# # Corpocopia

Brother, I Can See Your Skull.

Brother, I Can See Your Skull. - The Coreyshead Blog


Corpocopia by Corey A. Edwards

Gregg discovers it’s what’s inside that matters … but it’s up to Emmy to clean up the mess.


Attempting to juggle his keys, travel mug, mail, and groceries as he unlocked the front door, Gregg Mead somehow managed to jab the sharp point of something into the tip of his right index finger.

Cursing with grace and fluidity, he trotted to the kitchen, set each item down upon the counter, and attended to the matter at hand, which was his hand, or, more specifically, his finger, whose abused tip he stuck into his mouth for a first-aid suck.

Upon removal and inspection, he noted a small bead of blood forming at the finger’s tip. Licking it off revealed a minuscule area of pink irritation, soon obscured by another bead and an unpleasant stinging.

“Ahtcha-hiya!” he cried, shaking his hand in an attempt to dispel the pain of reality. Droplets of blood broke loose to plip across the oven’s white enamel door in a delightful array bound to engage his wife’s attention in direct disproportion to the minuscule spread of brightly contrasting specks that flowered along its otherwise pristine surface.


Fetching a damp dishrag, he wiped up the inadvertent gore and, ringing the rag out under the faucet, was surprised to see the tiny wound still oozing. It no longer hurt but showed no signs of closing. Under normal circumstances, such a small injury would have bled a bit as a complaint and then stopped as his body’s natural pastiness took over and sealed shut the leak but this particular wound was proving a bit more insistent – the puncture must be deeper than he realized.

Grimacing, Gregg blotted the crimson with a tissue, wrapping it about the tip of his finger in an effort to staunch the flow.

Trickle, he corrected himself. Droplet.

Ever since childhood, blood, scabs, acne, boogers, and the like had fascinated Gregg. It was embarrassing to be interested in such things, socially unacceptable but, when alone, had he a scab to pick or a booger to dig, he would do so without shame, privately working at the task with an earnest eagerness others reserved for secret stashes of candy or pet-hobbies like ham radio and model trains.

Of course, he never went too far. He didn’t eat boogers, for example, or wipe them on his pants or, rolling them until semi-dry, flick them across the room at the cat. He just liked the challenge of pulling them free; savoring the feeling of the long, wet ones as their transparent tails slid slowly from his sinus with a sly, teasing tickle. After a short inspection, he would dispose of them properly and sanitarily, giving his nose a good healthy blow, just like anyone else. Similarly, he never injured himself on purpose just to have a scab to pick at and any wound too large, deep, or otherwise serious fell outside the realm of interest and into the land of queasy concern. Concern that usually involved calling his wife to come take a look and, if necessary, apply first aid or shuttle him off to the nearest emergency room for professional care. Real injuries he treated with respect, refraining from messing about with them until they lost their depth and emotional impact. He was, after all, not a third grader or a mental patient but a full-grown, well-adjusted man.

This present wound, so tiny as to be inconsequential, lay squarely within the ‘fair-game camp’, as Gregg saw it so, peeling away the wadded tissue, he looked to see if the puncture had closed. It had.

A thin smear of dried blood arced around one side of the break in his skin, now held closed by a tenuous collection of dried cells. Peering closer, Gregg applied pressure to the sides of his finger tip and watched as the split, once sealed, reopened to reveal its inflamed interior. Laying a few tissues on the counter, Gregg lowered his hand and milked the finger to get the blood flowing again.

It was a thing he did on occasion: seeing how long he could keep a small wound bleeding. His veins obliged and another thick red droplet appeared, falling with obedience to flower in the delicate absorbency of the tissue’s fibers.

Gregg milked and milked, occasionally windmilling his arm, as if in imitation of Pete Townshend, in order to increase the blood pressure in his hand. He kept his fist balled so that there would be no repeat performance of blood spatters – not on his wife’s decorative towels!

Unlike in the past, where such efforts had only a momentary effect on the ever slowing flow of blood from his body, this time there seemed no end to the amount he could ease from his finger. Realizing that the tissues were now saturated and on the verge of oozing across the counter, he mopped up his mess and went outside to let his finger drain over the railing of the deck.

Many might have been concerned about the overall blood loss but Gregg saw it as so slow – just a drop or two a minute – that it was more interesting than it was alarming. At the rate it was coming from him it should have been coagulating – but it wasn’t. Had he developed hemophilia? Was it even possible to develop hemophilia?

