“What’s wrong with us?” Henry asked me. I stared at him, the blood darkening white cloth, the yawn of
his jaw, the rolling-back eyes and clammy skin, both of us sick with sinus infections and sore throats and
chest coughs all fucking bitter winter, sick with bad drugs and cruel sex and poisonous families. I
opened my mouth, my heart beating hard and thready, and put the first small bit of his flesh, torn and
untwisted from bone, on my tongue.
“Are you watching?” I asked him. I bit down and sucked the blood out the way I suck the grease out of
fried chicken and my dick was so hard it hurt.
“Yeah,” he said faintly, and he pitched forward towards the table, catching himself just before the
cartilage of his nose busted against the surface, and his eyes went all white for a second and I shivered.
“This is so fucked,” he said, “what’s wrong with us?”
“You’ve asked me that so many times, I think I’m gonna fucking kill you,” I told him.
“I think I’m gonna fucking let you,” he said, reeling back, and his head hit the wall hard. He stayed still
like that for a minute, like he was nailed that way. I wanted to swallow but held him on my tongue for a
moment longer, drawing it out. We watched each other for as long as he could keep his eyes focused.
“Swallow,” he said then, quiet and dead-steady, and a deep breath shuddered out of me.
“Jesus,” I whispered, and did, and he repeated it in a long low moan, Jeeeesus, and his body lurched
“Keep your hand up,” I said, and ground my fist into my hard-on. “Henry. Hey. Keep your fucking eyes
It started six weeks ago, which is how long it takes to get scissors from an infomercial shipped to your
house. We were sprawled on his couch one night, Henry’s jeans half-off and no underwear and my
fingers slow on his cock. I’d been at it for an hour, more out of laziness than love. Henry’s mouth was
hanging open and there was a congested rattle to his breathing, I could hear it over the television and
the asthmatic space heater and his brother’s stereo two rooms away. He played it to hide the sounds of
all the jerking off he did, his fucking pastime, the little monkey. More than once Henry and I had caught
him slobbering at the door of Henry’s room watching us do whatever got us off that week. Anyway, I
could hear Henry’s breathing over all that and I could hear the sound of his mother playing solitaire in
the kitchen behind us. The even snap of her cards was the metronome my hand was keeping time to on
her son’s dick, in the dark living room on a school night past three in the morning.
“Shit,” she said at one point, all slurred from the Miller Lite, probably dropped her cigarette on her tits
or something, fucking lush, and as she said it I seized Henry hard and sudden and squeezed him harshly
enough to make him cry out.
He reached over and grabbed the top of my hair so tight my eyes watered and through the tears I saw
these orange handled scissors cutting pennies on the grimy screen. When he let me go I slid sideways
on the couch so that my face rested against his bare arm and bit him. He sucked air through his teeth.
“Look at that,” I said against his skin. “Those scissors cut cans and pennies and pipes and shit. I could
cut your dick off with those scissors. Or your ear. Or your finger.”
“And then what would you do?” he asked me, watching the screen.
“Swallow you,” I told him. “Chew you up and swallow you down into my body and then you would be
mine.” He looked sideways at me. It was an obsessive and unhealthy game, this half-serious struggle
for control and ownership that shifted from one of us to the other. Once it was him tying me up in the
basement of the abandoned house at the end of my block and leaving me there overnight. Once it was
me cutting my name into his back with a Swiss army knife. The first time we shot up it was a control
thing, it was Henry’s knees holding me down, one on my chest, one on my forearm to make a vein pop,
and the needle in his mouth and my dick so hard I was halfway out of my head. He fucked me as the
drug took hold and in my ear was his hoarse panting voice, you’re mine, you’re mine, Pete,
you’re fucking mine.
“Would you?” he asked, and he was breathless in that way that makes me crazy. “Swallow me?”
“Fuck yeah,” I said, and the idea of it started to get to me. We had consumed each other to obscene
degrees, so much come and spit and blood and sweat, his scab I ate in gym class because the other kids
said I wouldn’t, and then the clatter of their angry
voices sickwhitetrashhillbillyqueerfucksyouregoingtohell and we laughed until Henry fell and cut his
elbow on the bleachers. I licked that too. The idea of being inside each other was an addiction. If I
could tear you open, I had told him once, and crawl in, I would.
“I would,” I said, and his eyes slitted. He looked from me to the screen. We watched the scissors eat
through metal and plastic. We watched the white trash audience and the red lipsticked dicksuck mouth
of the whore who was demonstrating them.
“Get me off already, Pete, for Christ’s sake,” he said with his teeth clenched, jostling my wrist.
“Don’t tell me what to do,” I said against his arm, the sweaty Henry-ripe skin; the boy fucking never
“Fuck you,” he said, and he was squirming, so I hurt him again, squeezing until my knuckles were white.
