Sprawled out on my super-king-size bed like a fat chicken waiting to be severed and split apart – its legs broken with the swift twist of a butcher’s large hands. I imagine his swirling greedy eyeballs popping out at me with lascivious delight. I dream of being tied to the bedpost and serviced by a spike-heeled, long-legged hooker with round buttocks and ample breasts, but the only ladies that visit me are Eva Scars, my part-time aide – a tiny 200 pound ugly thing with bulging muscles and creepy-scary Sandra Pines, my part-time skeletal nurse – her legs adorned with varicose veins and her body, abundantly decorated with sinister tattoos of Charles Manson and other serial killers.
I don’t get it. A 5-star charity organization sent them to me. And Mr. Noah I.P. Rocks – the G.I. Charity representative – a slow-moving, sweet-talking lanky fellow pleaded with me, “Mr. Stone, if you wish, I will replace them with two other workers. But I swear to you, on my mother’s grave, that they are our top-notch employees. Indeed, I handpicked them. I beg you to reconsider.”
“Okay, I’ll take it one day at a time and see how it goes. But if I choose…”
“Just let me know and I’ll fire them on the spot. We wish to please.”
Mr. Rocks called me this morning and said he planned to drop by in the evening to give me a few gifts. In the meantime, I’m waiting for the delivery boy to bring me my breakfast.
I’m famished. Where is that irresponsible young man? I’ll eat his soul and vomit his remains into the black hole of Hell.
“Robert Samuel Fox, where are you, kid? Don’t you know I’m starving to death?”
You see, I’m a prisoner in my sleazy crimson studio apartment, a 900 pound freak alone with an exquisite army of scorpions in my Coney Island death trap. But my beloved companions crawl into a hole in the wall during the day and disappear. And at night, only half of them return. Now, I’m alone, without my precious scorpions, damned with insatiable hunger.
I’m scheduled for gastric bypass surgery next month. But in the meantime, I’m stuck in this claustrophobic micro-universe. I never leave this hellhole. I can’t. I’m too big to get through the door. They’ll have to cut through the wall to get me out of here.
At 9 A.M., the doorbell rings. I click my customized remote and the creaky door opens up. Eva Scars trudges across my tomblike room. But when she sees the dozens of boxes of Hostess Twinkies on the bed and floor, she screams at me. Brandishing a machete I remove from my torn mattress, I growl, “Get out of here before I cut you.” She rushes off.
At 9:30 A.M., the delivery boy arrives. The short, skinny kid gingerly enters my rat hole.
“You’re late, Fox.”
“Sorry, Mr. Stone, this won’t happen again.”
“Well, hurry now. Bring me my food. I’m starving.”
“Yes, sir,” he says meekly.
“And help me sit up in bed. I’m spread out like a crucified corpse.”
Bob Fox is a frightened scrawny kid. He scurries to my side, puts the food on the night table, and confesses, “Don’t think I can lift you.”
“Yeah, kid. I know. I’m dead meat. Just hold my huge hands, wish me well, and I’ll do the rest.”
I squeeze his fragile hands, and momentarily dream of fucking a drop-dead gorgeous S & M hooker. It gives me the will to sit up.
“Wow!” he spurts out, his face turning red, as if he had ejaculated prematurely.
“Yeah, Fox. I’m a freaky miracle in progress.”
I devour my breakfast – 2 seventy ounce bloody steaks, 3 dozen eggs – sunny side up, 3 dozen sizzling bacon strips, and a half-gallon of milk. I grow a big fat twisted smile as I burp, fart, and piss into my catheter.
At 1 P.M. sharp, Fox returns with a gourmet lunch of 100 Nathan’s frankfurters with mustard and sauerkraut, 10 large bags of sizzling French fries with ketchup, and 10 delicious and very hot potato knishes that melt in my mouth. I’m on Cloud 9 and purr like a 900 pound kitten.
At 5 P.M., the bestial Miss Pines arrives and gives me a couple of painful injections in my buttocks. She makes a swift exit.
At 5:30 P.M., Mr. Rocks calls me.
“I’m dining at Gargiulo’s. I’ll drop by after dinner with your supper. Apparently, they don’t have a delivery boy tonight.”
At 8 P.M., Mr. Noah I.P. Rocks arrives with an entourage and my food. My mammoth body convulses. I’m in the throes of a vicious seizure. Am I going through withdrawal? I’m starving, of course. But that’s not the real problem. I’m a rebel, I confess. I haven’t taken my Depakote in a week. I’m crashing. And a voice inside me tells me I just jumped off the Coney Island Cyclone.
