I decided to become a dragon slayer. Yes, because they don’t exist. Because I will stay jobless for the rest of my life. Because there is no school for it. Because I am... lazy.
I rolled in my bed and kept snoring, even though I was already largely awake. It provided me with the comfort of making me think I was still asleep and the excuse to stay in bed a bit longer. Like a few hours longer. Finally I had to give in to an overflowing bladder and a hurting... ahmm... phallus the rigidity of a dog’s plastic bone, and dragged my itching ass to the bathroom for a thoroughly cleansing session.
I was in no hurry. No one responded my newspaper add for three years in a row now, and I hoped no one ever would. I kept renewing it just for the sake of the unemployment money it helped me get. The fat, beautiful, married lady at the unemployment office was in love with me, and she kept alive the mythos that I was looking for a job; she called it in the government forms “reptile hunter” which was fine with me. Once she proposed to me to catch some reptiles together, winking at me with a pound heavy eyelash, but shudderingly accepted a rain check when I told her that we would have to use a live mouse as bait. Yeah, sneaky me. Not that I would have minded, she was beautiful like a Madonna, but her hubby was into karate. And I was into flabby.
I graduated with honors the morning’s bathroom session, put on a pair of boxers printed with red apples and went to check on my ant. Yes, ant not aunt. I may have been theoretically a dragon slayer but I couldn’t hurt an ant, literarily so. Luckily, there were not many ants in the city, or I would have needed wings to move around. This one happened in my apartment out of wherever, and before I could have paid attention my foot almost crushed it. I saw it trying to run away, dragging one foot behind, so I collected it on a sheet of paper, put it inside a box with lumps of sugar around it, and started callings vets. Not many of them agreed to talk to me, some rudely so, some (too) gently so... I decided finally to take matters in my own hands. I bought a watchmaker’s eye-glass, some thin silk thread, a few slim tweezers and some other stuff, and did the operation myself.
The poor thing was probably screaming its head off, even though I got it drowsy with chloroform vapors; luckily, I couldn’t hear anything. I succeeded to fix the damaged leg tying it to a thin piece of aluminum wire and after it woke up completely, it happily limped around the clumps of sugar. Now it was several days after I had removed the tiny splint, and my “patient” showed every sign of a healthy recovery, shuttling between the sugar clumps, fat and content. I lowered slowly the jar, thus allowing the ant to get out. It seemed undecided at first, then finally picked in its fangs a tiny crystal and rushed away. I hoped it was not going to bring its entire clan over for a thanks visit to my apartment.
I was just about to turn on my computer, when the phone rang. No, it couldn’t have been the ant’s mother calling me, it was too early for a thanks speech - and I laughed heartily at my own joke. Then I picked up the phone, expecting either an advertising for a trip to the Bahamas for a symbolic one grand per night, flight excluded, or a giggle from Maria, the unemployment lady, with one or another outrageous proposition. These were the only two types of phone calls I received in the last one year. I did not expect the crystalline voice of a child, a female child, in my ear.
“Hello, is it the dragon slayer?” I could not answer, not with a mouth hanging open all the way from my upper maxilla down to the unwashed floor. “Hello, is it the dragon slayer home place?” the voiced peeped again, and my lower maxilla was still dragging its legs (manner of speaking) on the floor, trying hard to reach to its official place anew. The phone clicked shut.
“Hello, hello...” I finally translated my intentions into sounds, but the line was already dead.
After I finished cursing my entire genealogical line from those unborn and unknown yet to those dead long ago and which I didn’t know either, I went over to Maria to cry my sorrow on her shoulder. There was a lot of shoulder there to comfort me, and I needed both her ear (a lot of it too) and her never ending insinuations. This, in order to calm my suddenly rattled nerves. True, I was lazy, but in three years of laziness even this started wearing thin, and I had to admit to myself, shamefully, that a bit of action would have suited me quite well. If only to laugh my head off at the idiot calling for my services, or to lose some of my flabby layers, or... no, I was lying to myself. There was something haunting in that voice that tickled my nerve ends from eternal mush to sudden intense steel. Hey, I didn’t even know I possessed such levels of intensity in my mind.
Maria was, of course, delighted.
