by Paul Beckman
It was four days before my fifty-eighth birthday when my body started to fall apart. I was taking a late morning walk in the park when I felt a strangeness after stepping down on my right foot. I hobbled to a park bench, took off my sneaker and shook it, thinking there was a pebble but there wasn’t, so off came the sock and I checked out my foot. A toe was missing—my pinky toe. I stuck my hand in the sock and found it. A pinky toe’s nothing to throw away so I put it in my pants pocket until I got home and then put it in the small canister from our unused canister set.
A few mornings later after my shower I was looking in the bathroom mirror and saw a black hair sticking out from my earlobe. I tugged it several times and my right earlobe popped off and was dangling from the hair. I put it in the canister with the pinky toe.
Last week I was on the turnpike, trying to move over to the right lane for my exit and a guy in a guard’s uniform driving a large SUV wouldn’t let me cross in front of him so I slowed down to go behind. He slowed down too, looked over at me and smirked. I flipped him the bird and my middle finger on my right hand went flying and bounced off the windshield onto the passenger seat floor. The guy gave me the finger back then sped off leaving me to barely make my exit. Once home, I washed my finger, then dried it with a kitchen towel, and into the canister it went.
Next my left heel came off while I was in a shoe store trying on a pair of wingtips and that was followed by the bridge of my nose which came off in my index finger and thumb when I squeezed it while trying to remember something. Following that was my left eyelid from winking and the eyebrow above when I made a surprise face due to my eyelid. Then my mustache and upper lip came off while trimming my mustache. My chin dropped off as I bit into a Tootsie Pop and that filled up the canister.
I still went to work but had to have new ID badges made. My wife, Madge, decided I wasn’t the same man she married some thirty-five years ago so she left and moved into our summer home on the lake. I got thinking about her one night and got hard so I did what guys always do but I pulled my penis out by its roots and for some reason it stayed hard and I was able to finish what I started. I wrapped it in a handkerchief and put it into canister number two, still hard, only to be taken out and used at will.
After work I stopped off for a couple of beers to wet my whistle and of course out popped the whistle. When I got home, Madge’s car was in the driveway and I rushed to get out of my car and banged my knee which popped off and rolled down to the curb. I got it and rinsed it off with the garden hose and went inside. Madge was in the kitchen wearing only an apron and setting the table with Chinese takeout. My thumb came off when I used the chop sticks to take some moo shoo pork and I asked her if she wouldn’t mind washing it and patting it dry and putting it in canister number two. She did and found my penis and hustled me up to the bedroom where we had a great session. In the morning, I woke and Madge was gone and so was my penis. Frustrated for not thinking ahead, I slapped my forehead with my palm and both my palm and my forehead came off.
In despair, I shook my head.
Paul Beckman’s story, “Healing Time” was one of the winners in the 2016 The Best Small Fictions and his 100 word story, “Mom’s Goodbye” was chosen as the winner of the 2016 Fiction Southeast Editor’s Prize. Paul lives on the CT shoreline and his latest collection of flash stories, PEEK, is available on his blog @pincusb.