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The International Writers Magazine: Life Fiction

• George Sparling
Call me Tama. Or if you prefer, Tamari. I added the suffix, “ri,” meaning King and Emperor, and because of his almighty power he gave a wizard the power to turn me into a tamari-coated (ferment soy bean paste) sunflower seed.       


If you can believe that, then you’ll understand why I believed in neither love nor sex.  All things holy now had turned jihadist in the same sense as I became embroiled with my extinction.

My affair with O was my first encounter with proletarian virility. His name was unimportant though mine was.   Being a single seed meant indulging in an all- engrossing narcissism.   O’s monumentalist art, making small lead models, sending them to European fabricators, then rigging companies completed them in the States.  The gigantism of his work was transmogrifying and hypnotic.  He and I drank Black Label
after one 60 ton work was bought by a city in the Middle East.  He looked as oxidized as his rusted sculptures.  In opposition to his strength, I felt like a floppy disc.   

Traveling from his mouth, he was obsessed with simple pleasures of food when he poured tamari sunflower seeds into a gargantuan iron-cast bowl he had made.  He dipped his head low into the bowl, scooping them into his mouth like one amok with lust. I tamed my cravings in a halfway house for drug addicts, rehabbing myself, converting my former life as a surgeon into something less demanding though more troublesome:  I, for the first time, leaned on a man, and became a professional parasite. 

I met O on the operating table, removing a cancerous gallbladder.  My last surgery ever. O, lover-boy’s name, wasn’t important though he remained a public figure. You saw him during Facebook binges.  O liked to caress my body with date palm oil, massaging its ancient fragrant lubrication onto my almond colored skin, into my pores, making them breathe.  “Tamar” means food, shade (life: preserver in deserts) and life itself, but life’s infinity of meanings and expressions and uncertain ends I’d reduced to
this one seed as O chewed on hundreds.  He, rich in coin, abundance of sex, but eccentric in this display of gluttony.

Once, after telling me he needed a stronger woman, he told me, “Tama, I feel more for these seeds in my hand than for you.” I said, “Why tell me that? Are you running away from me? I thought we’d settle down
in the Caribbean and now you’re telling me I’m something less than those seeds?”

He chewed, his puffed-out cheeks full of half-crunched seeds, as if life depended on gross quantities of something.  Anything.  Finding a niche was impossible for O. Hugeness had no easy slot.  I entered his gastro-intestine tract.  First: the foregut through his esophagus, stomach and duodenum.  Shit, this darkness.  I once said that I felt certain I knew darkness from the inside-out, but this was ridiculous.

Soon, I traveled into his small intestine where digestive enzymes broke down proteins, its long chain of amino acids. If I started over with O, then I might have persuaded him to conjoin steel with proteins.  Perhaps then I’d be more than fermented soy bean paste molecules.  I’d win the Nobel Prize. And bile, a bitter greenish-brown alkaline fluid aiding digestion secreted by the liver.

I had this famous figure’s gallbladder frozen in formaldehyde, O in aspic I imagined under the influence of percodan. Now, drunk on the bile’s bitter brownish aqueous fluid, aiding digestion, I relished dissolving into near-nothingness.  Do I hear my soul grumbling, or is O belching? 

 Bile, O’s anger raged against me.  Had this been his political/social ideology all along?  I’m not a philosopher, but one true thing I know: wild heartless change brutalizes both the inanimate and animate, sheet metal as well as soft and needful metamorphosis.  The Greeks gave the world profundity while my transformation would be unremembered. My seed annulled, merging with hundreds of others O continued to grind up, pulverized me.  Twenty feet of the GI tract’s length, twenty weeks our affair, though I
don’t push the mythology, forty days/forty nights. Inside him, what there was of me, for once merged with both seeds and O, as if a single landmass, Pangea, like the single continent three hundred million years ago. 

Why wasn’t there a single entity binding all matter/anti-matter together. I gurgled inside him as if I were three hundred million years old. I enjoyed passing the ascending, descending colon and the sigmoid fissure as the water absorbed me, cleansing my dirty affair.  I assumed the pathogen stage where viruses or diseases thrived.  I’m sewage replaced for the skein of lovers O required.  The GI tract: the most prominent part of the immune system prevents pathologies entering blood and lymph. Being a pathogen wasn’t so bad. You may be more human that assuming otherwise. 

© George Sparling April 2013

The Seven-Minute Round
George Sparling

I jammed my eyebrows down, balled my fists, and threw some neat jabs at ex-boxer Dickie, my dad, who me taught me to throw punches like a man in the basement of our house.

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