Shotgun Boy

by Alexander Michael Ziperovich

My jaw hurts from gnawing on the barrel of my arm. My horrible fucking arm. Flesh. Wood. Metal. The shotgun’s a part of my arm, this grotesque prosthesis mutation that grew out of me like an evil and gnarled barnacle tree sprouting from the earth shooting lightening and death. This thing that began to grow out of what was supposed to be pink flesh with a thumb and an index finger and blue veins swimming down an elbow. Instead, I got this. The doctors say I’m the first of my kind. When they aren’t attaching electrodes to me and scanning me and inserting tubes into me they’re arguing over who the lucky doctor is that gets to name the new disease that I have. That I am. When I was about seven the police came by the house and nervously sipped tea in our living room as they discussed “the issue” with my parents. I silently watched from the balcony upstairs.

“Nobody else had a 12 gauge coming out of their fucking shirt mom!” I detest birthday parties. Dances. School. Everything. No sleepovers, yet, thank god. “Greg’s mom was staring at me and whispering to Greg and I heard her say monster.” Tears are flowing out of my eyes. She’s such a fucking idiot, all denial and smiles and xanax. “Now, Now… I’m sure she wasn’t talking about you.” I see her lean her head back with a mouthful of cranberry juice and vodka as she takes another sedative. I’m sweating and angry and when I sweat I feel these little clicks in the gun like it wants to fire. It only happened one time cause some assholes at school slipped a little firecracker powder into the chamber while I was asleep and there a minor blast fired out of me when I bumped into a locker. No one was hurt.

The only holiday I ever liked was Christmas because of grandpa but now Christmas is a dismal nightmare; Grandpa had his own bizarre prosthetic and so we were best friends. He had a small pistol for a left hand and he tried to prepare me for what my life would be but he finally succumbed to it all and put his hand in his mouth one night in some motel and I never saw him again. He was useful in the war apparently and he had this dog tag he left behind for me with this small indentation in it and once, before he died, I asked him about it and he told me it was for when soldiers were dying so they could bite it to relieve the pain. I’ve been chewing on that fucking thing everyday since he passed.

I never meant or wanted to hurt or scare or confuse anyone, I swear, but my arm! It got bigger and the shotgun got bigger and meaner and then all of a sudden I woke up one day and I was an unwieldy killing machine reading Edgar Allen Poe and Camus. Fuck. I might as well have born a jar of aerosolized Ebola or a gust of fucking napalm or Jeffrey Dahmer for all the luck I’ve had with people.

My own damn parents, even. They wont hug me; they even started to forget me as their little boy and when I saw them looking at me I knew what they were thinking: “There he is, that little fucking freak of nature we were cursed with, shotgun boy“. Now they’re both gone. That happened before I began writing this.

So, I’ve been gnawing on the bastard. Just chewing and grinding my teeth against the metal and the wood. I’m going to bite the fucking thing off of me hoping it won’t discharge a slug into my throat and I’ll go to Mexi-“

“B O O O O H M M M M M M M”

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