Nikola Zaturoski NUMB
(c) 2011 Nikola Zaturoski. All rights reserved.
Ric and John,
My daydream was cut short by a tiny man on the
other side of the counter. He waved his hand in front of my
face until my eyes locked with his.
"Wimsley, whats up?" I asked, glaring into his
painted glass eye. Wimsley tightened his eyelid around the
white orb. The watery surface reflected the light hovering
Wimsley grunted as we entered a staring contest. His
benevolent attitude towards me had dwindled over the
years. Wimsley longed for a confrontation with me after all
the free drinks his coworker passed to me. "Well, drink up,"
he muttered. "I didnt poison it this time."
"The glass is dirty," I blinked and turned away,
forfeiting the match. I never enjoyed locking eyes, it made
me feel dirty. I sighed and stuck my custom-made mask
back onto my head, carefully tucking in my ears.
"You're a picky little bitch, aren't you?"
I ignored his insult. "I don't feel like drinking, I
guess." I took the wallet out of my jacket and paid this time.
Wimsley gave me a strange look as I got up and walked
out into the rain.
"Oh, right!" Wimsley wanted to give it one last shot. "All
jackasses are passive-aggressive! I get it!" His laughing
echoed as I slammed the door with a hidden smirk on my
I'm used to getting teased because of my mutated
appearance. While I am mostly human, it is hard to ignore
my donkey attributes. My ears, hooves, tail and mane are
not polite to the eyes. The metallic miasma that appeared
twenty years ago affected my birth greatly. I may not be the
only mutant, but I can honestly say I would much rather live
amongst the ones that heckle me than those insane
activists. I exhaled and walked on.
The rain is beautiful. It is as soothing as a llamas
hum, but can be very dangerous depending on the vicious
metal in the air. If the droplets collect enough of the
particles, it can pierce skin or even kill. If it rains heavy, it
showers thousands of needles that pour forth from pin-
cushion clouds and crash into the cracked tar streets,
creating a gentle sound of destruction. When it snows,
grenades fall from the sky. No grenades or needles today,
though, it was a gentle drizzle for now.
The smell of metal lingered in my mask as I turned
the street corner. It was only four more blocks; but the
headache made it feel like a mile. Drinking was out of the
question; some squirts of morphine and a warm shower
sounded like a pleasant weekend night. By the third block I
was unbuttoning my blazer, my lack of patience disturbed
I leaped inside the apartment and began to strip.
The heavy, wet clothes clung on to me with incredible
tenacity. Once I chucked the heavy mound of cotton into a
nearby basket, I began the search. I explored my entire loft
and found nothing. The vein on the side of my temple was
pulsating with an angry vigor. I whimpered for a solid
minute until I found it where it always was- inside my jacket
pocket. I shrugged at the soggy bag of clear, brown pills.
Without thinking I forced three tablets through my shivering
lips and chewed until the inside of my mouth was coated
with bland delight. I was hoping to inject it, but my quivering
hands made it far too risky. My breathing slowed down.
The pulse inside my head abated. When it kicked in I felt
every ounce of blood tingling underneath my skin like a
parade of centipedes. The magical bugs crawled within my
fingertips and circulated in my brain, massaging my eyes. I
shut them and turned my nose to the ceiling, the furry tip of
my tail tickling my lower back. I passionately danced
towards my bathroom. The sound of running water in the
shower forced me to dance. I jumped into the white cubicle
and raised my head to the fountain of scalding hot water. I
smiled as my face melted off my skull. A few hours passed
until 8 o'clock when I realized I had missed several phone
calls from a few friends wondering if I was dead. By a few
friends I mean less than two.
I took another one of my magic pills to amplify the
effect. The television was on, but I paid no attention to it.
Before I could turn it off, my phone rang again and I
answered it unsteadily. On the other line was John Strub.
John is tall, intelligent, and completely off his rocker. John
took after his insane uncle who taught him "everything he
knew". After the untimely "death" of his uncle, Bill Strub,
John developed an irrational hatred towards, well,
everything. However, there was something to admire about
John- it definitely wasn't his lack of sanity. He lived without
regrets, unlike myself, who self-pities far too often. John
and I had a wondrous synergy. We clicked immediately
when I moved in with him in our late teen years. His
constant anti-human ranting complimented my envy for the
normal man. We were always abused; John constantly
picked fights that he always lost (if it is possible to call it
losing- he would lay defenseless as his opponent
pummeled his chuckling face in) and I was bullied to no
end. John never fought back because of his firm belief in
flagellation therapy, I never fought back because I was
conditioned to think that I deserved such a beating. When I
woke up in the middle of the night screaming in terror from
the dreadful flashbacks, there was John choking on vomit
moments after his dreams intoxicated him with noxious
images of humanity. He is my best friend, but I would never
take a bullet for him.
