Friday, September 10, 1999

Trends

This story originally appeared on the Secret Garden website and is archived here at the request of author Doug Rogers.



I suppose in the final analysis, it all started with Janie. She's my girlfriend, you see, and about a year ago, they cut off her leg.

"Shit! Really?" Sam Hastings asked me.
"No shit. I... I can't believe it," I told him. We were sitting at a corner table at Common Grounds, the coffee house that pandered to the high school crowd in the area. "This guy just plowed into the right side of her mom's car... it really fucked her leg up... they cut it off above the knee just as soon as they got her to the hospital!"
"Goddam! That's fucked up."
"Yeah."
Sam looked across the table. "You okay?" he asked.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
Sam looked away for a minute like he didn't want to go on, but finally said, "I mean, how do you feel. I know the two of you were tight. But, like, she's not gonna be able to do a lot of stuff now..."
The thought sobered me. I had been so shocked at the news that I hadn't had time to consider the ramifications of having a one-legged girlfriend. Would she ever be able to dance at the raves again... even when she got a wooden leg? Would she barricade herself in her room and never come out? What would it be like to make love with a girl who didn't have both her legs to wrap around me?
I finally spoke. "I guess I'll know when I know," I said simply.


"Janie Spencer," I said to the young woman at the information desk. "She's a patient here."
It had been four days since the accident. I, of course, had come directly to the hospital when I heard, but Janie's parents had told me that the doctor was recommending that she not have visitors for a few days. It had been only last night that Mrs. Spencer had called and told me that it would be okay for me to drop by. She'd told me the room number, but I'd left the scrap of paper in yesterday's jeans.
I knocked on the door of room 3714 and a small voice said "Yeah?"
I walked in.
I had been prepared for the shock of knowing that her right leg was missing. What I was not prepared for was the shock that she was sitting up on the edge of the bed, her bandaged stump in full view! She saw me and bit her lip, looking down at the remains of her amputated limb.
"God, Randy," she said, breaking into tears, "I'm fucked!"
I walked over to the hospital bed and sat down on her left, putting my arms around her. "Hey," I finally managed, "don't cry baby. Please don't cry. You'll get me doing it," I added with a small smile.
She slightly raised the mass of bandages, winced a little, then put it back down. "I'm not going to be able to do anything any more," she said, sniffing back tears.
"You don't know that," I told her. "Why, I bet when they get you a new leg, you'll be up and around just like before."
"Now you sound like my doctor and that brain-dead shrink who comes in here a couple of times a day," she said sourly. She paused. "It doesn't matter how good an artificial leg is, I'll still have to put it on every morning and take it off every night." She sighed. "Besides, it's going to be three or four months before my stu.... my leg heals well enough." She looked up at me. "I'm going to have to go around on crutches until then, Randy! God! I can already see everyone staring at it!" She shuddered.
"We deal with all that as it comes," I reassured her. "Besides, the gang is all asking about you. They're going to come up and see you this evening... I already spread the word that the wardens were allowing the inmate to have visitors."
She giggled for the first time. It was my first glimpse of the old Janie.
"These bandages are sure a sight, aren't they?" she said sadly. "I gotta do something with them."
"I've got just the idea!" I told her. "Be back in about 30 minutes!"