“Fuck you,” I said back.
“Get ‘em,” Henry said. “Get the scissors.”
I let him go and he took over. With the credit card I’d lifted from my step-dad I ordered the scissors and
had them sent to Henry’s house. Then we went to his bedroom and I did him on the floor, talked about
swallowing him the whole time, and he came so hard his mother screamed from the kitchen for us to
shut up. Henry screamed back for her to fuck off. His brother’s elbow hit the wall in the next room and
I knew he was jerking off and I laughed, collapsed, crushing Henry’s bony body under mine on the cold
Over the next six weeks we worked out the details of what to cut off and how to go about it, neither of
us backing down from the idea, neither of us talking about how serious and seriously fucked-up it was.
About how much worse it was than everything we’d ever done to each other. We settled on finger and
then Henry had to decide which one he would be willing to sacrifice.
“Definitely not middle. Ring,” he said finally, “left.”
“Wedding ring finger?” I said.
“There goes my normal future,” Henry said, and he sneered, and waggled the finger in the air. I grabbed
it and put it in my mouth, back along my molars, and tightened my jaw, watched his teeth bare slightly
and his eyes narrow.
The week before they arrived I went up to the city’s shittiest hospital. My mom worked there, as a bitch
receptionist who told bleeding and dying poor people to sit their asses down and wait their fucking turn.
“What the fuck do you want?” she demanded, glaring up at me. I rested my elbows on the counter and
leaned over to look at the papers in front of her. She snatched them out of sight.
“Just visiting,” I said, and smiled.
“Where’s your girlfriend?” she asked me, which was her clever-as-shit nickname for Henry, and she
smirked at the other fat bitch behind the counter.
“At home jerking off onto your pillow.”
“Funny,” she said. “Aren’t you supposed to be in school or something? What are you even doing here?”
“Just basking in your ever-loving beauty,” I told her as I pushed myself away from the counter.
“You weren’t worth the labor pains, you fucking brat,” she said.
“Cunt,” I called back, and some guy in a white coat looked up at me from a clipboard or something, and I
jerked my thumb back over my shoulder. “My mom,” I said. “The fat bitch with the dark roots. In case
you wanted to fire her.”
So, anyway, I wandered all over that dirty building until I found some closet full of drugs and no one was
guarding it so I got in there and closed the door and took all sorts of shit, including a vial of anesthetic
for Henry’s hand. We had decided that as much shit as we had done before to each other nothing was
as bad as having your finger cut off with a pair of infomercial scissors and even a ton of shitty drugs
wouldn’t make a dent. He would have to be deadened. I knew some of the names because we looked it
up in the library at school. That raisin tit library lady told us where to look. Henry told her he wanted to
be a doctor. I could barely keep my face straight with that shit.
We talked endlessly about how exactly I would go about eating him and what it might taste like, human
flesh. One night when we were fucked up on some cut-rate cocaine we went to the meat department of
the grocery store by my house and stole a package of steak. In my room, on my bed, I cut strips of it
with the Swiss army knife I’d used on Henry before and we each ate some. I said soon it would be him
and he tackled me down.
Ever since that night in front of the television eating Henry had been almost exclusively what we talked
about to get each other off. The crack of bone and the blood warm as come and his flesh on my tongue.
When I first said it, it was just something to say, something violent and fucked like all the shit we said to
each other. But it took on this life of its own until it was all either of us could think about.
So the scissors got to his house on a Tuesday. The U.P.S. guy stared at us, I guess because we were all
half-naked and greasy-haired and broken out and shit. Fucking poster children for sick Southern white
trash. I watched Henry sign for the package, his too-sharp cheekbone and narrow face, and I thought
about what was inside the box and what we were going to do with it and my heart raced. Henry
slammed the door, turned around and shoved me violently back against the wall, the flat box trapped
between us, and bit my bottom lip so hard it bled.
~~“I’m gonna eat you,” I said into his mouth, singsong like a little kid or something, and he did this
frustrated Henry growling noise that always made me crazy as fuck and I gripped him around his ribs
brutal enough to bruise and shook him.
We decided to do it at my house since I don’t have any brothers or anything and my mom and step-dad
frequently cleared out and then occasionally got arrested for public drunkenness or domestic bullshit
abuse or whatever, which left me in an empty house at least overnight.
So once they were gone, that Friday after the scissors had arrived, we got everything together on the
kitchen table – drugs, needles, an old undershirt, and the scissors. We got good and fucked up first on
coke and all the shit I got from the hospital, as much as we could pump into our bodies and still stay
conscious. Henry took more than me. I think he was scared. I was scared too but also harder than hell
and so caught up in the idea of what we were going to do that I knew we could never turn back.
