The Flesh Cannot Please


The world became terrible to behold. There were wars and rumors of more wars. No one wanted to bring children into such a place. It would have been barbaric. But it would also have been barbaric to refuse our children existence.

So our women conceived and held their babies inside themselves for nine months and then nine more, and then nine years more.

Their bellies swelled like zeppelins.

Soon enough our children hit puberty. Hair sprouted in the warm womb-darkness where there had been no hair. Voiceless, voices deepened in the amniotic murk. Uteri ripened, balls dropped.

Our women shook with the loneliness of their children and then shook some more. Something had to be done. Birth was no option. So our women pressed their bellies together for hours on end so our children could communicate in muffled gurgles and improvised Morse code, tapping against their uterine encasements. Eventually their loneliness subsided, as did the shaking.

We don’t know how our children conceived children of their own. The possible mechanisms were too unnerving to postulate. Soon our women could feel their grandchildren kicking inside the wombs enwombed within them. Soon those grandchildren reached maturity, two degrees separated from the terrors of the world. They, too, became lonely. Their agitation agitated their mothers, whose agitation, in turn, agitated our wives. Again, bellies were pressed to bellies. The loneliness subsided. Then there were great-grandchildren. This went on for some time.

Science advanced dramatically. Still, the world remained the world. No one aged anymore. But there were still ugly people, and so there were still unhappy people. Each generation some of our women grew larger, but there were fewer each generation who did so. The luckiest were the infertile ones; they were quite popular. The women who conceived boys first were the second to luckiest, terminating the sequence at its inception. The unluckiest of our women were prone to conceive fraternal twins and endure their subsequent copulations, to watch their bellies expanding and compressing like accordions.

The world doesn’t seem to be getting any better. The generations bide their time in unborn darkness. Infinitely distending mounds of woman-flesh sit like small volcanoes, building pressure. Someday, maybe, the generations will be ejected in a great rush.

But food is getting increasingly scarce. And those fleshy woman-mounds are pretty immobile, pretty defenseless. We will probably have to eat them before they erupt. We’re not particularly excited about this and neither are our women. But appetite is appetite and the world remains the world.  

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