Medicine and Meat, by Len Kuntz

You wouldn’t expect a little girl like me to be able to carry such a long penis inside her, yet I do. I take it with me to English Lit and to church, to the movies and Starbucks. At Costco, the tall butcher with the blood-splattered apron gives me stink eye, so odorous that I choke down a cough two aisles away. When he opens his mouth and waggles his tongue, I bid him adieu but he’s after me. I turn behind a pallet of licorice whips to adjust the penis in my panties, and then waddle away, a young gun-slinger in sandals and skirt.

A chubby runt of a boy in a Seuss-striped shirt and propeller cap comes at me shooting spit wads from a straw. He’s got the butcher with him, plus a hunter wearing fatigues and a leashed Rottweiler slathering, straining like a black orgasm.

Each of them smells the meat on me.

I sprint, as if I’m in a one-legged sack race. It’s the same as in my dreams when I’m running but not fast enough. I punch a granny and a nun, a genie with tooth decay, the eye-patched guy holding a sticker gun. I swerve but knick the tower of twelve-foot high cashew bins with my hip. It rains nuts as they skitter along the linoleum and get crunched and pulverized by the posse, sending up sawdust plumes that blind us all.
In the parking lot I wrap the phallus around my ankle so that I can drive without interference. I sing aloud to Joy Division. Love will tear us apart.

At home I drop the groceries on the counter without a word to either parent and I scurry straight to my bedroom where I lock the door and withdraw the penis for close inspection.

It’s sweaty and pale, pathetic and panting, ranting, a stubby serpent, an eel. A little girl like me isn’t supposed to have a penis, but I paid a price for this one. The man who used to watch me get off and on the bus had bb’s for eyes, itchy ant pupils with twitchy bug legs and piss-pale teeth. He gasped and groaned. He patted the seat beside him first. “Here.” He didn’t have much else to say, but he had a monster in his pants.

Against my bedroom wall the fish tank gurgles. The piranhas are hungry. They snout-butt the side of the aquarium and claw the glass with their teeth. I’ve promised them fresh meat. That’s why I get the knife from the bottom dresser drawer; test the blade on my finger to ensure it’s sharp.

Tomorrow I’ll take the knife with me. There’s more where this came from—flies on horse manure, maggots looking for a host. I’ll get me another penis if it’s that last thing I do, and as always, I’ll remind myself how this is preventative.


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