State Funded Zoo
Snakes and frogs gather outside the terrariums. They begin their day by poisoning each other, before mating with the plug sockets. The holes in the glass are smooth and perfectly round. We suspect they licked their way out. There is the unmistakeable sound of chimpanzees fucking a reluctant hyena. And in the distance, the thunderous whimper of tigers eating elephants alive. They do it slowly to keep the meat from spoiling. The herd has sacrificed enough tiger mouthfuls to make a whole other elephant. And yet it still walks, circling the enclosure like one big grey Alzheimer’s patient. The last female giraffe is a howler and a slut. All the hoofstock are displaying signs of frontal lobe disorder. No rhino has moved in weeks. Their heads are now birdcages. The one remaining red panda has lost its mind through prolonged insomnia. Now it’s the stray rabbits that eat him. And as of today, nine of the ten male rhesus monkeys have masturbated themselves inside out.
Being the whole lot all at once – the born thing, the to-be-dead thing, the now thing – is one thing making many uncomfortable strangers of itself. It’s a man in a house with every past part of him intact: the hair (stuffed into drawers), the dead skin (worn by the furniture and the sheets on his bed), the nails off his fingers and toes (looking like skulls made of moons trapped inside jars), and the thousands upon thousands of daily excretions he’s passed (now linings for the walls slowly closing him in). The end is too much. It’s the house falling through the crust of the earth. And coming out the other side.
Every morning I clear my underneath of women. And there’s usually at least one that hasn’t survived the night. They can be hard to get out. If they’ve managed to squeeze themselves up under the drive shaft or the transmission then it can take me an hour or more to clear. Most of them are wise to it, but I still replace the broken glass and the tacks when I’m done. I drove into this car park about two years ago. Reckoned it was still Detroit then; it isn’t anything now. Just what’s left of a few cars and what’s left of a few people living in them. Might pass for a community if anyone spoke to anyone. Everyone’s too busy fixing leaks and keeping their windscreens clean, too busy growing babies in the dead women. More like a kind of fetal vegetation than actual babies, but sometimes, most often the moment your teeth go in, they can approximate the noise of the real thing. At the root of this food supply is an unnatural act, but one that nature has since rewarded. One after another in strict relay, staggered so as to preclude any more than one depositor ever being present at the site, we creampie a trench pre-fashioned out of the swell in the female’s stomach. The crop arrives within the day and is deemed ripe when her eyes are seen to turn like coprolites in their sockets.
The scene is complete. No one fidgets. Tension keeps the place together with thin interlocking fibres. In the middle of the room the girl in white knickers is being suffocated with a towel. Her mother does it. Her face is a camera. It is not sexual perversion. The pregnant woman in the corner reads the patterns on a map. The bottoms of her legs have disintegrated through lack of use. Her cunt is shot in black and white. In slow-motion, upside down. When it sings the room will wipe itself clean. In the walkways, of which there are none, those stupefied to the point of collapse will collapse. The way the girl continues to die is not ambiguous.
Gary J. Shipley is the author of numerous books, including You With Your Memory Are Dead (Civil Coping Mechanisms, forthcoming), Gumma Homo (Blue Square), and Dreams of Amputation (Copeland Valley). His work has appeared recently in Fanzine, Sleepingfish, Vice, Hobart and others. More details can be found at Thek Prosthetics.