Complexion by Blankage and Ketrian

Welcome to the good life, where we like the girls who ain’t on TV ‘cuz they got more ass than the models.
– Kanye West

The Wall Screen shows a close-up of a proud soldier in his camo jacket. His white head is freshly shaven and almost blindingly bright. He’s grasping something metallic-looking. The camera pulls back, and we see that it’s a chain. It loops and zig-zags its way through the handcuffs of more than a dozen brown-skinned Mexicans who shuffle along pathetically in their ankle cuffs. They are all humming the tune to “Panda Panda Panda Panda” by Deerhoof. I admire their taste in music even if they are all drug kingpins. Bold blue letters at the bottom of the screen inform the viewer that “Top Cartel Leadership Captured Saturday,” and in a tiny box at the top corner of the screen, President George Washington IV’s disembodied head tells us how very proud we should be of our law enforcement.

Isabel shakes her head. “This is very awful,” she says. “They are just trying to provide for their families.”

We’re sitting around the grey, vinyl conference table in the teacher’s lounge. This is the morning break where we all come here and relax for fifteen minutes while the robotic assistants watch the kids. If this were the 1960s back when I started teaching, everyone in this lounge would be chatting and waving their cigarettes at each other. The smoky air would be full of the sweet scents of tobacco and tar. It’s the 2030s though, and the air is full of the smell of antiseptic and mint chewing gum.

The ten or so other teachers are on their mobile devices, probably watching videos of tiny hamsters vomiting or something. Isabel and I are the only ones watching the Wall Screen. I’m stuffing my mouth with animal crackers while trying not to let too many brownish crumbs collect on my huge belly. I don’t plan to stop eating until I have to loosen my belt another notch.

I usually hold my tongue when Isabel starts in with how horribly we’re treating the Mexicans. I usually just nod in agreement because I don’t want to argue, and because, of course, Isabel can’t help sympathizing with the Mexican plight since she’s Mexican herself. But today, I’m not feeling great. I only lost ten pounds yesterday, and it’s put me in a foul mood.

“Serves those Mexicans right,” I say. “Selling drugs to our kids.” A teacher named Ms. Fritz is sitting a couple chairs over, and she clears her throat loudly, still staring at her smart phone.

Isabel turns to me like she feels sorry for me, like I’m the disillusioned one here. I basically know what she’s going to say because we’ve taught at the same school for around fifteen years, and I’ve heard all she has to say on the topic of Mexican-American relations. She’ll say that she was born and raised in Mexico so she knows that it is not full of rapists and criminals. She’ll say that you can’t trust the media because President Washington is part of some conspiracy to control it. According to her, President Washington is racist against brown people like her. I sit and wait for her to say all this, but she just smiles sadly and murmurs, “Perhaps you’re right.”

I’m not quite sure I heard her correctly. Some of the other teachers on the other side of the room by the coffee machine look up from their mobile devices with raised eyebrows. Isabel just sits calmly watching the Wall Screen. The tops of her brown breasts are uncovered, and they slowly rise and fall every time she breathes.

“I know I’m right,” I say. I also know I should shut my clapper, but I can’t stop now. “And you know what else? Those degenerates are stealing jobs from decent, hard-working Americans. Kids can’t even get jobs selling crack cocaine anymore, because the Mexicans are already doing it.”

Isabel just shakes her head. “That’s very observant of you, Melvin. Most of us Mexicans are drug dealers, plus half of us are horny lesbians too.”

“Well, I wouldn’t say that,” I say weakly. Of course she would bring up her lesbianism now, as if I’m attacking her personally. I feel the area underneath my thick belly roll getting wet with sweat because she is seeming much too agreeable about all this. I’m not afraid of Isabel, of course. She’s a priestess of the Temple of the Third Moon, but everyone knows that’s a bunch of New Age hogwash.

“And why not?” she says. “Fat, old, white men such as yourself can say whatever they want, no?”

My ears start getting hot. I very much dislike being so fat, and being called fat by attractive women is considerably worse, especially if they are Mexican. The room is silent, but the atmosphere reverberates around my head like I’m inside a giant, ringing gong. Everyone is staring at me. I stomp out of the teacher’s lounge, panting heavily. That’s one of the many drawbacks of being fat. You can’t quietly exit a room. You displace too much air. My heart is beating wildly. If I have a heart attack, I hope my wife sues Isabel.

