MUD WRESTLING WITH A ZOMBIE

From Divine Play, pp. 685-687

They were in mud. Or, she was in mud. Mikki was in dirt and slag, brimming in a stone bowl, covering her to the waist. She tried to breath in the humid air without breathing in the sewage stench. She might be naked under the filth that thickly coated her like a shabby body stocking. No, there was something . . . a uniform. Coprophilia was an acknowledged specialty in the Mizu Shobai—excrement as a source of sexual excitement. Wrestling in shit is perfect for her, the suits at SPORT would affirm. She’s designed for sexual degradation.

 Behind transparent walls, the crowd crouched on stone ledges, but their bleared shapes, the hair undulating from their heads, attested that they were underwater. And yet Vic and Willie and the others sat unperturbedly in the first row, rigid and attentive. Her impulse was to assail the barrier, but the predictable attempt to subvert the game must become exasperating to the viewers. One escaped by enduring. She could use a bathroom break—but it wasn’t urgent. If you peed in your pants, who’d know?

 She lifted her feet alternately, making evulsive openings in the muck.  The crowd articulated slowly, cumbrously moving arms and mouths.  Dissynchronous screams and curses emanated from loudspeakers around the ring.

No adversaries on the field . . . She had the intermittent sensation of standing on something wooden—a platform? And there were simultaneous impressions of being elsewhere . . . sitting in a chair, falling in air, and washing her hair? The hysteria from the loudspeakers was infuriating!

But, in a moment, she was surrendering to weariness. Chick fighting, scum squirming, slime rutting, shit eating. What mak you horny happy, ya? She was expected to be enraged, and therefore rabidly energized. Used up is what she was, in the twilight world behind her eyes. No anima for animus.

 A few meters away, the black ooze was stirring. The bawling of the audience had resolved into chanting. A kind of hoarse, lascivious grunting. She had abided the societal sentiment that women existed as a trifle for the hedonist, a specimen for the critic, a fixation for the introvert, a quest for the knight in shining amour. But now she sensed that their gratification was a physical force being drawn out of her.

 A rigid, humanoid body jutted from the viscid blackness. It, too, was slathered in slime—thickset and sinewy―an ant, presumably. Hope it isn’t a Detroit. That titanium chassis couldn’t be damaged, only deferred. It wiped some grime from its face.

 Through a sudden, sickening despondency, she recognized the large brown eyes, wide cheeks, and horseshoe jaw. Emo regarded her, smirking slightly—no, that was only a labial setting in the program. He advanced, lifting and placing his feet almost daintily in minute discontinuities, like stop-action animation. Myriad neuroservo motors had been implanted in his lifeless body.

Her knees weakened; the shadowed, stinking light darkened; she heard herself moaning, vibrating in every part of her, the final sound of the last animal crushed by the universe. As Emo turned and stretched, she discerned the bunching creases of an elastic suit beneath the layers of muck―necessary because his devitalized flesh lacked oils or sweat to hold the filth in place.

SPORT was flaunting Emo’s corpse, resurrected for its bidding and pleasure. They were to be awed by SPORT’s audacity. Awed but not shocked, since mores of death would hardly impede an entity so heedless of life. She remembered Mogadishu, where an enemy soldier’s body had been dragged through the streets by a jeep. The vengefully jubilant mob kicked and stoned the corpse and strewed it with shit.

She was immobilized, a zero-sum in the countervalence of the mechanical Emo and the mechanism of herself. He gazed steadily at her as he advanced, registering but not recognizing, his knees rising in a high-stepping march, arms outstretched to grapple her with his clawlike hands. She could not plan, react, breathe. The frenzied clamor of the audience was a cresting wave. His grip on her shoulders was piercing but unsettled, as if even his omnipotent grasp was hindered by the oleaginous filth. She said “Emo” without hope.

 “Emo,” she said again as he tilted her rightward, his right shinbone pressing painfully against hers. She’d convinced herself there was no attack and no attacker, that she would not resist. But when the mud filled her nostrils and forced her mouth closed, she struggled, a pitiful writhing of arms and legs against the entwining strength of death.

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About Tom Ukinski

Tom Ukinski is an attorney in state government in the Midwest. He's been writing plays, novels, short stories, comedy sketches and screenplays for many years.
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