He asked me if I would like the shot in my thigh or in my belly and that’s how we got into this whole conundrum.
“How would you like it?” he asked.
How was I supposed to know which one I’d like if it had never been done to me before, if no one had told me what I was supposed to like or not like? I needed more information, like, did one hurt more than the other? Would one leave a scar and the other heal as if nothing had happened? Would one cause me to grow a third limb, and the other leave me pathetically normal?
But the doctor was fast approaching, the needle in his hand slowly dribbling its contents down his wrist, until it landed, splat, on the floor. I had to make a decision as fast as possible, there was no time to acquire new information. In this situation that was happening all too fast, I realized that I had to depend on memories of what I had learned to like through the influence of my family and friends growing up. Hopefully that would be enough.
Living on the farm, we had to castrate the male goats ourselves. I was twelve, holding the balls of a crying, live animal as my mother snip snipped at the calico-furred skin above my grasp. They would fall off into my hands, roughly the size of a baseball if the goat was blessed enough, still warm and soft and pulsating. But the thing with goats, is, they cry like a human. They scream in a high pitched falsetto when they’re in pain, the whites of their eyes oozing from between their eyelids. Even though they were drugged and partially sedated, I could feel in my entire being that they were scared, and truthfully I didn’t mind so much that I was holding a goat’s severed testical in my bare hands. What got me was that look of terror, the bleating sound of their screams like a child being stabbed, the ringing in my ears that left me feeling twisted and evil for being the cause of their terrible distress.
But my mother would laugh at their screams, weathered from too many days scraping animal feces off the bottom of her boots and too many nights scraping my father’s semen off their one pair of sheets, herself incredibly dry and untouched. While the goats screamed, she would laugh, and I would slowly learn to join in because it was funny, wasn’t it, that the goats suddenly became human at our violating touch when in reality that kind of violation makes one less human. So I giggled and twisted at their furry little balls and my mom would praise me and say “yes, that’s how your father likes it, too,” which encouraged me to twist even harder until she almost didn’t need to use the clippers to snip snip and finish the job.
After the physical act was over, we’d throw the balls over our shoulders into the midst of the barn, most times forgetting to dispose of them. They took a while to gather flies, and until then, they rolled about the shelves and dusty floors, finding places to hide themselves until their smell became too bothersome. It was funny, to walk into the goats’ pen at feeding time and trip over a furry, severed testical like it was an apple, fallen from one of the trees in our orchard. And it was fun to kick them around. But the goats were always grimacing and watching me when I did so, which made me feel guilty for treating their manhood like a soccer ball. It didn’t seem right to me. But when my mother would find the furry little balls, she would laugh all over again and give them a hefty thwack, sending them flying across the barn like she had been training with the women’s Olympic soccer team her entire life. She’d thrust her arms into the air to soak in the congratulations of her fictional crowd, and look down at me and say “yes, your father likes his balls kicked around like that, too,” which is why I ended up in detention a week later for landing my foot between Sam Rogers’ legs. I had a crush on him and thought that would be the best way to let him know.
The doctor was, in all honesty, taking his time in approaching me now. He had lost his urgency, or maybe I had exaggerated his speed in the heat of the moment immediately after he had posed his question. Thigh or belly? How would you like it? Consent is necessary in the medical field, so I assumed he was waiting for my permission to stick me with the ever-ejaculating needle, but my thigh and my belly were still battling over rights to who got to get stabbed, and weren’t yet ready to give said permission. I allowed an intelligent “ummmm” to fill the space between us and thicken the air so he might take even more time, time to wade through a sea of ellipses while I made my decision. Maybe it would be better if he suddenly rushed at me and made a wild thrust with the needle. Any body part would do. Maybe he could just warn me not to move or scream, then suddenly leap into the air, and on his way down from his broad jump across the bleached-white room he would stab me with the needle and make the decision for me. Stab me, doctor. Stab me with that wet, dripping needle of yours.