"Mutt, get back to the bar," John demanded over the
phone. "Theres a bunch of guys here that I pissed off."
I let out a long, unnecessary groan. "What did you
"They had piercings and tattoos all over them!" John
breathed in heavily. I heard the mild roar of a blowtorch in
the background. "I simply stated that it is too expensive to
express yourself with such trivial things when knowledge is
free! Dont you think they should express knowledge over
pricey, extravagant material? Im standing up for myself this
"Thats absolutely repugna-" the phone clicked. The
mask went back on.
I traveled back to Wimsley's Bar. The rain had
stopped a short while ago. Chrome-colored worms
surfaced from the cracks in the asphalt, then waited on the
surface to die. I cautiously stepped past them on the
sidewalk. Eventually I lost interest and grew careless,
shifting my eyes to the clouds that remained darker than
usual. The rain might return.
I did a double take when I spotted an old man on a
rooftop. He was sitting on the ledge of the building, letting
his feet dangle. He was either a suicide jumper or an Owl.
There was no time to think about this, John could be
horribly maimed by now. I couldn't miss that.
My left hoof took the first step into the dingy bar. The
rest of my body followed its lead. The first thing to catch my
eye upon entering was a group of deaf aging females
laughing like irritated baby bats being fornicated with little
twigs. They didn't stop as I stepped in. The sound made me
cringe and forced me to cover my dagger-like ears as I
headed to the far corner of the counter.
"John's fucking around in the bathroom," Wimsley
shook his head and poured me a drink. "He scared the
kiddies away. I dont know how long I can deal with him,
man. He brings in a crowd, but he scares so many away."
This was my chance to get on his good side for free
drinks without absorbing insults. "Hey, man, no sweat. Why
would you want a bunch of trouble-hungry punks anyway?"
Wimsley nodded agreeably. "True, true. You ever
see how John draws the crowd in with his flaming sword
swallowing act?" I nodded back at him as he continued. "I
cant stay mad at him."
Wimsley was nothing more than an aging hippie. He
had plenty of money from his contracting years. Wealth
was never a problem, no matter how often he complained
about money. He was pretty old, but well-built and had
several blood transfusions to keep himself healthy.
Wimsley was too old to revel in our era, but too young to
settle down and die.
The deaf females continued telling jokes through
hand gestures. I shook my head and took a seat right
under the television, attempting to drown out the mindless
laughing and finger snaps with boxing commentators. I
removed the gas mask from my face and downed the shot
of whiskey and asked for another. A warm, gentle finger
petted the brim of my ear. The finger felt as moist as the
atmosphere outside. It was slender and relaxing.
"Mutt?" a delicate voice said. "You're still alive." You're still alive
. The words scraped the back of my
spine. Her name is Mary, my first and only ex-girlfriend.
After she dumped me, I often thought why someone so
beautiful would date someone like me, especially where
bedroom matters were concerned. Perhaps she pitied me; I
mean, my appearance could be described as grotesque.
My best guess was that she was a complete pervert.
Such a pervert, in fact, she created a clone of
herself. She dumped me to go fuck herself.
Cloning was introduced forty years ago. The two
types, extrachomosomal and recombinant, have torn a hole
into morality and vastly changed the behavior of mankind. It
is the sinner's invention that ushered in an era of sex
minions and slavery.
Extrachromosomal was used to raise a human from
birth, which takes longer to hatch and is much more
expensive. The "extras" were technically more real than the
recombinants, but people seldom ever made these. It was
just an alternative for parents that could not bare children
and refused to adopt.
Recombinants should be considered a new culture
or race. Their blood is a clear and thick surrogate that must
be rejuvenated every three years. Their "oil change" is very
expensive, but they are immune to every illness, are
medically simple to operate on, and can modify their
physical structure to look wildly different and perform
incredible super human tasks. This was Mary's choice.
I never met her clone; she never dared mutter her
name to me, either. I can only guess that it looked exactly
like her. The thought of two perfect creatures in front of my
eyes made my heart pound. Ever since she left me, I had a
secret hatred towards clones. Love was no longer a blind
thing. It is now analyzed in a lab, shit out by a machine,
and handed out like a prescription. Mary continued to stare
me down. I couldnt help but wonder why. Im sure her
clone would happily pleasure her all day.
She began rocking my rickety stool with her little
black boot, waiting for my answer in anticipation. Ignoring
her was not an option, and the first glance of her bare legs
that emerged from her little black dress made my chest
ache. I shifted my seat and looked into her watery eyes;
diabolical and charming, my vision was thrown at her
shockingly white canines. Every detail of her face reflected
her predatory personality.
"How's the twin?" I said out of spite. She released a
tiny giggle from her belly; the smell of alcohol was lingering
on her laugh as she closed in for a whisper.
"Getting a check-up," she said, "She'll be away in
Newark for a few days. Till then, I'm very much alone." I
felt her coming closer, her breast pressing against my