Tao Lin

When I was five, I had very pointy legs. I didn’t have feet really.

At the bottom of my legs it was just very pointy. Whenever I went outside I would stab a dozen lizards by accident. It was always a dozen somehow.

At home, my mom would stack the lizards up in the guest room. I was very sad and ashamed, but I had to go outside each day for Vitamin D from the sun.

In my room, I would use a rock to try to dull my legs, but that would always just sharpen them more and make them very shiny. I cried myself to sleep every night.

Then one Christmas morning there was a man in the living room, in full plate armor and on a horse. I said, “Mom, what is this?” She was blushing and looking away.

The man dismounted his horse. He had a special sheath that was two sheaths. “Get in here, boy,” he said, and came toward me. He was smiling.

“This isn’t right,” I said. I backed up until I was against a wall and felt that there was something wrapped around my head. I tore at it. And when I saw that it was wrapping paper and a red bow, I began to cry, and as I cried at how pointy my legs were and how unfair life was, the man who was a medieval knight lifted me and put me inside his sheath.

Tao Lin’s stories are forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review, The Portland Review, Other Voices, Bullfight Review, and Opium Print. His collection, Bed, will come out in the future. He lives in New York City.
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