“How serious? Asshole deep?”
Becky took a second to think. She was serious – it hadn’t been a lie. And looking into the centipede’s eyes she could even taste the truth. It was tangy, sweet; like a slightly fermented mandarin orange.
The centipede shifted uncomfortably in its seat. It wasn’t actually a centipede, it was more of a millipede, daddy long legs, fly larvae thing, but it hadn’t wanted to correct Becky when she’d said, so, hey, you’re a, a what? No, let me guess. A centipede? Her expectant face had been guileless, her self-satisfaction so adorable. And it’d been hoping to cash in on some of that Human Centipede allure.
“Yes,” Becky said. “What’s your name?”
The grasshopper, beetle, bedbug, yellowjacket blanched. Its name? It had always avoided this question. Always brushed off personal inquiries with a flick of its several antennae. How many antennae? I don’t know, fifty? Are you satisfied with that? “Anastasia,” said the vermin. “Is my name.”
Hey, but we’re lost setting wise? I didn’t do too much in the manner of making things realistic… My bad, okay– they’re in this hostel in gay Paris, it’s early morning and Becky’s eating muesli with a spork and Anastasia’s kind of sipping the dew off of her several nightmare antennae. Nightmare?
Well, that kind of changes the mood, doesn’t it? Too much? But, I mean, are you willing to accept these two folks sitting, chatting in some hostel eating stuff, acting semi-normal (if a bit vulgar)? Well, if so, then why can’t I point out that Anastasia’s several antennae are, in fact, nightmarish, covered in a soft, furry down and smelling of cheesecake?
So Becky’s eating her cream of wheat and who knows what Anastasia’s sucking on and it’s a beautiful, sun-lit Parisian morning, the kind you hope for when you book a honeymoon there, the kind you think of when you’re reading Ernest Hemingway, maybe – the kind of Parisian morning that all the gothic kids in high school pretended they were too cool to envision, but they did, and they drew Je t’aime, Paris in permanent markers on the insides of their thighs as well – did you know that about them?
The sitting room is bright yellow. The couches are not over stuffed. They are, if you will allow a cliché, tasteful. The wallpaper smells of cream and bread. Anastasia loves a good laugh. Becky has been travelling for fifteen days. They met by chance.
“Yes, let’s start.”
Anastasia throws herself to the floor, paroxysming to Becky, everything horror-movie of sharpened insect teeth, black-as-tar mouth unhinging, sliding back, undulating around Becky’s pert little body – right? Did I neglect her pert little body? Oh shit yes, Becky’s body is banging. She works out like six of seven and has abs you could grate cheese on if you wanted to do something disgusting like that, which looking at her now, Anastasia totally does – the hunger in Anastasia’s arthropod eyes is just fucking ridiculous; it’s like the continent of Antarctica and everything that implies, motherfucker.
They join in an ecstasy more like pain than pleasure.
Remember that time your big brother caught you masturbating in the bathroom? You’d locked the door but your brother had a screw driver and he’d heard the weird noises you make – you know – those noises you make when you’re about to come? They sound like a macaw, kind of, fucking a goat, and anyway, so you’d aroused his curiosity and he quietly, stealthily (did he know, actually, and later pretended not to? If he had been afraid you were hurt, wouldn’t he have just barged in, breaking the door down with his line backer’s shoulders?). He straight ninja-ed his way into the bathroom and caught your eye in the mirror. To your never-ending shame you’d just begun spiraling, climaxing, reaching some kind of blistering heaven-shit and you couldn’t stop kneading at your junk and you came and came your fingers scraping into your skin and he laughed and that pain, the humiliation, the sting of mild abrasion will always be twined with pleasure for you.
The sun fills the hostel in double helixes. A television is on in the other room and they can hear the muffled football game – yes, the real football, the European kind, as Anastasia winds her body up and through and as her praying mantis, bumblebee, ladybug segments fill her, Becky screams and she screams and she screams “You motherfucking cockroach. Fuck me to a goddamn denouement.”
So she does. The sounds of the city and the sharp smell of wine fill the hostel. Becky changes her name to Dionysus and it’s spring for seventeen centuries straight. What fucking theme is revealed in that transformation? And Anastasia is a metaphor for the growing horror of mortality. She is a metaphor for the growing horror of sexuality. She is a metaphor for a metaphor for a metaphor of her own goddamn sense of entitlement. And she’s fucking the shit out of Dionysus. Literally.
A note from the author: I’m sorry I brought up that story about your past, but I think you’ll thank me later when you’re discussing it with your S.O. over coffee and crème brulee. Also, you should forgive your brother. It’s not his fault he’s an over-eater and hates his wife and young children. It’s the system, man. Fight the power or whatever.
A note from the insect: Dionysus tastes like a creamsicle; is forever glowing behind my compound eyes.
A note from Dionysus: The warmth of my skin pulses constellations; I heat the earth, quicken volcanoes; fuck mad adolescents in barrels of summer wine. Sometimes I write Anastasia notes on the insides of my thighs, but she never answers her cell or texts me back. She’s kind of a bitch like that.
A final note from the author: So, have I convinced you? Are you ready for your sexy European getaway? No one ever is.
M.R. Sheffield’s work has been published or is forthcoming in Fiction Southeast, Pank, Spring Gun, Epiphany, Blip Magazine, and other publications. Her cat keeps this blog: whyismycatsosad.blogspot.com wherein he discusses literature, popular culture, the inherent absurdity
of existence, and general malaise.