SKINK by aureleo sans

Isidro didn’t know why he was heavier at first.  He had no beer belly, no cankles, no love handles.  His doctor made a referral and spitballed.  Maybe it was a late growth spurt.  Maybe he had a low center of gravity.  Maybe he had too much gravity.  

“Lighten up, kid,” chuckled the doctor.

Isidro told himself he had a heavy heart and good bones like a turn-of-the-century house.  He scanned Zillow every day, pining for a cottagecore existence.  He never could afford a home.  For now he made his home in men.  Or rather, for a time, they lodged in him while he saved up seed money.

He didn’t know it but he had been collecting silt.  More specifically, he was absorbing zinc from semen the men deposited in him.  In Bio class, he had read about bioaccumulation.  He had been accumulating.

He couldn’t get on top of his tricks any more because of his mass.  They’d complain about being crushed by his body.  At first, they liked his body.  They mistook the hardening for hard muscle.  They groped at him like they couldn’t see.  But soon he became too tumescent.  Their hands retreated.  Fucking him, they said, was like fucking a cave in wintertime.

But a kink exists for everyone, and some men will fuck a hole in the ground.  

Although he took in less, he retained a dependable clientele.  He could never host because he lived with his mother and baby brother, but now he also couldn’t travel.  He couldn’t ride in cars without capsizing them or popping a tire.  And while he vanished from the truck stops, he felt more like a lizard than ever—maybe a skink, all scales and shine.  His skin desiccated and silvered; his cloaca morphed into a vise. 

His habitat was the bathhouse now.  He was nailing Epifanio there when the intercom blared static and a warning, “The cops are here.  Please exit your room.”  

He withdrew, wrapped the bathhouse uniform of a thin towel around his waist, and rushed to the narrow hallway that led to the rooms.  Everyone knew why the cops conducted these raids, but no one was hurting anyone except maybe the Tina dealers. The cops always cuffed everyone without distinction, threw them in jail, and placed them on the sex offender list all because they were sucking or being sucked or fucking or being fucked in the ass by other consenting adults. And because of this, Isidro, an immovable object, loomed in the hallway and wouldn’t move to allow the police through.

They shouted:

“Please move aside, sir, so we can do our job.”

“If you do not comply with our directives we will take you to jail, where you belong.”

“I can’t stand you faggots.”

He did not flinch.

Two cops charged at him, bruising themselves.  

“What the fuck,” they said.  

They tried to move his arms down.  They tried to restrain him but nothing budged.  They brandished their tasers.

“I’m warning you,” they said as they delivered 1,200 volts of electricity to his body for five seconds.  

And still Isidro was not moved.

Fatigued, they relented, went up to the bathhouse clerk, and asked, “Who is the asshole?”

“Club records are confidential,” the queen said, huffing a cigarette in violation of the city building code and the No Smoking sign.  “Get a warrant, pigs!”

“Fucking queers,” they said. A whoop echoed over the crackle of the intercom as they left, and the bathhouse exploded in cheer and cum.


aureleo sans is a Colombian-American, non-binary, queer, formerly unhoused writer with a disability who resides in San Antonio, Texas. She is also a 2022 Tin House Scholar, a 2022 Sewanee Writers Conference Scholar, a VONA alumna, and a Periplus fellow. She was named the second-place winner of Fractured Lit's 2021 Micro Fiction Contest and has been been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best Microfiction. Her work has been published in The Offing, Shenandoah, and Electric Literature and is forthcoming in Passages North, Salamander, and elsewhere.  Follow her at @aureleos.

Art by Bob Schofield @anothertower

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