I walk back to my classroom all in a huff and tell the robotic assistant that it doesn’t need to watch my classroom anymore. I hate talking to those grungy, metal contraptions. I never know where to put my eyes.

“But my time has not yet come,” the robot says because the break isn’t supposed to be over yet. The kids are everywhere, crawling on the ceiling, getting their hair stuck in the window jam.

“Just leave please,” I say. My anger is fading, and now I just feel tired.

“As you wish,” the robot says and clanks away with what I imagine is a confused expression. It’s hard to tell with those things. They don’t emote very well; at least the third generation robots don’t which is all our cheap school can afford. I fucked a first generation when they first came out several years ago. It was off-putting, a bit like fucking your dog. My penis smelled greasy and metallic for days afterward. I’ve never told anybody about it.

The kids are relatively well-behaved, maybe because they can sense that I’m not going to take any of their shit today. A kid only pees on the wall once. I consider a day where only one kid pees on the wall to be a resounding success. If nobody pees on the wall, we have a pizza party.

I’m just about to finish up the class when the administrator walks by the door, and I feel my guts turn to ice. It’s just a flash of her beige pantsuit through my window, but I’d know that pantsuit anywhere. We only see it when something has gone drastically wrong. Before I can even fully comprehend what’s happening, the doorknob to the room is turning, and then there she is, graying hair in a stern bun, glasses seemingly welded to her face.

“A moment of your time, Mr. Foxworthy?”

“I’m just about to finish up here. Can it wait a few minutes?”

The administrator lowers her head so she can fix her glaring eyes on me without the protection of her bifocals between us. “Isabel will finish up for you.” Now I see Isabel standing behind her with a huge grin on her face.

Well I’m finished, I think. I’m two years from retirement, and I’m going to get fired. I’m doing my best not to feel sorry for myself though, because clearly I had this coming. I should have known not to try to reason with someone as fundamentally irrational as Isabel. It’s just like her to go to an administrator as soon as she gets offended.

As we walk, the administrator talks with her head pointing straight forward as if she’s addressing some fixed point on the distant horizon. “I presume you know what this is about, Mr. Foxworthy,” she says.

“No, I don’t,” I say although of course I do.

“The annual mint chocolate chip cookie fundraising drive is next Tuesday, and I was hoping that we might be able to impose upon your above-average cooking skills.”

I feel myself exhale hard. No way! “Isn’t Pam heading that up again this year?”

“Yes, but she’s very busy, and she requested that I ask you on her behalf. Is there a problem?” We stop outside the door to the administrator’s office. I can’t think of anything I’d less like to do than step through the doorway into that office. The smell of rancid peanut butter and dead mice creeps out of the room and seeps into my nostrils.

“No problem! I’d be happy to bake for the fundraiser,” I say.

“Then it’s settled. Thank you for your time, Mr. Foxworthy.”

“No, thank you!” I blubber, as she walks into her office and shuts the door with a firm cerchunk. Life is good again. The bell rings as I make my way back to the classroom, feeling like I’m the sole survivor of a plane crash. I’m so relieved that I barely even care that Isabel is still standing at my desk, hovering over the stack of student assignments. I don’t say anything. She seems very fixated on some intricate motions she’s making with what looks like a piece of putty. Her blouse is hanging open, and her breasts seem to be competing to see which one can jiggle free first.

“What are you doing?” I say finally. She looks up as if she belongs in my classroom, waving her hands like a deranged orchestral conductor.

“I was just enchanting your papers is all. They’re going to turn you into a Mexican exchange student.”

“Oh.” I consider this for a moment. She’s either lost her mind or she’s just messing with me. Either way, one altercation with her is enough for one day.

“Well, I can take it from here,” I say. I grab the papers off the desk, and she breezes towards the door to the hallway. “Isabel,” I say, trying to formulate some sort of apology for upsetting her earlier, but she doesn’t hear me and disappears around the corner.