“Jonny...” (that was me) “Carl...” (that was the mountain who was her husband) “...is gone for the week with his class. They are set to chop a young forest with their bare hands...” giggle, “and I feel so lonely...” with the o of the so sounding like it included the entire number of o-letters ever used in English literature, translations included. She finally settled for lunch, proposing that she pays for it. She knew that a three months’ worth of unemployment income, my side, would not have sufficed for what she called one lunch. I munched absent mindedly my pizza slice while she kept ordering and ordering... I told her about the strange phone call, and she asked me to keep repeating it, munching all the time yet never reducing her attention for one moment. God, she was beautiful. God, she was fat. And God, she was so attentive... She made me try to mimic the voice on several octaves (some other customers looked at me strangely), wrote the message text in its two variations on a napkin and tried to tear the words, then the letters and create anagrams from them, she was actually taking it more seriously than I was. She even forgot about her so loneliness. “It’s real,” she concluded, watching me as intensely as she was munching.
“You think so?” I needed convincing, even though I reached the same conclusion myself. Actually I couldn’t use the word conclusion since there was nothing to conclude. I knew it.
“I know so.” Yes, so did I. “And the same person, woman, child or eunuch, will call tomorrow again, same time.” Hey, that bit surprised me.
“What makes you think so?”
“My brains. It’s not all fat inside there, you know.”
We parted, not without a hug and a kiss, and she made me swear on the same earlier mentioned genealogy that next day, after “it” calls, I would immediately phone her and tell her all about it, this time making sure that my mouth was in working order. I watched her depart, the asphalt quaking slightly in her wake, and for a few minutes hating Carl - hell, if not for him I would have fallen in love with this woman. Then I returned home, let The Rolling Stones roll my mind into knots of deafening pleasure, and fell asleep with the noise of neighbors pounding on my wall with heavy rubber hammers blissfully lulling me to sleep.
I woke with a start, 7am, something that didn’t happen to me for three years in a row now. I looked frightened at the clock, afraid I might have lost that telephone call I was waiting for. Not that the “Get Out of my Cloud” my phone ring was set to, would have left any window unbroken in the street. I crawled to the device, changed the ring tone to something more sedate in tune and decibels, and finished my wake-up ceremony once again. Only this time it took me a split of the time it usually did. Then I dressed, stepped carefully over the long throng of ants carrying my sugar away from the kitchen, pulled a chair in front of the phone, and sat down glaring at it. If Maria was right, I had a bit longer than a three hours wait. So I just sat down and waited. At the same minute it did the day before, it rang. I snatched the receiver from the cradle and crammed it against my ear.
“Hello,” I said, my voice almost crystalline thin as well.
“Hello, is it the dragon slayer?’ the girlish voice asked again, its crystal thousands of times clearer than mine.
“Yes, I am,” I answered. Quiet. There was no sound hitting my ear for the whole of a minute.
“Meet me, please?”
Two hours later I was seated on a bench in the park, close to the children playing area. A few mothers eyed me strangely, doubtlessly taking me for the ordinary pervert breed to be stoned to death at sight, with no intervening trial. I couldn’t blame them, and I guessed they were about to get in the act of wish-to-action when a ten year (give or take a few seconds) old girl saved me. She sat next to me and took my hand, watching straight ahead, her feet dangling from the bench. Her hand was soft, so soft that when I pressed it slightly I could feel almost no bones.
“I have no bones. I am made of what you would call liquid glass. I am a living creature, though. Can you save us?” The voice unmistakably the voice on the phone, the handhold unmistakably demanding attention, my instincts calling upon me to burst into laughter, with Maria’s seriousness hanging heavily on my mind. The girl turned her head to look at me. I looked at her - thin, blonde, nicely dressed, her eyes a light blue... hell and damnation, I suddenly called upon my entire genealogy once again as her irises split open for a moment and tiny flames seemed to play behind them before they closed again. “I am real,” she said. “We are real.” Yes she was, I had no doubt she was, or they were, whoever they were. “Will you come with me? My name is Kelly.”
I put my spare helmet on her head, she looked like a monster with an overgrown head, I made her mount on the back seat and just to make sure she wouldn’t fly off, I removed my trousers’ belt and used it to tie her to me. You should have seen those mothers’ eyes when I took off the belt... My motorbike started after a few dry coughs, leaving a bluish trail of stink behind me. At least they will be able to trace my rests once the monsters finished eating me, I consoled myself, following the whispered directions of the undersized monster girl behind me. It wasn’t really clear to me why I decided, just like that, to follow this supposed to be call for help. After all I had no professional training, no professional history, no professional pride... this was no profession at all. Maybe it would have been safer to have called it Moonbeam Slayer? I wondered if I followed the suicidal approach because of Maria’s gut feeling. Oh, Maria, will I see your gigantic bosom ever again? Oops, I never actually ever saw it before.