I didn’t vocalize this desire with the doctor, but I had with Sam Rogers two years after our incident, or, I guess, mostly My incident. The one where I kicked him in the balls. It was my incident, not his, not ours, just mine, because he was merely subjected to it and had no collaboration in the project other than the offering of his balls to my foot. Two years after That incident (when I had kicked him in the balls), we were under the bleachers of the high school, not together by choice, but rather happy coincidence, and I recognized my moment. I said, “use yours to stab me in mine, Sam Rogers,” because I was too embarrassed at the time to use the words penis and vagina. Luckily, Sam Rogers had had a lot of sex before then, specifically, with my neighbor who had bullied me on the bus to school, and the girl who had bullied me in Global Studies, and the girl who had bullied me in P.E., and my older sister, so he knew what I meant. Wasting no time, I had already taken my shirt off to entice him with my new, freshly-grown tits. Because Sam Rogers was a horny, teenage boy, he leaped toward me without a second thought, right across the garden of discarded cigarette butts, and agreed to use his to stab me in mine. Which he did. And while he did it, he pushed me up against a mannequin used for football practice, and I faked a moan even though I didn’t really feel anything. I put a hand down his pants and twisted his balls, like my father liked and the goats disliked, and Sam Rogers started to moan too, but with more truth than my renditions of the sound. He thrusted harder, and I faked a moan again. I twisted harder and he got all sweaty and gasped. He pulled my hair and I faked another moan, a little louder. He said, “yes, that’s how your sister likes it, too,” and I was confused, so he said it again, but this time demanding, “yes, that’s how your sister likes it, and you do too,” and I came almost instantly.
A few weeks later, I pulled my sister’s hair when she refused to let me drive her boyfriend’s four-wheeler under the pretense that she didn’t want me to wreck it (her boyfriend was not Sam Rogers). It turns out, getting her hair pulled was absolutely not how she liked it. This confused me at first, but then I realized that I am not Sam Rogers nor her boyfriend nor our father, so therefore I had no right to pull her hair in a way that she liked.
The doctor was getting impatient, and he wasn’t coming to the realization that he could just stab as he pleased. His gloved hand still held the needle at my eye-level, lower than his since I was sitting on the medical table that was wrapped in a material similar to tissue paper. The needle was still dripping, and I was sure he had to refill it by now, but the doctor didn’t seem too concerned. I was getting frustrated with his patience. Just stab me, doctor. Stab me, you’re a man and you know what you like and you’ll tell me what you like and I’ll do what you like and then that’s what I’ll like, too.
In college, I almost found what I like all on my own. I found Elena. Elena was shorter than me. She was shorter than me, and she was generically pretty, and that’s about all I can remember of what she looked like. I found her in the library during an after-hours study session that allowed students to stay in the basement until 4am. I asked if I could stab hers with mine, mine being my fingers, and she said yes as long as her boyfriend didn’t find out. We took a study break and trekked to section K-L in the archives, and I tried very hard not to pull books off the shelves as I fucked her. She had no balls to twist, so for a moment I was lost, having only the knowledge of what my father liked and what Sam Rogers liked and what every other man I’d ever fucked liked. So I twisted her nipples instead and she moaned, and said, “yes, that’s what my boyfriend likes to do, too,” and I came almost instantly. That made me angry. So angry that I shoved her against the bookshelves too hard, and a few volumes did fall, but I didn’t care because I was too busy screaming “but what do you like?” again and again. She decided that the study break was over, and left me with books by Kant to pick up off the floor.
At this point, the medical office had become suffocating, and I realized I had no other option than to tell the doctor the truth. I didn’t know which I wanted, to be stabbed in my belly or in my thigh. But I told him I had a different idea, that I had found a better way to obtain the power that was in that needle. I took my shirt off to entice him with my now fully formed tits, tits that I had come to hate. Because the doctor was a horny, middle-aged man, he slowly calculated the probability of this getting him fired. After the calculations were put to rest, he pressed the rest of the liquid out of the needle so it shot in a straight stream from the tip, creating a puddle on the floor between our feet. The puddle proved to be no obstacle as he leaped over it, tossing the needle over his shoulder in a manner that reminded me of how I used to throw the goat testicals onto the floor of the barn. The doctor leaped so far and so swiftly that his tongue was already down my throat when he landed, before he landed, even. He used his to stab me in mine, and I reached down his pants to twist his balls how I knew goats didn’t like but that Sam Rogers liked and my father liked, too.
But this time, I twisted to the point that goats become humans and humans become animals, and both end up losing appendages. It turned out that it didn’t matter if the shot in my belly or my thigh would have caused a third appendage to grow. I grew one anyway, but this one I had obtained purposefully, through great exertion and force. Oh my, I was proud. And that was how I gained the same amount of power as Sam Rogers, my sister’s boyfriend, Elena’s boyfriend, my father, and the doctor all in one. A pair of tiny, little human balls in my hands that were all my own, that gave me divine power higher than any mortal man himself. I finally found what I wanted. And that, that is how I like it.
Lu is currently a film and literary studies student at The New School, although they have previously studied Sociology at Tufts University. They identify as non-binary and use they/them pronouns. Originally from middle-of-nowhere Oregon, they have now lived in Manhattan for a year with no plans of ever leaving.