What They Did with the Body

Fat Steve cradled Mr. Reed’s penis in his hands. He was standing in front of his full length mirror, mentally comparing the severed prick with his own. He had to push his gut up and out of the way to do this, which inflamed his stretch marks. They were like cross-hatching, and made his belly seem full and round and three-dimensional. His torso looked like the breasts he drew on super women, in other words.

When they cut the penis from Mr. Reed’s body, it was still hard. Most of the blood poured out after, though, like wine from a skin, and when it was done all that was left was some red-brown tissue with pale, hairy softness wrapped around it. Hal was not circumcised. The skin puckered around the tip of his penis head, pink and faintly purple. Another man had the balls.

Fat Steve’s penis was nearly as long as Mr. Reed’s, but they hadn’t been so careful to cut it at the root. There was more of it, he knew, in Mrs. Koch’s share. Fat Steve had been circumcised. Some women like that better, while some do not. They never tell you which in advance, any more than they will really tell you what the biggest one they ever had was.

In a few days he would bury the penis in a shoe box. He would not mark the grave or say a sermon, because they could not risk a gravestone. Anyway, he didn’t know any prayers meant strictly for the penis.

It was hard to suppress his erection. There was a girl coming. As far as he could tell it would be a date. He set the penis on his bed, on a paper plate, so it could not ooze onto his blankets. It reminded him of making Play-Doh snakes in preschool, of rubbing the purple clay between his hands until it was long and fragile.

He dressed in brown slacks, a white collared shirt, and an argyle vest. It was his own home; he wore sandals with velcro straps over fun Mario socks. The table was draped with a maroon cloth and piled with various candles. There were Michigan craft beers sweating in an ice bucket. Someone knocked on his door.

He ran to the door because it was raining. “Come in,” he said. There were two girls on the other side. His date, Joanna Dillard, and a fat girl named Pamela. Their faces looked molten and waxy with all the water beading on them. They were framed by the heavy black chemical smoke of the latex factory. “Come in.”

“Pamela’s depressed,” said Joanna. “She feels bad for Mr. Reed. I told her she could come along. I hope that’s alright.”

Pamela nodded. This submerged her walnut-shaped chin, and made her neck divide into several dozen folds, which did not improve her appearance. There was a faint pink ring around her mouth – perhaps misapplied lipstick.

“Sure,” said Fat Steve. He wasn’t really shocked to discover this was not, had perhaps never been, a date.

“That’s a lot of candles,” said Pamela.

“I didn’t know how to choose. There’s all sorts of scents and colors. Banana and strawberry, lavender and vanilla, things like that.” Fat Steve pulled a third chair up to the table and cleared a space of several candles so that she could eat. “Do you like beer?” he asked them.

Joanna said she did, though not for the taste. Pamela only sniffed and nodded again.

Fat Steve twisted open three beers and set them on the table. “I made us breakfast for dinner, because that’s my favorite dinner. Come into the kitchen and you can serve yourselves.”

There were eggs with cheese and sausage in them. There were fat sausages that burped hot air and brown grease when stabbed with a fork. There were buttermilk biscuits and honey and jam. When Pamela came to the hash browns she burped once, immediately swallowed, and flew to the washroom.

Joanna followed Pamela. Fat Steve followed Joanna.

They found Pamela kneeling at the toilet, clutching her arms around herself, shivering. A bloody spit string hung from her lip. The toilet was full of red water, which had also splashed on the tile floor and the outside of the bowl.

Joanna knelt to rub her friend’s back. “It’s going to be okay,” she said. “There, there.”

Pamela lunged forward and sprayed blood from her mouth. It hit the seat, which was up, and ran down the back of the toilet. It poured from her mouth and down her chin.

“What’s wrong?” asked Joanna. “Are you okay?

Whenever Pamela seemed ready to answer, another stream of gore came rushing out. Gore and other things: granola bar, fruit candy, Cheeto dust, cashew crumbs, carrot chunks, soda pop, Redvines, Nutter Butter sandwich cookies.