Below, in the cool grass, the heavy droplets of blood added cheery color to the lawn. Whimples, a three year old blond tabby who loved lolling in the shade on such days, wandered out from under the deck and began to lick Gregg’s blood from the sunlit blades.

Gregg found himself locked into a stare, a combination of the sun’s heat, the spectacle of his cat lapping up his blood from the yard, and the perplexing question of just why his blood wasn’t coagulating cinched him into a pleasant, voluntary stupor that he allowed himself to luxuriate in, snapping out of it only when he noted that the fluid dripping from his finger was changing color and viscosity.

Bringing his hand back up to his face, Gregg noted that his blood – if blood it were – had gone from deep crimson to pinkish in tone and that it now stuck less readily to his skin, rolling off at the slightest movement. As he watched, it lost even more of its reddish tint until the flow was a stark white, not at all unlike . . . milk.

Gregg put his finger in his mouth and sucked tentatively. It did taste a little like milk. Warm milk.

“What the … ”

Gregg instinctively squeezed his finger more and the – I suppose we’re going to have to call it milk – squirted out as if he were manipulating the udder of a dairy cow.

“Milk.” he said, dumbfounded.

Below, in the grass, tongue doing double-time, Whimples was ecstatic.

Gregg wandered back inside, cupping one hand with the other to keep from spilling this strange dairy fluid onto the floor. He rested his arm in the sink, wiping his other on the dishrag before giving another squeeze to this magical teat of a finger. Again the milk squirted forth, though less enthusiastically than before. Something seemed to be impeding the flow.

As he watched, the dripping slowed then ceased altogether. Had his new found milk vein scabbed over?

Closer inspection revealed that it very well might have for, at the now swollen tip of his bizarre finger, there oozed a chunky bit of yellowish white, reminding Gregg of the core of a large zit. Slight pressure squirted it free, the force widening the tear in his finger tip a smidge and revealing more of the thick, white, well, I suppose the best term might be curds.

“Son of a bitch.”

Gregg milked more and more at the finger, bringing out a near quarter-cup of the fragrant white cheese before, once again, there seemed to be another, larger obstruction.

Gregg’s finger was now quite swollen, yet not painful. The hole – now a gash – at the end of his finger pouted out and away from the bone, its lips stretched and torn but bloodless. Peering into the wound, not without a touch of queasiness, Gregg spied meat and almost felt a sense of relief. Here, finally, was something he could understand in his finger, yet the more he looked at it the more it dawned upon him that, if anything, things had only gotten stranger.

The end of this thing he spied had a divot surrounded by numerous radiating wrinkles. Instead of the irritated pink of flayed skin, this nubbin of pebbled meat appeared almost bloodless and dead, as if sheathed in a hazy white shroud.

Trembling, Gregg placed the thumb and forefinger of his left hand at the base of the swelling and applied careful pressure. He could feel whatever it was beneath his skin strain and twist within the taut confines of the finger but it would not budge. Gregg scrutinized the opening again to find that it had widened but still remained too small in circumference to allow passage of this new, meaty blockage.

Gregg applied a more firm, steady pressure and, feeling some measure of success, continued to increase it until, without warning, the end of what could only be an uncooked breakfast sausage came oozing forth from the wound.

“Jimmy Dean.” The phrase croaked from his throat before he could stop it. The sausage protruded from the end of his finger, an alien extension.

Grasping the sausage with his good hand he gave it a slow, light tug, pulling with care until it was all the way out. He was not the least bit surprised to see that the short tendril of skin that trailed it was attached to yet another sausage. Whimples, nose working, mewled hungrily from the other side of the screen door.

The sausages made a light sucking sound as they came and Gregg marveled at the sensation. Not at all unlike a satisfying bowel movement, he thought. He could feel the links as they came sliding down his arm, unreeling from somewhere deep within his torso. Mesmerized, he kept pulling until, with a moist pop, the last one came free in his hand.

In a state of disbelieving shock, Gregg brought his wonderful new finger – ‘farm hand’ might be a better term – up to his astonished eyes. What could be next? The sight of a dimpled yellow rind got him giggling and this time, instead of gently milking the item from his arm, he shook and shook, shouting encouragement until, with the aid of gravitational force, three bright lemons fell to the floor: 1-2-3.

Oh, this was fun!

