Goop 

by Chris Milam

Two weeks ago, I coughed out a living creature. Goop, the name I gave it, is a toddler-sized grey blob of intelligent processed food. Its mouth resembles a soft taco stuffed with strawberry jelly; its single eye is basically a sausage crumble. After feeling one another out for an hour or so, we bonded like wounds and sutures.

Me and Goop listen to Faster Pussycat and shoot Nerf basketball and drink too many Coronas. We watch our soap operas daily and play euchre until the sun wakes up. It said it was lonely inside of me, and I said it was lonely on the outside, too. Maybe it’s serendipity, Goop offered. I nodded and changed the subject because I had no idea what “serendipity” meant.

On our excursions to the grocery or park, I dress it in a peacoat and baseball cap, but it doesn’t care for that, says I am what I am, Alex. Are you embarrassed to be seen with me?

Well, yeah, you’re a revolting food blob, I don’t say. Not exactly easy on the eyes.

Sometimes it gets angry. Goop says it’s the all those cinnamon buns and ice cream sandwiches and frozen taquitos, a deadly combination for an abdomen dweller. I just want to hurt something, it said, lash out at everyone, sinner or saint. Do you know what I mean? Those urges?

Yes, I say. I know what you mean. Brown-nosers at work, Trump supporters, the guy at the gas station who said I looked like the actor from Machete. I wish I could just punch them all in the face. But I’m not a courageous man or a physical one.

That’s where I come in, Goop said. I have no conscience, no empathy, no fear. Hell, I’m made of junk food; I was born to kill.

We decided Halloween was the perfect time to unleash Goop. It could blend in with the other small creatures crowding the sidewalks. I waited in the car, windows down, as it approached the home of a loud lady who had complained about my tall grass. Darkness and flickering pumpkins fought for control of all the tiny souls. It knocked on the door.

Trick or treat.

Oh, how adorable, a miniature goblin? So realistic, tell your parents good job. Goop ignored the compliment, jumped on her head, attached itself to her face like a hungry squid, and sucked her heart out through her mouth. Her body hit the ground like a felled tree. Goop pulled the door shut and slunk away. It was gruesome. It was beautiful.

I gave it a hi-five when it got back in the car. Goddamn exhilarating, it said. I want more.

The next hour was all knock, trick or treat, suck heart. A ghoulish, bloody sonnet brought to life on Princeton Road. Goop was the Keats of executing annoying neighbors.

We had to stop at 8 o’clock. Halloween was over. Goop was disappointed and exhausted. I was as close to happy as I would ever be. I wished the night of frights could last forever.

But over the next few days, Goop became lethargic. Didn’t want to listen to 80’s music or watch cooking shows. Barely spoke or moved. Lost interest in killing people. A blob acting like a blob.

What’s wrong? Are you sad?

It’s sausage eye blinked. I don’t know. Would you be mad if I went back inside you? I’m not sleeping right and I’m getting blinding headaches. I miss your warm gut and its soothing digestive sounds. It’s too busy and organic out here, and every heart tastes like pine nuts and kale. How am I to survive in a bizarro world that condemns sugar, trans fats, and artificial flavors and colors? I’m done, Alex. Don’t hate me.

No, it’s fine. Whatever you want, it’s your call. And I could never hate you, I said. I wanted to cry and beg for it to stay on the outside with me. Don’t go, friend. Our poetic murders and lengthy conversations lift me out of bed every morning. But it wouldn’t be fair to stop it from living its life. My body will always be a safe space.

I’m sorry, it said. Maybe we’ll do this again next Halloween. Just hack me out if you want to reconnect.

Sounds good. I’ll do that.

It gave me a last look, shrank itself, and then leaped into my mouth, slimed my teeth, and slid down my throat.

Chris Milam lives in the bucolic wasteland that is Hamilton, Ohio. When not writing, he enjoys reading, watching baseball, and sulking in the couch.
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