“We are getting near,” whispered the one called Kelly, keeping me turning in a geometrical nightmare of big roads, then small roads, then smaller roads, then no roads as we approached an area in desperate wait for demolition with no takers for many years already. Even homeless junkies did not venture that far in the city, not for being afraid but for being so far from the “action”.
“How did you get to my place?” I shouted backwards against the wind. For whatever reason, she could whisper and I had to shout.
“Crt took me in his belly.” Sure, that explained everything. A guy with no vowels in his name took a girl with no bones in her body inside his belly and dumped her in the garden, with all those hawk mothers around not reaching for their howitzers. Sure... I started slowing down as per Kelly’s instructions, and finally stopped in front of one of those buildings... well, one of those buildings the same like all the other buildings in the area. “Please, take you bike inside.”
I followed her inside a dark opening, then turned several corners until she told me that I could leave the bike behind and started down a dilapidated staircase. I followed on foot, thinking about the will I never wrote and never will. Maria will kill me if I don’t return, I thought as Kelly finally stopped her descent and pushed open a door. I followed close behind her, waited for the door to click shut and only then dared look around me.
Kelly went to join them, they were all aligned by height, and if it was also by age then there probably was no interruption in the procreation process that their mother must have gone through. There were ten of them.
“I am Kelly,” said Kelly, as if this was the official time for her to present herself. “I am “Kitty,” said the next one. “Kammy,” said the following. For whatever reason, each time they said their name, their irises would open shortly, uncovering those tiny flames I saw earlier in Kelly’s eyes. “Karry...” “Kimmy...” “Konny...” “Kuppy...” “Krokodilly...” “...the rebel in the family, it is really Killy,” Kelly interrupted the flow, “Kassy...” “Kukky.” That was that, the presentations were done. They all eyed me intensely, as if waiting for something to happen.
“Jonny,” I finally said, and this seemed to have broken the ice as they all advanced together towards me and hugged me as if I was the one that scored the winning goal in the Mundial. No, not like that, more like... like... like I was their mother? “And Crt?” I dared ask, hoping I made the correct sound, so that they could understand me.
“You can call me Killy,” said the one who presented herself as Krokodilly, disentangling herself from the group and moving towards the corner of the room. It gave me some time to look around, though I could not see any difference between this room and any living room on Earth... ahmm... I mean... elsewhere on Earth. She picked up a big basket from the floor and brought it towards me, laying it in my hands. Then she joined in the hugging once more. I held the basket tightly, looking everywhere except inside it and then, finally, lowered my gaze, looking at “it” looking up at me.
It. I tried to define it, with no hysterics. Being an absolute animal lover, I had no problem with the hysteria. I had, though, problems with the definition. It looked like a chameleon, except that it had three heads, two big on the sides and one smaller in the middle, a tail curled into a tiny spiral, eight legs that I could identify, though maybe there were more, low and rounded dorsal fins and a huge mouth that seemed to run all the way back to the middle of its body. And only after I had the time to accustom my sight to the view, it rolled on its side and I almost screamed. Between the claws, and tight against its belly it held a shape, a tiny shape which seemed to be suckling from a protrusion on the chameleon’s belly, a shape that was nothing else than a tiny, egg size, miniature, accurate version of the rest of the girls. It was a girl.
“I am Crt,” said the chameleon thing, and for unclear reasons I found his name stranger than the fact that he was talking to me. “And this is Katty,” he continued. “Katty is dying. Save us?”
The girls swarmed all over me and all around me, offering me crisps, flowers, fruits. They kept touching me and kissing me, making me feel for the first time in my life a pop idol. It wasn’t entirely unpleasant, though the thousand questions in my mind were blurring the pleasure.
“We originate from Venus,” said Kelly, feeling it was time to put some order in the equation. Yes, why not, boneless kids, talking chameleons... why not Venus? “We are a non-organic, silicon based life form, close to what you call glass. Our internal temperature is very high and we are basically amorphous. We can, however, shape ourselves quite quickly and quite easily into whatever takes our fancy or need, inclusive colors. Kind of what you would call a chameleon. What you see, even the clothes, is actually part of us. We adapted to the needs of living here.”
