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The Beast with Two Backs


The store was so pink it hurt my eyes and as I wandered behind my doctor lady-friend I must have looked silly, head and shoulders above the clothing racks apparently strolling by myself as my doctor was too short to be seen.

My heart was pumping slow and methodical like a piston taking chemicals dumped in my bloodstream to my brain and the extremes of my body. My blood felt as thick as tree sap and I could hear my heart, it drowned out the other noise, my doctor asking me questions, do you like this? Holding up thongs and see-through bras against her body while the sales girl squeezed around me asking if we needed help finding sizes, digging though drawers underneath the counter to find the smallest ones. My skin was flush all over with embarrassment and excitement and radiated off heat and secreted hormones and sweat. I felt drunk, my doctor was examining me, gauging my symptoms, this was sexual and medical for her, what excited me excited her in different ways. My mouth was dry and slimy and my tongue thick and sticking to the bottom of my mouth and against my teeth. I walked slow and felt dumb and oversized and in the wrong color scheme and my vision was different because of the heart pounding and adrenaline and everything would appear two dimensional until I turned my head and it jumped back into depth. Doctor lady-friend, done picking out her stings and lace, picked out a more practical bra that she needed for work. I tried to call it a bread and butter bra but my tongue wouldn’t let the words out properly. I tried to say Betty bought a bread and butter bra but it was hopeless and the doctor couldn’t see what was so amusing.

She took me by the hand, led me like a dog on a leash to the dressing rooms where the saleswoman told her I could not go in, which was right because I’d have fucked her in there.

And I was left standing outside, an intruder into this strange world, surrounded by underwear smaller than the palm of my hand. Oversized and hairy and male, brooding, a bear in a field of daisies.


I started sleeping with my doctor. I use sleeping with because we only dated the minimal amount needed as a pretext for sex. Of course, if we are going for accuracy, sleeping with would be misleading, as we slept very little.

When you sleep with your doctor you are never just a human but a subject as well. She does not just fuck me but also my organs underneath. This is how I found out about my little heart.

My heartbeat, which had always been a point of pride, was like an earthquake after sex. I always thought it was because I had a horse of a heart, but no, it is because it is tiny like a child’s and pumps hard to compensate.

My doctor had a slim hips and large breasts, thin thighs and an uneventful face. It could have fit on a boy or girl equally well. It wasn’t ugly but makeup would not make it pretty. She had a mess of mousy brown hair like something out of a children’s book. If she had passed me on the street I’d of forgotten about her in five minutes.

In her apartment our awareness shifts below the waist and I lose myself in her experiments.

His heart shakes the bed. She stops him, he’s breathing heavily, she will not let him finish. She has a coy smile on her face. He is about to rape her.


I’d been dragged to an exhibit of dead bodies, contorted, distorted, splayed out in silly poses. Throwing a football, playing tennis, complete respect for the dead and nothing but an exhibit in the name of science. My morbid curiosity was amused at best. These were the first dead bodies I had ever seen.

My first thought upon seeing the flayed muscle was to think that it is just meat, and I could eat it if I was stranded in the Andes after a plane crash. I’d wondered that ever since that movie came out when I was a teen and now here I was six inches away from a bicep, certain I could eat it.

For two-thirds of the exhibit I enjoyed myself, learning more about my pituitary gland, my intestines, than I ever thought I would know. I passed through the nervous system section, with their glowing dyes and UV lights, and into the next room where I got punched in the gut.

It was a cross-section of a dead woman where you could walk between her halves and be in between her legs in a way God did not imagine. The clinicalness of it, she was a slide, her breasts were fatty tissue, her face a lump of limp flesh, and below…I did not want to see. My breath was coming in shallow gasps and I felt that I might throw up. To see my life’s desire laid out, cut up and dissected for the pleasure of the viewing public-this is what you’ve lived for, a maze of organs to enter. When you are searching for a home, and feel safe in the arms of a lover, now know that that is temporary, physical, and ultimately, dust and amusement for the living.


She shuddered like a butterfly pierced by a pin, so small the top of her head was below my chin, engulfed in me, her skinny legs wrapped around my waist as she railed against me, clawing, beating, biting me and from my vantage point I watched her reaction as I tilted my hips, as I quickened and slowed my paced, and mused at how pissed she would be if I stopped. She was turned into an animal herself, her profession forgotten as she fought against a wall of human flesh. Kicking, screaming at me or herself, I couldn’t help but wonder which. This little, living, breathing creature, warming my skin. Try to connect with me till you’ve satisfied yourself and sleep. Leave me alone again with my thoughts.

My undersized heart, the size of a child’s fist, clinched tight until it ached in my chest, squeezing out all the blood.


Brian Childs

Brian Childs is a writer based in Brooklyn.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUN 2007

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