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Chapter 35 - Sheila





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Cardiac defibrillators set above 450 joules will leave contact burns. The paddles can scorch a patient’s chest. Any metal jewelry can arc, blazing hot for an instant. Earrings or necklaces. On Branch Bacardi’s sagging pecs, the two round red welts from the paddles could be cartoon nipples. Shiny new aureolas scarred into his chest. Ms. Wright’s heart-shaped locket so hot it’s burned into her chest. Branded Ms. Wright with a tiny heart. Both Bacardi’s new nipples and Ms. Wright’s heart still smoking. The locket’s sprung open, the gold turned black, the baby picture, inside, curled and charred in a puff of smoke.

That picture of newborn baby me—a flash, a flame, and gone—burned to ash.
Staring down at Branch Bacardi, one paramedic wad-wanker says, “Good thing, or there’s no way we’d get a boner that big zipped inside any body bag.”
“Forget that,” says the other paramedic pud-puller. “That monster wouldn’t fit inside a closed casket.”
The defibrillator melted Bacardi and Ms. Wright into a human X. Joined at the hips. Their flesh married in hate, burned together deeper than any wedding could leave them. Conjoined. Cauterized.
But, no . . . they didn’t die. Branch and Cassie. Almost, but not quite. The stench of scorched pussy and balls comes from the kilowatt jolt that almost killed Ms. Wright—but brought Branch Bacardi back to life. The shock that fused their genitals together. Sealed together.
True fact.
The paramedics just stare, shaking their heads over the problem of how to lift two unconscious bodies, Siamese twins bound by their groins, and haul them to the hospital. Seared together by a few layers of cooked skin, or a muscle spasm, or their soft parts baked into a shared meatloaf.
The smell of sweat and ozone and fried hamburger.
It’s then I said it: Branch Bacardi and Cassie Wright are my father and mother. Are my parents. I’m their child.
True fact. Tapping myself on the chest, I tell the paramedics, “My name is Zelda Zonk.”
But nobody looks up from the two naked bodies, both of them moaning, their heads lolling slack on their necks. Their eyes stay closed. Steam spiraling up from their fused flesh. Their new branding-iron nipples and heart.
With my fingers straight and held tight together, I raise one hand, the way you would for the Pledge of Allegiance in school, for any promise to be sworn in court, and I give a little wave for the paramedics to look. With my other hand, I tap my chest. Tapping where my own heart’s supposed to be.
For an instant, everything feels so important. Almost real.
And I say it again. My secret name. Raising my hand just a tiny bit higher, so someone might finally look and see me.

 

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