Tales of the Asp: The Vanishing Vagina, by Aidan Butler

     The first time Zelda's body surprised her she was six years old. A cunning, inquisitive child, she had invaded her parents' walk-in bedroom closet four days before Christmas to inventory the gifts she would receive. She found a bag from Buster Brown's toys, and for a few moments sat spinning the wheels of a miniature pink cadillac against the closet wall, making quiet zooming sounds with her mouth. She heard her mother's voice in the hall. Panicking, she crouched in the darkest corner of the closet and gripped the toy in her lap, covering it with her hands. When her mother's voice travelled to the doorway of the bedroom, Zelda pulled the closet doors closed. Suddenly her mother hushed; Zelda heard heavy footsteps moving toward the closet. Desperate to hide the toy lest her breach of trust be exposed, Zelda plunged the miniature cadillac into her vagina.

     Her mother did not open the closet door; her crime was never discovered. But the cadillac never came out.

     Zelda felt no discomfort from having the toy lodged in her body. She saw no trickle of rust come from her until she reached puberty.

     As a college student, Zelda worked at a strip bar in the city. Part of her act consisted of inserting toys -- such as cap guns, ping-pong balls, and small robot action figures -- into her pussy. The ping-pong balls were particularly delightful to the crowd, partly for the testicle symbolism, but also because Zelda had trained herself to pop them out across the room into the mouths of inebriated, lust-crazed patrons.

     One evening her act failed; the ping-pong balls never came out. The audience booed; the manager accused Zelda of theft and fired her.

      Zelda remembered her childhood experience with the cadillac. She had, in adulthood, reflected on it only once, and had hypothesized that the event had been a fiction authored by her over-active childhood imagination. Now she began to wonder.

     Zelda told none of her friends about the ping-pong balls, and did not consult a doctor, for the ping-pong balls caused her body no murmur of pain. She did not release the balls in her excrement; they did not fly out of her mouth when she belched. They were, as far as she could tell, simply gone.

     Zelda would probably never have mentioned the ping-pong ball episode to anyone had it not been for Swish, her Siamese kitten. One evening Zelda fell asleep in her small studio apartment with the kitten on her lap. The next morning the cat was gone. Her door was not ajar; the windows were not cracked. There were cat hairs stuck to her labia; four small scratches marked the skin of her inner thigh, and her skimpy underwear was stretched and slightly torn -- evidence, she realized with horror, of Swish's mortal struggle.

     Zelda narrated the bizarre series of events to her friend Tanya, who exploded with laughter, and persuaded Zelda that they should exploit her unusual talent for personal gain. The two young women went to Portly's department store, but Tanya's obtuse scheme failed utterly; when Zelda left the store with a necklace, a bottle of Channel perfume, and a cellphone stored her cunning vagina, the organ refused to cough them up. Zelda decided to seek medical help.

     Doctor Reckles' initial reaction to her story was to phone the two local psychiatrists to see if Zelda had ever been their patient. They said she had not. Reckles asked her to demonstrate her talent on his beeper. For days emergency patients tried in vain to contact Reckles. Zelda, guilt-stricken, bought him a new beeper.

     Reckles realized that if he attempted to study the vagina with the aid of medical instruments, he would simply have to replace them. He concluded that the only logical way to comprehend the problem was to investigate it by human intervention. Reckles' fifteen-year-old son, Ryan, courageously volunteered to let her vagina swallow him.

     Ryan inserted his hand up to the wrist. Within fourteen hours, Zelda's labia were gripping his elbow. Reckles asked Ryan to describe the feeling.

     "It's like an eye socket without an eye. It's like warm, moist velvet; velvet dripping with hot fudge, or...oh, oh!"

     Ryan ejaculated for the sixteenth time since making contact with Zelda's voracious vagina.

     When Ryan's arm had slipped in to his shoulder, he became frightened, and retreated. His arm, to his vast relief, seemed uninjured.

     A few weeks later, Ryan came to his father -- reluctantly, blushing with shame -- and admitted that his arm had become enormously strong since he pulled it out; though visibly no different, he could bench-press more than three hundred pounds using that arm alone. Ryan became the star player on his little league team; whenever his bat struck the ball, it launched clear out of the park. Oddly, the baseballs were never found in the bleachers, or in the parking lot around the ballpark, or in the fields around the parking lot. The balls simply disappeared.

     News of the amazing pussy drew countless reporters, conspiracy theorists, and scientists to the town. Zelda was anguished; public fascination with her body had destroyed the smooth, predictable flow of life in her hometown. People harrassed her with questions whenever she left her apartment; throngs of reporters, angry Christians, and pornographers hounded her. Penthouse magazine invited her to be their centerfold, offering a gigantic sum of money. When she refused, they offered to create a special issue for her, which they would call the Ruguary issue, inventing a new month in honor of her uniqueness. Again she refused. Tormented, ashamed, Zelda became a recluse.