I pick up the stack of assignments and consider them. They’re oddly heavy and glossy, like all my students decided to do their assignments on cardstock. I’m anxious to get home, so I hurry to my car, toss the papers in the passenger’s seat of my red Honda, and drive off.

The first thing I always do after arriving at my house is check on my wife. She hasn’t left her bed in six years, and she’s only 92 years old. I’ve never received an adequate explanation for why she chooses to do this. “I’m tired of life,” is all I can ever get out of her. She’s says it slowly in between wearied sighs as if it means something profound.

She’s usually asleep when I get home, so I stand just inside the room in the darkness and watch her breathe. It relaxes me to see her so peaceful. Sometimes she wakes up, but tonight she just keeps snoring gently. After a few minutes, I pick up my book bag and leave the room.

My second ritual upon arriving home is much newer. I recently acquired what is known as a Naked Body Mirror Scanner to track my progress as I lose weight. I remove all my clothes and stand in front of it on a small, shiny platform. The metal is cold against my bare feet as the platform slowly rotates, and the camera in the mirror records every last angle of my bloated form. When the scan is complete, a 3D model of my body appears on the screen along with all of my current measurements and weight. This evening I weigh 210, which is the same as this morning. Disgusting. I run my hands over my flabby love handles and saggy mannish breasts. This weight has to come off, and come off it will, even if I have a heart attack trying.

I walk down the dim hallway to my bedroom. It used to be the guest room, but since my wife is now bed-bound, and we never have any guests, I’ve moved into it. I grab a red pen and the stack of papers I need to grade, throw them onto the reading stand of my stationary Smart Bike, and heft myself onto the seat. I begin to pedal. I’m still completely naked, and the room is dankly cool, but sweat begins to bead on my forehead almost instantly. In less than a minute, I’m wheezing and feeling my neck and cheeks flush red. My heartbeat thuds heavily through my head as I start to grade.

The assignment I’m grading is quite simple and easy: write an essay explaining what your favorite song is and why. It’s one of the first essays I ask my students to write. It tells me where they are in terms of grammar and punctuation, and how well they can put a sentence together. Occasionally, one of them writes something eloquent or touching, but such enjoyable surprises are becoming rarer as the years pass. The essay on the top of my pile is by a fellow named Rogelio. I can’t recall exactly what he looks like, but he’s obviously Mexican, so I brace myself for the worst.

“My favorite song,” he writes, “is ‘Esta tarde vi llover.’ It make me think of my home in Mexico.” Red mark through ‘make.’ “I first hear on the radio when I was only seven years but I still remember it because my mother always sings it to me when I’m gone to sleep.” That’s sweet, but more red marks. Sometimes these kids seem to have gone straight from first grade to high-school without taking a single writing class. The red marks aren’t going to be enough to make up all that lost time, but there’s not much else I can do.

The whole paper is a mess of subjects and verbs disagreeing loudly, tenses changing like the wind, and commas and apostrophes that are either absent or in laughably unexpected places. It’s too bad that I have to write a 44% on the page next to an ‘F’ circled in red. I contemplate writing a ‘see me’ in the margins, but what good will that conversation do? “I’ll give you 56 points of extra credit if you hire a tutor and learn English by the end of the year.” Yeah right.

I turn the paper over and it crumbles into white powder. The chalky cloud hangs in the air in front of me for a second and then dissipates. I accidentally breathe some of it in, and I cough loudly. The paper is gone. Obviously, I can’t hand it back to Rogelio now, which means he won’t be able to learn from all my thoughtful red marks, but I record a 44 in my grading program anyway. I think about Isabel’s bizarre statement and wonder if she has anything to do with this.

The next paper is by Amanda, and it’s much better. Amanda is a quiet, blonde girl that sits in the front row. I picture her parents proofreading the essay while sipping wine on their red cedar deck. Amanda’s favorite song is James Blake’s, Inverclyde, which the New York Times described as “the single most transcendent statement on Scottish disillusionment in the 21st century.”

“Great song!” I scribble down in between her neatly typed, correctly double-spaced lines.

My Smart Bike beeps to let me know I’ve reached the five mile mark, so I move over to my treadmill with my stack of papers. I’m getting an erection for no good reason. This doesn’t happen to me much anymore. My penis slowly unkinks and rises towards my belly button. I have the sudden urge to jerk off, but I stuff the desire down. Sweat pours down my back.

