Eric Beeny

Excerpted from Lepers and Mannequins, a novel


On a soft patch of leaves Jaundice and Quall were kissing.

Jaundice was kissing Quall.

Quall was kissing Jaundice.

They kissed with mutual feelings of intimacy, though with some apprehension.

Jaundice and Quall were kissing.

Quall stopped kissing Jaundice.

“I’m glad you live farther away,” he said.

“What do you mean?” Jaundice said.

“It gives me more time to want you, when I’m coming to meet you. I love wanting you.”

“You want me?”


“I thought you needed me. You told me you needed me.”

“I do need you.”

“Then why would you want to be farther away from me?”

“Because it makes me long for you, is all.”

“Don’t you anyway, long for me?”


“You do?”


“I’m confused.”

Jaundice was afraid.

She wished she hadn’t told Quall about the mannequin migration.

She wished she didn’t feel like she could trust him.

She was afraid she couldn’t.

Jaundice hoped Quall hadn’t told the other lepers.

She hoped her trust was enough.

Quall hadn’t told anyone.

Really, he was glad Jaundice moved farther away because it gave her and the other mannequins more time to prepare for an attack, if they even knew one was coming.

Quall wanted to tell her they were coming.

Did the mannequins want to be attacked?

Did they want to be needed?

Who was asking these questions?

Jaundice wanted to be needed.

Jaundice wasn’t sure she could trust herself.

She had told Quall about the migration.

Quall hoped Jaundice trusted him.

He was going to tell Jaundice the other lepers from his colony knew about the migration, but he thought she would think it was Quall who told them about it.

She would think that.

But she would forgive him.

Maybe she wouldn’t.

Quall wasn’t sure how Jaundice would react.

If Jaundice accused Quall of telling, she wasn’t sure how he’d react.

It might’ve been a lot easier for Quall to forgive an accusation of dishonesty than for Jaundice to forgive the dishonesty she accused him of.

This was all just so silly.

Jaundice and Quall.

They both thought these same thoughts.

And it was all just so silly.

But neither of them knew.

It would be up to one of them to say or do something to keep all this silliness from getting any sillier.

Jaundice said she was confused.

Quall touched her face with his hand, his one hand.

He leaned in across the soft patch of leaves they sat on and he kissed her all faintly on the lips.

Jaundice kissed Quall back.

“I need you, too,” she said.

“You do?”

“I do.”

Jaundice lay down on the soft patch of leaves.

They rustled beneath her.

She smiled at Quall.

Quall smiled back at her.

He pulled a pocket knife from his pants.

He pulled the blade out with his teeth.

Jaundice closed her eyes.

She spread her legs.

Quall pushed the knife’s blade in where Jaundice’s genitals would be, if she were anatomically correct.

He began carving out a hole.

Jaundice bit her lower lip.

Quall pulled the knife out, and pulled out the plastic cylinder he cut from her privates, from between her legs.

“You’re sure about this?” Quall said.

Jaundice opened her eyes and she nodded her head.

“Yes,” she said. “I’m sure.”

Quall set the knife down in the leaves.

He put the plastic cylinder he cut from her privates down beside it.

Quall unbuckled his pants with his hand, with his one hand.

Jaundice didn’t help.

She just lay there.

Quall got his pants down.

Jaundice looked at Quall’s penis in the moonlight.

She thought it was kind of ugly, and she wasn’t sure exactly what it was supposed to do, what it was supposed to represent.

She touched Quall’s penis.

She took it in her hand.

She pulled on it gently.

Quall’s penis got stiff, like Jaundice’s arm.

He watched Jaundice pulling gently on his penis.

Quall’s penis got stiff and kind of big.

“Will it fit?” Jaundice said.

“I think,” Quall said.

“Did you make the hole big enough? I don’t want it to hurt you.”

“I think it’ll be Okay.”

Quall climbed on top of Jaundice.

He kissed her breasts.

She hated her breasts, but right now Quall seemed to like them, and Jaundice loved Quall, so she stopped thinking about her stupid, immobile, no-nippled breasts.

Quall came up and he kissed Jaundice’s mouth.

Jaundice kissed him back.

Quall took his penis in his hand, his one hand.

He pushed his penis into Jaundice, into the hole he carved out of where her genitals would be, if Jaundice was human.

Jaundice moaned a little.

Quall grunted a bit.

“Do you feel that?” Quall said.

“Not really,” Jaundice said.

“Feels good.”


Quall moved his penis in and out of Jaundice’s hole.

It was a little tight.

Quall’s penis wasn’t very big, but he had misjudged how big a hole in Jaundice he needed to carve.

“Yeah,” Quall said. “Kind of tight, though.”

“I think I’m starting to feel something,” Jaundice said.

“Are you going to cum?”

“I don’t know.”

“I want you to cum. I want my penis to do that for you.”

“I’ll try.”

“I think I’m cumming.”

“You are?”

“I think so.”

Quall began moving his penis in and out of Jaundice’s hole faster and faster, and he was about to cum.

“Oh, yeah,” he said.

He grunted.

Just before Quall came, he stopped feeling anything.

All he felt were his hips pounding the backs of Jaundice’s thighs.

“What the…” he said.

He stopped and looked down.

“Shit,” Quall said.

“What?” Jaundice said.

“My penis, it, popped off.”


“My penis, it, it popped off.”

“Where is it?”

“It’s still inside you.”

Jaundice looked at Quall’s crotch.

He had his testicles hanging there, and just a leaking red patch of torn flesh where his ugly penis used to be.

Quall’s penis got stuck in Jaundice like a bee sting.

