I'm Ruby, I'm nineteen years old and this is my neck of the woods. This is where I live - my kingdom of deep yellow grass and shuttered homes, of picket fences and the creaking wooden churches. It's a world away from everything here, it's not like anywhere else. Life is different. I see things different too. Like real close-up, through the lens of an eye-glass, real sharp, and I can hear voices wherever I go, from the past mainly, but sometimes from the future, and sometimes from people when they're unawares.
Today I wake to a clear blue sky and a heavy, humid morning. I've been troubled by dreams: all sex and darkness and animals, the tinder-dry woods cracking like fire. I wake with a heavy ache in my abdomen. Last night daddy hit me with the back of his hand. I hadn't pleased him. He was drunk, but when I wake I feel the day will be auspicious. Something is in the air waiting to be discovered.
When I find the penis, at first I think it’s a fish, or a slug, something the birds have regurgitated. It lays in the grass, curled, shrivelled, and dribbling blood. I wouldn’t give it a second glance normally, but it’s so particularly ugly and obscene. I bend down more closely, to take a look. An ant is making reconnaissance trips along it, backwards and forwards, wondering what to make of this fleshy slob laid in its path to the nest.
This, I think, is somebody’s dick. I’m no expert, I’ve seen a few for sure, but I've never seen one like this. I look around me. The field is empty. I flick the ant into the endless green grass, and the body of the penis shivers in response. I shiver. But also I’m excited. Whatever the world has in store for its denizens today, whatever fates fly aimlessly around the world, this is mine.
The ant is back. This is treasure indeed. I let it savour the bounty for a moment. Its brothers and sisters will be here soon, to carry it off like a trophy and devour it, feed it to the fat, bitch queen in the ticking heart of the colony. The severed end looks like a sausage, except the inner tube is hanging out, the urethra, like a tape worm, like something in the liver. It’s bloody, the blood is still wet, still dripping, still ruby red. This is a freshly cut cock. It’s bleeding out of both ends. I look up and around. There’s nobody here. It‘s all mine. The skin is pinched and wrinkled towards the pissing end; it pouts, kiss-like. All the beauty has gone from it. The broken end is ragged, awful. I'm captivated.
I look up at the clouds, and the brilliant blue sky. Am I such a strange girl, I wonder? That’s what people say, but what do they know? I like my own company. I’m no angel, maybe, but I have a heart, and I’m easily moved to rapture. The world often seems magical, profound. I have my sad days too. I fear for everyone. Sometimes I weep when I see the future. But this day is a gift: auspicious, meaningful. Someone has lost their manhood, and I have found it. It isn’t every day you find a penis lying in the grass. Keep your eyes peeled and the world reveals its secrets. Cotton seed blows in the breeze like a blizzard, slow and graceful.
I crouch in front of the penis. I keep flicking the ants off it. We’re coming to take you away ha-ha, ho-ho. Oh no you don’t little ants. Today I am the Queen of the severed end, the pale appendage, the torn-off, spat-out wang - keeper of this poor, sad, sliver of whale fat. Oh sad, lily-livered flesh. Once great monster, tumescent and full of yourself, hard as a barstool's leg. Where have you been, what have you witnessed? Oh the great billowing ecstasy. I can see the ribbons of pearly semen shooting into the heavens, spawn of the stars, the milky-way of the night sky.
Look at it. Nasty little ants. I lie in the damp grass with the sun coming out and the whole field steaming, I put my head in my hands and blow, and oh I want to put my lips against it, feel the flesh on my mouth, kiss this poor, flaccid Lilliput, this wormy morsel. Oh the stories, how they buzz. My brain is full. Was it the man from the travelling library? Did Mrs. Fitzwilliam dismember him among the classics? Or maybe it’s Billy's cock, bitten off by Lucy, in a rage, oh, her big, horsey teeth chomping at the gristle, There's Mr. and Mrs. Schofield, their years of blissful marriage, the dark nights of their bedroom nightmares, the curtains, the endless boredom of it, the fear, the nylon night dress, the windows always shut. Or Mr Simpson the preacher man, with his face in the bright pink knickers of Judy Simpson, his heavy breathing filling the church like a storm-wind. Angie the pie-girl, the cocoa girl, the oooh twirl me round in the car-park girl, maybe she’s sliced off the cock of sweet Johnny Joy as he slept, maybe she got sick of all his indiscretions, all the love bites, all the long delicious kisses printed in red lipstick over his sweet smelling body. Or headmaster Barker, the pervert, barking his mad head off over the playground, wasted, his whole life, cutting his own dick off with a fruit knife.
You’re mine, I whisper. This is my gift this Tuesday morning, this choose-day morning. I will not fail you, I will honour you, my dim, duffel-coated beauty, maggot of slub-silk. I will raise a shrine to you, my little snub-nosed beauty, my limp and harmless day dreamer.
No one is watching. I slide my fingers under its slim waist and scoop it out of the dry grass. Oh my little totem-pole, minuscule, shrunk fertility God. Some poor guy's cock in my hand, light as a feather. I blow the muck and dust off you, squeeze you tenderly . And still the cotton seeds keep blowing, they shine in the sun like snow, but they move so slowly it's like the world is in free-fall. A silver jet flies high above me. I watch it for a moment unzipping the sky. We are never more than a mile or so from sadness, I think, wherever we are.
I get to my feet and scan the baseball park. It’s empty. I stand by the pitcher's mound. I can see the perfect prints of baseball boots everywhere in the dry earth, the perfume of boys in their prime. Animals. I can still smell them, their sweat in the breeze, sweeping the park, the smell of their balls, all sweet and musky. I’m lost in it all. for a moment I feel this must be Paradise, and all the shitty houses, the endless sameness, the bleak streets, the doors, the fences and gates, the gardens, they all fall away, like the blast of an H-bomb laying them low. I watch them, one after the other, fall like dominoes into their mown nightmares. I curl my fingers round the penis and will not let it go for anything or anyone.
When I'm home I drop it on the kitchen table. It lies like a fish, gasping, the flank all silvered and rainbowed. The skin of a penis is without doubt as soft as silk. The knife slides in easily, and the flesh comes out in ribbons. I use a spoon to scrape it clean. The head is a beautiful thing, purple and shiny. I take the gunk from the bitten end, I scrape until it’s gutted, and all that is left is the skin and plump head. I wash it clean under the kitchen tap. I dig my father’s tiling gun out of his tool box, slide a cartridge into its skeleton, and pump the silicone into the sheath. The penis swells, thickens, grows, begins to nod, to throb, as it should. I pack it in deep, a heavy dense mass. I smooth it all down with my hand, shape it, mould it, five, six, seven inches. I knock it all down, like you might knock down a Lucky Strike on the table top, before putting the tip to your mouth. Plump, miraculous flesh. Uncut. A dainty little Marilyn mole on its flank. I hold it firm in my fist, the cock of a man unknown and unloved. Until now.