shake your hand with his other hand. It’s not the same. Look at me. I have blackish spots on me. I don’t even want to know what that means. I was married three times, and not one of them stuck. I guess I’m not sticky enough. I’m going to go inside. I’m going to talk to the lady at the front desk. I’m going to hand her my money. In the back, I’ll take off my clothes, and I’ll lie on a table under a sheet, and I’ll smile at the girl who enters. I don’t care if it’s five minutes, or thirty minutes, or sixty minutes. I’ll let her do whatever she wants to me. I need someone to get her hands on me.
K is for Kleptolagnia
The kleptolagniac moved about her apartment, opening and closing things. In her underwear drawer, she found the first item she had taken: a Boy Scout badge for having successfully set a fire that she had torn from the shirt of Tim Ribbins, 9, after he had kissed her and then given her a look indicating he was about to sprint in the opposite direction. In the medicine cabinet, she discovered a bottle of pills thieved from Maurice Portmanteau, 17, who had taken her virginity and in doing so fairly commanded her to steal something from him in return. In the silverware drawer, she located the see-no-evil wooden monkey figurine no bigger than her thumb that she had cruelly separated from its hear-no-evil and speak-no-evil wooden monkey figurine siblings that had belonged to Theodore Bart, 23, the R.A. in her college dorm who had seemingly favored the other girl in the three-way over her. On a bookshelf in the living room, she fingered a copy of Lord Jim, nicked from Obatu Rial, 34, her first and last husband, who had attempted to leave with only his books, a small request she had refused to honor fully. In the pantry, she peeled back the top of a tin of Vienna sausages, revealing a series of meaty tubes covered in gray-green mold, reminding her of their previous owner, Bettina Min, 41, who had provided a reprieve from an endless parade of men but proved herself no more capable of filling the empty pocket where the kleptolagniac’s heart had been. In the garden, she unearthed a prosthetic leg engraved with the name of its previous owner, Alan York, 52, the man she had gone out on a blind date with last night, who was at this very moment probably waking up to discover his date had given him a fake phone number and absconded with his substitute limb. She stood up, bent back her leg, and fit her knee into the top of the artificial extremity. She used an ace bandage and a belt to attach it to her. She wandered around the yard, moving awkwardly through the sun-dappled grass. For a moment, she felt complete, at last.
L is for Lesbians
Denise liked to go to Costco early, because if you went early, the whole place wasn’t swamped, and Denise didn’t really like people, especially not the kind that lived around here. Molly, on the other hand, liked to go to Costco midday, because she thought it was more fun to be trying to get your hands on one of those pre-cooked chickens while everyone else lunged at them. Near a towering stack of canned olives, Denise helped herself to a sample from the older woman whose lot in life was to warm up pieces of pulled pork and watch Costco customers stuff them down their gullets. The pulled pork looked sad, Denise thought, inspecting the shredded wad. “I’ll eat it,” Molly offered. Without thinking, Denise popped the pork into Molly’s half-opened mouth. Behind Molly, a man wearing a baseball hat celebrating some war or the other stopped and made a face at them. Suffice to say, Denise and Molly didn’t blend into the crowd down here. In a sea of, as Denise liked to say it, GAWD BLESS MURICA shirts and MAYUD IN MURICA jeans, the two women, with their hair dyed colors not found in nature and tattoos celebrating their otherness, were standouts, to say the least. The dumb redneck behind Molly jabbed his elbow into his depressed-looking wife’s ribs and motioned at Molly, who was blissfully unaware and happily chewing her mouthful of cooked pig meat. Suddenly, Denise was sorry. Sorry she had ever expressed a lack of interest in going to Costco, sorry that for some reason having to do with her dead mother she had continued to refuse to marry Molly even after they were legally permitted to do so, sorry most of all that she had never kissed Molly in public, not in two years, and the one time Molly had attempted to kiss her, on a dock behind a restaurant at sunset, where no one was even there, Denise had withdrawn. Sorry, sorry, sorry, Denise chided herself in her head. The idiot man’s wife turned her mouth into a shape indicating it was bearing witness to something terrible and sour. Denise had had enough. She reached out and grabbed Molly somewhat too hard and pulled her to her, so they were standing breasts to breasts, hip bones to hip bones, pelvis to pelvis. Molly smelled like agave shampoo from Whole Foods and friendly armpit sweat. Denise pressed her mouth against Molly’s mouth, which, thankfully, opened willingly, and closed her eyes so as to avoid the surely aghast mob of offended peoples circling around them in this godforsaken backwards state of mind.
