The 2016 iteration of the Nightmare Fuel project continues with another take on an American classic. Yesterday was the Headless Horseman, today we're revisiting
another character who you may or may not recognize.
It's so very easy, at least to start. There's even a little DIY kit in the mail, with a medical-grade ax and an insulated box with some dry-ice. And you do so badly need the money. Really, who doesn't? After all, it isn't even as if you'd miss your left foot.
The ax is almost supernaturally sharp, and the replacement foot that comes with the kit is almost as good as new. Some kind of plasticky stuff, slightly yielding to the touch, in a sickly white color. Some people try to decorate them, but they don't take paint all that well. Still, it isn't a bad deal. You ship it back, and the money gets you and your date a really nice evening out, with a limo and all that.
It's so very easy. So you try again later. After all, the replacement foot works out. Even if you miss the feel of grass between your toes, it isn't as if you can afford to live anyplace with actual grass. So, the other foot goes, neatly sealed in the box they gave you. You can still walk, you'd still be able to dance, if you knew how. And the money pays the rent for the next few months.
It's so very easy. The ad is still there, not that you need it. You can order another kit online, don't even need to admit to anyone that you'll be selling another little bit of yourself. Just a little bit.
The hands go next. First the left. This seems a far bigger deal than the feet. It's smooth and featureless, like those feet. You notice more on the hands. The scar from the back of your hand when you slipped with a knife and cut yourself. That scar was just part of what you saw, everytime you looked down at yourself. Now it's gone, but the new hand is strong and you needed rent money. They money, in fact, is getting better. One more hand and you can put a down payment on a car.
It's so very easy, and almost looks unreal afterwards; the two brand-new plasticsmooth hands resting on the steering wheel of your new car. They - the hands and the car - don't even feel like yours. But they are. They're yours. Nothing can change that.
It's still easy. You'd think it's over, but it isn't. The next transactions are, to be fair, trickier, but not too much so. After all, you've given up your foot, why not the rest of the leg? And the new foot looks better against the new leg anyway. Your friends laugh a bit uneasily when you show it to them, but on the subway you see lots of people with shinynew limbs, and more.
No need to drag this out, once you sold one leg you knew you'd sell the other, and the arms beside. After all, it's easy. At least so far.
The next part isn't easy, but there's another baby on the way, or the landlord is raising the rent again, or the MTA just jacked the fair and you can't make it to work without a little help. It's a heartless world.
Heartless, yeah. That's funny.
So, you do it. This time the box is bigger, like one of those coolers you take to the beach. Big enough for your body. You can get used to it.
You can get used to anything.
The money is really good this time, enough to last months, but it isn't enough. It's never, after all, enough.
You've taken good care of the medical-grade ax, and you know it's sufficient for the task. Just one final cut, and it will be over. This is for the best, really. After all, the new parts are working out great. Even that left foot you replaced so long ago is still just perfect.
You wonder for a moment what they do with the parts you shipped back; if somewhere somebody is walking on your old feet, if someone is looking down at their hands, seeing an old scar without knowing the story behind it. You wonder. If someone hears the beating-hard sound you've long since given up. You still miss that part.
You wonder these things and more as you look down at the final box, brand new eyes looking at your old face, looking up at you as you say farewell to what had once been your head.
It had been so easy. And the money was good.
|Image by !Mediengruppe Bitnik https://wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.bitnik.org/r/|