Full Benefits

I’ve been playing around with InspiroBot for a few weeks now, so I just eased right into the latest flash fiction challenge here.

I thought about using a previous quote, but then today I happened upon this one, and, well, yeah. This happened.

 

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Full Benefits

It’s a Wednesday or a Thursday, one of those days that seems like it should be the weekend already, and annoys you that it’s not. You are tired and a bit itchy. You definitely should be listening to your mother and drinking more water. As if your thoughts became manifest, there is a glass of water on your table, Rebecca must have left it for you before she went. She’s a sweet and tough girl you’re lucky to have. Maybe she’s left some lotion in the bathroom.

Oh darling Rebecca, coming through for you again. You shower off the grime of the day, and pat dry with your towel, pad out to the living room. The scent of lavender fills the air as you rub your legs and chest and neck and arms with the lotion, massaging it in. And then you feel the first seam.

The ridge runs from your wrist to your elbow, along the bottom of your forearm. You know it is a seam, you can feel the edges overlap. When you bend your arm and skim your fingertips across it, your nails catch. It’s not difficult to prise open. There is a small ripping noise as you pull your skin back but no pain. Strangely there is no blood, no fluid or mess that falls to your lap. You watch your blood pulse through your arteries and back through your veins, feeling it inside and outside.

As you move to put the edge back together, you wonder. You wonder and you decide and you try a little something, you flap the edge up just a bit before settling it back. Your arm is most obviously more muscular than the other now. You get up and test both arms with the full jug of milk in the fridge; it’s real, actual muscle. Your body feels like the whole of yourself is humming. This is the greatest prize you’ve ever won.

Your fingers run frantically over your body, searching for the seams, and you pull and stretch and push and shake and shape and fold yourself into a new you, a better you, a you that is taller and stronger and better looking and you wonder what that bit will be if you just twist it a little to the

And you’ve flipped and now you’re me and I’m you, your future, your pal, bud. But the secret here, the secret is, I’m better. I’m the new and improved you, you’ll never remember how you used to be because now forever and ever you’re me. I can feel that bit of stiffness left here, you didn’t quite have the reach before you were me, your arms were just too short. I bend my left arm up and my right arm down and my fingers meet in the middle of my back, caressing my spine, trying to work away that bit you couldn’t quite take care of. It’s a good thing I’m me and not you any longer.

It isn’t laying quite right yet. It itches underneath my skin. I’ve got to get deeper to smooth that spot out. I’m going to go in from the top. Parting the hair just above the nape of my neck, I slide my fingertips under the seam edge and pull. That horrible velcro sound is even worse than you remember, you bastard. Why am I even still talking to you! Good riddance.

Oh god, what did I do there? All I can taste is pennies so strongly my teeth vibrate. My ears hurt. Oh god, I’ve got to open that back up. Try this again. Try this again. Again. Smooth out, damnit. I am floating in a calm oasis, I am a leaf on the wind. There’s the itch, it’s a lump you pushed up under the seam, like laying a rug in a spot to small for it to fit. The itching, the pennies, the infernal ringing in my ears, all gone as I press that bit into shape. I am outside on a clear icy morning for a split second, and then oh no oh god I’m spinning I’m spinning away what is that light my eyes I’m blind I can’t hold on I’m falling I’m flipping again

They broke apart with a gasp, a sweaty seething mass into a mob of dawning realization. “What’s good for one!” a man shouted, a man who was you and was me and now is a they and a we. The rest of them and of us shouted and cheered, arms hugged around our other necks, rough tousles to their hairs long and short and theirs and ours. We and they roared and squealed to hear the clamor of our voices, the many from one and I and you.

Who could have known that they and we and you and me could be so tremendous, could have this potential roiling through ourself. All fingers, inside and outside, felt within and without, pushed and pulled, finding seams and edges, reshaped what viscera was held in us and them and became more and less and better and more terrible.

Except then two hands, once idle, reached not for the closest seams only but out to other edges, to ours and theirs, and pulled and twisted, and were not content just to fold them together, but pierced needle sharp and tugging thread. We and they and us and them were gathered and sewn, many pieces to one quilt. I can feel you quiet, I can feel them quiet, I quiet, we quiet, and the light is slipping away and I and you and we surrender to the dark and sweet smell of lavender hanging in the

Susan stretched and shook out her long limbs. As she scooped up the lotion from the coffee table, Rebecca walked into the apartment. “Hello, dearest, it’s me.” she said, looking at Rebecca with love. “Of course it’s you, Suze, it always was. Come here and I’ll do your back for you.”

Rebecca massaged the lotion into Susan’s back, smoothing away a knot right in the middle. “You’re magnificent” she whispered, her voice soft and dark and sweet in Susan’s ear.

 

 

 

 

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