Initiation

He stood in front of the stove with the icepick in his hand, rocking from one foot to the other, saying, “Come on, come on, I haven’t got all DAY…” The tip of the icepick finally glowed the proper shade of orange and he put it up to his eye. He held the eyelid shut with his free hand, pulling it down with the tip of his finger. “There we go,” he said, laying the side of the pick across the thin skin with a hiss.

He waited a moment and gently tugged the lid away from his eye to be sure that it had stuck to the icepick. Satisfied, he rolled the lid back up over his eyebrow, twirling the icepick as he went.

It reminded me of how our mother used a curling iron back when she was around.

The triangular flap of skin tore free, leaving a wedge-shaped patch of his forehead raw and bleeding. It dangled from the end of the icepick, already looking fake and meat-like, no longer skin. He grabbed a brillo pad from the mouth of a ceramic frog that sat next to the sink and scraped the icepick clean. He swished the end in a pot full of dishwater that was sitting in the sink.

He turned back to the stove and repeated the procedure on his other eye. When he finished he turned to me, his lower lids spasmodically trying to close over his blood-dripping eyeballs.

“Now you,” he said.

–Steve Kilian
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