|The Story||The Authors|
...The memories of Felicity, the second and last woman Matthew had attempted
use his prosthestic genitalia with came flooding back to him as he looked at
the crumpled, coffee stained map of Nevada. The road trip to Reno.(he'd sung
endlessly on the trip the lyric from "Folsom Prison Blues" about shooting a man
to watch him die.)The idea had been to get gamble a bit and relax. And then get
Felicity was a proper girl. She was saving herself, so the issue of Matthew's little "problem" had never exactly come up. He really believed he loved her, and was really loathe to have to explain. so he hemmed and hawed until the final fateful moment that he asked her to marry him. And she had been wonderful about it. She was saddened that they wouldn't be able to have their own children of course, but that was what adoption was all about, andbesides sex was just a little part of what a good marriage was. Besides, she blushed, she'd gone this long without it it wouldn't be like she'd know the difference. Matthew had wept withjoy. After all he'd been through, his life was about to make the turn.
They had arrived in Reno in the late afternoon. Stopped in a burger joint to have a bite and dropped a couple of quarters in the ubiquitous slots that dotted every stray corner. Hickey won a couple of dollars with hisfirst quarter. he tok this for a good omen. With a shy giggle and a deep blush of anticipatory embarrassment, Felicity had allowed him to rent a single room for the two of them for the night. "Well, I suppose we can, provided we do it, get married that is, (a deeper shade of crimson) before we come back here."
The ceremony itself had lasted less than ten minutes from registration to "I do's" with music provided by a gum snapping octegenarian playing a battered electrolux in her stockng feet. The minister's mumbled cadence buzzed past them hollowly in such a hummingbird buzz that before they couldeven draw a proper breath, they were being told to kiss. Then they went back to their Honeymoon motel room.
Matthew still had nightmares of her screams. They had haunted him for the last twelve years in a way that time would never ease, never quell.
In time, he'd come (by virtue of the reaction his little 'problem' got time and time again) to assume the female of the species a sort of faulty Rebate coupon, to be Sent Home to Mother, every time, while you watched the mailbox day after day for your rebate check or your coupon good for "$3.00 off your next purchase of a 110-lb. bag or larger..." Every day you rose and shuffled to the door of your trailer and stuck your face out into the dry desert heat of 11:30-in-the-morning, whistling "Please Mr. Postman" to yourself; and every day the mailbox was empty save for another notice from the phone company threatening to suspend your service for non-payment and another one of those insinuating hate-missives made from words and letters cut out of magazines and newspapers and clumsily pasted together... Hickey sighed audibly as he thought back on the stifling lassitude of those first difficult years of eunuchdom, when not even Jim Thompson's similarly-predicamented The Nothing Man could provide him with the kind of empathic companionship he so desperately sought.
And so it was, in exile out there in the desert, that he took to the bottle like a farm-raised salmon first set loose in the sea.
|...At first it was only as something to do. Likening himself to the listless narrator of Bob Dylan's "Stuck Inside Of (a) Mobile (Home) With the Memphis Blues Again," and too fraught with unspoken despair and unrelievable desire to entertain any notions for the future, he purchased a small used TV set from Ginchell's Electronics and found a liquor that delivered cold beer by the case. Rising at the crack of noon and popping the tab on a 16-ounce can of Tall Toad Malt Liquor for breakfast, he flipped on the first of the day's parade of soap operas and talk shows and settled down on the sofa to the complex and indisputably American alchemical process of transforming neural tissue into adipose -- a dim month later his own equatorial regions displayed inarguable proof of his success in these delicate matters, but his pants no longer fit.|