Somewhere in the efforts to dislodge the lemons (followed shortly by three yams and a stalk of celery) Gregg’s tortured finger gave up the ghost. Quite probably it had torn on the first oval fruit and still clung to the lemon like some impromptu and altogether ineffective condom. Gregg didn’t care. He was too enthralled by the continuing spectacle. Without pain and blood, what was the worry? Certainly none of this could really be happening. It had to be a dream – right? Right?!? Of course it was! Thus, when the remnants of his hand proved too obstructive for what turned out to be a grapefruit, Gregg did not hesitate to lop it of with one quick hack of his wife’s coveted Wustoff butcher knife.

Chop! Out rolled the grapefruit.

It became difficult to make sense or keep track of all that Gregg’s grocery body produced for him that day. Whimples, having lost interest at the first bout of citrus, certainly didn’t stay to try, preferring to chase after a summer moth that bumbled out of the sky to skitter along the surface of the yard, and Gregg became altogether too bewitched by the sheer breadth of variety to do so. One level of his mind faced the whole thing with just enough reality to feel a growing horror but the rest, so convinced that it must be but a waking hallucination, just sat back and enjoyed the cornucopia of edibile delights that continued to spill from the wondrous socket at his side.

“You are what you eat!” Gregg laughed, a shower of peanuts cascading from his arm, which now hung loose and impotent like the empty sleeve of a wet shirt.

Regaining a bit of composure, Gregg began collecting his scattered bounty, attempting to place it in some semblance of order on the kitchen counters. Everything was sorted and segregated as space would allow; meats, vegetables, fruits, tubers, grains, baked goods; all had their respective stack. Fluids – cream, beer, yogurt, soda, oil, syrup, and vinegar – he collected in a variety of tubs and glasses, whatever was handy and seemed appropriate. He bemoaned his lack of foresight in not having thought to capture the milk or first cheese in any receptacle other than the sink basin, and cried in horror when the eggs landed to splat unprotected onto the linoleum – wasting food, he believed, was a mortal sin.

Bending over, he realized how loose, not just his arm, but his entire body was, His torso slopped forward to such a degree that he almost toppled onto his face. His feet now slid around inside his shoes as if he were wearing gel socks one size too big, His chin rested rather lazily upon the sagging shelf of his collarbone, constricting the turning of his head.

Uncomfortable in the clothing that now quarreled with the folds and dewlaps developing on his deflating frame, he doffed the fabrics with some loose difficulty and settled himself onto one of the dining room chairs, the effort to drag it into the kitchen reminding him of those times he’d imbibed enough to lose partial control of his body.

And so he worked, growing ever more baggy, marveling at the ham hocks, rutabagas, bananas, butter, cabbages, chicken breasts, jam, oats, artichokes, olives, strawberries, maize, and loaves of bread that he’d been carrying around inside him, unbeknownst all these years.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Emmy Mead got home late. It was hot and she was tired. It had been a difficult day and she had little time for Whimples, his incessant leg rubbing nearly tripping her as she opened the door.

“Hasn’t Daddy fed you yet? Naughty Daddy!”

Tossing her keys and purse into the alcove, she kicked off her shoes and walked towards the kitchen.

“Greeeeeegg,” she called, lengthening the name to imply that, instead of a ‘naughty daddy’, she regarded him more as an errant schoolboy. One who picked his nose when he thought no one was looking and had to be overseen if he was to complete any given task. “Gregg! Did you make it to the market today like I asked?”

Rounding the corner she stopped, startled. The kitchen was in a complete disarray. It looked as if her husband had picked up not just the few things she’d asked for but rather had highjacked a grocery truck. All manner of goods were stacked haphazardly about. Some in definite need of refrigeration, others lacking the proper packaging to contain their natural oozings.

“Oh, my god . . .” Emmy stamped her foot. Twice. What a child that man was!

She stalked further into the room until confronted by one of her dining room chairs, out of place, surrounded by a further tumble of produce, and upon which a flaccid, lumpy bag of hairy skin quivered, dribbling small foodstuffs onto the floor and, in its center … could that be a face?

“Honey,” mumbled the lips, “s’that you?”

cae 2004

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One Response to “Corpocopia”

  1. […] before dropping to the floor; an impossible glossy red. There are more and I watch as they form, thinking of a short story I wrote some years back – but here there is no perversely placed cat to lick up the blood, no food […]

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