By Nathan Tyree
In the shower that morning Jack had noticed what looked like a seam running down the length of his forearm. It began just below the bend of his elbow and continued all the way to the back of his wrist. He had worked his fingers over its rough edge to assure himself that it was real and not just an illusion of the shifting light and shadow in his small shower stall. After the shower he had dried his skin with a threadbare towel and chosen a shirt with long sleeves.
His arm didn’t start to itch until shortly after noon. He was perched in a booth at one of those casual dinning concepts that seemed to be displacing everything beautiful, looking down at the chunk of meat on the end of his fork. For some reason he couldn’t help thinking about the reality that each bite he took had recently been a living thing with a fully functioning limbic system. Just thinking about it made his penis start to elongate. Jack didn’t think that that was the healthiest reaction, psychologically speaking, but wasn’t about to second guess his own biology.
“Can I get you anything else?” The waitress was about nineteen and very nicely constructed. Jack had been taking every opportunity to watch her ass as she moved about the room. Her eyes were heavy with boredom.
“No. I’m fine now,” he said sending her away and giving him another chance to watch her bottom sway toward another table.
The sudden fire and creep of the itch started to shoot up his arm along the demarcation of the seam. He rubbed at it through his shirt, but that gave no relief. Jack gritted his teeth and got his finger nails into it a little. That was better, but not enough. He down the rest of his imported beer and stood to find the men’s room.
He slipped into one of the two stalls and unbuttoned his shirt. Once the shirt was off he hung it on the coat hook affixed to the stall door and looked down at his arm. The line had developed a deep red hue and was swollen. The invisible stitching that held his flesh together seemed to be coming loose. Jack dug his fingers in and got hold of the edge of his flesh, then began to pull. His skin lifted from the muscle with a loud, scritch sound like fabric being ripped. He began pulling harder, ripping more and more flesh from his arm. The wet sounds made his stomach try to turn, but he choked back the nausea and worked harder at peeling himself. There was surprisingly little blood.
Once his arm was peeled clean, he began to work at the skin on his chest. It came off more easily. When he was red and well marbled from the waist up, he slid off his pants and started to work on the lower half of his body. The penis gave him the most trouble. Finally he had to rip the thing from his body. Jack dropped it next to the pile of unneeded flesh on the floor. When the job was done he felt clean. Good.
Naked, really naked for the first time ever, he walked back to his table and ordered another beer. The waitress no longer looked bored.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nathan Tyree lives and writes in Kansas. He is the author of Mr. Overby is Falling, How to Make Love Like a Zombie and Stygiophilia. His fiction and poetry has appeared in over 100 magazines, journals and e-zines.