"What do you think?" I asked her when I returned.
"Awesome!" she answered. She turned the huge toboggan cap over in her hands again.
"And see?" I asked, "It's got the same dragon on it that I used for my tattoo!" I illustrated by extending my left arm for her to see more closely, the serpentine coils of the dragon completely encircling the limb three times from wrist to just below the elbow. I grinned. "Try it on."
Janie gently pulled the huge knitted head cover over the mass of gauze that covered her stump. The completely unrolled article extended quite high enough to go under the hem of her hospital gown. She smiled. "I guess I'm ready for visitors," she announced.
The evening DID go well. The gang came in by twos or threes and most of them did a good job not freaking out over Janie's new look. The ones who didn't handle it were at least decent enough to say little, do little, and therefore do no harm.
Time passed. One week turned into two and Janie was home. I came by daily ostensibly to bring her homework assignments by but actually it was just to hang out and spend some time. I didn't try anything with her, although I must admit I wanted to. But I didn't want to hurt her while she healed, plus the fact that her mother was always flitting in and out. One thing that charmed me was the toboggan... Janie never stopped wearing it over her stump. She seemed to really like it.
She was still wearing the silly dragon the first time that she came crutching into Common Grounds, some two months after her accident. Of course, by that time the bandages were all off, and the mass under the cap was considerably less. I must admit to having quite a bit of curiosity about what her leg looked like now, but I figured she would let me see it when she was ready.
"Janie! Good to see you back!" The voice belonged to Harry, the round little man who runs the coffee shop.
"Good to be back," she smiled, raising one forearm crutch as she waved to him.
Come sit over here," Sherry Gay called.
Janie crutched over with me in tow and we both sat down.
"It's been so long," Sherry began. "When are you going to be back in school?"
"I start back Monday," she answered. "I'm all done with my rehab until I get my first new leg, and that's still a while off. The doc said I could go back as soon as I wanted to!"
"Hell, I'd stay home as long as I could get away with it," Al Franklin quipped.
Janie raised a black made-up eyebrow. "Believe me, stayin' at home gets to be the pits! Especially when you've got a mother that goes around being weepy on you all of the time!"
Eyes collectively cut to the table top, lines of sight converging on where they knew the dragon cap to be resting.
Janie smiled. "I think it's time for us to do something," she announced. "My shrink told me that when I first got back 'out' my friends were all going to be afraid to talk about my leg and that it was going to help if I'd talk about it to you." She pushed her chair back from the table a little. "So, let's talk about it." She grinned a little crookedly. "After you have surgery they say everyone goes around wanting to show their scar. Well, let me show you my scar!"
Janie was wearing a pair of shorts, so there was no skirt to lift. She simply took the end of the cap in her hand and slipped it off. I was surprised by the responses.
Sam spoke first. "Wow."
"Wow?" Janie asked not understanding.
"Yeah," he said, getting control of himself a bit. "As in, like I though it'd be all ugly. You're right. Even the scar doesn't look bad. It's kinda neat and compact."
Of course, I was busy taking in the sights as well. I was surprised that Janie hadn't shown her nub to me first as a sort of trial run, but I guessed that for some reason this time and place seemed more friendly to her. I felt my cock turn rock hard for some unexplained reason.
The group grew larger as more of our friends drifted into the cafÈ. They chatted on for about thirty minutes with Janie asking all sorts of questions.
How much it had hurt? Oddly, not a lot. She didn't remember a thing until she woke up, and they had her full of pain killers.
What did it feel like? Janie had full phantom limb sensation, although very little pain.
And on and on.
When we were driving home, Janie had a sort of twinkle in her eyes.
"What are you up to?" I asked her.
"Nothing," she lied, then added, "Did I mention to you that my folks have gone to the symphony concert tonight?"
"No," I grinned back, seeing where she was going.
"You interested in us making some music of our own?"
"Thought you'd never ask!" I answered.
I got the answer to one of the first questions that had crossed my mind after Janie lost her leg: What would it be like to make love with a girl who didn't have both legs to wrap around you? The answer is: Dynamite! As far as keeping you close goes, one leg has plenty of strength to keep you close. Nothing to that.
What I hadn't thought about was what she was going to do with her shortened leg. Janie had about twelve inches of stump left after the surgery. I hadn't thought about it, but she's still able to move to around every bit as well as she can her remaining leg. She later told me it was even easier because the stump feels quite 'light.' I was afraid to touch it, because I didn't want to hurt her. She finally whispered in my ear: "Lay on top of me Randy. There's something I want to do."
What she wanted to do was to take that soft cone of flesh and rub it all up and down the insides of my thighs, right up to the point where they meet! My cock was like a rock. She teased me unmercifully with her new toy until I thought I was about to explode!
