table of contents
table of contents — stories


There came a soft, thudding sort of knock at the door. Sigurin could not believe that anything good could come of knocking at the sort of old, decrepit wooden door that he possessed — or rather, rented — but he slowly rose anyway, figuring that whatever had come to him through the dark, wintry night had to be more interesting than the dark, wintry cold of his room and his existence. He had a little fire going in the ancient fireplace, but it seemed to do nothing to alleviate the cold or the gloom.

Suspiciously, he opened the door an inch or two. Seemingly without pushing the door back, a young woman insinuated herself into the room. Like her knock, she seemed soft yet substantial, wearing thick, deep, loose, shapeless fabrics under a long, fuzzy coat. Her face, too, was rounded, her skin smooth and glowing with an almost metallic sheen, her eyes large and bright.

‘I'm new here,’ said the woman. ‘I thought I should get to know my neighbors. I'm Buzz.’ She spoke with an odd, throaty resonance.

‘Buzz?’ said Sigurin. ‘That's a funny name for a girl. I’m Sig.‘

’I‘m not a girl,’ laughed Buzz. She looked around at the room brightly. ‘Nice little place you've got here. And a fireplace!’

‘It was boarded up, but I opened it up, pulled off the board, and it seems to work, and God damn if there is any other heat in here,’ said Sigurin. ‘If the landlord doesn't like it he could send up some heat.’

‘Whatever do you find to burn in it in the city?’ asked Buzz.

‘Just stuff from the streets. Industrial stuff. Pallets, boxes, cardboard.’ Since he had a guest, Sigurin threw some of the loose boards lying near the fireplace into the fire. He thought of offering a drink, but there was nothing in the house. He was beginning to think Buzz might have come around with romantic intentions, and he was sorry to be unprepared.

As if she read his mind, Buzz produced a bottle of something from her coat. ‘Let's have a drink,’ she said cheerily, and sat on Sigurin's bed, which was really the only place to sit in the room.

Sigurin went in the kitchen and found two small glasses of approximately equal size, not too dirty, rinsed them out, and sat next to Buzz. He held the glasses while she poured the drinks. They were a sort of honey color, and the drink tasted sweet yet alcoholic, like sherry, but stronger. Sigurin wondered what it was. They sipped at the drink for a few minutes in silence.

‘Ah, the heat's coming up,’ said Buzz, and shrugged off her coat. Under it were the plentiful, soft, shapeless garments Sigurin had already caught a glimpse of. Having started to think erotically, he wondered what kind of body was under them. But he was determined to take it easy, take things as they came. The wine or liquor had already given him a warm, comfortable feeling he didn't want to disturb.

‘So, what do you do?’ asked Buzz.

‘Just a crap job,’ answered Sigurin. ‘I write crap for a stupid media content house. I can read and write, so they call me up when they need to fill up space and I write crap to fill it and they give me a little money. That's my career. I don't think anyone there even knows my name.’

‘Sometimes that's a good thing.’

‘Yeah. The rest of the time I walk around the city looking at stuff, thinking about writing a novel, an exposé of the shit that goes on here. But if I did no one would print it — the powers that be don't want the truth to be known. So I don't. But what about you? What do you do?’

‘Oh,’ said Buzz, ‘like I said, I'm new here, I don't have a job or anything yet. Just getting to know the place and the people.’

‘That's good if you don't have to pay the rent,’ said Sigurin. ‘If you have some savings, you can take your time, hang around, find out what's what. I've lived here quite a while; I can take you around, show you some things.’

Sigurin had finished his little drink so Buzz poured him and herself another. She steadied his hand with hers when she poured his portion. A kind of electric glow ran up Sigurin‘s arm, just from that touch. He was wondering what to do about it when Buzz removed her jacket. ’It's certainly getting warmer in here,‘ she remarked. Sigurin again tried to check out the body below the remaining garments, but it was still unclear. She seemed to be wearing a heavy blouse with oddly padded shoulders. Rather casually she let her hand fall on his neck.

Sigurin sighed and drank down his second drink. As soon as he had finished it, Buzz leaned over and kissed him on the lips.

’I like you, and I don't want to fool around,‘ she said. She pulled open his shirt and started rubbing his chest. Then she let her hand drop to his pants, where she began to massage him. She deftly opened his pants and pulled out his now erect penis. ’Very nice,‘ she said. ’A really pretty one, and ready to go, just like I like them.‘ It was almost as if Sigurin had introduced a new and interesting guest to their little party.

As she was handling his genitals, Sigurin realized she was also holding him around the neck as well. She shrugged off her blouse. ’I‘ve got something most women don't have’, murmured Buzz. ‘An extra pair of arms. Two to hold you with, two to play with you. Isn’t that nice?‘

Sigurin was a bit hazy from the drinks. He was surprised and worried, but not too much. He had seen pictures of goddesses with four arms. They must have come from somewhere. Whatever, her arms felt quite strong. She continued to kiss and massage and rub him for awhile, loosening his clothes and then hers. After some of this they were both more undressed than not.

Slowly, she pushed him down on the couch and straddled him, pulling him inside her with one hand, pulling on his hips with the another, while still holding him around the neck and shoulders. She began rock and sway.

’Come on,‘ she said to Sigurin. ’Let it go; let it happen. Isn't this nice?‘ Her voice vibrated oddly.

’I don't know,‘ answered Sigurin uneasily. ’I've never been in this sort of situation before.‘

Quite suddenly then, she bent her head down and her jaws extended forward into impressive clawlike mandibles, and neatly snipped Sigurin's head from his body. The body, freed from the head, began to writhe and thrust wildly, much to the delight of Buzz, who kept it under control while giving it plenty of leeway. As his head fell, Sigurin thought that his body had probably always wanted to be free of his head, and now it was, at last, happy.

His head hit the floor, bounced a little, and rolled across the dirty rug. Buzz ignored it, being entirely occupied with the passionate headless body he had left behind. She twisted and turned and uttered cries of pure delight, which seemed to encourage the headless body to even greater exertions.

Having rolled to a stop, Sigurin's head idly watched the busily copulating couple. ’Of course‘, he thought, ’Six — six arms or legs. That's the way they are, and that's the way they do it.‘ He felt a vague benign kindness toward the lovers.

His head had come to rest not far from the fireplace where the last of the fire glowed. Ancient brass-headed andirons glowed dully there like obscure dual planets. Sigurin turned his eyes and stared at the embers for a while and they gradually sank into the darkness.