Jaundice stood up.

She had blood dripping from where her genitals would be if she was human, and on down her thighs.

“I’m sorry,” Quall said.

Jaundice smiled.

“No, it’s Okay,” she said.


“Yeah, it’s my first period.”

“It looks good on you.”

“I think I like it.”


Clarice was standing naked in the window.

Jaundice’s mom sat back down.

“I don’t know what’s gotten into that girl,” she said.

There was Quall’s penis to consider.

“She wants to be like them,” Clarice said.

Clarice looked at Jaundice’s mom.

“I wish I could be her wishing I was someone else.”

Jaundice’s mom held her hands still on her lap.

Clarice looked back out the window.

She saw two lepers hobbling past her cabin.

One of them was vaulting on crutches.

The other had only one arm.

They looked like they were arguing.

Clarice watched them as they got closer to her cabin, and then she heard a familiar voice call out, “Quall.”

“Jaundice,” Clarice said.

“What?” Jaundice’s mom said.

“I think I heard Jaundice.”

Clarice looked out the window.

The two lepers stopped.

One of them said, “Jaundice.”

He had only one arm left.

The other one only had one leg left and he was on crutches, and he was reaching into a burlap sack slung across his shoulder.

Jaundice’s mom got up and stood next to Clarice, and she looked out the window at whatever the hell.

Farmer pulled out a hand grenade.

“No, wait,” Quall said.

He tried wrestling the hand grenade from Farmer’s grip.

Jaundice started backing up slowly.

She tripped over a tree root that came up out of the mud and looped back into the ground, and she fell backwards.

Farmer whacked Quall hard in the ribs with one of his crutches.

Quall bent over and fell to the ground, slipping and sloshing in the mud.

“Jaundice,” Jaundice’s mom called.

Farmer looked up at the cabin and saw two mannequins standing in the window.

He bit the pin off the hand grenade and tossed it into the window and it went off, hurling Jaundice’s mom’s and Clarice’s limbs out the window and all over.

“Mom,” Jaundice called.

Farmer got another hand grenade from his burlap sack and bit the pin out.

He held the lever, clutching it in his fist.

He vaulted over to Jaundice lying there in the mud.

“No,” Quall called, on his knees and with his one hand left holding his side where Farmer’s whack hurt.

“Open your mouth,” Farmer said.

Jaundice closed her eyes, bit her lips.

“I said open your mouth.”

Quall got to his feet and came up behind Farmer.

“No,” Quall said.

Farmer turned sort of, vaulting sideways toward Jaundice.

“You stop right there, Quall.”

Quall stopped right there.

“Leave her alone.”

“I will, as soon as she opens her mouth.”

“Don’t do it, Jaundice.”

“So, this is Jaundice. Oh, she’s pretty. She’s where you stuck your dick, huh? This is what you broke it off in?”

Jaundice started to cry a little.

“There, there little booby,” Farmer said, stroking Jaundice’s wig with the hand grenade. “You look like you could use a hand, Quall. A whole arm, maybe.”

Farmer stood up straight and held his head high.

Quall looked at Jaundice.

Jaundice, that’s me.

Jaundice looked at Quall.

I looked at Quall.

“Tell you what,” Farmer said. “I won’t blow up your little life-sized doll here, if you just take what you need from her.”

“Take what?” Quall said. “What do you mean?”

“Her arm. Take her arm.”

“I can’t…”

“You will, or I’ll have her in pieces all over the place, and the rest of us’ll take what we need. It might as well be you.”

Quall and Jaundice looked at each other.

“It would be more romantic this way,” Farmer said.

“I, I can’t…”

“Do it.”

Quall hobbled toward Jaundice lying there in the mud.

“Quall, no,” Jaundice said.

Farmer smiled real big.

Quall got down on his knees.

He didn’t look at Jaundice.

He grabbed her arm and ripped it out of its socket.

Jaundice cried a little.

“There you go,” Farmer said.

Jaundice got up and ran off.

Quall felt really just awful.

“Try it on,” Farmer said.

Quall stuck Jaundice’s arm into his shoulder socket and all the rotting flesh there hugged and welcomed the new appendage.

Quall started to cry a little.

“Looks good on you,” Farmer said.

Quall watched Jaundice run off toward the stone tower.

He got off his knees.

“I’m proud of you, Quall.”

Quall looked at Farmer.

He kicked Farmer’s knee, the one knee on his one leg left, and he kicked it so it went backwards the wrong way, like an ostrich leg.

“Fuck,” Farmer said.

He dropped his crutches and toppled over.

The hand grenade rolled out of his fist.

Quall used Jaundice’s arm, the hand on Jaundice’s arm, and he grabbed the hand grenade.

“Open your mouth,” Quall said.

“Fuck you, Quall.”

Quall kicked Farmer in the ribs.

“Ahhhhhhh,” Farmer went.

Quall released the lever and shoved the hand grenade into Farmer’s mouth, and the hand grenade chipped some of Farmer’s teeth.

He shoved it in so deep Farmer’s jaw opened too far and cracked.

Farmer couldn’t spit the hand grenade out, and his eyes opened big, started watering.

Quall hobbled away as quick as he could.

He went off to find Jaundice.

He thought about having children.


Eric Beeny is the author of The Dying Bloom (Pangur Ban Party). His work has recently or will appear in 3:AM, Abjective, Dogzplot, >Kill Author, The Legendary, Matchbook, The Northville Review, Pear Noir!, Shoots and Vines, and others. He’s a contributing editor for Gold Wake Press. His blog is Dead End on Progressive Ave. (