“And your parents?” I asked, following my Terranean line of thought.
Kelly looked at me, suddenly smiling. She clearly understood my inherent limitations, trying to validate a form of life that was most probably completely alien to me.
“In your terms - I am Kitty’s mother. Kitty is Kammy’s mother, Kammy is Karry’s mother and so on.”
“And father?” I hoped she was not going to name Crt as the paternal partner in all this hocus pocus.
“We do not have that, which you would call copulation.” She did not blush but I did. “We multiply by splitting, in our amorphous form. Each of us can do it once, and once only. We, here, are a family unit. Our family units have to grow to about twenty individuals, before the last comer can start a line of its own.”
“And what are you doing on Earth?” I asked, accepting it all as if it was common knowledge and didn’t need any additional explanations.
“We are spread all over the solar system, there are several thousands family units on Earth, and hundreds of thousands spread over the solar system, almost the same number as back on Venus. Our main nutrient is silica based and there is just not enough of it back home. So we traveled to those places where there is a sufficient supply of it, until we grow into sufficient units; then many return to our planet. Each of us, let’s call it travelers, adapted to the local planet’s conditions. We adapted to Earth. I am here now more than one hundred years.”
If I was a scientist, I would have probably drooled myself to death and then orgasmed myself back to life with all this information, provided that I believed it. I saw no reason not to believe, yet - I was no big brain, really. All I wanted in life was to lie in bed all day long and dream about Maria underneath me. Strange, I never dreamt of her above me... was it my subconscious trying to protect me from certain death?...
“You smile,” I heard Kelly saying. “Do you believe me?” I snapped from my daydream and back into the middle of the fairies’ congregation.
“I do,” I said, meaning it. “I should probably ask a million questions but I am not intelligent enough to understand the answers, so I will not. I would like, though, to ask three. The first is Crt. The second is Katty. The third is Jonny.” Wow, I was impressed with myself being so succinct and articulate in my short elocution.
“I will answer them,” Kelly smiled back, “but first we must feed ourselves. This will also, maybe, be part of the answer. You can finish all the crisps meanwhile, we cannot touch them, they are here just for you.”
They all left me and aligned more or less in a straight line in front of me. Kelly was the first to start transforming, her outer lines softening, losing their definitions as she started diminishing in size until she lost any kind of defining features and ended in a bead sized blob there, where a beautiful girl was standing earlier on. The next one to follow the same process was Kitty, ending in a blob slightly larger with the first blob immersing itself into the second. The following one was Kammy...
I watched, fascinated, forgetting even the crisps which I started attacking hungrily moments earlier. When the last one, Kukky, finished absorbing all the others, Crt approached the single blob and let it immerse itself in the blob that was Katty and which was still hanging to what I defined as Crt’s chest. And then silence and nothing else, for two interminable hours.
I was woken-up by the noise that my ears started picking through my following Maria dream, this one sweeter that the previous but not for sharing with any readers. The local scene had reached already the stage of Karry getting almost to her previous size and shape, and I waited for everybody to turn pseudo-human again before daring to swallow my saliva. In a humanly uncontrollable human impulse I got up and kissed each of them on their cheek, Katty included. The heat in those cheeks was certainly not human, though the blush was human indeed.
Kelly came to sit on my lap, she didn’t weigh more than a sack of dry leaves. Kitty came to sit on Kelly’s lap, Kammy on Kitty’s lap... well, you know the drill by now. Only Crt stayed all by himself, clutching at Katty as if his life depended on her. Maybe it did.
“Crt is our symbiont. He is Venerian as well, however he is an organic life form, one of the very few that succeed living in the harsh conditions on the surface of Venus. He turns the basic ingredients needed by us into nourishment accepted by us. We provide him with the necessary protection from the Venutian atmosphere. You watch here millions of years of evolution, and we don’t have more accurate answers even for ourselves. It is due to him that we can travel through space. You see - Crt can dematerialize himself and anything else in his close proximity and rematerialize elsewhere as needed.”