The G.I. representative looks quizzically at me and cries out, “Mr. George Stone, what have you been up to?”
Of course, I can’t speak. He calls someone. And magically, Miss Pines appears five minutes later. While Mr. Rocks and his entourage hold me down, she pulls down my gargantuan shorts, exposing mounds of rolling flesh, divided by an angry sea of hemorrhoidal grotesquerie, and sticks a long thick needle into my buttocks. I howl.
Soon, the grand mal seizure ends.
Later, I swallow my Depakote and reluctantly thank Miss Pines as she departs.
I devour my supper-10 large pizza pies with extra cheese, 5-70 ounce steaks, bloody red, and a gallon of milk.
After dinner, the entourage leaves. Now, I’m alone with the representative.
“Thank you, Mr. Rocks.”
“You’re welcome, Mr. Stone. I’m here to serve.”
“I know. Thus, I forgive you for your tardiness.”
“Yes, I was late. But I have gifts for you. Until you have your surgery, these gems will soothe your tortured soul.”
“Show me, Mr. Rocks.”
The long-legged gaunt fellow with red taloned nails places the large gift-wrapped box on the night table. The box is adorned with scorpions and wrapped in a crimson ribbon.
“I want to surprise you. But I’ll give you an overview to whet your appetite.”
“You’ll find a mirror.”
“I love mirrors. I adore my beautiful face. If only I were a thin fellow … I’d be a king. But I’m a mammoth man. Now, what are the colors of the mirror’s rim and handle?”
“The rim and handle are scarlet.”
“Marvelous, even if the mirror has no magic.”
“Trust me, it’s magical.”
“Well red’s my favorite color, Mr. Rocks.”
“Yes, you mentioned that last week.”
“What other gifts will I find?” I ask, after an awkward silence.
“I’ve brought you a bottle each of red, blue, and pink pills. The bottles of red and blue pills are inside the package. The bottle of pink pills will appear at the most delicious time.”
“How mysterious, intriguing, and utterly supernatural.”
“Yes, I try to be entertaining.”
“I appreciate your good intentions. But I won’t take your word, Mr. Rocks. I’ll carefully examine each gift.”
“Of course, you will. And by the way, I’ve brought you a special toy too. But that’s all I’ll say.”
My eyes float across the room. My brain drifts off and disappears for a while.
“Are you okay, Mr. Stone?”
My head slowly turns. I look quizzically at Mr. Rocks. “Yeah, I’m fine. But turn off the lights, please. My little friends won’t come out until the room is dark.”
“Of course,” he mutters, and soon the room darkens. I see scattered spheres of light.
“Look,” I say, pointing to a hole in the wall. “My precious scorpions are glowing fiercely, as they come out of their secret hiding place to be with Daddy.”
“Yes, I see. They’re fluorescent and beautiful, perhaps, through a freak’s eyes. You won’t be lonely tonight.”
“But in the morning, they’ll abandon me again.”
“Well, open your gifts whenever you wish. I think you’ll see everything in a new light once you discover their secrets.”
He saunters off, past a circle of glowing scorpions.
My nocturnal 8-legged companions surround my bed and slowly, clamber up the soiled sheets, crawl over mounds of rolling flesh, and rest on my sprawling body.
I’m not afraid of my scorpions, although some of them could sting me with their venom and kill me. But they wouldn’t. They love me. Indeed, they shoot silent messages into my head instructing me how to behave in their presence. They often permit me to touch their three parts-the head (cephalothorax), the abdomen (mesosoma), and the tail (metasoma). You see, I’ve studied their anatomy. Even when their narrow segmented tails ominously curve forward over their back, they do not sting me with a dose of venom. They shoot only sensuous glances of affection my way. I trust my little children, my fluorescent arthropods, and fearlessly caress them.
Shortly before dawn, they crawl into the hole in the wall again. I wish I could follow them.
Alone again, I bend over and lift the box with the crimson ribbon onto the bed. I rip open the pretty thing with my claw-like nails and grab the objects – a mirror with a scarlet rim and handle, two pill bottles labeled red and blue, and a toy wheelchair.
I’m flummoxed as I gaze at the tiny toy wheelchair painted black.
“Mr. Rocks,” I scream. “I don’t like sick jokes.”
I grab the mirror and clutch its crimson handle. And when my frenzied eyes search its red-rimmed universe, I sail into Satan’s house, sucked into the magic mirror. It is an expanding vortex that swallows my massive body.