I got him off twice in a row there at the kitchen table and his dick was still hard. He smelled like sweat
and come and the cheap-shit Right Guard deodorant he stole off his retarded brother. Under the
florescent lights he looked sick and sallow and young, the bones of his face and below his throat
standing out like a starving kid, his zits more painful than usual. He breathed through his mouth; he
sniffed once against the constant cold-weather congestion, swaying slightly in the chair.
“Do it,” he said.
I drew up a whole syringe of the anesthetic. Henry watched me, his right hand around his dick, his left
splayed palm up on the surface of the table. I had no idea where the fuck to stick it so I went just below
the place we normally shot up, at the edge of the permanent bruising there. His eyes were steady on
me the whole time, he never once looked at what I was doing, just straight at me.
“Tell me when you feel something,” I said, stopping when the syringe was half-empty. I left the needle
“I feel like fucking you,” Henry said.
“Not that, asshole.”
“Fuck you,” he said with his teeth gritted.
“Fuck you,” I said back, and moved the needle so it hurt him, and he made that growling sound, low in
the back of his throat.
“All right,” he said then. “All right. I’m starting to lose feeling.”
“Yeah?” I touched his hand. “Like how much?”
“Not enough yet. Give me more.”
“What if I want you to feel it?” I asked him softly. “What if I want you to hurt like hell?”
I watched his eyes dilate and his chest move with his heartbeat.
“Give me more, you fuck,” he said slowly, and I did, until the syringe was empty. I drew it out and set it
on the table and watched him jerk off, his deadening arm out flat, his eyes glassy from drugs and sex
and anticipation and fear. “All right,” he said then, and his voice was tight. “I can’t feel it. Touch it.”
I laid my hand flat over his and waited. My leg was bouncing a mile a minute.
“Nothing,” he said. “I can’t feel it.”
“Fuck,” I breathed.
“Do it,” Henry said.
“Do it, Pete,” he said, still jerking off, and I could hear his sticky skin, and his voice unraveled into these
short sharp sounds and he came even though there was nothing left in him, watching me pick up the
scissors, pick up his hand, isolate his wedding ring finger that I’d been biting and sucking and teasing for
weeks like it was a second dick or something.
“Fuck, Henry,” I said as I opened the blades of the scissors. These long fucked-up passages I’d been
growling up against his ear, the sick shit I wanted to say to him as I cut off his finger and made him mine,
all of that fled me and my mouth hung open like his and we watched it happen.
I held his hand up by the tip of his finger, my thumb over the nail, and pressed the open jaws of the
scissors against him just above the bottom knuckle. I wanted to look him in the eyes, my Henry,
whatever the hell he was to me, but I couldn’t and for a fleeting second I had no idea what the fuck I
was doing and then I started to close the scissors.
The skin cut easily. The blades were virgin. We had decided not to play with them at all, so they opened
and closed for the first time on Henry’s finger and they cut through him like he was nothing.
The muscle or ligament or what the fuck ever it is went like heavy cloth, with a satisfying pressure.
Henry’s face had gone dead fucking white and he was breathing so hard I was afraid he would pass out.
His eyes were locked on it.
And then there was bone. I imagined cutting pennies, cutting pipe, I imagined lying there on the couch
with Henry’s cock in my hand and my teeth in the skin of his arm and the slut on screen cutting shit all to
pieces with her perfect fucking clean red mouth. I let his hand lower to the table and put my left hand
around my right around the scissors and squeezed harder and steadier than I’d ever done anything, both
arms shaking, and Henry saying oh Jesus I can feel it oh Jesus I can feel it, and I stood halfway up in my
chair with my bottom lip still raw from Henry’s bite clamped between my teeth and fucking squeezed
and Henry’s voice was high and distant and broken and I fucking squeezed I fucking squeezed and
Henry’s bone cracked and the scissors snapped shut.
“Fucking Christ, Pete,” he shouted, staring at it lying there on the table in a spreading pool of blood, and
his eyes showed white all around, and his face was greasy wet with sweat. I dropped the scissors and
grabbed the undershirt and wrapped it around his hand. Then I looked at the finger. I kept expecting it
to move or crawl or something. But the drugs shored me up and made me detached like I was a balloon
floating above us or something and I picked up Henry’s finger. I held it out between us and Henry
breathed like a fucking pregnant woman or something for a minute and then he stopped altogether.
“Hey,” I said and he didn’t respond, so I grabbed his hair with my other hand. “Henry,” I shouted, and
he sucked in a long hard breath and his voice tumbled out.
“I could feel it,” he kept saying, “I could feel it coming off, I could feel it coming off, Jesus Christ, I could
feel it coming off-”
“Like pain?” I asked him.