Another of those “but of course” - if Earthian chameleons could change their skin color at wish, why shouldn’t their Venerian cousins be able to de slash re-materialize at will. Elementary, dear Watson. Beam me up, Scotty. I started laughing loudly, knowing that I was living here an adventure anyone else except for me would have given the rest of his or her life to have lived. And yet it fell into my lap. I still hoped to hear the answer to the “why?” ramming the walls in my brain.
“Could he de, and then re-materialize me in on Venus?” I dared ask, smiling.
“Only small parts of you,” she laughed, you are too big for him,” and she tapped lightly the soft protuberance of my belly. She made the insult worthwhile by following with a light kiss on my lips. “Katty,” her voice took a somber tone and she started trembling slightly, “was contaminated with a sugar derivative, several months ago when we were located in another site. Luckily for us, she filtered it all before it reached us, however she is doomed, she is wholly covered by the stuff and we cannot remove it. If she dies - we all die.” She started crying, and if it was a simulation of a little girl crying or it was her real amorphous self using her human disguise to show its own emotions, it broke my heart.
“And Jonny?” I asked, hoping that whatever she was going to say would be doable and within reach of my limitations. Why the hell didn’t they approach an Arab Sheikh, or Bill Gates, or?...
“Kroko here...” and Killy smiled, delighted, “heard children talking about someone who put an advertisement in the newspapers, offering a Dragon’s Lair. We decided that only a person ready to take in a Dragon, would be ready to take in also some helpless aliens and help them out of their predicament. Without the danger of being exposed to the rest of the world, and ensuing certain death at hands of scientists and military.” Oh, goodness, the misinterpretation... “I found the ad. I saw the real text,” she said. Her eyes were a mix of pleading, of respect, of expectation. “We almost asked Crt to materialize us in the heart of the sun. Then Kroko, who for whatever reason took a liking to you and was shuttling around you...” hell, I never even paid attention... “...heard you talking to your girlfriend, Maria, telling her about the way that you saved an ant.” She stopped, her eyes brimming, mine too and I was not going to tell her that Maria was not my girlfriend but rather my secret fantasy. “We decided that a human that was going to such pains to save an ant, will go to the same pains, or even more, to save an alien intelligence. You are our hope, the first and the last. Help us?”
Her tears were flowing freely now, falling on the back of my hand and turning it a forest of blisters. In her distress she probably forgot to control that specific temperature there.
“Did you try to immerse her in water? Sugar is heavily hygroscopic, and it melts easily.”
“We tried, but we are no scientists. This matter is a sugar derivative, not sugar, it does not melt in water.” Eleven pairs of eyes were looking up or down at human me, Katty excluded, Crt included, all with the same level of distress, fear, hope... one more pair and I would have felt like Jesus surrounded by his adoring apostles, expecting nothing less than a miraculous therapy, panacea, a miraculous... miracle. And all I was, was a lazy Dragon Slayer who did not believe in dragons. I started crying myself.
“Okay,” I said finally, thankful for the hanky handed me by Killy, “you roll yourself into your ball sizes and into Crt’s belly and let him materialize with all of you at my place. I will join you on my bike. Don’t answer the phone, don’t turn on the TV, don’t answer the door bell, just wait for me, okay?”
Kelly insisted riding with me, probably on purpose pressing her small, perfectly formed breasts, against my back. I wished that bike would have been any faster.
When I reached home it was already dark. I locked my bike against the lamp pole, took Kelly by the hand and mounted the stairs to the entrance, then rode the elevator in silence to my floor.
She was there, sitting on the floor next to the door, her hair a mess, her make-up a disaster, her mouth a lesson in agony, getting even worse so when she saw me coming out of the elevator holding Kelly’s hand. She made several failing attempts to get on her feet, and finally with the joint efforts of all three of us she succeeded to stand up. Her face tried all possible grimaces, moving from indignation to pain to fury to pain again, undecided what to say and mumbling a series of erratic sentences...
“...the elevator wouldn’t carry me up... Carl cheats on me... my back hurts...” and suddenly, letting only and pure fury take over, she slapped me with a hand that could have made a nick in that lamp pole downstairs. Luckily I succeeded to get out of the way, with just her fingernails catching my cheek and leaving there a triple trace deep enough to reach my cheek bone. I felt blood starting to flow almost immediately. “You child rapist,” she screamed, yet before she had a chance to get a neighbor wondering which TV program it was, I slapped her back with a palm that did make impact. Then I crushed her mouth with mine biting savagely into the fleshy lips, my right hand groping her groin like a crab’s clam and squeezing hard. I didn’t know what she cursed or yelled or cried, but once we were finished with that desperate kiss, we separated, panting, and remembered that there was a child... well, kind of, looking at us.