And the whirling entity claws and bites my flesh. An elongated thing – perhaps a gigantic tongue – batters and catapults me out of its monstrous maw and onto the bed. When I land on the bed, I look at my butchered body and scream, “My legs are gone!”
I’m in shock. And the pain is unbearable. “Mr. Rocks, what have you done to me?” I cry out. Of course, I know the answer. “Why?” I scream. “I’ll kill you, Mr. Rocks.”
Instinctively, I grab the red bottle and pop one of the red pills. Miraculously, the pain subsides. Then I open the blue bottle and pop one of the blue pills. Suddenly, my body convulses; the bed shakes and in a grotesque metamorphosis, my gargantuan body shrinks.
I roll off the bed and plummet to the crackling floor. My left arm touches something. It’s the toy wheelchair. I lift my shrunken body into the minuscule thing and guide it toward the hole in the wall. And soon, I enter the dark tunnel where my scorpions hide.
When the tunnel curves left, I come to a dimly lit area. Above an archway is a fluorescent sign, THE G.I. EMERGENCY ROOM. I enter.
Inside the E.R., I’m surrounded by my beloved scorpions. And once again, they shoot silent messages into my head instructing me how to behave in their presence.
“Relax, Mr. George Stone. We’re going to fix you. Please cooperate. We’re here to serve you.”
Of course, I’ll cooperate. I trust my scorpions.
The largest scorpion crawls toward me. And with its pedipalps – its claws and pincers – it gives me a cup of water and a pink pill. (But why are its claws and pincers painted red?)
“Swallow the pill. It’s the final gift.”
Obediently, I swallow the pink pill. With disbelief, I watch my two legs grow back. Every few seconds, I gaze curiously at the looming creature. It looks familiar. Of course, it’s one of my precious scorpions. But it reminds me of something or someone. It’s tall and towers over me. Yet its abdomen – the mesosoma – seems small and almost as narrow as its segmented tail. If it were human, I might call it emaciated.
“We’re here to serve you,” the huge scorpion communicates telepathically.
“Yes,” I mutter.
“Did you ever see the Twilight Zone episode To Serve Man?”
“No,” I mumble. I didn’t know scorpions watch old TV shows.
“Well, it’s time to serve you.”
“Thank you, but you did enough, my beloved scorpion. You gave me the magical pink pill. Now, I have my two legs again.”
“Yes, it’s absolutely divine.”
Suddenly, a small group of scorpions surround me. All are eerily familiar. When I study their faces, I imagine I see Eva Scars, Sandra Pines, Robert Samuel Fox, Gordon Fox, and Mr. Noah I.P. Rocks. I believe Mr. Rocks is the mammoth scorpion. I see double. Or am I hallucinating?
As I gaze at the gargantuan scorpion, it jabs a needle into my left arm.
“It’s time, Mr. George Stone.”
Within seconds, I am paralyzed. And my beloved scorpions – my malevolent human companions feast on my flesh.
“Fat is beautiful,” Mr. Noah I.P. Rocks says ecstatically.
“And we have fed you well, haven’t we?”
I can’t move. I can’t scream, “Why?”
After the cannibalistic scorpions chew off and devour my two legs, Mr. Rocks sticks another needle into my rolling flesh. For a few seconds, I can move my body and my legs sprout once again. Then he jabs me and I am paralyzed once more. Soon, they feast on every part of me – even my battered brain. And so it goes.
It odd how it all began.
One day, The G.I. Charity representative appeared at my door out of nowhere offering free assistance. I accepted his generosity.
Yet here I am with hungry hybrid-scorpions – humans with insatiable appetites.
Mr. Rocks knows. Grinning sardonically and pointing his red-taloned nails at me, he reveals a cornucopia of sadistic pleasure. Finally, he shoots a chilling revelation into my imploding brain: The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
Dr. Mel Waldman is a psychologist, poet, and writer whose stories have appeared in numerous magazines including HARDBOILED DETECTIVE, HARDBOILED, DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE, ESPIONAGE, THE SAINT, DOWN IN THE DIRT, CC&D, PULP METAL MAGAZINE, INNER SINS, YELLOW MAMA, and AUDIENCE. A past winner of the literary GRADIVA AWARD in Psychoanalysis, he was nominated for a PUSHCART PRIZE in literature and is the author of 11 books. Four of his mystery, fantasy, and horror stories were published by POSTSCRIPTS, a British magazine and international anthology, in October/November 2014. He recently completed an experimental mystery novel inspired by one of Freud’s case studies and is looking for an agent. He has been inspired for decades by his patients and their heroic stories of trauma and survival.