By Eliyanna Kaiser
Your heels stick to the pavement. All the shit of car exhaust and dust is a solid lattice. You don’t walk; you wade, and can’t bear the heat of a match to light a damn cigarette.
You’d fuck anyone for an ice cube. So when he isn’t altogether ugly you give him a blowjob, bite on the head, and make a show of swallowing. His wallet is full of ice. Your ice.
You don’t suffer, so they can tell you fucked the ice cube man. When they lust after what melts down your thighs, you almost forget to act ashamed.
by Dameion Becknell
Hanging grossly out the side of his shorts, with his thin dark legs sprawled as if for just such a demonstration, my uncle Giovanni’s balls are always showing.
In the past, I might have whispered to him, “Uncle, your balls are showing.”
And he would say, “I testicoli sono il frutto di tutta la vita.” Which was to say, ‘The testicles are the fruit of all life.’
“Please,” I might say, “speak English.”
And he would say, “Lei parla italiano perfetto, quindi perchÃ© dovrei?” (‘You speak perfect Italian, so why should I?’)
“Because my girlfriend is here, and this is our prom night. I have brought her here to meet you, mother and father, and here you sit with your balls showing. Put on some pants, man! You embarrass me now.”
He says again, “I testicoli sono il frutto di tutta la vita. And if she does not realize that, then you should make some other girlfriend.”
That is my uncle Giovanni. The Italian alien hero. The earthly saint, whose balls he has always likened to fruit.
I have wasted enough time explaining, and so here is where our story truly begins. When I was twenty years old, uncle asked if I would like to travel with him to the city New York City.
“Please bring only pants on this trip,” I begged of him.
And he said, “The testicles, boy. The fruit.”
I argued the matter no further.
That day, the day of this story, we sat outside the cafÃ© Lalo, which was just off West 83rd Street, both of us drinking cappuccinos and eating different sandwiches, when the Ukrainian made himself known. He was a pale-skinned man with a flat face and greasy dark hair. He had strapped to his naked torso an array of explosives. He yelled something in Ukrainian dialect that I could not understand. People dodged this way and that, screaming unintelligibly.
Of course, uncle Giovanni’s balls dangled out the side of his shorts, and the Ukrainian had not failed to notice this, and uncle said to the man, “You do not want to do what you reckon you’ve come here to do.”
And the man, in his own tongue, he said, “Ð·Ð°Ñ‚ÐºÐ½Ð¸Ñ‚Ðµ Ñ€Ð¾Ñ‚.”
“I certainly will not shut my mouth,” uncle said in Ukrainian.
Despite being brutalized by fear, or maybe because of it, I said to uncle, “Since when do you speak any such language?”
“Shut your mouth,” he said to me in Italian.
And so I did.
The Ukrainian, with an unmistakable expression of perplexity, he said to uncle, “Ð’Ð°ÑˆÑ– ÑÑ”Ñ‡ÐºÐ° Ð¿Ð¾ÐºÐ°Ð·ÑƒÑŽÑ‚ÑŒÑÑ.”
And uncle, in plain English: “I know my balls are showing. The testicles are the fruit of all life, don’t you know.”
Then, with a suddenness that is difficult to put into words, many long dark tentacles grew or sprang from uncle Giovanni’s testicles, each one strong after the other, like the many arms of an octopus, and ensnared the Ukrainian man, enveloping him in a sort of wet cocoon, wrapping him in a film of glistering blackness. Then the Ukrainian became squeezed or compressed inside this bag of tentacles, devoured until there was nothing left of the man himself or his hardwearing terrorist bomb threat. And then it was over.
Uncle breathed heavily. Trailing yet from out the side of his shorts, the network of tentacles lay like a limp, pulsing sack on the sidewalk, deflated, exhausted-looking, until, without the assistance of his own two hands, uncle reeled them back in with that same quickness he had first unbridled them.
No one person was given to speech, including myself. You could hear police sirens closing the distance.
Perhaps uncle saw the questions in my eyes, because he said, “This is my calling to this world, boy–my warrant. To save humanity from its own destructive self. This is the sort of thing I do on these many trips I take.”
Still I did not speak.
He said, “I testicoli sono il frutto di tutta la vita.”
The testicles are the fruit of all life.
He then said in Italian, “Maybe we should leave off from here now, before the main authorities arrive.”
And we did, and not since that trip or the many others we’ve later taken have I asked uncle not to wear shorts. Never again have I whispered to him: “Uncle, your balls are showing.”
This is the ongoing story of my uncle Giovanni. The Italian alien hero. The earthly saint, whose balls he has always likened to fruit.