Aries: Big Dick Energy by Ken Elkes

At the Big Dick Energy workshop, Alpha Ram yells “exude horns!” right into your ear. You respond “I am the ram” and buck your hips as you’ve been taught, though you’re pretty sure his spittle went right down your ear canal.

Back home you cotton bud the ear until it blocks. Normally, your mother would suggest a solution, but she’s busy with her new beau, who makes erotic sculptures out of scrap metal and smells of singed chest hair and fire.

Instead, you squirt in drops of fizzing ear gloop and fantasise about a huge wad of wax falling out. You hope it doesn’t happen during tonight’s date.

In the restaurant, you focus well and give Tamsin subliminal messages about your tremendous Big Dick Energy. You demonstrate Tonguescope. You work the room for Jealousy Points.

Back at her flat, you’re convinced you’ll achieve Uber Ram status. Then something shifts in your ear, producing a constant shrill whine. When you explain the situation, Tamsin offers to take a look. She shines a torch into your ear, gets so close you can feel her breath.

“Smells like biscuits,” she says. “And a hint of vinegar.”

She probes your ear with a finger, then licks the tip. Her verdict: “Super sour”.

She leaves the room and returns, moments later, in a white lab coat and latex gloves.

You ask: “Do you work in medicine?”

She shakes her head, then rattles some implements onto a nearby kidney tray. You wonder where she got all this shit. You wonder how the hell this didn’t come up on the dating profile.

“Do I need a safe word?” you ask.

She grasps your ear and something slides in. There’s a moment of dizziness, then solid pressure. When she pulls the implement out, one bright spot of blood marks her sleeve. But you can hear again. Tamsin kisses your cheek and says its best if you rest at home.

Outside, sounds are too clean and too close. You wonder what Tamsin put in your ear and think instantly of a pencil, pushed so deep she could write words on the soft grey lobes of your mind. You want to call your mother. Or Alpha Ram. Or anybody. But you already know you’re not brave enough to insert a pencil in your ear, eraser end first. You know already you’ll live with her words forever.

K. M. Elkes’ debut flash collection All That Is Between Us (Ad Hoc Fiction) was published in 2019.His flash stories have won or been placed in competitions including the Bath Flash Award, Reflex Fiction Prize, Fish Publishing Flash Prize and the Bridport Prize. He has been published in more than 50 anthologies and literary magazines. His work will appear in Best Microfictions 2020, and he is a Pushcart and Best Small Fictions nominee.

Vintage photo of a man in a sheep costume
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