by Wyatt J. Bonikowski
From the fruits of desire come crawling insects. They make their way blithely past deserts of red lace, inhibited like frozen puppies. Until yesterday, the girl had been unaware that men ever took their pants down. She had been under the impression that if a man undressed, there were only clouds beneath his clothes. Not so airy as that, she found that day when one of their kind accosted her in a phone booth. He made her first unpeel the tangerine, then hold one slice between her teeth without biting. She could feel the acid sweetness burning her gums. "We are all flesh," he said to her. "Only flesh."
She spent today under the covers in her room. Overnight she had gained twenty years, a job, and a baby she neglected. Her husband--yes, she had gained one of those as well--was busy pinning cockroaches to styrofoam for a school project. "Why are you always twelve years old," she asked, "while I have to grow up and take on a real life? The baby's hungry, go feed her."
"I'm too young to take care of a baby," he said, carefully sticking the pin through the insect's thorax.
"Liar!" she shouted.
The faucet in the sink turned on backwards. She always forgot that and inevitably struggled with the tap until she remembered. The baby was screaming in the living room where her parents had left her in the playpen. She wanted to crawl all over the room, but here she was restrained by nylon webbing. Mommy was in the kitchen washing her hands, steam rising the water was so hot, why did Mommy always burn her hands to get them clean?
The baby had only fruit to play with, that was all she had been given. After a few days the fruit had begun to rot, so when the baby picked it up the skin sloughed off and the meat squished wet and smelly in her hands. Mommy wasn't coming back was she? And Daddy?
Daddy was flying a kite outside with his friends.
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