We did it three times. After the second, I got up the courage to ask if I could touch her leg. She said "Sure, if you want to," and that was all I needed. You'd have thought I was playing with her tits the way I caressed and squeezed it. Something in my brain must have gotten cross-connected, because it was getting just as hot playing with her there as I got sucking her nipples. I finally kissed her on the upper side of the rounded end. That was when she pulled me tight and I realized round three was about to begin!
There might have been a round four, except we got worried about the time. As I drove home, all I could do was smile. Part of me didn't quite know what to do. I was so pleased and excited by the new Janie I couldn't speak, yet part of me was saying "You shit! You're enjoying the fact that someone actually cut a whole leg off her!" It was something that I wouldn't worry much about after the next two or three times we slept together. It just turned into something that was.
**********
Once again, the gang at Common Grounds was gathered around Janie looking at her leg. This time, however, it was not at the amputated stump, but at the remarkable device she had chosen to replace the missing limb.
Janie's new leg was not in any way an attempt to disguise the fact that she was an amputee. Quite the opposite. It had no cosmetic covering. The only part of it that appeared to be life-like was the foot. She had worn sandals, having placed a bit of double-sided tape between the heel of the false foot and the right shoe. The toes of the foot seemed perfectly at home in the open front shoe.
The rest of the leg was quite something else. From the foot up to the black finished knee was a simple metal pipe, bright blue in color. The knee assembly was filled with an assortment of mechanical-looking parts, and was attached to the bottom of the most notable part of the leg. The upper part was made of plastic or something like that and was shaped around the contours of her stump. It was covered completely by what appeared to be decals advertising every heavy metal band in existence!
"I actually had them laminated into the leg," she giggled to Sherry. "They're like tattoos! You can't take them off! It really pissed my mother off when she saw it!"
"Really?" Al asked.
"Yeah. She wanted me to get one of those Barbie Doll legs... you know, that look fake as shit?"
"I like it," I offered. "This makes a statement."
"You're damned right!" she answered proudly.
I looked at the dragon tattoo on my own arm. Lord knows the old man had shit bricks when I'd come home all bandaged up from having had it done. He'd been trying to get me to go to a plastic surgeon and get it burned off, but fuck that noise! It was my statement. I was proud of Janie for making hers.
Al giggled. "I hadn't thought about your losing your leg this way until now," he said, "but you know Janie girl, you've had the ultimate body mod!" He looked around at a couple of faces frowning at him. "No shit!" he continued unabated. "It's a damned site more radical than tats, or piercings, even metal implants! It's way more cool than pinky stumping, even!"
Janie giggled. "I guess it is at that. But some how, I don't see it catching on. Most people wouldn't want to wear one of these contraptions all the time," she added, tapping the composite shell of her leg.
"I dunno..." Al muttered under his breath. "I dunno 'bout that..."
**********
Spring meandered into summer and summer was about to become fall. I hadn't seen Al Franklin all summer, but that didn't mean anything. He and I weren't tight beyond school, him being quite a bit more well off than my family was. Still, it had been odd not to run into him down at 'Grounds' all summer. When he came into the place in late August, I understood why!
Al came crutching into the coffee shop wearing shorts and a huge smile! He saw my mouth drop open over at a table alone and ambled over to sit down.
"Whatcha think o' the new me?" he asked brightly.
"Damn!" I managed. "What happened? When?" I couldn't believe the coincidence of Al losing his leg... the same leg at the same place... so soon after Janie!
Al grinned even more broadly. "Which story you want?" he asked. "The official bullshit or the truth?"
"Start wherever you want to."
"Well, June 24th the cops got a call that a kid had been shot over on the east side in one of the amateur pharmaceutical neighborhoods. The ambulance came, and there they found me. I had taken three slugs in the leg... one had torn the fuck out of my knee." He paused. "Hollow points tend to do that shit."
I was amazed. He was recounting this tale without a trace of pain or fear or anger!
"They took me to the hospital and I guess it was two days that they had me in and out of surgery. Finally, I woke up and all that was there was bandages. Here I am!"
"And they never caught the guys who did it?"
"Naw. The cops had me do a composite and all that crap, but they didn't ever find anyone."
"God, I'm so sorry, Al."
He giggled. I looked back at him oddly.
"So much for the official bullshit." He bit his lip and giggled. "You want the truth?"
"Okay," I answered, almost sure I was there ahead of him.
"At the beginning of the summer, I started hanging around over at the University in the student union. I mean, hell, we're high school seniors. We look enough like college freshmen that we can pass."
I nodded.
"If you use your eyes, it's easy to find the medical students," he continued. "They often come in for a bite there after their shifts at the hospital. I started to try and get to know some of them." He paused, as if remembering. "It's interesting. There's two kinds of medical students. The first group are basically doctor's kids. The old man pulled some strings and got them seats and they're paying all the bills. They're basically assholes."
"And the second group?"
