By Madison Emerick
I don’t know how I’m going to tell the insurance company that a pair of testicles just smashed through my windshield. I’d like to claim the testicles belonged to “the man of steel” himself, but they actually belonged to some pompous asshole in a 4×4 Ford pick-up truck.
Still, I guess for all I, or the insurance company, knows, that asshole could have been Superman. All I notice as the truck speeds off through a red light is the driver’s white arm dangling freely out the window while his hand surfs the wind currents.
I carefully sift through the shards of glass and trash on the floor of the passenger’s seat. I find the testicles nestled like a robin’s egg in a heap of Chinese take-away boxes, grease-stained paper bags, and gas receipts probably dating back to when I first bought the car used six years ago. I cup the testicles in both hands, lifting them out of their nest. Although the color of robin eggs, they’re much heavier. Turning them, I find the point of impact revealing the silvery, steel yolk beneath the shell of blue, acrylic paint.
“Ain’t that sumthin’,” the mechanic declares. “God almighty!” he shouts, raising the testicles to the sky. Effulgent, bathed in a halo of golden sunlight, the testicles seem some holy testament to manhood. “You ever seen anything like this ‘fore?” he asks me.
I shake my head.
He spits a black glob of chewed tobacco between his feet before wiping the spittle from his chin with the end of his sleeve—already mottled yellow and brown with grease and oil stains.
“Oughta’ hang those on your rearview mirror or sumthin’,” he tells me. “Guess they might be kinda’ heavy, though.”
They’d make a pretty pendant, I think. But the leftover twine and ribbon from summers of making friendship bracelets and hair bows with my daughter are weak and frayed. The necklace chains, one silver and the other gold, cannot withstand the gravity of the testicles. Only the steel chain of my ex-husband’s electric chainsaw can brunt the weight. But jagged and shark-toothed, it only hurts my neck.
I had them polished, but my ex-husband doesn’t like them on the mantle. Too threatening. Too obvious. Too blue.
He taps his steel-toed boot on the hardwood floor and prods me in the shoulder. “Are ya listening? I ain’t havin’ our daughter ‘round that kinda crap. Take ‘em on down, now.”
But he knows, and I know, that it won’t make any difference.
I know fire is red and yellow, but the only fire I ever see is blue. The blue fire at the end of my cigarette lighter. The blue heat of the gas stovetop in my kitchen. The blue flames from the towers of distant steel mills.
I used to wonder about the reason for all that blue, but I’ve become so tired of it.
Blue. Blue. Blue.
I nail the cold scrap of smelted steel to the siding on the front porch. But now, illuminated by the white glow of the fluorescent lights buzzing overhead, the red glow has subsided. Its soldered skin is like that of a blister or festering sore, cauterized. And like everything else, I know this is a wound I cannot weld.