You're Such a Disease

All I re­mem­ber is the room stunk of stale but­ter­scotch pop­corn and Minnie had been bad and then he clapped those fuzzy paws to­gether and squealed, Let’s have some fun!”

FUNNY DREAMS

A boy in a wolf mask is telling a girl in a raven mask a story as the win­ter sun com­mits sui­cide be­hind them, falling into the thorny trees

Not Halloween for weeks — rot­ten sum­mer twi­light, ac­tu­ally. The masks are for their pro­tec­tion.

The Boy says, There are these two demons who are madly in love, OK? But they’re bad for each other.”

The Girl likes it when the Boy tells her tales: they drool over her brain like honey. The Boy wishes he could pay cash to ap­pear in the Girl’s dreams.

Demons like what?” she says, ea­ger to play.

Demons like some­thing evil, horns and fur and black tongues and shiny tails,” he says.

Very ex­tremely creepy.”

Uh-huh. And they run around to­gether and eat each oth­er’s faces when they smooch and they live off McDonalds.”

Yum.”

Their cum is, like, pink goo with glit­ter in it.”

Aw. Unicorn. But…” says the Girl, study­ing the Boy, you said bad.’ Bad for each other how?”

Cuz they love that evil med­i­cine: nee­dles in the morn­ing; nee­dles at night. They fell in love through their veins. And the Girl Demon’s got a big dark se­cret fry­ing in her belly, too.”

Oooh, B-A-D,” says the Girl.

But they love each other so much, they would smooch each oth­er’s skin even if there was no­body in­side it, flayed, hung on the door like coats,” says the Boy.

True love,” says the Girl, What’s his thing like? Does a de­mon have a thing?”

Def, it’s like a jel­ly­fish, it glows.”

Does the Girl Demon have teats?”

Uh-huh, full of dreamy milk, he suck­les like a sick pup.”

Can’t get enough of the obliv­ion teat.”

The Boy stares at the Girl’s eyes glit­ter­ing in­side her mask like stolen jew­els while the Girl thinks about leech­ing blood from his neck. Twilight sneaks across the park like a virus.

Now,” the Girl Demon whis­pers to the Boy Demon late at night, wicked heads on the pil­low, their tails tick­ling each other, I’ve got a big con­fes­sion to make, sweet­heart,” lick­ing her chops, all Yum and honey. The Boy Demon is like, Huh?”

She’s gonna bring out a dead dog full of bugs?”

Nope,” she says, I love fire­works,” hiss­ing like a Catherine wheel. And the Boy Demon knows what kind of love she means.

Sticky,” the Girl says, nod­ding.

They make me feel magic,” says the Boy do­ing the Girl Demon’s spooky voice through his mask, even more than the bad med­i­cine…”

The Boy stares at the Girl’s tongue in her mouth: a neon snake pur­pled by bub­blegum, juicy.

So the Boy Demon, he steals fire­works ga­lore cuz he wants his true love to feel the magic.”

And he wants her to wag­gle his thing,’’ the Girl says.

Forever,” the Boy says, And on her birth­day in some swampy park watched over by birds, he arranges the fire­works like a big mul­ti­coloured feast—”

Oooh,” the Girl says.

She watches, sick with de­light, feel­ing the stick­i­ness spread its wings in­side her. But when he lights them up—”

Don’t be so cruel!”

— Flames bite his fur. And pretty soon, he’s all scream­ing flame. But be­fore she even thinks to even call the am­bu­lance she feels some­thing, some­thing like a wicked lit­tle shiver, watch­ing him burn.”

Rancid heart.”

Ambulance man comes, cel­e­brated with lights and sirens—”

Like a WWF hero.”

And the Girl Demon kisses her dead beloved, slo-mo, squishy: even if he is dead, she still craves his taste.”

Cuz love never dies.”

And the am­bu­lance man gasps, feel­ing the grass be­neath him go like jelly and the evening swirl.”

If only they could still feed each other.”

And for her next trick, the Girl Demon, she howls with grief and ex­plodes into flames, too.”

Oh,” the Girl says.

And the birds all quit their trees,” the Boy says, and the two demons are to­gether for­ever, their ashes glow­ing.”

Very, very quiet now. Moonlight oozes over the Boy and the Girl like a fever. The Girl says, I have funny dreams, too… some­times.”

And the Boy and the Girl sit still in the moon­light, their skins on fire.

SPELLBOUND

This beau­ti­ful girl, aged seven, is ob­sessed with a witch on TV. She watches the witch all the time. She needs the witch on de­mand. She does­n’t care about her twirling con­tests or Taylor Swift or her teeth any­more. She ig­nores the cat, the silky beast, who was her best friend. Her par­ents are afraid. If the witch with her mag­nif­i­cent green flesh and mir­ror ball eyes asked me to die, I would say Yes,” she thinks.

Stop watch­ing the TV,” her par­ents beg.

Please get out of those py­ja­mas,” they beg.

But she won’t get out of the py­ja­mas be­cause they’ve been touched by the witch’s spe­cial glow. And the py­ja­mas are en­crusted with peanut but­ter fur and splotched with straw­berry milk­shake drool. (And she eats a lot be­cause she brings food for the witch, who can’t eat be­cause she lives in the TV.)

Maybe we could drag her away from the screen by the hair she used to love, her par­ents think. But if we drag her away, she will scream for hours. It will hurt so much. They only see her while wear­ing masks like plague doc­tors so they can’t de­tect her smell. Filthy baby. Daddy calls a real doc­tor. He comes (masked), shakes his head, and dis­ap­pears.

The beau­ti­ful girl ban­dages up her eyes with gauze at night when they’re sore and falls asleep with the witch whis­per­ing to her. When she thinks about the witch she feels like she’s cov­ered in glit­ter, blood bub­bling like fan­tas­tic slop in a caul­dron. At the end of a new episode, the witch laughs so the beau­ti­ful girl laughs too — a high, sug­ary cackle — but she can’t stop and sud­denly her body feels very wrong. How could the witch do this to her? Her par­ents lis­ten on the other side of the door as the cackle mu­tates into some­thing aw­ful, won­der­ing who will puke first.


Charlie Fox is a writer and artist who lives in London. His work has ap­peared in many pub­li­ca­tions in­clud­ing Artforum, DAZED and The New York Times. His col­lec­tion of es­says in This Young Monster was pub­lished by Fitzcarraldo Editions in 2017. He cu­rated the twin shows Dracula’s Wedding for RODEO, London and My Head is a Haunted House for Sadie Coles HQ, London in 2019.