"A far more interesting bunch of bastards," he answered. "Poor kids. A fair number are minorities. They're there because of quotas or because they have families that are willing to sacrifice everything for ten years against the idea that the kid will make it and then take care of them at the end of things." He looked around. "Well, I struck up a friendship with one of those guys," he continued. "I promised never to mention his name, but I can tell you he's a sweetheart, Hispanic kid. We started meeting there several times a week, and I always picked up the tab. Over the time we were spending together, I got to talking to him about Janie and how cool everyone thought she was, especially with that rad leg!"
"Yes..."
"I finally came right out and asked him if he could cut my leg off for me!"
"Holy shit! You've got to be pulling my cock!"
"Nope. I asked him, just like that. He just about shit, too, although I don't think he was as surprised as you seem to be. At first, he started giving me all of the reasons why I didn't want this done." He looked around again. "Did you know that the doctors know all about people who want legs cut off? They even have a name for them. It's long and starts with a 'a,' but it means 'want-to-be.'"
I was speechless.
"He did bring up one point, though. He asked me: 'what are you going to tell the police and your parents when you just show up without the leg, and it's all bandaged up nicely. Who did it for you? Why? How?"
"I'd never thought about it, but yeah."
"So I said, 'well, what would you say do?' He thinks a minute and tells me that it'd be a lot easier if I could just set the situation up where the sawbones in a regular hospital had to take it off. I said, 'yeah, but how?' He told me he needed to think about it for a while. I said, okay, and to sweeten the pot, I added: 'There's a cool $5000 in it if you can make it happen!'"
"Yeah. Like where were you gonna get $5000?"
"You'd be surprised what rich kids have laying around in safe deposit boxes," he said with a smirk. "Anyway, the next time I meet him at the student union, he asks, 'Were you for real with all this amputation shit?' I tell him I was, and he says he's got it all worked out!"
"Fuck me..."
"Yeah! He's got a guy lined up who'll meet me in an alley and shoot my leg so it'll be screwed up majorly, and they'll have no choice but to cut it off. Well, I say 'you know, that sounds like 'way more pain than I'm interested in' and he answers 'no, because I'm going to be there to give you a shot in the back before he does it. You ain't gonna feel a thing after that!'"
"So, he... you..." I was amazed and feeling all sorts of weird feelings.
"So, we met in the alley, he gave me this shot just above my ass. It hurt some, but not that bad. In just a few minutes, I started losing all the feeling there. Next, he took a piece of brick from the alleyway there and scraped it across the bottom of my back. That was so no one could see the needle mark. I just fell on something, see, and cut my back that way." He paused to catch his breath. "This black dude shows up about ten minutes after, and asks 'This him?' and the intern says 'Yeah, do it' and he hightails it out of there. Well, goddam, Randy... this guy whips this big-ass heater out of his jacket and casually starts shooting me in the leg! The first one caught me near the ankle. I started to scream, then realized that I didn't feel it. He shot me again in the calf, and then took careful aim at my knee. It was over just that fast and he ran off."
"Man, weren't you afraid you'd bleed to death?"
"Naw. My intern friend said he'd stay nearby until the EMT's got there. As it was, they were then in just a few minutes. I just moaned a lot and made like I was nearly passed out. No one suspected a thing."
"But..." I was trying to get my thoughts in some sort of order. "... why? What was the point? Why'd you want the leg off?"
"The statement, man," he returned quickly. "The statement! How the hell else am I going to wear one of those wicked legs like Janie's?" He grinned evilly. "You ought to see the one I've ordered. It's as rad as I could make it! I'm going to get it in about two weeks. There was something about the knee that they had to order or have made special or something. Man! I can't wait!"
I debated a long time about whether or not to tell Janie about Al. It was a couple of months later, but I finally did. She didn't say much. She hadn't said much when Al had come in sporting his new leg, which I thought was odd. She'd just commented on how neat it looked. At first I thought she was upset, then I found out that Al wasn't the only one to get the ultimate body mod idea.
"At first I was horrified by the idea," she told me. "Sherry actually came over one evening and started talking to me about what it was really like being one-legged. I told her about all the hassle. Then she tells me that she's trying to figure out a way to lose her left leg... you know... so we could be mirror images!" She laughed. "I didn't speak to her for three days until I figured out that she was serious and not... you know... screwing with me."
"So, am I going to see a new her before long?" I asked.
"No, she hasn't worked out how to do it yet. I may still be able to talk her out of it."
The love we made was deep and sweet and passionate that night. When it was over, we both got dressed and went out for burgers. The soft hiss of Janie's knee alternated with her animated chatter as we walked in. Even yet, she turns lots of heads when she shows up at a place where people don't know her. Yes, that leg makes quite a statement.
It was that night that I made the decision. I'm really getting goddam tired of the old man bellyaching about my tattoo. Fine. He's right. I'm going to get it removed. But I bet it shocks the shit out of him just how I'm going to have it done! It's time that someone in this crazy group got a hook hand.
Talk about statements!

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