Neither Virtue nor Disease
|Neither Virtue nor Disease
By Nicholas Alexander Hayes
You divide against yourself; pale-flesh mask and blood within space, nothing, void. The first thing to be seen, dark linensuit jackets, button-upspressed together. Shoulder to shoulder, the crowd throbs but doesn't mingle.
Almost obscured, long supple angles can be seen on the far side of the mass. The arms of the woman, Maha Byn, rigidly held.
Her pallor suggests comfortable retreat into disease.
Underneath you, stained carpet, resembling fresh blood clots. You assume it stretches over the entire floor.
Far behind Maha, a black wrought iron stair spirals from the lobby.
The other gentlemen chew congealed floral shapes with broken teeth. Blood and petroleum jelly runs down the corners of their mouths.
Sometimes they tentatively rub their nubby horns.
The woman shifts forward.
The crowd steps back. The gentlemen around you press their asses and elbows into your abdomen.
You have to piss.
Hunched over, you wedge through the crowd.
Red jelly drips on you. Hands rake across your face, smear the jelly, hook your lips.
Approaching Maha Byn, the carpet ends.
You push forward onto the Lucite floor, which the gentlemen avoid.
The clear floor extends from the massive root system of Maha's prosthetic legs.
Beneath it, nude men and women swarm, flaring their scarlet gills, fingering each others' genital and urethral folds.
You want to cry out.
You want to devour the islands, the encantadas, of other flesh.
Swim, flesh, freeze, you think as they tunnel in and out of liquid.
Muffled sloshing urges your bladder. You feel moisture seep around your crotch.
You bowl through the remaining crowd.
Bodies crash back behind you until you reach the stair.
Metal rings as you ascend to private facilities.
A giant sits on the toilet. Eyes shut, he grimaces, pulling his blue-mesh shirt up. Untrimmed nails leave red ridges on his abdomen. His star-faced tubercle swells absurdly purple. Viscous ichor beads on flexed thighs.
He directs his attention to you.
You expect a fight, but he places a finger in your pocket and fumbles with your urethral ridges.
Yellow lights his face as he pulls you near.
Beauty is punishment, pleasure revenge.
He tears your black shirt and caresses your abdomen.
Waves traipse inside your body. Electricity pools.
Release in gentle hands.