The light of the setting sun makes my room seem to glow, the wall paint a faint pink. I place the stack of papers on my makeshift reading stand and set the treadmill to its usual slow setting. My feet are barely moving so I speed it up a bit. Every step I take makes my stiff penis bob, and it feels so good it almost burns. I try to ignore it as I grade Amanda’s paper.

Amanda finds “Inverclyde” to be “really relevant to my life,” and “it makes me think of the Scottish landscape it was based on.”

“Dangling participle,” I write. I’m surprised her parents didn’t catch that. I also write “look deeper!” and scribble 96% at the top of the page. It’s a good paper, about what I would expect from a girl who’s probably going to major in business and get a job in middle management writing informally worded emails to people.

I’m typing the 96 in my grading program when Amanda’s paper also crumbles into white powder. Once is unusual, but twice is a pattern. Is every single paper going vanish like this? The white powder stings my eyes. I’m having very serious misgivings about what Isabel said to me in my classroom, and my penis still feels like it’s getting harder. Just the air moving across it sends little, icy pricks of pleasure through the swollen shaft. I look down and I realize I’m thrusting my hips slightly.

The white, rippling expanse of my belly has a brown speck on it. It looks a bit like a mole above my navel that’s about the size of my finger. I try to focus my eyes on it, but it seems blurry and far away. On closer inspection, it’s bigger than I thought, closer to the size of my fist. I hope that I don’t have fungus. The last time I had fungus, I had to junk my bed sheets and eventually even throw away my sex doll. I can’t take that kind of financial hit again, so I’m very much hoping this is just some sort of pigment issue.

I can’t understand how horny I am. The last time my dick was this hard, I was sixteen looking at porno mags. I know I need to grade the next paper, but I can’t seem to focus on anything. The treadmill is going too slowly so I speed it up again. I’m barely even breaking a sweat. I must have lost a lot of weight, but it’s hard to tell. I decide to check the Naked Mirror Body Scanner just make sure. I jog for a bit longer and then power down the treadmill and walk back to my bathroom. The hallway seems like its spinning around, and I almost slip on the tile in the bathroom.

The touchscreen of the scanner somehow got switched into Spanish, but I just ignore it. It’s mostly just pictures so I have no trouble starting the scan. I think about Isabel as I rotate. I have a hard time imagining why she would have said something so silly. A tiny bit of panic surfaces but I stuff it down where it belongs and tell myself to stop being so absurd.

I weigh 180 now. I can’t remember what I weighed before so I navigate back to my previous scan. It also says 180. I’m quite sure I lost weight. Perhaps the scanner is malfunctioning. It’s automatically identifying me as a woman now for some reason. Perhaps my waist has gotten so small that the machine is assuming I must be female. My scanned avatar spins around and around, and I study way my waist swoops into my hips. I can see why there might be some confusion.

I feel comfortably warm and dazed as if I’ve just emerged from a hot bath. My avatar keeps spinning slowly on the screen of the body scanner. There are numbers next to the digital representation of my body, but they blur into the blue background, so I have to squint to see them. Hips 45 inches. Waist 37 inches. Bust 36AA. I do have man-boobs, but the scanner has never registered a bust measurement. When my scanned avatar rotates to the side, I can see the nipples sticking out. 36A the screen says. The scanner is obviously broken so I power it down.

I turn to walk out of the bathroom and catch a reflection of myself in the mirror. My nipples are poking out just like on the scanner. They’re starting to tingle like they’re being caressed by one of those vibrating massagers. I wonder if I’m dreaming. I pinch one of my nipples, and the pain makes me squeal, but I don’t wake up. I fall back against the wall.

The brown splotch is swirling out from my belly button, like somebody spilled coffee on me. It’s just reached the top of my pubic hair, and it’s turning thicker and curlier as the brown seeps into it. The kinked strands feel coarse against my palm. I realize my hand is sliding up and down my penis. This is because of Isabel. My shaft is wet and slippery. I know it’s because of Isabel, but I can’t focus on what to do about it. My reflection in the mirror swims in front of me, and I can’t tell if it’s because there are fluids in my eye, or fluids filling the room.

