X is for Xylophone
By Dani Brown
Zander pulled at his braces. He couldn’t see the vibrant colours contrasting with his wife-beater - the mirror was too dirty. He didn’t have a wife he could beat into cleaning it with her tongue.
He wasn’t that sort of man anyways. He wouldn’t mind a wife though; someone to be clean for, someone worth more than his guitarist. Stolen glances at each other weren’t good enough. But the guitarist had a wife with objections.
Satisfied with his imagined appearance, he left the room. He didn’t bring a change of clothes. Girls liked men with sweat dripping from them in buckets. Body odour with a slick layer of moisture implied that he was working hard, and as such he would work harder to satisfy them and not cum himself until they experienced orgasm. Except few girls ever took up his offers of pleasure.
Guitarists went home with arms linked with various girls and had them all at the same time. Life wasn’t fair. Zander went home to his hands.
He smiled, trying to get a glimpse of himself in the hall mirror (also dirty). Today was xylophone day. Girls liked xylophone, especially if he let them play. Still, the xylophone wasn’t as sexy as the guitar.
He tried walking around with a guitar strapped to his back, which might have workd had not the first girl he encountered asked him to perform something for her. Xylophones, however, were Zander’s speciality – apart from his voice (and what a voice it was).
Zander left his shitty one-bed hovel with his xylophone and various mallets. He had a nice car. He used it to try and pick up girls. The bed they came home to would stab them in the ribs. Zander didn’t care as long as he could blow his load somewhere other than a sock or down the broken glass panes as he looked out the window at the fake breasted beauties passing on by with little ankle biting doggies in their handbags.
He put his xylophone on the back seat. He was meeting the rest of the band at the studio for a rare internet TV performance. The drummer was one goofy looking fuck – loyal to his wife as well. Zander didn’t have to worry about him. The bassist looked like a troll had figured out how to appear in daylight, and would probably take off with any subsequent babies from encounters and cook them in a pot.
It was the guitarist, with his luscious ‘tache curled into perfect little points and secured with beeswax from the rare Himalayan fuzz bee. The wax stolen on the third full moon of the year by a labouring woman and her goat. Zander couldn’t grow a ‘tache unless he wanted a face load of pubes right up to his eyes.
He knew the guitarist groomed himself down there too with equally rare beeswax. There was once a time when the guitarist would let him taste it, if only to suck the herpes virus out of his pisshole. Zander spat his diseased jiz into a cup with a lid and stored it in the back of his freezer. One day scientists would work out a way for men to carry a baby to term. Zander saved it for that day.
In the meantime, there were girls. But none for him. He whistled at some walking past before he started his car. He had a drink thrown at his windscreen for his efforts. He just lacked that magic touch.
He drove with the radio on, the desert sun beating down. The car was hot but a/c was bad for the voice. He drove with the windows down. He might get windswept hair but it would most likely look fucking lame on him. He didn’t have anything girls wanted to run their delicate little fingers through.
Out of nowhere came a tree. Zander ducked. The xylophone wasn’t belted in. It went right through the windscreen and decapitated the offending tree where the front end of the car had collapsed underneath it.
He hopped out of the car. He wasn’t broken. The xylophone was. He needed one quickly. He had to make it to the studio. If the band didn’t make it, if they didn’t sell more merch, he’d be back to flipping burgers with his face covered in grease. He needed a new xylophone. He needed one fast.
Giggling girls found him to point and laugh. They always found him, even on backroads through the desert with the sun beating down. He couldn’t take it any longer.
“Hey there Zander, how’s your sock.”
It wasn’t a question. The guitarist was so cruel to him. To impress girls, he told them shit about Zander. It didn’t matter about his wife waiting home. Loyalty meant nothing to him. It meant everything to Zander though.
“Need to borrow my tweezers.”
More giggling. They thought they were so fucking witty. Zander was another remark away from total meltdown. He shouldn’t have to take this. He was sick of the guitarist. He was sick of the girls. The girls never wanted him.
He ran at the closest and tackled her like the quarterback of the football team used to tackle him before shoving him into a locker with his ripped underwear over his head. His hidden strength surprised him. It was down to years of carrying around the weight of the world making fun of him.
He didn’t have a small cock! It was huge. The bulge onstage wasn’t socks down his trousers. It was a mild erection. He always had one when he sang. He didn’t need her fucking tweezers. He shaved his pubes and used both hands to jerk off at the end of each show. Last tour, his spunk went all over the guitarist’s pillow while he had his nose in some girl with a fake I.D. It soaked right through to the cheap mattress.
Blood rushed to his cock as he slammed the girl to the pavement. Her skull shattered on impact, splattering his face with brain and skull fragments. Her friend’s giggles turned to screams. Zander didn’t care. His balls were going to burst. He whipped it out right in front of her friends.
