Two By Two

Forewarning: this one's a little weird.

TWO BY TWO

The third arm scratched my butt before I realized I had an itch, so I said thank you as if it were someone else. The fourth arm, the one sticking straight from my left nipple tipped over Roland’s water cup.

“Dude, watch out!” He lurched forward to catch the glass before it shattered on the ground.

“Sorry, man. Still trying to get used to this.” One arm out my nipple, the other out my back.

He looked up at me, his lip curling upward, his eyebrows cocked. “Bro, you are messed up.”

“Yeah. I know. Thanks.” The single wing sitting on top of my head flapped, downy raining down around my eyes. I inhaled a feather. “What the hell am I going to do with this? It could’ve sprung forth from my back, all majestic and shit, and instead an anemic chicken somewhere is flying around in circles.”

Roland burst out laughing. “Well…” he took a deep breath. “You’re going to have to drink it all.”

“Fuck you.”

“Do it.”

“No.”

“DO it!”

“No.”

“DO IT!”

“FINE!” Shit, that always worked. “Fine. I’ll keep drinking.” The stuff tasted good at least, somewhere between orange juice and bourbon. I lifted the snifter to my lips, swigged back another sip, and waited.

“What does it feel like?”

“Nothing. It’s absolutely painless.” Quick as the words were out of my mouth, the other wing popped out from my chin. “Damnit!”

“Holy shit, bra!” Roland laughed.

“Fuck you, asshat.” I sat down next to him. “Dude. This shit’s crazy.”

“You got it from…” he snapped his fingers. “From… who’d you get it from again?”

“That woman on the corner.”

“And you drank it because…”

“It was liquid, it’s my first day in the frat, and I thought I was being hazed.”

“Dude!” Once again he devolved into a quivering mass of chuckles. My wings flapped together.

“I’m done.” The fourth arm sticking out of my back slapped the back of my head. “Ow, Jesus.”

“You’re… ARM!” He laughed even harder.

I looked at him, sneered, and in one gulp downed the rest of the liquid.

“Brent! What the fuck are you doing!”

When I said earlier that the weird growths were painless when they popped out, I was sorely mistaken. At first, it was just a rumbling in my stomach. Then, heavy, hard gas. Then, my insides twitched, each twitch feeling like a serrated knife was twisting and turning in my abdomen.

“Roland…” I managed to gasp, “save me.”

His mouth dropped open, and he scrambled over the back of the couch. “What. THE. FUUUUCKK!”

I could sense the light around me, enveloping me, burning me, invigorating me. I looked down and saw the tail of an alligator, the legs of an ostrich, beetles flying from my kneecaps. The pain was excruciating, and yet, I could feel all these animals and insects at once. I could hear the messages ants were tapping to one another. My flesh was melting into the beautiful kingdom, coalescing with the eagle and slug. The apartment was bathed in a crystalline aura, emanating from me.

Then, one by one, the chicken sprouted from my head, the alligator from my waist, the ostrich from my legs, until all that was left was me.

I collapsed on the floor. Roland jumped over the couch and helped me to my knees. I cried. A lot. These living things. All these living things. They were in me, and I was a part of them. A gecko worked its way out the open window. The capybara lingered on the kitchen counter.

***

“Honey, what’s you starin’ at?” Seline, the farmer’s wife stood next to Farmer Wilson in the early dawn.

“Well, Reba, that chick’n there, it’s got just one wang.”

-JR Simmang

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