     A legion of relentless fanatics camped out on her lawn; they chanted day and night for her to come out. This prevented her from sleeping. Increasingly rattled, Zelda began having imaginary conversations with her vagina. She prayed for it to leave; attempted to negotiate with it; screamed curses at it, accusing it of being no vagina at all, but rather a monster, a hideous, fiendish puddle of anti-matter masquerading as a pussy.

     The medical community demanded that she turn herself over for in-depth experimentation. When she declined, the governor of the state threatened to declare her body a state emergency and call in the National Guard to seize her. Lying to the press, he claimed that such measures were absolutely necessary: "We have word...though unconfirmed...that her body has abducted several children. This cannot be tolerated. She must surrender herself to the State." The leader of the National Guard protested that his force was ill-equipped to deal with such a dangerous situation.

     The crowds pestering Zelda did not relent until early one morning when she dropped a note out of her window informing the crowd that her vagina had begun swallowing her up.

     "Much of my waist has somehow been sucked into my vagina. It looks horrible. My belly-button is gone; my breasts are sinking inward. I'm afraid that I'm dying."

     Out of pity for Zelda, the maniacs left her alone in exchange for her willingness to photograph herself every half hour. She agreed.

     But even the remote scrutiny was suffocating to Zelda; her lack of real privacy was driving her mad, and the freakish, ungodly nature of her malady drove her to despair. Just after two o'clock one morning, Zelda snuck out of her apartment and ran into the unpopulated hills several miles from the center of town.

     Early that morning, just before dawn, the town was awakened by a strange explosion coming from the hills. Several flashes of yellowish light throbbed silently across the sky above the spot where Zelda, mostly devoured by her vagina, sat on the ground and begged the Goddess Nature to free her from her misery and let her die.

     After several minutes the explosions ceased. Zelda and her vagina had vanished. No trace of either remained, neither strands of hair, nor dead skin cells, nor ashes.

     The obsession over Zelda's strange case only increased. A small local paper nicknamed the magical, terrifying creature that lived between her legs Zeldina, and the name caught on. Ryan, whose powerful arm had felt the warm wrap of Zeldina, became the new focus of crazed public attention. Not Ryan, per se, but his arm: a sizeable cult formed around Zeldina, and at the climax of its evening vespers service, in which priests recited prayers and poems to Zeldina, Ryan stood in a spotlight at the altar and unsheathed his arm. It was revered; it was kissed. Ailing believers, convinced of its magical healing powers, lined up to be touched by it. It was the phsyical shadow of Zeldina, the enchanted beast of the unknown, the mouth of eternity, the symbol of passage into non-being.

     During the service one evening, the High Priest of Zeldina -- who painted his face to make his mouth look like a vagina -- surprised Ryan by slashing off his arm with a gleaming scimitar. The arm was embalmed and ensrhined in a gold box, and wrapped each morning with freshly flowering ivy. In the evenings it was sprinkled with gold dust. Sticks of incense were lit before it twice a day. On Tuesdays, the holy day in the cult of Zeldina, it was posed playing a silver harp.

     While the cult petitioned congress to declare the day Zeldina launched back to its divine realm a National holiday called "Zelday," Ryan ran away. Two weeks after his dismemberment, he had commented sadly to local reporters, "I just feel empty now. Worthless. I dunno, it's like there's nothing left of me. What am I now? I was great before, but now...it's like there's no point in going on."

     Then, almost overnight, the cult of Zeldina toppled. The high priest had persuaded the parents in his congregation to bring their daughters into his mound-shaped grass-covered home, where he tested their vaginas for Zeldism by inserting his penis into them.

     Frantic, defensive, the High Priest screamed at a reporter, "I just wanted to see if my dick would disappear. God, leave me alone."

     Three days later, the arm was stolen from the temple of Zeldina. Mourning Zeldinists pleaded publicly for the thief to return the arm, and indeed it was returned: it was tossed, wrapped in aluminum foil, onto the steps of the temple. The arm had been grilled; it dripped with tangy roasted garlic barbecue sauce. A bite had been taken out of its revered bicep, and a hand-written note was taped to the foil: "This crap isn't fit for McDonalds!" The note was signed The Asp.

     Now persecuted, ridiculed, and shocked by the crimes of their High Priest, Zeldinists began committing suicide. Many of them hanged themselves from chin-up bars in gyms as a final homage to their tradition. Others shut themselves in closets, or climbed into large storm drainage pipes, and swallowed poison.

     Years later Ryan was seen in Baltimore Greyhound station. Deranged, alcoholic, and homeless, Ryan wept to a security guard that a ticketing agent had cut off his arm because he couldn't afford the price of a ticket "to the hills." After careful questioning by psychiatrists, it was determined that Ryan's recollection of the past was severely impaired. His bizarre adolescent experiences had vanished from his memory.

      AUTHOR'S WARNING: Zeldism is a fictional property, with no resemblance to any known biological phenomenon. Women are discouraged from testing themselves for Zeldism with anything other than the male penis.

Tales of the Asp
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