They saw. They didn’t believe. The guitarist had lied to them to make his own puny cock seem large. Even if they ran away now and didn’t tell a soul what else they had seen, the image of Zander’s penis would follow them into their sedated nightmares tonight.
Once he had a taste of the girl’s blood in his mouth he wanted more. Her nipples were easily accessible beneath her clothing. In that moment, Zander developed a new-found appreciation for the fashions of the modern twenty-something woman. He’d never had any before. Pictures of fully-clothed women from decades past had always been more pleasing, with their cone-shaped breasts moulded by the right bra and big rear-ends - an illusion created with a petticoat. He assumed that models of times gone by received their cinched waists from tight girdle lacing.
Her dead nipple tasted fine beneath his teeth. He bit it off and swallowed. The flesh was raw but he was reminded of fried chicken beneath a coating of batter or breadcrumbs as it went down his throat. Zander went in for another bite, grabbing her sides.
She was a skinny girl. Twenty-somethings these days hadn’t yet experienced the spreading effect of stable relationships or childbirth. Her ribs had the right feel to them. He had to get to the studio.
He had to promote his band. If he could make a living doing something he loved, he would attract the right sort of wife. All thoughts of feeling the tickle of the guitarist’s ‘tache as he licked Zander’s asshole could be properly buried somewhere in the region of his pineal gland, and only re-emerge when the senility of old age took over.
He ripped her shirt off fully. Cheap polyester drenched in body fluids tore easily. Her ribs were perfect. He ran back to his smashed car. He didn’t have a knife. It wasn’t very wise to drive around with one – girls these days frowned upon criminal records even for something minor. But then he remembered the little pocket knife attached to his keyring. It was more useful for cleaning underneath his nails than actually cutting anything, but it would have to make do.
Her friends screamed around him as he came back with the keys.
“Oh my god, you killed her!”
Well, obviously. And now he was going to repurpose her ribs. If her friends didn’t shut the fuck up, he would turn their leg bones into drum sticks and sell their organs on the black market. All except their lungs. No one needed lungs like those.
They should have been running away and phoning the cops. Their lives being so full of fake drama and the desire for perfect selfies meant they could only scream and take pictures of themselves with their mascara running down their faces – the look of true fear. Discovery online could lead to a role in a horror movie. That could lead to further, more important roles.
Lots of money with minimal effort. These girls were the sort that didn’t know acting entailed a lot of serious work. Not calling the pigs in was good, although after all of this, Zander could sure go for a bacon sandwich.
He wished they would scream somewhere else before they caught the attention of ramblers or other idiots out in the desert heat. There were always people about, even on the back roads with no houses for miles.
Before he settled down for a bit of improvised grave robbing sans the grave, he slapped each one on the back of the head. The intention was to make each one shut the fuck up for a few minutes at least. The force that he used was enough to smash their upper and lower sets of teeth together, possibly chipping a tooth or two if any of them had a hidden soda habit.
What he hadn’t expected was for a knife to fall out of one of their blouses onto the sun-bleached hard-top. It seemed somebody had a hidden stabbing hobby. Or possibly they used it to self-harm, the pain dulling their insecurities. This seemed most likely. Girls like these couldn’t stand violence. Violence was toxic and must be repressed at all costs, even with violence. How someone managed to keep a knife hidden in tight polyester was anyone’s guess, but Zander choose not to focus on it. He had a knife now. An actual knife instead of a keyring pocket knife would liberate the ribs sooner.
He set to work, the desert sun beating down on him. This would soon turn to stinky work. The fester of decay would get up his nose and leave him heaving into the gutters at the side of the road
Birds called overhead, but he didn’t care that he would soon be competing with vultures or crows. They were welcome to the rest of her body. He needed the ribs.
He made the first incision. He was shocked by a gasp of air. A voice in the back of his mind tried to stir up a memory about the body releasing gases after death, but that voice was lost amongst the images of every zombie movie he’d ever seen. He needed those ribs though. As long as she didn’t bite his face off during her resurrection, he could have them and be hitchhiking away from the scene and to the studio.
Zander held his breath as he cut along her sides. He would need to cut along her deflated breasts. That y-incision - made famous in various horror films he watched in secret while jerking off, imagining the blonde’s mouth on his cock - he needed to make one of those. He’d watched a lot of movies by himself, cock in hand. He knew how it was done.
Another gasp escaped her as he cut along. The ribs were visible. He reached for them but they were stuck to something. Harvesting body parts was much more difficult than the movies made out.
The girls started screaming again. He couldn’t take it. He slapped his hands over his ears.
It was no louder than a mumble. It wasn’t heard above their screams. As if by magic, they seemingly grew louder. Only the call of birds circling overhead, announcing to their kin the meal ticket below, could be heard above it.
Tears sprung up in his eyes. Real men didn’t cry. He was a man. He was going to prove it. One of those girls screaming over by the side of the road could shut up and watch as he overcame his problems and put on the performance of his life. She’d fall in love with him and not spare a googly-eyed glance at the guitarist.
