Fiction Collective Two is an author-run, not-for-profit publisher of artistically adventurous, non-traditional fiction.

Moving Parts


Moving Parts
by Steve Katz

Hardcover
1977
Price: $19.75

Buy


A scandalous fantasy in which He gets under Her skin, but can't get into her identity; the arrival in the morning mail of a mysterious parcel of wrists set him in pursuit; the author takes a real life trip in search of his own fictional Tennessee; an idyll on the quirkiness of the irrepressible number 43. These are the four Moving Parts through which obsession exfoliates identity. These four come together for the first time ever in the West or the East in a unique and innovative book, creating a resonance known only to a few in the far North buried under 86 feet of snow, where you must never touch your tongue to the blade of your knife.


 

"a contentious knight of Hope out to do battle with the toothless electronic Dragon of Commerce." —American Book Review


 

Excerpt


I made the first incision at 7:15 A.M. It was an important step. I touched the point in lightly just under the left armpit and slowely pulled the blade down along her side. The knife travelled like a kayak. My system was to accomplish the seperation with one continous lateral cut, dividing her skin in two halves, front and back. That was better then a bilateral division along the axis of her symmetry because it would make for the least disfigurement when the skin had to be replaced and would permit easier disguising of the adjustments and stretching necessary to fit that small skin over my relatively large frame.

Wendy relished the attention. Her only request before I began was that I fill her navel with the six spoons of cocaine she had bought the day before in anticipation of our experiment. She interrupted me now and then as I carefully followed my procedures to instruct me where to apply the cocaine. I moistened my finger and dipped it into the heap of white powder in her bellybutton, rubbing it then onto her gums, or her clitoris, or touching a bit to the slight, clean, necessary wound with which I was circling her body. I was beginning to feel good.

I had anticipated some difficulties when it came to seperating the skin from the body, but not so. A slow, patient tugging did it. Wendy claimed that it felt good, like a total mudpack drying. Patience was the key to this step in the process because the slightest tear of the skin would be unsightly, and obvious in the daylight. My anticipation of tenderness at the breasts proved unwarranted also. They popped easily out of their peel, and Wendy sighed. I wished I could feel what she was feeling.

I laid the front skin over the dressmaker's dummy Wendy had covered with decoupage. I had to get the back skin off in a hurry, before the front dried and lost all its natural adhesion. That's why I botched it somewhat, causing these thin patches around the buttocks and shoulder blades. I have to be very careful. When Wendy looked at me so dressed up in her private goods she started to laugh.

"You look absolutely me."

She didn't look bad herself; done up, so to speak, in just her musculature. Lovely spasms played across her sheets of body muscle. There was something of her revealed in this condition that I had never noticed about her before, an ephemeral disposition to grace, a lovely mild tidal mood of physicality, inarticulable, that made me want her even more than at the outset. I hadn't the slightest notion of what I was up to.

I had never seen her find anything quite so amusing as myself clothed in herself. Her laughter was natural and free, not the painful, perfunctory laughing noise she usually produced when she recognized in conversation something she understood intellectually to be funny. It was a lovely sequence of muscle spasms from her belly to her face.

"I made some rules, you know. No praying allowed in my skin. No sneezing. No spitting, eulogizing, kneeling, worshipping, howling. No sleeping permitted. No inoculating, talking, excommunicating, harmonizing, escaping, catching. Running is strictly forbidden. No smoking. No fucking. That's a poem by Nicanor Parra. Do you like it?"

"Wendy, why are you quoting a poem?"

"Would you prefer some bullshit emotional outburst?"

The trace of cocaine left in her navel had begun to affect me. I could see very clearly what was happening. It was confusing, but if it had been accomplished according to some system, that system was brilliant, perfect, infinite in complexity, interminable. I was restless to do something. I made Wendy promise to remain still, slipped into my own clothes, and stepped out the door.

It was 9:37. I was in the street, decked out inconspicuously in the absolute skin of Wendy Appel.