While We Were Waiting
to Be Cannibals
by Chris Tannhauser
She left me when she found the secret baby that wasn't mine. And the morning had started out so well: woken up with a slow blowjob, a segue into straight-up fucking, the master/servant kind with hair pulling and less-than-gentle biting—because most people like stuff they claim to hate when the pants come off—and then a balls-deep, pain-face cumshot followed by “dutifully” pleasuring her (used here in an ironic fashion as it’s the secret pride of all men who can make their woman come with slow strokes and a firm tongue, face slick as a glazed donut).
Did I mention that she shot me?
I had kept the baby anesthetized but started tapering off in anticipation of the meal—you won’t believe the shit we put in our meat and how bad it is for us—and it peeped and she found it. I figured this out because she came back into the bedroom with a jittery gun at the end of her sweaty arm, the black O of the barrel wiggling between her wide, white eyes. It was a Smith & Wesson Airweight 642 double-action revolver, the one with the shaved hammer, a hunk of metal and possibility hovering between our naked, just-fucked selves.
“Baby,” I said, “I can explain.”
Her face kinked at that, a reflection of the discontinuous stresses in her mind as if the craziest thing possible had just somehow gone even crazier, and she pulled the trigger.
Stuff that’s not like in the movies: bottoming out in pussy, getting shot.
I didn’t hear it, but the flash seemed to painlessly dislocate my soul with a queasy kind of vertigo, mostly with the mantra OH GOD I’VE BEEN SHOT on autorepeat like it could melt the universe.
Luckily for all of us it was just a weepy flesh wound, and I sincerely hope it made her feel better as neurology has shown that there’s no such thing as Free Will—there’s only Free Won’t. We are each of us hurtling full-speed through life—and man, Nature wants us to run all-out—so the gas pedal’s got a cinder block on it and all we got is the occasional hand on the wheel or the e-brake and there are times when you know you should pull it but for some reason you don’t, usually because it’s pretty awesome to go through a fruit stand at sixty miles an hour. Of course, pulling the trigger could’ve been her trying to put the brakes on something, exactly what we’ll never know. I didn’t hurt her if that’s what you’re thinking—that’s not who I am—but I did break some of kind of record getting my gunshot self out of there.
We made love on account of my business trip, and it turns out you can get through airport security with a gunshot wound if you patch it up first. I had the aisle seat next to a gregarious fence salesman, the kind who finds a way to engage you, shake hands and somehow give you his card before you’re really aware of what’s happening, level ground giving way gently to a sudden rollercoaster drop. At some point he said, “Well, that’s me—what about you?”
So I told him about inspecting meat packing plants, and the shit we put in our meat and how bad it is for us, but that the people at the plants are somehow taller and stronger and have clearer skin and eyes than the rest of us, they’re lighter on their feet and move with an animal grace that sneaks up and surprises you when you could’ve sworn you were paying attention. And they stand so close and smell so good, their breath is sweet and unrestrained. I told him about sneaking away—as difficult as that is given the nature of these magnificent creatures—and seeking the rooms only the initiated or the doomed may find, and that in so doing I hoped not to expose them but to become one of their number, with access to superior health, ancient racial memory, the power to make women cum with a whisper…
He seemed less interested than he should have been, but then making women cum with a whisper is one of those mundane superpowers that anyone can have if they just pay attention.
The zaftig middle-aged flight attendant with the thick, glossy braids and homemade beef jerky book warned us of turbulence over the mountains and bade us to strap in. I thought of her perfect teeth, plucked and sucked to get that little dangly bit of soft pulp at the end—was it worth the effort? Or just another dead end in the labyrinth of such things, an afternoon of anticipation struck down by an evening of disappointment? I didn’t need searching and discovery—what I needed was a goddamn map.
The turbulence had us by the guts and nuts when the door to the flight deck opened and the pilots stepped out smooth as bear fat. A wave of what-the-fuck rolled through the cabin and then the captain turned to his copilot and said, “Hail Xom, brother.”
“Hail Xom,” the copilot replied and they both pulled splash guards down over their faces.
“You will stay in your fucking seats,” the captain said in a mild German accent, a Smith & Wesson Airweight 642 double-action revolver, the one with the shaved hammer, held with casual flop-wristed menace.
The plane lurched, and then rolled smoothly onto its side and over as if driven by the rising screams of the passengers. The pilots walked on walls, transitioning to the ceiling with the ease of dancers who knew the tune as we hung upside-down from insufficient seat belts, heads dangling in the void below us.
“Hans, if you would be so kind,” said the captain.
The copilot produced two long, curved fillet knives, glistening with potential. “It would be an honor,” he said. He turned and spread his arms and sprinted down the cabin ceiling, four good steps ahead of a patter of red rain.
Several red-blooded Americans in the rear of the plane immediately unbuckled, crashed to the ceiling, rose—and were shot down one by one, lazy headshots from the hip, neatly missing Hans, like a goddamn movie.
I unbuckled, too, and the gun clicked but the captain was dry, or perhaps it was because I was pre-shot, in one of those recursive interfoldings of reality where I was meant to be shot, would always be shot, it just happened with a needle skip on a different groove but it’s all the same hunk of spinning vinyl after all.
Hans skidded into me as I stood, his twin blades angled for some of the best parts of me, but I am a motherfucking meat packing plant inspector and know my way around knives. We hit the ceiling and I thought about that baby as we wrestled, about how it just wasn’t fair that these people should have the best stuff while hiding it from the rest of us—not everyone would want it anyway, and there would always be plenty more to eat. I would prove myself worthy by being as unappetizing as possible.
Things were going inevitably bad—his strength was prodigious—when my knee found his groin and I turned a wrist in his surprise and opened him to the world.
It takes time to go like that, and when all the noise was out of him I staggered to unsteady feet.
The ceiling between me and the captain was slick with blood.
“I just want to be one of you,” I said calmly.
“You fool!” he yelled, “Xom chooses the worthy!”
“Perhaps Xom has chosen me,” I replied, beginning to walk toward him.
“It doesn’t work that way!” he screamed.
“Maybe it does!” I yelled, running now.
“It really doesn’t!” he said as we collided and fell into the cockpit.
I lunged and seized the yoke overhead—I would right this plane and save us all, not to expose them but to become one of their number, with access to superior health, ancient racial memory, the power to make women cum with a whisper…
The captain pistol-whipped me furiously, cursing like a barbarian but I had reached a place where resolve trumps pain, on the edge of power, just around the corner from the face of God, and I would not be moved by normal means as I pulled and plane began to tilt. We grappled in slow motion, his hands over mine, a caress, resisting with the power of however many men he ate, and I reached up with my mouth and closed it on his hand, the flesh giving way beneath my teeth, the crunch of bone and the promise of marrow, a gush of blood like sunlight into a dark room, it tasted—
It tasted AWFUL.
Like a wet monkey that had shit on the Moon, a neglected pet that had somehow clung to life by eating garbage dump diapers. In my moment of absolute triumph, I gagged.
Stuff that’s not like in the movies: eating people, rolling an airliner.
They don’t tell you that it slides like a half-mile straight down when you turn it on its side.
“Oh sweet Christ you’ve ruined everything,” wept the captain as mountainside filled the windscreen.