Amputee

PROLOGUE:

SCENE I: Interior, a bleached classroom in a boy's mind.

Enter; Davey, Mustachioed Teacher, Presidential posters, classmates.

Davey watches the concrete pores of the white cinder block pulsate in the hot-box classroom. A poster of Andrew Jackson with a smug westward expansion expression sweats and pants next to a confused Abraham Lincoln. Davey looks out the window and sees nothing but sunbeams.

"David, gobbly nob grot slobley?"

Andrew Jackson's bird nostrils blow out steam, "Answer the man!" What a jackass.

The teacher expands like a water-balloon. His arm stretches across the the room and points an elongated finger at him, "Glong jang monana!" His mustache ignites like a pine branch, "Forog mohang sobley?"

Davey squirms uncomfortably in his desk, "1777. . ."

"Wrong!" The tip of the finger transforms into the teacher's face, the fingernail into a quaff of carefully parted hair. The teacher grows into an infinite ceiling. The homunculus finger curls like a boa constrictor around the boy's right arm. He feels its teeth clench. They sever his right index finger. He screams songs of the jet stream as he drops into his seat to the ridicule of classmates...

SCENE II: Exterior, convention center

Enter; Mary and her cigarette, some person, garbage-pail-rats.

Mary is nobody's fool—she owns her foolishness. A knuckle is a small price for success. Setting the media ablaze is easy arson. Public violence, unnecessary surgery this is news in a constant stream of information. Talking heads all over the globe will mutter like clams about the woman and her knuckle. "Amputation is the new tattoo," Mary explains as the cigarette smoke billows from her mouth. "Every jackass in our generation has a tattoo or piercing—amputation that's the next step."

"That's a bit extreme don't you think?"

"That's the point," with all pomp, "taking body modification to the most gruesome means—one that no poser dare go to."

"Is it legal?"

"It's not illegal—at least not that I'm aware of," flicking the cigarette to the curb, "That's not important now anyway."

"Fair enough."

GARBAGE-PAIL-RAT 1: The things people do for attention.

GARBAGE-PAIL-RAT 2: And they call us garbage.

Davey wakes moist with sweat. He looks at his right hand. All five stretch out in frog catching glory. He flops back down into his bed with a huff. A glance at the clock. Twenty-one minutes before he has to leave. He drags himself to the corner of the bed and meanders to the bathroom. With no consideration of aim he stretches with a morning-moan as he urinates. As he is tying his pants a rush of anxiety courses through his nerves.

ANNOUNCER: Tonight's program is brought to you by: Smithwick's Toilet Cleaner. Just because the world is full of shit doesn't mean your toilet has to be—Smithwick's. . .

The tattoo and piercing convention was acrid with excitement over Mary's publicity stunt. Cosmetic amputation. . . the taboo of an industry that thrives off taboos. A blood-lusty audience. A spectacle. Never in her life had she drawn this much attention. She isn't pretty. Her face is square and pudgy. Her hair is the dullest shade of brunette. She is stocky with a paunch. Even with her colorful tattoos she was too pensive to be noticed. Even her name was bland, Mary Johnston. She glances at the crowd through a crack in the curtain. A sensation emanates from her gut and pulsates throughout her being.

ANNOUNCER: This program is rated TV-13 for strong language, partial nudity and consensual violence.

"Davey," his mother knocks on the door, "is everything alright?"

"Uh-ah," he'd rather not add vanishing digits to his mother's woes. "Every-thing's fine I was just startled by a—um, mouse."

SCENE III: Exterior, Pleasant Valley suburbs.

Enter; Davey on his bike, the rest of the world and a television commercial.

Jets eating atmosphere groan. The jet stream moves air through Davey's ears. His world empty of everything but sound as he rides to school. Chirps melt with coughs of cars and the meek squeak of his bike pedals. Echoes of air-consuming-contrail-vomiting-dragonflies. Shouts of the easterlies. Murmurs of children. Rumbling grumbles of school buses. The constant wind.

ATTRACTIVE MODEL: Are you tired of being overweight? Are you not sassy enough to be fat? Have you tried diet and exercise but you're too busy and fat? Science has answered your fat prayers. Introducing, over the counter totally legal-for now, Ultra-Mega-Super-Weight-Reduction Five-Million.

DR. SCIENCE: I can legally practice medicine, and I recommend Ultra-Mega-Super-Weight-Reduction Five-Million as a means of weight loss. Ultra-Mega-Super-Weight-Reduction Five-Million works by being as close to amphetamines as possible; either, decreasing your hunger or making you more efficient at shoving needless calories in your mouth.

ATTRACTIVE MODEL: You're a desperate disgusting pile of flesh; why not add FDA not-approved drugs to that?

The lights. The camera. The crowd. The giant screen skulking overhead. It produces a horrid cacophony of hums and buzzes. This is the stage. This is Mary's stage. A one time performance: "First, administer the proper analgesia ." Some doctors have ethics. "Next, rub a saline solution on the surrounding area." Some agree to do cosmetic amputation. "Cover the surrounding appendages with sterile towels." Some doctors are visionaries. "Place a tourniquet at the end of the finger." Some help mutilate others. "Make the incision with a horizontal cut across the knuckle." Some mutilate others on accident. "Identify all blood vessels and arteries, and tie them off."Some are spectators. "Find the tendons and allow them to retract." Some are spectacles. "Cut through the bone." Some are clever. "It's important to assure the bone is smooth, and there are no loose fragments." Some are smart. "Position the nerve ending away from the stump ending." . . .

ANNOUNCER: Missing, one leg. Responds to righty.

Fumie is Ninety-three pounds of holy teenage terror. A rebel's rebel. Behind her disgustingly cute face lies the mind of a hungry hormone crazed venomous snake. Brown irises with the effect of a clear river run deep with undefined rage. The tiny nose takes great gulps of air. She wears a dress that makes her father uncomfortable, and displays the flaw most fourteen-year-olds would commit suicide over. Her missing right leg. Like the cover of her notebook her prosthetic is gouged, scratched, and doodled. She has an air of disengagement only achievable during adolescence. Beneath the composition of Fumie lies something else. Something she could give less than a fuck about. Today is about leaning on a tree being aloof.