Tongue of the Unloved

This story contains sexually explicit material.

Tongue of the Unloved
by Charles Coffman

Alfie waddled through the depressing little alley behind the butcher shop. He always takes this route to the YMCA. As he stepped from pothole to pothole, he pinched his nose shut. The air really stank, like the underside of an infected toenail. Spoiled cuts of raw meat thrown out by the butcher had been strewn along the pavement by rats and stray cats, and were left to fester half-chewed in the sun. Alfie didn’t mind the smell as much as he minded the flies. They swirled about in lazy black clouds, and glittery purple clusters of them laid eggs in the most spoiled cuts of meat.

Alfie felt low today, lower than usual, as if a big iron fist had bashed his head into the saddest part of his body. He walked like he felt, with his weird slanted eyes downcast at his shuffling feet. Releasing a heartbroken sigh from his lungs every so often, he plucked at the fat and bolder flies that landed on his fish-lips.

He thought about his pear-shaped body and the discolored flabs of flesh that swing about on his chest that Meyer Smitts called “man boobs,” and wondered if he should swim with his shirt on again today. Then Alfie spotted a viscous-looking rat dragging a pink lump across the alley.

The rat looked at him. Alfie looked at the rat. A stalemate.

The rat sensed danger and fled, leaving its pale, spongy piece of meat behind. Alfie frowned and stared at it. That’s a tongue, he realized.

Alfie knelt for a closer inspection. Yes, it was a tongue, with wet clusters of bumpy taste buds crisscrossed with ropes of saliva. It was very small. That’s a woman’s tongue, a pretty one’s, Alfie thought, suddenly feeling giddy and poetic. Interested flies circled it, and a few stopped to roost on its pink surface. Irritated, Alfie swatted them away with his fat hand. “Poor tongue,” he muttered, “out here all alone.”

Alfie knew how bad it hurt to be alone. He picked it up by its tip with two fingers, let it sag in the air and drip inky purple blood for a moment, and then plopped the rubbery thing into the cargo pocket of his palm tree-printed swimming trunks. Pleased with himself, he smiled and once again headed off for the YMCA.

Alfie paced along the damp edge of a swimming pool that smelled like it was filled with sweat instead of chlorinated water. The YMCA was all concrete and half-dressed people who yelled a lot. He worried they were looking at him. He hated swimming with his shirt on, but was sure Meyer Smitts was hidden in a moist corner somewhere and would unfold from the shadows and call him “man boobs” as soon as he took it off.

His head jerked in the direction of the lifeguard tower, where Adrianna sat each morning in her candy apple-red bikini with that silver whistle lodged within her tanned cleavage. She was there, alright, just sitting there and looking very good.

Alfie sauntered over, with the tongue flopping about in his pocket. He gawked at her as she chatted with a guy who had muscles everywhere, even on his forehead. She was smiling at the guy, laughing at things he said. Alfie thought they looked like people who rarely got lonely or depressed.

The human muscle was saying, “That picture you posted last night was cute as fuck.”

“Yeah,” Adrianna said, “that’s my kitty, isn’t he adorable?”

Not skipping a beat, the human muscle winked, “Wasn’t talking about the cat.”

She melted on that one, and their flirtatious laughter sickened the air. Alfie watched them like he always watches normal people, as if from a great distance, knowing he’d never be able to reach them. Having his appearance, unfortunately-shaped and chunky, is like going through life heartbroken over the life never lived.

The pair heard him breathing, and repulsed by the wet wheezes produced by the ocean of mucus churning in his lungs, they glared at him. Adrianna didn’t seem to recognize him, and that hurt, considering back in high school she had known his name whenever she wanted something. He shrank under their horrified gaze and waddled toward the diving board in defeat.

People don’t know it because they avoid looking his way as if he were the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, but Alfie is incredibly lithe and limber. He can bend his spine in grotesque angles, tie his limbs in gelatinous knots. He is a “Jellyfish Man,” as his drunk father used to call him on occasion.

He scurried on his tiptoes and sprang off the board, arcing high into the air, curling his body into a hedgehog-like ball, flipping several times over, and landing into the water in a neat, straight-as-a-pin dive. There was barely a splash.

He glided to the surface, feeling the tongue dancing and drifting in lazy loops inside his pocket, hoping somebody had been watching, but when he looked around, he saw that everybody was oblivious. Nobody cared about anything he did.

He hung his head, but froze as something tickled against his leg, a lumpy caress. The tongue had licked him. The tongue cared.

This a very special tongue, Alfie thought to himself, a very brilliant and kind woman’s tongue.

He made the tongue a throne—a “queen’s throne” was the proper title. It sat on a velvet pillow upon the highest shelf in his living room. He’d placed rose pedals around that, and two lavender-scented candles on each side. He put the tongue in its place and wondered about it.

She used to be a scientist, Alfie decided, she used to be a beautiful scientist that wrote sonnets about neurons and atoms. And now Alfie has her tongue.

It was kind of her to lick him at the pool.

He opened and closed his meaty fists. Getting nervous, he paced his dirty living room. Should I, he wondered, lick it back? It seemed like the polite thing to do. The light coming from the spiderweb-draped lamp made the tongue look very pink and very wet.

Perhaps I should kiss it, he thought.

He wanted to, but was worried it might scare her away. Plus he’d never kissed anyone before, or even practiced on the hole in his fist like some people do. He watched in fascination as the tongue moved and stretched and inched toward him like a worm. Its spit-beaded tip pointed at him. She did want a kiss. Alfie melted.

