Sunday, November 21, 2010


Damien, on the other hand, found maximum pleasure through the discovery of insects--the hairier and more legs, the better.  He liked the way they could coordinate their various and multiple appendages to accomplish a task, whether climbing away from a predator or fixing on and attacking prey.  His love went far enough for him to catch and collect centipedes, water bugs, cockroaches, then feed them, in order, lady bugs, house flies, and caterpillars, if possible. His obstacles were two: social opprobrium, and motherly scorn.  His passions weren't easily communicated to the decidedly non-biologist student body at large--those peers who might judge or accept him and provide or decline opportunities, so he increasingly found himself deeply alone, in his room, studying latin named creatures on the internet until 2 and 3 in the morning.

When he turned 15, his face erupted with the type of nodular acne that willingly scars, blossoming up under the skin to provide extra facial features, abstract mosaics of unknown origin.  The harder he tried to squeeze the mounds of flesh, the closer he thought to finalizing the deed of killing the bastards, the bigger they grew, until he had mountain ranges on his cheeks.  His mom would take one of her sewing needles, dip it in rubbing alcohol, and then insert it in his porous skin, at the epicenter of one of the monsters, then push it down through the built up layers to the core of his epidermal being.  After pulling it out, she always took a paper towel, broke off two small pieces, and used it as a kind of cushion under her finger tips to squeeze anew.  In all but a few cases, this did the trick, and the geysers would erupt in glorious power, often multiple times, and, at times on his mom's glasses and hair, with copious amounts of bloody goo.  She didn't seem to mind, showing him a love that he would only recognize later as vitally important to his surviving during those years.  

It was only when he went to school that he realized how fundamentally ostracized the oversize growths made him in class, mostly because of the negative reaction, the active avoidance.  Before he only had to deal with the passive type that left him largely unknown, if sensitive.  Now, he was a full fledged freak.  To top it off, he was growing around the waist.  His dad was a supermega store fetishist, buying in bulk candy bars, rice krispie treats and olive oil, literally cramming their smallish grey nissan sentra to the brim.  Once he had to open the rear window to fit in an oversized box of cheese doodles, the bright orange of the packaging streaming as if to single a construction zone, or at least, a hazardous condition.  It was a mortifyingly delicious predicament to live with, one that, when public view had a chance to recede, always remained singular in effect: girth.  And girth, well, it didn't exactly assuage his increasingly agoraphobic tendencies.

These factors, one prays, decrease with time, allowing a relatively normal life to proceed.  In Damien's case, they intensified to a point of relative stasis until, one day, he experimented with a bottle of vodka that had always looked longingly at him from the back of the pantry, behind the snickers bars.

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