Posted on: March 13th, 2011 MOD

by Shelley Ontis

I talked about having the top of my ear pierced and he decided he wanted one, a little diamond to glint at him in the mirror. He’s shy, so I was surprised and told him he’d look sexy. I chickened out, hadn’t been that serious to start with. I got infected the first time, I said. And I did, but I was nine and not gung-ho for hygiene.

I reminded him to turn it, but I didn’t need to. He spun it constantly, his eyes lighting up at the little burn. He smiled and walked taller when people noticed and admired it. Within a year he had six holes in each side. He went from studs to hoops, then gauges until he could hook a finger into each lobe.

He suggested a tattoo. I cringed while a man wearing sunglasses etched the outline of a tiger into his back. He liked the sting, the numbness then the new burn once the flesh got used to the invasion. Hurts so good, he said, laughing. I rubbed the shoulder where I’d thought about getting a daisy. The way he smiled as the needle tore through his skin, I knew I didn’t want it.

Serpents, a lion, skulls and thorny flowers joined the tiger. A zombie covered his heart, gruesome beasts protected his belly, tribal designs filled in the fleshy spaces between. Sometimes I stared at his face, touched it to remember his skin. Gauges stretched the piercings in his nose, hoops caged his lips and the ridge of his eyebrows that I used to rub when the headaches came.

I traced my finger from forehead to hip, then down his leg, following a single black line that ran from one hideous image to another. I kissed the tops of his toes, his groin, the palms of his hands, where I could still see him hidden beneath ink and metal. He mused about a barbell in his tongue, but he couldn’t stand the thought. Not his tongue.

I begged him when he showed me pictures of a man’s penis, split in two, curled in on itself, said I couldn’t bear it, how could he think it? So he pierced it, decorated it with rings and inky scales in green and black. I loved the soles of his feet best then for their pale, pink honesty.

Some gawked, some showed him their tattoos and holes like gaping wounds that gave me nightmares. Most stayed clear, crossed the street, tried not to stare. He stopped smiling, wore long sleeves, looked down at his feet, repeatedly licked his black lips with his unscarred tongue.

He wanted a foreskin since I couldn’t bear him splitting himself. I suggested a tongue piercing instead, but he shuddered, said he couldn’t. He stretched and clamped and asked me did I think it was working, and I would say yes, yes, it’s almost covered now. He didn’t stop, but stretched and pulled and clamped and asked does it reach? He’d pull the skin to his sides, covering each hip and I’d said it’s close.

I loved the new flesh, stretched and pink, solid and smooth and whole. He pulled and tugged and trained it until it covered his hips, his legs. He stretched it out beneath him and stepped inside, pulled it up like a cocoon, forced himself in so that only his head peeked out. How does it look now he would ask and I would say you’re almost there.

I woke one day, him next to me with only a small circle of his head showing obscenely out the top, the part he’d shaved and covered in black roses with blood dripping off the petals like dew. By that evening, the hole was almost closed.

More, more came muffled from inside the sack of flesh. His tongue appeared through the slit, tensed and straight. I cried as I kissed the pink, perfect tip of it, then fetched the hole punch, a needle and thread.

Filed under: bad-ass, stories

12 Responses to “MOD”

  1. Sam Says:
    March 13th, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Nice one, Shelley!

  2. Sam Says:
    March 13th, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Nice one, Shelley!

  3. Mod up at Brain Harvest | Having Written Says:
    March 13th, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    [...] flash story Mod went up at Brain Harvest today. I start the story in August of 2010 and technically finished it, [...]

  4. Mod up at Brain Harvest | Having Written Says:
    March 13th, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    [...] flash story Mod went up at Brain Harvest today. I start the story in August of 2010 and technically finished it, [...]

  5. Bellis Says:
    March 13th, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    I guess there are loads who would like to stretch out their skins and hide from the world like that even without having deformed themselves first. Also you described the pain of tattooing well, it’s addicitive if you’re prone to becoming addicted.
    Great!

  6. Bellis Says:
    March 13th, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    I guess there are loads who would like to stretch out their skins and hide from the world like that even without having deformed themselves first. Also you described the pain of tattooing well, it’s addicitive if you’re prone to becoming addicted.
    Great!

  7. Sandra M. Odell Says:
    March 14th, 2011 at 6:04 am

    Great imagery, and you nailed the description of getting a tattoo. The psychological changes are also very well portrayed. Nicely done!

  8. Sandra M. Odell Says:
    March 14th, 2011 at 6:04 am

    Great imagery, and you nailed the description of getting a tattoo. The psychological changes are also very well portrayed. Nicely done!

  9. Nathaniel Katz Says:
    March 14th, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Understandable and then grotesque – fantastic! Very strong imagery and growing despair, too.

  10. Nathaniel Katz Says:
    March 14th, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Understandable and then grotesque – fantastic! Very strong imagery and growing despair, too.

  11. Shelley Says:
    March 15th, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Thank you all!

    I found myself fascinated with the way people do become almost addicted to tats and other modifications, and discovered that pain does play a part in some of it. And it’s hard not to be intrigued by the far-out modifications out there and the motivations behind them.

    I’m glad you enjoyed it, or were freaked out, or both.

  12. Shelley Says:
    March 15th, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Thank you all!

    I found myself fascinated with the way people do become almost addicted to tats and other modifications, and discovered that pain does play a part in some of it. And it’s hard not to be intrigued by the far-out modifications out there and the motivations behind them.

    I’m glad you enjoyed it, or were freaked out, or both.