The Morons Wallow in a Sea of Girls
Kevin Wilson

Frankenstein built his monster, the most inelegant jointure of ungainly parts. He was, truth be told, a terrible artist.

I found my love, my muse, my monster, in the Hudson River, pulled him from the edges of the water into my arms.

He was a hulking, hideous mass of bone and muscle, the perfect Neanderthal man. I ran my hands over his forehead, the amazing frontal bossing, and I slid my fingers into the ridges of his brow until he shivered and sank further into my arms.

And he was mine, all mine, all mine, all mine.

He was a willing model; he allowed me the time to form the initial rough elements of his visage, the clay giving way so easily to his strange features. This is the thing about monsters that people do not understand. Their natural state is stillness. Violence is only a fraction of their essence.

There is, however, always violence. There is that.

The newspaper reported a brutal killing, a prostitute nearly broken in half. The Creeper, a notorious serial killer, was mentioned. His resemblance to my own love did not escape me. I am an artist; I understand the ways in which pieces of the world come to you and how it becomes your responsibility to assemble those pieces into something worthwhile.

There was a critic of my work, of all art, since my art is all art. F. Holmes Harmon. Tripe. My work. Tripe. There was that word, over and over, in my head. There was my love, the monster, asleep in my bed. There was the newspaper article, the prostitute’s spine so neatly broken it seemed surgical. These were the elements of the enterprise. These were my rough materials.

I asked my monster if he always was or if he came to be this way. Sometimes, late at night, the two of us twisted together in bed, he would say he was born this way.

Sometimes, in the mornings, when I scraped the sharpest razor I could find across his face, he would say that it was exposure to mustard gas during the war. Sometimes, right after he’d returned from killing a prostitute or another one of my critics, he would say that he once was incredibly handsome, but a lab explosion during a chemistry experiment ruined him. Sometimes, while I would continue to sculpt, elbow deep in clay, as he sat for me, he would say that it was a long-term disease and that it would eventually kill him. Sometimes, when he was drunk, he would ask why it mattered.

I needed to know, I told him, if he would ever change, if I had to prepare myself for a future when his face was not his face. I wanted to know if the sculpture I had made of him would be the only thing that lasted. A deathless masterpiece.

He placed his hands around my neck and squeezed, tighter and tighter, as I ran my hands over his body, his face, until the light took me. Afterwards, he released me, tossed me onto the bed, and went into the studio to smash the sculpture. And then, he was gone.

He was gone, or I was gone, or both of us together were gone.

Despite my lover’s efforts, the sculpture, even in pieces, would still outlive us. I imagined the broken, jagged pieces of the thing that I had placed my hands upon, working at it with my fingers until it became the thing I most desired, the image that would exist long after every goddamned living thing in the world spirited away. My monster, and my fingerprints upon him, would never die. I had made him, had pulled him out of the depths of my own mind, long before I had ever been born.

Kevin Wilson is the author of a story collection, Tunneling to the Center of the Earth (Harper Perennial, 2009), and a novel, The Family Fang (Ecco, 2011). He lives in Sewanee, TN.