I caught John's new show at Opium Flesh today. Outside, the usual tacky posters advertised 'X-mods Live, art past the realm of extreme'. Had the god-botherers out in force, placards and cops, a security detail out front.
The posters were blatant understatement; the exhibit itself was unspeakable. Everything was legal, but much of it came real close to crossing that line between art and criminal investigation. It was so far outside of anything he did when we were togetherextreme animorph, borgware, limb grafting, spinal implants. The cicatrised scales were my favourite, though even I flinched, imagining the process. Every inch of the woman was covered in perfect-cut hypertrophic scars, some tattooed, so she looked like she was covered in reptile hide. The precision was insane. That's dedication.
I heard John is dating Thurma Ullman, which is not surprising. She always did like to slide into whatever spaces I occupied. I wonder if she still insists on using nerveblockers for inkwork, haha. Think I'll go see him at the loft, just to annoy her.
So I get to the loft, expecting some upgrades after seeing the exhibit. But. God. Damn. He has a pair of fucking surgeons up there, one legit, the other some rad splicer he picked up in Japan who used to grow human ears on rats and the like.
John looks... Well, he's crossed a line, or two himself. I was expecting changes, change is what we do, but holy hell spine extension, bone and hair grafts, amputation, skull enhancement, keratin and coral implants, foot splits. The wheelchair was a shock. Science hasn't caught up with his surgeries yet, but the Jap splicer said John'd get use of his legs within three years, they've signed him up for trials at a biomech outfit in Tokyo, dealing with limb articulation and such. He'll be the first fully functional satyr in the world. Fucking amazing.
He must have gone through hell. Despite all the shit in our past, I found myself wishing I'd been there for him. We made a lot of awkward small talk. He liked my Taiwanese cicatrix, and my tongue, though he made fun of how I lisp now. Typical. It was good to see him again. I definitely saw a little of that old greed in his eyes as he looked me over.
Thurma was 'indisposed', sadly. John invited me for dinner next week.
It's taken me this long to write. I'm not sure words can express what I am feeling.
We used to talk about plans. Share our secrets, our wishes. He's realised his own now, aside from the wheelchair and the last of the grafts. Mine? The scaled woman was my idea, originally, but it's not that unique as far as concepts go.
Still, I had my dreams, my own designs on what to do with those techniques he was learning and pioneering then, dreams of what I'd become some day. And the fucker just handed them all to that scalpel-whore. It's like he's given away a piece of me, sliced it off my flesh and grafted it onto her.
He's a scar. A mark that won't wash off. Bastard.
I can still see her smug fucking face. Her, stretched out on the sofa like goddamned Cleopatra, ears and nose pared off, hairless and smiling with her hollow fangs, her gold dust eyes.
He's stripped her tongue thin, extended and forked it. Had her jaw redone so she can distend it a ways. But what fucked me over the most was, he's given her scales, and not like the woman in the pictures. No mistaking that sour, musky smell. He gave her anaconda skin.
And he's grafted her legs together. I just fucking stared at the bitch, who's wearing MY body.
No wonder he wanted her. I am a dreamer. I am willing to suffer for my art, be my art, put my dreams into my flesh. But when he said she was booked for dual arm amputation
I could never have gone through with that, and he knew it.
It was supposed to my decision to make, though. He had no right.
So. Fuck them. I took it back.
To Thurma, it was all just a way to keep a man, and stay in the spotlight. For me, it was about baring my soul. Like, one day I'd be turned inside out and show the world my real skin.
I had the loft raided last Sunday. Shut down. Thurma's in care, with one arm gone already and suppurating ulcers where the snakeskin's rejected her.
John's in a prison hospital. The splice artist's done a runner, and I'm not sure what happened to the other guy. I thought about making John sorry, hunting down our old friends and letting them work on me. Letting somebody else's hands craft me into my dream. I know that would eat him, from the inside out.
But it's time, I think, to leave myself the fuck alone. This is not about sour grapes, or Thurma doing it first. It's that I don't need hollow dentures in order to bite somebody in the ass. And I sure as sugar don't need any more scars.
I have bared my serpent soul. And I will wear my scales on the inside.