“Kelly,” I panted my way into words, “this is Maria, my... girlfriend. Maria, this is Kelly. Kelly is my... my...”
“...daughter,” Kelly helped me out, with a smile the size of one of Maria’s rings, and she hugged my waist. “Jonny, the one to give me life, Jonny, my dad. Isn’t it, daddy?” and she kissed my bleeding lips as well.
“Oh, God, you have a daughter...” Maria was about to faint, and I had to prevent it, there was no way I could have lifted her if she did.
“Actually... I have ten more. And a chameleon,” I added, hastily opening the door. If Maria was to faint, then at least inside. The door clicked shut behind us and everyone behind it just rushed towards me in a sea of smiles, screams and embraces. Maria watched Crt climbing atop my head, made a weak sobbing sound, and slid to the floor. Mercifully, she finally allowed herself the bliss of faint.
I told her the story of the day three times in a row. She had a blue stain half the size of Antarctica on her left full-Antarctica sized buttock, and she let my loving hands touch it and smear it with a variety of creams. I could hardly keep her from pulling her knickers down, as she kept insisting that I should compare the two halves for correct damage assessment. The girls around us kept snickering and sending remarks unfit for their looks, though perfectly fitting their chronological age. For creatures with no sex life, they seemed to be quite versed and interested in the ways of humans.
Finally, middle of my third telling she interrupted me, laying a hand - surprisingly light, on my thigh.
“Carl has a lover. The bastard kept sneaking behind my back, claiming he was going to cut down forests with his bare hands while actually all he was doing all the time was ride the fu...” she looked again around, “ are you sure they are not as old as they look?” she asked for the tenth time. She did not wait for my answer, picking up at the point she interrupted herself earlier on. “...cking bitch. For a whole year now. No wonder he had nothing to share with me in bed.” She was crying for real, and my heart was breaking at a misery sized for the body - huge. Damn, I was really in love with her, and if only... “I left him. I asked for a divorce.”
“What?” The tremolo in my voice was accurately synchronized with the one in my heart. “And he accepted?”
“He had no choice. I threatened that if he does not accept I will get up middle of the night and sit on his head.”
“Maria, that would be murder.”
“I know. I meant it. He knew it and accepted it. Though he kept trying to persuade me to stay. I wonder why. I think the only one in the whole world who loves me is you.” I swallowed hard. I did not expect her to be aware of my sentiments, especially with me rejecting all her advances and insinuations. I did not mention that she wasn’t any better than her husband, at least in her mind’s intentions with my regard. “Jonny, please, make love to me.”
She was never before so direct, so in need, so resolute. We were in the middle of an alien crisis and all Maria could think of was my body. Truth being said - so was I. I looked around, embarrassed, my mouth immobilized in discomfort.
“Go, we still have time,” said Kelly, smiling knowingly. I wondered what was it she knew, actually. “We’ll still be here. Who knows, maybe a moment of exploding passion will bring with it a feeling of relaxation and a resulting moment of lucidity. I am serious, go. Lock the door behind you...” and she winked, pushing us into the bedroom one after the other, Maria getting in sideways. Maria hesitated a moment on the threshold, then bent hurriedly towards Kelly kissing her on the cheek, and immediately slammed the door shut.
My dream come true. I fitted a few bricks under the bed frame (ha, ha, sneaky me kept them at hand for a full year now, just in case...) and at that particular moment in time I shamelessly didn’t give a damn about, Carl, aliens, dragons, ants... ants?... as Maria practically ripped the clothes off my body, ripped them off her body as well, and as I was ecstatically losing my way in between her monster breasts she practically lifted me off my feet and dropped on the bed with me on top of her. There was a terrible cracking sound... oh, no... oh, yes... the bricks did their designated job as I did mine, seven times during that one night. She might have been insatiable, I was unstoppable, and morning found us waking up face to face, her side of the bed three inches lower than mine, her nakedness the beauty of that fat Madonna posing for that talented Da Vinci. We went for it one more time, just for the sake of it, and I was just pulling my shorts up when I heard a loud banging on the apartment’s door. It could not have been the postman and I was not a milk drinker. Maybe the neighbor underneath?
