Feb 152013

by Anders Benson


Caterpillars have crawled into my ears and cocooned themselves in my brain, warm, fuzzy caterpillars. If I put a gun in my mouth and pull the trigger, my head will explode into butterflies, filling this dreary room with brilliant color and joy. A butterfly is such a harmless and innocent creature, innocent like springtime, harmless as the touch of a lover. Springtime means renewal; springtime means rebirth. If I put a gun in my mouth and pull the trigger, all will be renewed.

Sadly, I do not have a gun. Sometimes I think that I do, and I put it into my mouth and pull the trigger over and over, but there is no gun in my hand, and I become so angry that I chew my fingers until they bleed. Red is a wonderful color, so bright, so vibrant, but it doesn’t last. It turns ugly brown on the walls, and my fingers turn white, clean white bandages in the morning, so fresh and new. They are brown and yellow in the evening, and Nurse Puczaski gently cuts them away with her scissors; snip, snip, so precise. She bathes my shredded skin, tenderly scrubbing away the yellow and brown and the black blood clots that for just a few minutes were such a lovely shade of red. I had a gun in my hand then, when the blood was still red, and I put it into my mouth and I pulled the trigger, but nothing happened and there were no butterflies.

I am in love with Nurse Puczaski. I am in love with all women, because they are gentle and immaculate. The Bible says that they are evil, that they are unclean. The Bible says that if it weren’t for a woman’s weakness and ignorance, mankind would still live in paradise and want for nothing. The Bible is obviously wrong. Women are the source of all beauty and love, the source of life. Without women the sun would not shine, plants would not grow, flowers would not bloom for the pretty butterflies to feed upon. It is men who are evil, men who bring hate and destruction. Men with their big black boots trample upon the innocent souls of this world, and they crush the pretty butterflies under their heels as they march to war with guns in their hands. If I had a gun in my hand, I would put it in my mouth and pull the trigger, and my head would explode into butterflies and there would be no more war.

Sometimes the caterpillars talk in their sleep. They tell me stories about evil men and war, about the destruction wrought upon the Earth because men think that women are to blame for all that is wrong in the world. They tell me stories about women like Nurse Puczaski who desire no more than to care for the sick and the helpless creatures. The men wearing big black boots and carrying guns in their hands come to rape and kill the innocent women and leave their bodies by the roadside, limbs askew, clouded eyes staring up at burning skies where iron birds rain fire down upon all the little children and the butterflies. The caterpillars are not afraid of the truth. The men with guns in their hands are afraid of the truth, so they hide behind the Bible and say that they are righteous, that they are saving the world from the evil, evil women and the butterflies. If I had a gun in my hand…

I do not have a gun in my hand. My hand is wrapped in bandages, and when the clean white bandages turn yellow and brown, poor Nurse Puczaski comes into my room, staggering on her broken legs, staring with her clouded eyes, seeing only what the dead see. Her clothes are torn and the putrid seed of a rapist drips from her ravaged womb, but she still has her scissors and she snips away the old bandages and replaces them with new ones. I tell her about the caterpillars and the butterflies, and I tell her how sorry I am that she has been raped and murdered and cast away like a broken doll. I tell her that I love her and that if I had a gun in my hand…

Stop, stop! There is no gun! There are only these four drab walls and a drab floor and drab ceiling, and there is Nurse Puczaski with her scissors, and there are all the brilliant butterflies, all different colors. She smiles and asks me about the caterpillars, and together we give names to all of the butterflies that exploded from my head that time when I put the gun in my mouth and pulled the trigger.