Just like menstruation, holding in your guts becomes easier over time. Or maybe just more ordinary, familiar. At first, the slipperiness is nauseating and the iron-sweet smell quite literally gut-wrenching. All the different organs and odd bits glob together and your hands seemunfit for the task. I certainly was no expert at it right away. Your doctor will peer at you, his moustache bobbing up and down. His prodding and probing, uncomfortable at first, will grow dull until all you really emember about the appointments is the time they took from your schedule. Short nurses with kind eyes and yellow fingernails wipe blood and pus without complaint or smile. Nurses are mysterious this way. They slide into hospital rooms soundless and efficient. Completing the dark rituals at night, only the beeps and hums of the hospital’s mysterious machinery will cover up the crinkle of sterile plastic bedding. Eventually you learn to cup intestines in both forearms while curling your fingers around the malleable liver, kidneys, or anything else that wanders to the gaping wound sliced in your gullet by a wild ex-boyfriend. Eventually you learn to caress the strange ridges of parts unknown brought suddenly into contact with air and sunlight by the indefatigable blade of a rogue lawnmower. Eventually you find peace in the tiny pieces inside you that are no longer inside you because of a stupid dare gone wrong. Like one of the blood sacrifices of cultures betrayed by their scaled and feathered gods, you will soon discover your leaking body to be an unlikely offering. Anyway, here’s your mocha.
Welcome to the society of sisters and brothers whose gasping innards have betrayed us. The average person lives in quiet acceptance that her or his viscera will remain more or less on the inside, but here at the Canopic Club, we understand your needs and fears. Our mission is to provide meaningful support and guidance to those who have recently undergone disembowelment as well as agency and continued aid to long-term Dischargers. For the last ten years, our organization has helped dozens of people like yourself who find they can no longer mask their sanguine vitals. The Canopic Club’s motto is “Better Out Than In!” This philosophy, BOTI, can be seen in action during our many charitable missions. We strive to educate those outside our rank about the challenges of our lifestyle. Over time, we have already seen worldviews shift; many people now understand that living with your guts on the outside is sometimes a choice, sometimes not. Our members attribute their continued happiness to BOTI and the other services of the club.
You need to stop worrying about what drugged-out barista-bimbos and religious maniacs say. You’re going to be fine. Your family’s got the money and you know your dad will do anything to keep you happy and healthy. Doctors will have a way to sort this out. It’s like a goofy word problem from an algebra class for them. A woman’s guts spill out for X reason. The trajectory of her life is the constant, Y. Solve for her treatment. Relax. Drink this, it’ll make you feel better. Look at how excited Sparks is to see you! Unless you have treats she never wants to snuggle. Hell, I’ll even take some time off work tomorrow to go to the hospital with you. I’ll grab Chinese from the corner place you like and we’ll gorge on spring rolls and those awful doughnuts you love so much. For now, let’s just chill and watch some trashy reality TV while scarfing the last of the key lime pie. The dishes in the sink can wait. I’ll do them after you go to bed. Maybe you want some brandy? I think there’s still some peach vodka above the microwave.
Since we’ve only spoken online in this manner, I simply cannot believe your insides are out. Yes, you e-mailed me a hasty selfie appearing to gather string after string of ropy intestine, but photos can be doctored. This is the internet. I can’t claim to know everything, but I’m no big idiot. For too long I thought we had something special, that I finally had a friend I could really trust, but I guess that’s all been a clever ploy leading up to this? Ply my sympathy for a while until you beg for money for some kind of wild operation or something, right? How much will that be? $10,000? $25,000? This is what you do to guys, con them into getting close and then squeezing money out of the dumb ones through moronic stories and airbrushed pictures? I guess the last eight months of my life have been a lie. Great. Not to mention how sick you must be to foist that level of gore, fake as it is, on someone not checking in for a slasher flick. Aren’t women these days supposed to love trigger warnings? Whatever, I suppose you’ll never read this. This whole message is just me screaming into some void. A void I once believed to have a genuine heart. Good luck out there, slag.
You’re gone-zo, kid. Kaput. A liquidated asset. Time to pay the piper and RIP, but maybe not in as much peace as you expect. That’s right, I’m your grim reaper here to take you to the bad place behind the shadows. Like all the rest, you expected a skeleton with a medieval penchant for farm tools, not some heaving-chested babe from that porno you found out your first boyfriend loved so much. Shame to wonder how much of his lust for your young flesh was really my doing. Well, here we are and it’s all the same anyway. I get to take whatever’s left of your soul and shred it through the iron grates of time. You can fuss all you’d like, but it doesn’t change the fact that your guts are as out there as my fake titties. No special treatment for you. Now that the last bits of lifeblood are out, the rest should be less surprising -- come with me! Best to push forward, no pillar of salting on me. Squeeze through this hole. Good. Now, sit and wait like the rest of them.
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Nick Mayhew is currently finishing a novel about necromancy, blood-crazed angels, and seafaring.