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Arseways by Camillus John - Short Story by Camillus John

But I went in quickly and said, ‘There’s this plant in South East Asia called Rafflesia Arnoldi. It has the largest bloom in the world, up to three feet in diameter and weighing up to fifteen pounds. That’s me very soon indeed; the biggest bloom in the world. I’m going to influence every journalist after me for generations with my work. I’ve got two new ideas. I’ll be worth a few bob Pencil—’

‘You’re gone again Richie, for God’s sake. I told you. Just one minute is all I want. You’re up your own arse now! This mixing of shit from two sources can only mean trouble. We, as a couple Richard, are in deep, deep trouble. It might be all over—relationship-wise. Are you listening to me?’

I kept going, ‘Well, this plant is also known as stinking corpse lily. It’s a mottled brown-orange and white flower. Only the bloom of the plant can be seen above the ground. Its growing fungus below the ground smells of rotting meat and attracts carrion flies that act as pollinators.

‘That’s what the books say Pencil. It smells of rotting meat, probably like my head now after my recent shenanigans. This stinking corpse lily of a plant is the new me. It’s the new punk—of journalism this time. People used to spit their appreciation of their favoured punk band of the day. A sublime statement of the avant-garde never bettered in the entire history of art down the ages and one that still manages to shock, dumbfound and disgust most of the middle classes to this very day—’

‘I’ll slice your throat if you don’t shut the fuck up Richard—’

‘Well, here I come world. Hello! When I recite my work in public, which I intend to do now on a regular basis Pencil, well, first I’m going to smear myself down with my own shit. Become a human stinking corpse lily in the flesh. Then I’ll take to the stage. The audiences will show their appreciation for me and the journalistic blooms coming from my mouth by letting me smear some of my shit onto their faces or bodies in some way. I haven’t figured that part out yet exactly. But it will be done. Maybe kissing. And then my audience will go away and smear it on to the rest of the world like those pollinator carrion flies of the Rafflesia Arnoldi. It’s going to take art via reeking journalism in a fresh new direction—’

‘Up your own arse Richard, it’s been there a long time now. That’s the most asinine and disgusting thing I’ve ever heard. It doesn’t even make sense. It’s not even new—Adam and the Ants did that on theirKings of the Wild Frontieralbum 1980, side 2, track 3. Your should check it out—’

‘That’s because you’re middle class—you‘ll never understand. That’s why I know it’s going to work. You can read it in the art history books one hundred years hence, but not now. This is real in-yer-face stuff Pencil. Cutting edge. Trust me on this one.’

‘We just don’t get on anymore Richard, I think it’s time to call it a day.’

‘You’re probably right. But won’t you stay around a little while longer to see if this shit works out for me? I’ll be able to buy you everything you ever wanted. With my shit money. It’s going to get better and better, Pencil, my stinking corpse lily flesh will see to that soon enough.’

‘No, no, no Richard. It has to end. Besides, you’ve got to know this, I’m having a relationship with Camillus these last few months or so. It was I who asked your editor, Priscilla, to give you his short story to review for the newspaper. I knew the effect it would have on you, right up your alley—like your favourite blunt vegetable.I wanted the two of you to meet, even if it was up Camillus’ arse. I knew you’d go there. His stuff is very you.’

She was right. I’d only read a bare page of his work and already I loved the man to the core of his very being. Well, his writing anyway, not the man himself, I don’t do hero-worship. Punk journalism, as I said.

But I wasn’t going to let him get away with any of this. I needed to cry for my lost Pencil, I didn’t want it to end, I loved her.

I dropped my eyes and read the short story right through all the red lights and reached the full stop at the end. I was up his arse again in no time, and I left Pencil back in the sitting room on her own, far, far away.

I was going to insult and shout at him for a while. I couldn’t punch him as I could only fit my head and neck up his bumhole at the one time, my arms remaining in the real world.

‘I adore you Camillus. You’re funny, black, strange, cruel and you’re disgusting too; so obviously, you’ll go a long way, but I must spit in your face for fucking my wife (hock).’

Then Pencil’s head suddenly appeared beside the two of us.

‘How did you get up here, Pencil? You read his story too? I wouldn’t have thought his stuff was your cup of coffee?’

‘No, it’s not. I don’t need to read his stuff to go up his arse. I’m in lust with him, Richard. I do this for sexual pleasure anyways, no extra cost.’

‘I think I’m going to gag this time Pencil. I can’t breathe. Three heads into the same arse won’t go. If you thought long division was bad this is a fucking nightmare. We’re all going to die. How are we to escape now?’

Just then, Camillus used his real hands to pluck himself and Pencil safely from his own arse. Pencil herself had to type up this review for me in the end, because I was still trapped up his anus never to be seen again. I dictated the words of my review to her through his hole. I can’t get out, I’m locked in. And it looks like Camillus and Pencil won’t even last as a couple until the end of the month. Sickening really.

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