M is for Melissophilia
She had a thing for insects. She had a lot of things for a lot of things, but what she really had a thing for was bugs. Men, in her life, had come and gone, but the insects stayed with her. She had wandered through her backyard as a young girl, collecting ladybugs, and fireflies, and crickets in glass jars. Late at night in her room, she watched while they glowed, and fought, and died. When she grew up, insects would appear to her at the strangest times. As she slept, they would arrive in droves, buzzing around her sleeping head. When she was lost on a road, a swarm would descend upon her, obliterating the world around her. While she was having sex, they flew out from within her, bees from her mouth, wasps from between her legs, and flies from her ears. The men, for their part, were not so persistent. At a certain point, she had realized, this was her fate. For her, in life, as it happened, insects were the only thing upon which she could depend. So, she found herself lying flat on a table, naked, most evenings. A large man crouched over her, tattooing a chaos of insects onto her body. Over time, a maze of bees droned quietly across her stomach. A winding parade of ants crawled up into the secrets of her armpits. A great praying mantis stood itself up along her backbone. When the man was almost finished, and the woman was entirely covered by his work, the two realized they were in love with one another. For years, the man lay next to the woman, watching the insects crawling the great expanse of her body, moving, and writhing, and shifting in the dark.
N is for Narratophilia
I work at Starbucks, and when the order taker barks the next person’s name, I write the name, and under the name, in cursive, carefully and slowly, I write fuck you. I stop for a second and look up at the guy who’s about to get the cup. Frank, that’s his name. He’s handing the girl a few dollars and has no idea what’s happening. I look back at the cup. FRANK, it reads, in ink from my pen, FUCK YOU. Fuck you, Frank, I think. Today’s my last day. The drink is ready, and I hand it to him. Near the door, I see him see the letters on the side of the cup, pause, look at it. He looks around a little. I wipe the counter. Does Frank know it’s me? Maybe. The next day, I come back. I didn’t quit. I hate this job, but I need the money. FRANK, I hear the guy working the register shout. I write FRANK on the cup. Under that, I write, YOU STUPID FUCKING BITCH. I wait until Frank picks up the drink. This time, I lean back against the counter like, what? I want to see what he’s going to do. He reads the cup. He mouths out the words. Stupid fucking bitch, he says silently. He stares at the cup, and his cheeks flush a little bit. I go back to wiping the counter. I have four hours left in my shift. The next day, I come back. I’m going to quit today. I mean it. Maybe half an hour after we open, I hear it. FRANK. I’m not the person writing names on cups today, but I walk up to the girl who is, and I tell her that her bagel is burning, and then I pick up the cup, and under the word FRANK, I write, I’M GOING TO RAPE YOU. I know this is wrong, and people I go to school with would get really mad about this, girls mostly, and talk about rape culture endlessly, but the reality is that I have this feeling about Frank, and the best way for me to say it is for me to say what I’ve said on this cup. This time, I push myself in front of the machine and make the drink myself. I can see Frank out of the corner of my eye. He’s waiting. I wonder if this makes him want to get a boner, or if it’s about the words and how they look on the cup, or if it’s about the gap between us and the lines we’re using to try and realign ourselves. Frank walks over to a table, sits. He hasn’t looked at the cup. What the fuck, I think. I don’t get it. I don’t get Frank. I thought I did, but I guess I don’t. Fucking Frank. Right before he leaves, Frank walks over and sticks a twenty in the tip jar. I get really hot all at once, and I feel really pissed at the same time. This is confusing. I forget about it and work the rest of my shift. The day I quit, Frank comes in right before closing. I’ve spent the whole day waiting for him. I’m ready. He bypasses the register and the line altogether, and there I am, and I slide the cup across the counter to him, and I see his face when he sees it. I’ve covered the cup in words, everything I want to say to him, it’s black with them, like chicken scratch, and every word is filthy.
O is for Octopus
She was a master of tentaculation. She was a cepholapod of considerable abilities. She was a writhing mandala of be-suckered sensory organs, feeling her way along. A long time ago, a man had been turned into a cockroach. Thusly transformed, he lay in bed all day, flailing and kicking as life passed him by. She, on the other hand, had awoken in the middle of a dream that had never left her. That morning, rising from her bed, she had been utterly transfixed by the writhing shadows of her newly sprouted tentacles projected before her on the wall. Now, she walked the city with her arms fanning out behind her as if she were the distant cousin of an Indian goddess. She let the tips of her limbs trail across the storefront windows, leaving behind small patterns of sticky suckers. She reached out to all the men she passed, tugging their ties from their necks, tracing careful lines to their zippers, gracefully winding herself around them. She had a particular need inside her. She had a sinful wanting within her. At the end of the day, she found herself at the edge of an ocean. She made her way into it. She sank to the bottom. She watched the legs of the men who had followed her kicking far above her. She let her never-ending arms float upwards towards them. She took hold of their ankles and wrists. She pulled them down to her. In her garden, the men entertained her, locked forever in her tentacled embrace.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Susannah Breslin is an author, journalist, and blogger.
First published in 3:AM Magazine: Friday, December 19th, 2014.