I walk in on my heart in bed with someone else’s heart. The vital organs pulse, over a hundred beats per minute. The white sheets beneath them are soaked in a dark red splotch, as if they’re both menstruating.
Putting two and two together and not liking the result, I mutter a few choice words at which my heart leaps and falls off the bed. I turn and walk out as it scrambles to its ventricles.
“Wait! I can explain!”
My heart beats its way up from behind, frantically palpitates to maneuver in front of me and stop me in my tracks. Inside me, my lungs struggle to hold oxygen, suck it in in sharp gasps. Between breaths I manage to give my heart a piece of my mind.
“Explain what? I can see very well what you’re doing.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Kevin. That other heart, it doesn’t mean anything. You’re the one I love.”
“Love? What does this have to do with love? I’m talking about my life! Look at you, pumping blood all over the room, like I have an extra five-point-six liters to spare.”
As if to illustrate my point, a geyser of bright red sprays into the air and falls in droplets that are sure to stain the off-white carpet.
“I feel trapped when I’m in your body. Maybe it’s the ribs.”
“Well, two can play at this game, Heart. I’m getting a transplant.”
“A transplant! Now don’t do something drastic. Let’s talk this over.”
“We shouldn’t even be having this conversation to begin with.”
I push past my heart and storm out of the apartment. It is only when I’ve calmed my nerves that the momentary image of that other heart—the one in bed with mine'”returns to me. I almost feel sorry for it. At the startled sight of me, it skipped a beat.
Two unicorns copulate in a clearing in the forest. I hunker down behind some bushes to watch the rare event. The male grasps the female with his forelegs and rides her from behind. He snorts between rapid thrusts. The female remains nonchalant.
Watching such graceful creatures in action, I’m afraid to admit—well, it turns me on. I take my penis out of my pants and stroke it vigorously as I continue my voyeuristic vigil. With a grunt, the male orgasms inside the still nonplussed female. I’m on the verge of ejaculation when I hear a rustle in the trees behind me.
I turn my head over my shoulder and struggle to jam my erection back inside my pants. A hand pushes aside a branch, and through the leaves, her head appears.
She looks at my crotch. My penis, now flaccid, rests in my hand. She looks past me, back at me.
“Were you masturbating to the unicorns?”
The “uh” is a stall for time as I tuck my penis away and zip up. Not seeing a way around the truth, I try to mitigate it. With a smirk and a shrug, I give her one of those guilty-as-charged looks. She shakes her head.
“Kevin?” Her eyebrows rise. “You’re pathetic.”
Her head vanishes behind the leaves and a branch snaps back, swings back and forth. I hear her trudge away over the earth as I call my boast out after her.
“Oh, so I’m pathetic for wanting to share in the joy of the creation of what will surely be the world’s last unicorn, am I? You don’t even care!”
This attempt to regain my dignity is all in vain. I turn back to the unicorns and am quite upset to see that they’ve gone. She must have scared them off, I think. This enrages me.
As I brush the leaves and twigs from my sweater, I hear a long and mournful cry. I stop mid-brush and listen. There it is again, clear as a bell: the haunting mating call of a dragon. I give my sweater a quick tug to shake it clean and set off through the long shadows of the trees in the direction of the call.
“This has never happened to me before. I swear.”
“Maybe it’s because I’m a flower.”
It’s not because she’s a flower—a violet, to be precise. I’ve been with flowers. Bouquets of flowers. Jasmines, lilacs, daffodils— But never a violet. The fact that she’s an aphrodisiac doesn’t make me feel any better about the situation.
“It’s not that. It’s just—” I’m certain there’s a reason. But my head reels with her scent. I can’t press down the thought. “I’m sorry, Violet. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”
I lay my head down across her stem and stare at a crack in the ceiling. The crack runs from one wall to its opposite, zigzagging like a lightning flash at the end. I wonder how long it took for the crack to traverse the length of the ceiling. If the crack were to burst, would it flood the room with sunlight? Or would I be buried alive beneath the rubble of the roof?
The crack disappears from view as she leans her bud over my head. I reach up, stroke a petal. Tug at its tip.
The petal tears loose, falls onto my face. I draw my hand back from her bud and toss the petal aside.
“Look at me. I’m like fucking Charlie Brown. Everything I touch—” I sigh. “Or don’t touch.” I sit up.
“Don’t be upset, Kevin. It happens to everyone.”
Her words are little consolation. My head in my hands, she strokes my bare back with a leaf. The room darkens with the descent of late afternoon sun. I feel like a real jerk for ever having plucked her. All I can do now is wait for her to wilt.
Outside the window, a white rose peers its blossom into the room. I crane my neck and strain my eyes, but from the bed, I cannot see the thorns.