“Like pressure like pressure like pressure-”
“Henry,” I said sharply, and I smacked him across the face, hard. He stopped breathing again, his eyes
somewhere past me, and then started again and his voice was threading out with every exhalation and
he started to laugh. I smacked him again and he stopped. I held his finger up between us eye-level and
turned it, the dirty knuckle, the dirty nail, the clean-cut round end of it like a shitty Halloween prop or
“Jesus fucking Christ,” he said faintly.
“Mine,” I said. “You’re fucking mine. Do you hear me?”
“Oh, Jesus, Pete,” he said. “I’m fucking bleeding.”
“Hold it up, Henry, hold your hand up, for Christ’s sake.”
“Oh, Jesus, I watched it, this is fucked, this is fucked,” Henry was rambling.
“Hey,” I said harshly, and seized his hair and turned his head straight so he faced me. “Shut the fuck up.
Listen to me. Yeah, this is fucked, but I’m not gonna waste all this fucking anticipation, I’m gonna eat
you because that’s what you wanted and because I want you inside me you stupid prick so just shut the
fuck up, Henry, Jesus Christ.” My head was light and I was so hard and scared I could barely fucking
I tore off the nail with my teeth and peeled the skin from his finger like a glove and used the blade of the
scissors to shave off some of his meat. Tendon, ligament, whatever. Henry. Henry’s flesh. It was still
“What’s wrong with us?” Henry whispered, and his hand wavered next to his shoulder, soaking the shirt
in seconds, and his head tipped forward and then jerked back.
“Are you watching?” I asked him.
I ate him. I swallowed and swallowed him. Piece by piece. He had to be half-dead from blood loss but
my cock had me nailed to the chair, the clean taste of him, he was sweeter than the stolen steak and
softer and better and he was fucking mine.
“Keep your eyes open, Henry,” I said again and again, and he spoke less and less. I was more fucked in
the head than I’d ever been. I felt invisible and I felt sideways and I felt underwater. I wondered what
was inside us from the hospital and what kind of anesthetic I had given him and whether his eyes would
ever slide from white back to iris. He couldn’t sit up straight but he couldn’t stop moving, going around
and around in his chair like a fucking satellite or a moon or fucking something. When his finger was
mostly gone I laid the bone on the table and it sounded like a poker chip. I told him it sounded like a
poker chip and he didn’t say anything. The shirt was dripping onto the floor and my mom was going to
be fucking pissed, the fat bitch, fuck her.
“Henry,” I said.
“Henry,” I said.
“Henry,” I said.
There was nothing. He was a satellite. He was a moon. He was something. I don’t know the fuck what.
His cock was still halfway hard and I took it in my bloody hand and he didn’t do anything and I knew that
he was gone. The Henry who left me tied up and gagged in the basement of the abandoned house, the
Henry who dropped a corner store orange juice on the floor in front of my face when he came back the
next morning. The Henry who slept with his sweaty face pressed between my shoulder blades every
night on whatever couch or bed we passed out on. The Henry who always wanted to kiss when he was
stoned. The Henry with my name scarred crooked across his back. The Henry telling me to order the
scissors. The Henry who felt it coming off.
“Henry,” I said.
My body got up and moved to the phone and I dialed three numbers and said things. Someone else said
things. I don’t know what. There was static in my head and blood in my mouth and my arms were sore
from jerking Henry off and straining to cut through bone with scissors from a fucking infomercial. I
dropped the phone and it hit the wall and I stumbled back to Henry. He was still moving in circles, he
was still orbiting, he was still a satellite or a moon or fucking something but he was mine, I owned him,
he was fucking mine. I told him that, my body knocking his out of the chair and against the wall, his
head making a sound like the phone had, and we sank together, softly, between the thousand chair legs
and table legs like some giant clicking eating insect and I held him the way I never did and told him I
loved him the way I never had and in the distance there was the round sound of sirens coming or red
glass birds circling down or fucking something.
Chelsea Laine Wells has been published in Third Point Press, PANK, The Butter, Cease, Cows, and Heavy Feather Review, among others. She is managing and fiction editor of Hypertext Magazine and founding editor of Hypernova Lit, an online journal dedicated to publishing the brilliance of high school students. Currently she works as a high school librarian in Dallas, TX and leads a student writers’ club. Find out more about her at www.chelsealainewells.com and follow her on Twitter at @chelsea_l_w.
The image used for today’s episode comes from graphic artist and painter Allen Forrest, who was born in Canada and bred in the U.S. He has created cover art and illustrations for literary publications and books. He is the winner of the Leslie Jacoby Honor for Art at San Jose State University’s Reed Magazine and his Bel Red painting series is part of the Bellevue College Foundation’s permanent art collection. Forrest’s expressive drawing and painting style is a mix of avant-garde expressionism and post-Impressionist elements reminiscent of van Gogh, creating emotion on canvas. You can find him at allen-forrest.fineartamerica.com and @artgrafiken