He tried to hold back. Snot bubbles rising in his nose had other ideas. He planted his hands in the dead girl’s chest cavity and pulled, snotty tears running in gooey rivers down his face. He could feel the sunlight reflecting off each tear and into the eyes of the girls looking for drama. If he could catch one alone, he would show her a world without drama and selfies.
He looked down at what he was doing. He wasn’t going to watch the humiliation run down his face and bubble out of his nose any more than he already had. He cleared his throat.
“Shut the fuck up.”
For that brief moment in time, he kept the shake out of his voice. Even the birds stopped calling. Everything stood still. He wasn’t a strong man but he could channel strength from everything around him, right down to the worms eating soil below the pavement.
His tears cleared. As they evaporated, his vision became keener. The girls had become silent, if only temporary. The only thing that didn’t improve was his sense of smell.
He cracked her sternum with a tap of the knife. He couldn’t break any other part of the ribcage upon removal. He needed it to make music on internet TV in a little while. Time seemed to stop for him though, giving him a chance to do things right.
He ran his fingers along the outside of the ribcage, pulling up skin and sinew which he threw aside. A bird dived out of the sky and took it from the road. More came down and did the hard work for him, pecking the ribs free of their bounds in a much more delicate fashion than Zander would ever have been able to muster. They knew not to peck at him.
An aura of strength and secret communication engulfed him. The birds managed to crawl inside and liberate the ribcage from that end too. He was free to pick it up.
He shoved some mallets into his back pocket and walked beneath the desert sun. The girls screamed in the distance but he had his xylophone. One of them was sure to be impressed with his playing. He reached the busier road without so much as a hint of dehydration, the fresh ribcage cradled in his arms like a mother holding a new born.
The guitarist sped by. He saw Zander walking out of the desert holding something like a shadow against his chest. He pulled over with a skid. The vocalist was an embarrassment. If he didn’t have such a sexy voice that attracted the female audience (until they saw him, but by then they’d already bought the album), he would have been sacked and sent back to flipping burgers long ago. He needed to see what fresh trouble Zander had gotten himself into and recruit the rest of the band to clean it up before they had to be at the studio.
Zander picked up his heels if only for the chance to get lost in the guitarist’s eyes. The blood had dried on him while he was inhaling desert dust. It still smelled fresh enough to make the guitarist’s ‘tache droop and his asshole close over.
“What have you done?”
He looked at what Zander held in his hands. He couldn’t be sure if the ribs were real or not but he had a good idea that they were, based on the blood and overall smell.
Zander’s eyes were different. They didn’t have any sort of glint in them. They were glazed over and dead.
“I replaced my xylophone.”
Zander smiled. There was blood between his teeth. Then he laughed, and the guitarist saw the blood and tissue stuck in his cheap fillings. The laugh was hollow.
That was what really made his guts turn over. Sourness grazed the back of his throat. He swallowed it down and turned the car around.
Zander had a voice. Murder could be covered up. A voice like that wouldn’t be found again for one thousand years or more. He turned his car down the backroad.
Sunlight reflected off something in the distance. He assumed that was Zander’s car. He didn’t know how the man could crash into nothing. As he closed the distance, he saw the front end was caved in, but there was nothing to suggest why.
The sun reflected off the road in that watery mirage you get on long desert roads, giving everything a sinister looking halo. The birds’ screaming sounded like the teenage girls who tried to get backstage at their gigs. He slowed. Random bits of polyester clothing had melted into the road. He stopped the car and got out. Something wasn’t right out here.
A bird swooped down. It had a human face and carried a bit of what looked like an eyeball in her beak (or was it a mouth?).
Zander remained in the passenger seat. He could hear him tapping along on the ribcage. The sound was pure and beautiful.
He bent down, exposing his toned ass to the car. Zander’s longing glance was the least of his concerns. He was looking for a body and some sign of what had caused the car to cave in. There was nothing. The road was smooth and flat. Splatters of blood soaked into it leaving dark patches.
Not even birds with human faces and screams would take off with everything. Any sign of a larger animal that would have gnawed on bones was nowhere to be seen, not even dusty tracks or a distant howl.
The car popped. The dents were coming out. Zander tapped away on his new xylophone as the guitarist backed up, refusing to turn away. Zander’s car was getting better.
The guitarist sat in the driver’s seat of his own car and pressed the gas. He wasn’t going to sit around and watch. He drove straight back towards civilisation.
He was on the main road before he glanced at Zander, still with that dead look in his eyes. His xylophone was new and pure white. In another time and place, it might have been bleached ivory.
He never wanted to see Zander’s car again, and wondered if someone had slipped him something to make him imagine the entire thing. It didn’t explain Zander’s new xylophone though. Best not to think of those things. He focused on the only things he knew; guitar riffs, grooming wax and the feel of the back of Zander’s throat on his cock.