The Lives of Brian
BRIAN SLID THROUGH THE LONG WINDING TUNNEL on his ass. Or did he have
an ass? Looking back, he saw a thorax, an abdomen and some wings. No
place for an ass on this body. He remembered his human butt, soft and
pink like a baby's. How he used to complain about his baby skin.
Slathering on maximum protection suntan lotion seemed such an ordeal to
him back then. Hah, guess everything's relative. He'd take that pink
butt back in a minute now. Really, any remotely mammalian body would
do'the bones on the inside where they belonged'and some skin. Sunburned
or not, skin that could stretch and ripple and bend, a supple envelope
riding the flesh, echoing the motion of sinew and bone. But no. He was a
cockroach now. And cockroaches didn't have butts; they didn't have
anything remotely resembling cocks, either. What kind of asshole named
Roach sex was disgusting: all the roaches looked alike, but females
excreted pheromones'strong, nauseating smells that carried for miles.
You had to locate them by smell and hold your breath while you mated.
Brian only did it once; it smelled awful and didn't feel that good. And
roach life was pretty tenuous. Yeah, you were invulnerable all right,
for about five minutes. Until some old lady spotted you out of the
corner of her eye. Survive a nuclear holocaust, maybe, but any librarian
would as soon squash the life out of you as look at you. Alma was
rushing at him right now, shoe in hand. Why wasn't she retired yet?
Who'd have thought the old bitch could move so fast? Crack! Protective
armor'that's a laugh. Ryan's chitin splintered instantly and his
greenish guts oozed onto the floor. Alma bent to examine the twitching
mass; Tai-Li was beside her twittering in Chinese about the size of the
roaches in Taipei.
The twitching was just reflex anyhow, nerve impulses kicking up random
bits of hair and goo. Brian was back in the tunnels. He'd spent a lot of
time there lately. Good thing he didn't have an ass, it would be rubbed
raw from all the sliding around. At this karmic level, the afterlife
resembled an ant farm'lots of tunnels winding around, in sand, or dirt,
or something. It wasn't comforting at all, it was'gritty. You just sort
of rasped around in it for a while until you found your way out again.
No telling what was on the other end. No 'heavenly light,' that's for
sure. Maybe that was reserved for more advanced life forms, but if it
actually existed outside the pages of Reader's Digest, you couldn't
prove it by him. He had spent about four months in an ant farm once,
Being in the ant farm was like being in the library where he used to
work'a lot of workers stuffed into plastic cubes, sealed up tight with
no ventilation. Actually, the ant farm WAS in the library where he used
to work. In Freda Green's cube, near a window that didn't open. When it
got too hot, Freda wrote memos to the director; Brian sucked the
remaining fluid out of dessicating co-workers. Then he regurgitated it
into the mouths of higher-caste workers; after he'd fed a couple dozen,
he got to keep a few drops for himself. The worst thing, though, was the
way Freda's ass looked to him'it had kind of scared him when he was
human, the way it strained at her plaid skirts. Now it was at least a
million times bigger than him. There was such a thing as too much skin.
If he'd had a dick, it would've shriveled. But no chance of that anytime
soon. For one thing, he was female, just like all the other worker ants.
For another, he had a lot of incarnations left to go before he got
evolved enough to have a dick. When Freda went on vacation, no one fed
her ants. It was ant-eat-ant time real soon. A ravenous ant pierced
Brian's gaster and sucked out his guts. Oh well, he thought, ants are
pretty boring anyway and I'd just as soon get on with it. As the light
faded, he wondered: then who fertilizes the ant queen, and with what?
Back in the tunnels. This one seemed a little different. It was wider,
moister somehow. Silly, but moving around in it made him feel kind of
sexy. He remembered his dick, pink like his butt and curved to one side.
He imagined his dick probing the walls of the tunnel. He rocked up and
down'uh, uh, uh'this felt pretty good. He remembered the skin on his
cock. So thin, so sensitive, stretching out to touch the walls. The
contact was exquisite. Then'ouch!'he hit a snag, and shot out of the
He was in the library again. Under one of the stained couches where
students slept at odd hours. It was messy, students threw food wrappers
on the floor and the cleaning lady never vacuumed. He flexed his
legs'six, eight, ten'no, those were palps'eight legs. A spider! Probably
a black widow, probably a male. Everyone knew how they met their ends.
Really, this incarnation was so contrived! Oh well, at least he was
nowhere near Freda or Alma. He felt something that vagely resembled an
orgasm, or maybe diarrhea: sticky strands of silk gushed from his body
and attached themselves to the hairballs under the couch. Maybe I'll
just hang out here for a while, he thought, as he curled up in his web.
He went to sleep, and dreamed of his dick in that last luscious tunnel.