…and my penis is growing out of the back of my throat, and it’s choking me, and Sarah says, “I mean, of course I wouldn’t be comfortable if I had a penis growing out of my mouth, but it’s the body you were born with, you should be used to it,” and Mack nods and says, “Is this because I said you had a small dick? Didn’t know you were that insecure,” and his words are thick because boys have penises rooted in the roofs of their mouths and I know that it’s normal but when I get home Mom asks me why I’m dry-heaving over the toilet and I say “I don’t want to have a penis, it’s disgusting,” and I can feel it pressing against my tongue, it’s salty, it’s violating me, and she says, “How can you be violated by your own body? It doesn’t make any sense,” and I vomit and there’s piss mixed in and later that night, my girlfriend kisses me and I gag, because my erection is swelling, forcing its way out through my lips, and I can’t breathe and I push her away and she asks, “You don’t find me sexy?” and around the thick meat in my mouth I spit out, “No, I have an erection and it doesn’t belong on me and I hate it,” and she laughs and said, “Sex isn’t wrong,” and I want to scream because that’s not what I mean and I know this isn’t the body I was meant to have, that it’s wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong and I need to reach into my throat and rip out the foreign flesh but “I don’t believe in elective surgery,” Mom says, “and hormones are too risky. What if it turns out you don’t want to be a girl anymore, when you grow older?” but at this rate I’m not going to grow older because older is hair piercing out of my flesh and choking my mouth and older is a voice that doesn’t sound like my own gravelling from my lips and older is “young man” and “sir” and “aren’t you too old for dressing up in your grandmother’s blouse” and Dad says “Don’t let it bother you. It’s just words, so—er, do I really have to call you that?” and you can order salvation online in plastic-shelled pills as long as you don’t get caught sneaking out, I get caught sneaking out, Mom’s freaking out about drugs hidden in sewn cloth and asking “Is that why you were wearing a dress?” and I just wanted it to feel soft against my skin, I’d shave but I don’t trust a blade in my hands, there’s so much of me I’d cut off if I could, and once the hair was gone maybe I’d keep cutting and cutting and so I let my arms and legs become nests of piercing wire and Dad gives me an approving look and says, “I’m glad you grew out of it,” and I’d say something back but there’s too much foreign flesh in my mouth, I wake up and my penis is swollen, a parasite in my throat, feeding off my blood, painting my cheeks with my insides and I’m glad I haven’t eaten because there’s nothing to throw up, nothing inside of me, I’m empty, I’m gone, my girlfriend compliments how skinny I look, skinnier than her, everything is light and my head is smoke, like drugs I never took despite Mom still insisting that I can’t touch the internet or clothes that conceal or any hope of being anything but a man with a penis growing out of his mouth, Dad lets me buy razors but not HRT, cuts and scrapes where I should be soft, I consider it, I consider it, it’s so dumb but I don’t because the bathroom stinks and I don’t want to die smelling my own vomit, that’s gross, that’s disgusting, that’s just like me and that’s why I won’t, not today, Mom tells me to clean my room, I want to cry, and the room gets messier, messier, stains, “Nosebleed,” I say, and I’m allowed to talk to Mack because he’s a good man, he broke up with Sarah and squeezes my shoulder and talks about how lucky I am that I still have my girlfriend, I flinch, I laugh, I nod, I think about what he said while she runs her tongue along a part of me that isn’t a part of me, while I stay still because I want to stay lucky, and she noticed the bathroom and cleaned it up when I wasn’t looking and she doesn’t understand why I’m yelling, why I’m still bleeding, why my voice runs ragged and my penis chokes my throat, Mom shouts at me, she was such a nice girl, you threw it all away, she was crying, apologize, now, and I run to the bathroom that smells like lemons and Mom’s pounding on the door, she’s going to break it down, she swears, ungrateful boy, come out this instant, but I already came out, you shoved me back in, I slipped, I fell, I bled, I learned, I pick up the razor, turn it in my hands, hairs falling to the floor, and she’s pounding, pounding, pounding, the best place is the thighs, pounding, pounding, pounding, I’m not going to grow older, not with this pounding, pounding, pounding, in my penis, in my mouth, it’s wrong wrong wrong and I’m the only one who knows it, my penis is and it shouldn’t be, I want it gone, I want to hack out my lungs and vomit my insides if it’ll tear it out too, but it won’t, there’s only one thing that can, pounding, pounding, pounding, and the bathroom smells clean, and there’s nothing left to stop me but me and the part of me that isn’t me and so, when it shoves its way between my teeth one last time, I bite.
Riley Tao (they/them) is a student and author. They have previously been published in Reckoning, and have upcoming publications with Daily Science Fiction and Cast of Wonders. To cool off between writing sessions, they write very silly and bad stories at reddit.com/r/bubblewriters.