No expense is spared for the Principito’s tenth birthday. I am proof: skin repigmented with mandrill reds and blues, a stripy tail grafted to my coccyx, feathers punched into my flesh to form rainbow plumage.
I try to think only of the money my family will receive, but fear still shakes my knees, sweats my palms. I would feel it in my gut, too, but it’s been numb ever since the final surgery. A numb, swollen sac set to burst.
My cell opens. The crowd cheers. The Principito readies his spiked baton.
I hope my children will not be watching.
Rich Larson (Ymir, Tomorrow Factory is a Canadian author born in Galmi, Niger. His work has been translated into over a dozen languages, among them Polish, French, Romanian and Japanese, and adapted into an Emmy-winning episode of LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS. Find him at patreon.com/richlarson