My hand is still on my nipple, and my chest begins to shove against my hand. My knuckles are curved and my fingers are cupping something soft. They sink into the fleshy cone that is welling from beneath my nipple. I no longer feel like I’m in control of my body. I try to clear my thoughts by shaking my head, and my hair whips around my face. There are curly strands brushing against my jawline. My testicles swing hotly against my thighs. My paunch is like a wave rolling down into my abdomen. My nipple is so long that it bends to the side like a joystick beneath my hand.

The obvious solution floats into my brain. I’ll call Isabel and tell her that she better turn me back into a man or I’ll sue the living daylights out of her. The brown has reached my nipples and is staining them the color of mud. I push myself off the wall and almost crash forward into the mirror, but I manage to stabilize myself. I probably look like a tree wobbling back and forth before it falls. Now that I’m leaning forward, I can feel a soft weight in my chest that does not bode well. Already there’s certain pendulousness to the way my cones are beginning to droop. Their blossoming mass pulls against my skin and I feel my spine bend backwards in order to offset their heaviness.

I need to get to my cell phone. It’s in my room, tucked into the pocket of my slacks. I try to take a step towards my room, but my thighs lock together. They squeeze my testicles. My scrotum feels like it’s enveloped in warm butter. My cock is doing something odd. Instead of sticking straight out, it’s beginning to angle downward towards the floor. It’s still hard, and as it rotates down, thick liquid begins to spill out. It’s warm and translucent. It runs down my thighs until they’re slick and shiny. I try to hold it in but I can’t. My groin feels loose and open even though my cock is still stiff.

I try to move my legs apart, but they won’t budge a single inch. It’s like my hips are out of joint. I slip my hands between my wet thighs and try to pry them apart, but they’re stuck fast. They press against each other harder and harder. I can’t tell if they’re getting fatter or I’m just clamping them together more tightly. I lean heavily against the counter for a moment to catch my breath. My hair is curling into piles on my shoulders. It’s a deep raven black. I fling it over my back, and concentrate on trying to pop my legs into joint.

On the count of three, I jerk my thighs apart with my hands and strain my leg muscles as hard as I can. Finally, I hear a loud pop. My hips widen and my knees angle towards each other. My thighs are still squished together, but I can’t feel the orbs of my testicles between them anymore. My cock keeps rotating downwards. It’s beginning to slide between my thighs. With a wet squelching sound, it’s submerged in soft fat. A stream of liquid wells up from between my thighs and curls around my left knee.

I know what’s happening. The bottom part of my abdomen is stretching and yawning. My hips are thrusting outward into long, smooth curves. I’m wearing black, spandex booty shorts and a white sports bra with red around the edges. I didn’t put these clothes on. They appeared on my body at some point. My breasts are piling up as they fill the bra. I look down into my cleavage and will it to stop billowing towards my chin.

Every time I pop my legs apart, it gets easier. My knees still click together but there’s enough room between my thighs for me to walk. I can’t balance very well. My feet feel too close together and my hips bang into the doorframe when I leave the bathroom. My cock flops between my legs, and it’s barely a little, wet bulge in my spandex.

My legs are clicking of their own volition now. Every time they do, the softness of my thighs ripples all the way up into my ass. There’s still a smoldering friction between my thighs, and it makes me want to shove my hand down the front of my shorts and touch myself until the pleasure explodes. I drag my attention back to the task at hand. My legs click again. The bottom of my booty shorts is pinching into my groin so I pull them down and now they’re pinching the top of my ass.

I finally reach my room. It’s dark in there. I turn on the teddy bear lamp next to my bed and pull my cell phone out of the back pocket of my skinny jeans. I’ve never worn skinny jeans before, and I don’t have a teddy bear lamp. I call Isabel’s phone number and she answers on the first ring.

“Hola Maria,” she says. “What can I help you with tonight?”

“This is not Maria, and you know what you can help me with, Isabel,” I say. My mouth says her name like ‘Eessabel’ with the consonants all light and rounded.

“Aiy, is something the matter, mijita? You sound angry.”

“What’s the matter? You tell me! I’m grading papers and all of a sudden I’m growing tetas. I’m growing…” I can’t think of the English word to say tetas. My brain must be turning Mexican.

