21st Century Freedom FINALE by Tristan Drue Rogers

Freedom is as Easy as 1,2,3…

They say that I came to fifteen minutes later. They also say that my gift flew off behind me into a man’s cheek as he benched, he finished his set before he reacted. Dried blood encapsulated my lower back around various areas of my crotch. I suppose I fell between the stands awkwardly still in position to continue. They also say that the attractive woman from earlier had gotten the others to notice me, not because she was a concerned member of human kin, but because she vomited at the sight of my escalope-like nub of meet slices. Everyone shielding their eyes from their shattered image of beauty brought them my way. Strange exchange. They also say that Beatman never left my side, even as he finished his routine to the best of his ability with such conditions certainly to have made it difficult, I’m sure.


     “That’s not true, Mac. I didn’t even do a single push up after that happened,” Beatman said as he sat beside me on my bed. The nurse, who was very knowledgeable on the subject of marijuana with no qualms speaking on it, answered all of Beatman’s prodding to procure me a medical marijuana card in the nicest ways possible without calling him at all hopeless, had also left for the day.

     “I believe ya, bro. Ya look a little not so perky anyway—How could I not believe you!?” I laughed before realizing that my comment didn’t perk a grin from my friend.

     He sighed. “Yeah. Anyway, did ya hear the clerks screaming at me after you passed out?” I shook my head. He continued, “Well, they must have seen your hand as soon as we walked in, right? And of course they did, but only the guy—who looked light a fucking flightless vulture with Ferrigno arms—said that he just thought you had tatted it all stony black. Wouldn’t be the strangest kind of frat boy tat he’s seen.”

     “Really? But it hardly moves!” I interjected with my laugh becoming fainter.

     “That was my point! He thought you had a cramp or some baloney. Anyways, he said you would have never been permitted if he knew.” 

     I never saw that in the rule sheet.

     “And he got pissed cuz I started talking a bit of smack about their bullshit rules not saying a damn thing about replaced limbs not being allowed.”

     All I can muster in action is two half-hearted chuckles at his caricatured rendition of the strong-armed vulture man.

     Beatman continued, “So we are definitely not gonna get accepted there any longer, bro.”

     “Fuck it.”

     “Already got a new membership for us at Slave Away Iron whenever you’re ready to get back at it.”

     “Right … Back at it …”

     Beatman stood up off of my bed. “But I’ll let ya rest for now, bro.” He tapped me on my right foot before again continuing. “I’ll hit ya up tomorrow Mac. See ya.” He left the room and shortly after I heard the front door open and close.

     I wish I could have the strength to tell him that working out just ain’t working out for me, but such strength I do not have. And that man, my friend, will never give up on me as I never gave up on him those few months ago. 

     I got up to stand and slowly walked through the hallway by leaning on the walled corridor, pushing off whenever necessary. Through the living room and into the kitchen, I could easily gorge myself to death on steak and eggs with a peanut butter milkshake or cookies and chocolate milk with ice cream—rocky road or straight vanilla—or I could do something easier by ordering two large pizzas, meat lovers with one liter of pop.

     But instead I found my kitchen just as I left it with one minor difference: my hand was set sizzling on the stove. Not sizzling, more so placed to be cooked with no fire below. That is, until I turned the knob to eleven.

     As the smell tickles my fancy nose hairs to dance, I grabbed the cleaver that would have freed me. Opening the fridge in the most perfect way, I acted out bringing about some butter, opening the container, and plopping it down onto said hand all with the help of said cleaver.

     Before I think to close the fridge I kissed the cleaver, butter and leftover redness and all.

     “I’ll be free and he’ll find someone else,” I said. “Love ya, bro.”

     The first cut was to my left foot, just an inch or two slanted above my toes. I cannot for the life of me explain that choice in targeting. Hurt more than my previous infliction. The second cut was to reopen the nub, and in a flowing volcanic fit of ecstasy, it reopened. The third was a slice upward through the vain from the original wound, as I’ve heard that to be the correct way to commit to my emotions.

     I did not need a fourth.

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