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..:: CONTENTS ::..
   Volume V, Issue II

..:: POETRY ::..

..:: PROSE ::..
..:: OTHER ::..

..:: ETC ::..
   Contributor's Notes

..:: ARCHIVES ::..
   Volume I, Issue I
   Volume I, Issue II
   Volume II, Issue I
   Volume II, Issue II
   Volume III, Issue I
   Volume III, Issue II
   Volume IV, Issue I
   Volume IV, Issue II
   Volume V, Issue I


This is Not The Metamorphosis
John Biando


He flinches as the doctor moves the transducer over the kicking lump in his hand. His trigger finger has locked, making him perhaps the most useless member of the Detroit Police Department. What he finds out next is unexpected.

As Alex Murphy awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found his hand transformed in his bed into a monstrous infant.

The fat baby boy is wild eyed and wailing. Alex sticks his head under the pillow so he can think. He will not name it. Men name their penises, maybe, but he has never heard of a man naming his hand. A shock of red fuzz hovers around the baby's soft spot the way an evil fog clings to a rocky shore and blots out the lighthouse.

Alex holds it over the sticky toilet waiting for it to go. It's impossible to change diapers with one hand, and he has a wildlife biologist friend that does this with her African Grey. As urine climbs down the seat and pitters against the floor, he wonders if he should get it circumcised. This isn't Europe, and if he ever goes out again people might question how callous he is about his baby's sense of adjustment. At least it's a boy, he thinks. He realizes that this is also the silver lining in Rosemary's Baby, and that Rosemary stupidly never realized it. The baby's chubby legs beat the air like Wile E. Coyote when he runs out of earth.

Alex wonders if this ruins the possibility of this being an immaculate conception. He makes a list:
a) I got 5 plantar warts from gym showers (someone had to leave
     those there, waiting for a bus).
b) Everyone I can remember shaking hands with is a man (Am I
c) That goddammed Beatrice told me she had genital herpes (It's
     probably hers).

The baby's eyes dart as the fruit flies weave from the black blurry bananas to the sink.

There is a creature double feature on TNT tonight. Evil Dead 2 and Nightmare on Elm Street. Alex wonders if it is ok to watch these movies in front of a baby. Alex does not consider himself a parent, but he might be a guardian. The baby is in a foul, tempestuous mood for most of the first movie, gaping his jaws so wide that it nearly folds its head inside-out. It is only when Ash attaches the chainsaw to his stump that the clouds part. The baby puts his hand on the television screen and stares like it is a 3D picture.

By his third shot and fourth beer Alex forgets that he is concealing a baby-hand under his shirt. When he waves for another MGD, he uses the wrong hand. The baby, who'd been happily curled up in Alex's warm man-womb amongst droopy skin and hair, lets out a squeak. The bar turns silent. The baby's ears redden and he puts his whole hand in his mouth.

It turns out that most people don't take a baby hand very seriously. At least that's how it is at the Long Trail. Before long Alex is using the V between the baby's chin and neck as a pool crutch, and he is sinking long stop shots using hard english strokes. Soon he's up $500, and he slinks out with the third most desperate closing-time-woman, Shannon. The baby hand, dreams around his cue-chalked forehead, lets out a contented wad of drool that winds around Shannon's knees.

As Alex is ripping open the condom wrapper with his teeth (he learned his lesson from Beatrice), the paper grocery bag he'd put on the baby for decency catches on the bedpost and the baby-hand tumbles out like so many bruised tomatoes. Shannon wanted the lights off. The baby locks on to Shannon's breast, face lit with a Viagra-mottled heat. She thrusts her chest forward into the bubbling, cooing gums of youth.

Alex lays back in bed. Tomorrow he is going to Baby Gap to get his hand some fancy booties. That little dick of his pisses pure gold like some kind of euphoric kewpie doll. Maybe get him a jumper from the Fall fashion collection, too.

In the middle of the night, Alex feels a pain. He'd made the mistake of falling asleep while spooning Shannon, and the baby-hand is blue, swollen and veiny on the other side of the spoon. Alex jumps up and into a hot shower. Slowly, the shallow chest pinkens, the cool lips spit up and feeling comes back in pins and needles. That was close. What would he do with a dead baby-hand? In response, the baby hand splays its toes and lets out feces in a color reserved for pigeons.

As Alex Murphy awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found his baby's nose transformed in his bed into a monstrous labia.


//   Advance   //