Isabel laughs musically. “Growing tetas? But your tetas are already so big.”

“No! I mean, yes. Pero, but, they’re not supposed to be!” I look down at my brown breasts quivering out the top and over the sides of my sports bra. They look huge, probably huger than Isabel’s, and they flop against each other as I jerk off. I want to stop, but it feels too good. The cavern of my abdomen is slick and warm. I bite my lip to keep from moaning.

“Listen, Maria. I don’t know what’s going on with you right now, but you need to calm down.”

“You want me to calm down? You’re turning me into una chica Mexicana just like you said you were going to!” My voice is floating upwards like it’s full of helium. I can’t handle this right now. I’m angry and my pussy is swollen and engorged.

“You think I said what? I’m sorry but I think you were dreaming, mijita. That never happened.”

“I’m pretty sure I can remember what happened this afternoon!”

“No, you are mistaken, Maria. We just talked about the about the assignment that’s due tomorrow. How are you doing on that by the way?”

I look down at the mostly blank paper in front of me. The name Maria Delgado is written in the top right. The first paragraph begins “’My favorite song is…” and then nothing. Who is Maria Delgado? And why does that name seem so familiar? Isabel keeps calling me Maria, but that’s a girl’s name so I know it’s not mine. I’m pretty sure that Maria isn’t my name.

“Sal de mi cabeza, perra!” I say. Get out of my head. I keep slipping into Spanish. It’s so much more easy to say.

“You are being very rude to me, Maria, but I will still help you with your homework because I like you.”

“You don’t like me! You hate me!” I say. “Why else would you turn me into una niña Mexicana?”

Señora Isabel sighs. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Really I don’t, but even if I was doing that, what’s so bad about being Mexican?”

“Nothing! Nothing’s bad about being Mexican!” I’m breathing hard and sweating underneath my tetas. I realize I just said exactly what she wanted me to say.

“So you’ve got nothing to be mad about, no? Are you for real upset that you’re not an obese old man anymore?”

“Yes! Pues, no…” I’m feeling very confused because I’m picturing myself with a big, white belly and a bald head and it’s sort of grossing me out. The hombre probably couldn’t even do one sit-up or run on the track team like I can. I can barely remember why I wanted to be him.

“Let me help you with your English homework, mijita.” English! That’s why I wanted to be the fat, white man. So I would know English.

“You no make me remember English,” I say. My accent is getting so heavy. The words are getting really hard to say, and my tongue feels like it’s twisting into weirder and weirder shapes.

“De ninguna manera! I’m trying to help you with your English. Why would I make you forget English and try to help you with it at the same time? That doesn’t make sense!”

She’s talking really fast and I have trouble catching all the words. I have to translate most of them into Spanish in my head before I can understand what they mean. “Maybe you’re right,” I say. I don’t even realize I said it in Spanish until the words are already out of my mouth.

“So we will do this paper together, no? Tell me in Spanish what your favorite song is, and then I will help you translate it to English. Okay?” It’s good she says all this in Spanish, because I basically only remember how to say really simple stuff like “Hello’ or ‘My name is Maria’. I’m really glad Señora Isabel is helping me with this assignment because it would be really hard without her. She always spends extra time with me and says nice things about my hair or how big and sexy my ass is getting which is kind of strange but not really in a bad way. I see this picture in my head all of sudden of my ass all flat and white, but also really flabby, and it’s disgusting and makes me giggle because where did that come from?

“Maria?”

“I’m here,” I say. Wow, I was totally zoning out with my fingers still in my pussy. I pull them out because that’s kind of gross to be talking to your teacher and masturbating at the same time. My booty shorts are still wet and dripping between my legs though.

“So what’s your favorite song?” she asks.

I don’t really want to tell her. It’s embarrassing so I giggle again. “’I Kissed a Girl,’ by Katy Perry,” I say. I’m not even trying to speak English no more. “I had one of those little crop tops and when nobody was home I’d dance around to that song in my bedroom in Mexico. I mean, Katy Perry is kind of stupid, but it’s a pretty good song, no?

“Si, mijita,” Señora Isabel says slowly. “That’s a good one.”

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