Feeling the swamp of sweat in each palm, he puckered his lips. His lips grazed the buds, and all was tickly and wet. A warmth spread in his pants, and his underwear got tighter as the tongue slithered into his eager mouth, dancing against his. Alfie tasted hot blood and sticky meat.

They fell onto the couch, and after time became meaningless, blotted out by the squirms in his mouth, he broke off their French kiss and panted at the water-stained ceiling. The tongue crawled into the crook of his neck. He promised that he’d never leave it.

Alfie sat on the porch steps of his weather-beaten trailer and rocked back and forth. He watched as the headlights of Misty’s low-rider bobbed in the distant darkness. He knew this was going to be awkward. She’d been an okay neighbor over the years—his only friend, really—swinging by on occasion to shoot the breeze and watch Court TV. But all that was through now. He couldn’t be messing around with any other women. Alfie was taken.

Her car pulled into the lot, mud-streaked wheels crunching the gravel. Alfie stood up and stuck his moist hands into his jean pockets. He stared at the dirt as if peculiar secrets were hidden there. “’Lo there, Misty.”

She squeezed her massive body past the car door, swinging a cheap purse over her bare shoulder. She looked tanner than usual tonight. Misty is always tan on account of that fucking tanning booth that takes up half her trailer. He could never tell her that dark skin and platinum blonde hair just don’t mix right, and it hurts his eyes to look at it for some bizarre reason.

She can be awfully nice on occasion, but she repeatedly reminds him, normally while she aims a burning cigarette at him, that they could never “you know.” She demonstrates, putting a finger through a ring she made with her fist and says, “You’re just not my type.” Which annoys the shit out of Alfie, because the thought had never crossed his mind.

This was going to be a mouthful, but Alfie unbundled it all from his tongue. “Just came to say that me and you have to stop hanging out. If my special lady found out, she wouldn’t like it.”

Misty’s bulldog face, if possible, drooped even lower. “Well, that’s kinda fucked up, Alfie, kinda possessive, don’t you think? Besides,” she indicated with her finger and fist, “we would never, you know, you’re just—”

“Not your type,” he snapped, unsure where this anger came from. “Well you ain’t mine, either! Doesn’t matter anyway; I’m an item now and it wouldn’t feel right.”

She actually flinched, he saw, but her expression hardened, “Well alright then, ya fuckin’ psycho, no skin off my ass.”

She slammed her trailer door, and Alfie saw the weird electric blue glow of her tanning booth fill the windows. She tans to calm down, she told him once. Well, he needed to calm down, too. He swayed in the lot, glad that it was over and done with.

He’d had enough of Misty anyways.

Alfie rolled under the sheets and licked the disembodied tongue, swirling his own tongue around its tip, sucking and swallowing its full length. The tongue purred. Somehow, after all this time, the torn, frayed end was still wet with fresh blood.

He knew many things about the tongue now, who she was, where she came from, what she looked like. She’d had deep brown eyes and a sad smile. She used to whisper whenever she talked. She had never married because she had been saving herself for him, until he came across her tongue.

The tongue surprised him by slithering along his belly, then sneaking into his boxer shorts. It paused near his penis. He gasped, “I don’t know if I’m ready.”

But the tongue knew he was.

After he soiled it with a spray of his sticky seed, Alfie fell asleep, feeling more content than he ever had in his whole life. But the good feelings burned away when he woke up to a horrified, shrieking face pressed against his window.

It was Misty. Angry, Alfie rolled out of bed, and pushed open the screen. “The hell you doing here?” he hissed.

“Alfie,” she said, pointing at the bed, “is that a tongue?”

He regarded his beloved. “She sure is something special, ain’t she?”

Misty swallowed hard. “Is that, um, your better half?”

He nodded, His face ugly in the bedroom’s dirty green light. “Sure is. She sure is special.”

“She’s meat, Alfie. M-E-A-T. You understand meat? That’s the part of a cow only weirdoes eat. I know because it looks like what my pedophile uncle used to eat. Where’d you find her, the back of a butcher shop?” She laughed in his face.

“You shut up,” Alfie growled at her, “You just shut your dirty mouth!”

And he slammed the window shut so he didn’t have to hear her anymore, but he still could, and each laugh hurt him bad.

When he woke up the next morning, the tongue was gone, and Misty was waiting for him, looking tan and blonde and fat and ugly, on the front porch. “Just so you know,” she told him, “I took that fucking thing to the police and got it tested. It’s a cow’s tongue, you dumbass.” She wiggled a paper in his face. “Got the results right here.”

“You’re lying!” Alfie was trembling, tears watered his eyes. “Where is she?”

“Where do you think? I threw it away, you fucking idiot.”

He’d had someone, he hadn’t been lonely anymore. He’d been, just for a while, normal. And this bloated, tanned, trailer-park monster took that all away from him.

As she laughed, he watched her tongue jerk and bob. What was that saying folks said when you lost somebody you loved? The expression eluded him. Her tongue was a very dark, glistening muscle in her mouth. Oh yeah, Alfie remembered, there are plenty of fish in the sea.

It was hard to get ahold of her. Fat as Misty was, she could run pretty fast, but he was Jellyfish Man, very lithe and very limber. His hand tightened around all that meat in her mouth, and she gagged as he pulled it free, snapping all the pesky tendons. As Misty screamed and thrashed around, he held the limp thing in his palms and wept.

It just wasn’t the same, not the same at all.

Copyright © 2015 Charles Coffman