I checked carefully the blue stain on Maria’s buttock, enjoying her moans rather than the view (it was getting black), and as the banging did not seem to go away I decided to check also on who was worrying about my well being. I stepped in the living room, all the girls were gathered on the sofa looking at the door with apprehension. I winked at them and approached the door, Kelly getting up and stepping next to me. I opened the door widely, wishing a second later that I didn’t.
A wild looking Carl pushed his way inside, pointing his finger at me, then catching sight of the many pairs of eyes in the room checked his advance, coming to a sudden stop.
“What is that?” he asked, not really comprehending.
“My daughters,” I said defiantly, and it was at this very unfortunate moment that Maria decided to come out of the bedroom, enveloped like a Roman senator in a creased bed sheet, eyes puffed with sleep and hair befitting a scarecrow. Carl’s eyes were about to pop out of his head.
“And I am their mother,” she decided to add to the poor man’s confusion, which she should not have had done. Confused he might have been, but karate conditioned he was as well.
“You Bluebeard communist,” he hissed. I didn’t quite get what the red had to do with the blue, and neither was given the opportunity to point out the incongruence since his fist shot from his shoulder towards my nose, clearly intended to redesign me altogether.
Something moved in between the two points of contact, Kelly’s head, and the crunch of broken bones was not hers, if to judge by the following low note bellow. There was still some fight left in Carl as his right foot moved in a sweeping arc towards my neck, meeting the same head with the same consequences. He limped all the way back to the elevator, cursing my genealogy in both German and Italian, and for once they were safe since they understood only Polish. I obliged with pushing the elevator button for him, and waited until the doors closed, before screaming back into my apartment. It was nagging at the back of my mind all the night, all through the numerous orgasms, I even missed one because of this nagging cloud, and suddenly it all came back to me. Carl was forgotten already.
“Ants,” I screamed, “ants, ants, ants...” and everybody , Crt included, gathered behind the immensity of Maria’s back, looking for the safety of immeasurable flesh in face of the danger of immeasurable madness.
It took me some time, not too long to persuade them, and finally persuading even a most reluctant Crt to part with his most precious treasure and entrust Katty in my trembling hands. The ants’ parade in my kitchen was at the same level as last I’ve seen them. I put a thick towel alongside the never stopping never tiring flow, then slowly placed Katty on the towel, waiting for the miracle to happen. A few ants wandered randomly, ant way, above the towel, touching the quiet form on it, then returned to the main stream, seemingly disinterested. Then, suddenly, like a river that finds a preferable bed for its waters and throws itself mud and stones and soul into it - the black swarm was all over the minuscule girl.
We waited patiently for two whole days, taking turns at the watch, not really sleeping, not really talking. At the end of the second day the flood turned trickle and inside a few more hours it died altogether. The baby was hungry, everybody was. Crt advanced and let the baby cling to his belly and “nipple”, the other girls never letting their eyes wander away from him even for seconds. Finally, there were tears in his eyes. Do chameleons really cry?
“She is clean,” he said, sending a three foot long tongue and touching my cheek. I guess it was a kiss. The girls, Maria included, started screaming and jumping, and I had to persuade Maria that she should stop, since my insurance did not covered sinking floors. We watched together the “ceremony” of feeding that the girls went through, and in the intimate time slot it provided us with, we went for some more of that same healthy sex we were both famished for.
Maria’s divorce came through six months later. We married the following month. I almost fainted when, two months after the ceremony, she asked me to take her to the hospital. She calmed my worries, telling me that she was ok, it was a usual female “thing”. When they called me in a few hours later to a huge bundle which was Maria and a tiny bundle that was supposed to be my natural daughter - you couldn’t blame me for fainting right away. I didn’t even know that she was pregnant.
Inside a year we adopted the eleven girls, through the officious channels that Maria was so very versed in, and I added one line to my add in the newspaper: “references available upon request.” Crt took to the habit of sleeping between us, all the time fighting for the place with the human baby. From time to time he disappeared on his “food collecting errands”, keeping us tense every time from disappearance to re-appearance. After all - he was providing for eighty percent of the family.
Kelly just told us that our family was about to become one member larger. And just when we thought that we couldn’t have been any happier. We added one more add in the newspaper, this one looking for a larger apartment. There was this fierce, constructive competition in the family - who would come first, the new Venerian or Maria’s second.