3rd Place for March Madness: Melancholy Babies by Peter Marra


I am female.

So is she.

I don’t understand why.

I’m here that’s all.

I used to pass by the house where Henry Miller spent his childhood. That was a long time ago. I ache and I’m stiff.

My knives.

My knives. There’s a monkey on my back.

I count them daily. Once a day, sometimes several times a day count, count. When the moonlight spins crimson in the room or when the sunlight bends into shocked rainbows through the windows, I count.  

The light warms the contents of my 1 pt mason jars lined up on pine shelves.

I take inventory daily; sometimes several times a day.

The knives are kept under my couch in a teakwood case. The couch and the case were received from someone once dear to my heart. A sweet person once – but no more; no more; no longer.

 I’m encased in a metal room in a building where the women are always crying. I don’t know why I’m here and I don’t remember the time before now. I’m just here. I engage in traditional rituals so I can be comfortable.  

Tomorrow is not here yet. A Devil Doll waits for me in the corner. She waits for me to speak but I’m not answering her. She is thin with black hair. Her skin is clammy and tastes funny – tastes like pale white from excessive opium abuse. Her eyes are devoid of love. Her eyes are devoid of life. She occasionally roles her eyes upwards into their sockets so I can just see a white film. There is a constant low noise surrounding us. The law abiding citizens that walk by on the street below talk in sing-song rhythms. It hurts me inside, but the jars make me happy.

Knives help me. I do what I have to do. I must do what it wants me to do. Sometimes she and I go out together. I blame her but I shouldn’t.

The Devil Doll is sleeping at the moment. She nodded off in the corner, propped up – her back to the wall. She’s resigned to this style of living: a room of yellowing white, mouthing words silently under her breath, trying to communicate with me – a word, a gesture. She frequently doesn’t succeed in getting her point across and resigns to her fate in frustration.

The day is Monday. The time: 1 AM. The clock ticks every other second which offsets our understanding of each other. She occasionally lets her right hand drift to her crotch and slides it under her white ripped nightgown. I see her but she doesn’t know. When she realizes that I can see her, she stops.   She has been here a very long time. She wears no shoes. Her toenails are red.

I am dressed in black, sitting in a chair. My writing materials have been taken away. They gave me a portable radio that only gets static. I play with the knobs and make musical compositions of white noise- up down volume, flutter, and staccato. I gently wake the Doll – It’s time to go out for another walk.

Doll is busy counting the track marks on her arms. “You shoot too much of that shit,” I tell her.

She shrugs.

 “Where are we going this time?” she asks as she runs her skeletal figures through her ragged black hair, puling out a few strands in the process. Pinching the strands between thumb and forefinger of the left hand, she studies them intently for a few seconds, then places them in her mouth.

“I have to get dressed. You’re wearing black. I have to match,” she states with seriousness. She was shaking with fear and pleasure. I could tell – I had seen it many times before. Bad intentions brought out her best. Dee-Doll had so few pleasures. She went into the next room and closed the door. I could hear her rummaging around, things falling, a few curse words. She emerged wearing white jeans, a white t-shirt and a tight black leather jacket.

“I decided to wear white because the red looks so pretty on it.”

“Time for mumblety-peg,” she sighed. “When we get back can you play me that song again? You know the one I like. That’s it baby.” She came over and took my hand, placing it on her lips. “I want to be good,” she said.

I pulled my hand away quickly, feeling a single second of hatred behind my eyes, then I smiled.

“We should go, Dee.”

She said nothing and we exited the cage. Luckily no one was watching. We had things to do. We had music to make. It would be the kind of music that tears the sky wide open.

Back for a visit. Back for a visit.


Sometimes Devil-Doll gets inside me, under my skin. I feel her enter and inch slowly upward through my chest, through my heart, into the very core of my nervous system; slowly masturbating my brain until I explode in electrical impulses showering pleasure wide open. 

We were on the street now. Dee decided to ask me a question.

“What’s in those mason jars?”

We walked hand in hand down the alley. It was not yet spring, but winter was over. As we reached our destination, I could feel myself starting to get slightly excited. Excited in a good way, that is to say, aroused

Fragments. Fragments.

There was cool air and blackness as we entered the lobby of the converted loft building and entered the elevator. After pushing the 9th button, Dee decided to kiss me. I pushed her away and she pouted. Then she vomited red gore on the floor. It wasn’t a great quantity and it looked somewhat familiar – like a Miro painting.

We exited the elevator at the 9th floor and were presented with a door. I knocked several times, finally deciding to enter on my own volition. It was a large loft with huge gaping windows, providing views of the nighttime street – few streetlights, few sounds, it was late – or early. It was night or day. Dee-Doll followed close behind.

The loft was sparsely furnished – a table, some chairs, a futon – a small Persian rug with a black and red design. Seated in a chair was a male figure. Across from him was another male figure. They were just staring at each other with slight grins on their faces.

“We were waiting for you,” one of them said. I don’t remember which one said it. I don’t care. I walked slowly across the Persian rug and stood in front of one of them. It’s hazy now. I produced a 12” mother-of-pearl switchblade from inside my leather motorcycle jacket and flicked it open.

The click as it opened generated a tingle in my crotch and I could detect Dee having a mini orgasm. I just knew. She just knew.

He stood up, but I pushed him back in the chair. He looked slightly surprised and I felt slightly nauseous. Dee puked again, but quickly recovered.

He smiled as I slowly inserted the blade into his belly, feeling a slight pop as the blade coursed through outer skin then the stomach. Once the blade was three quarters in, I started to pull up, slowly, sensually – I came several times – then stopped at his rib cage. Fluid was everywhere. His blood and bile and brine smelled enticing, so delicious. I pulled the blade out. Dee, who was watching from several feet away, came close and inserted her hands inside the slit.

“It’s almost like a vagina,” she said, as she ran her hands over the insides, squishing and caressing, periodically taking her hands out to lick her fingers and paint designs on her face and white clothes. “It sorta feels like your vagina.” Always a class act. Her hips undulated as she massaged the interior and moved her hands in out in out. He just had a blank look on his face. There was a slight twinge on his face and Dee bent over to French kiss him. I felt slightly jealous.

“I want some samples for the jars,” I told her.

She smiled. “Now I get it.”

The other gentleman was still sitting in his chair, watching the proceedings. I actually think he was enjoying the show.

“Do you like what you see?” I asked.

“Let me do him. Please,” my partner begged.


“You can do her!” I screamed for the first time in my life. I pointed to the woman huddled in the corner. A woman with beautiful long golden hair – my opposite. I had noticed her when we came in, but Dee-Doll hadn’t. The woman was shaking. Dee walked across the room quickly and pounced on her, ripping her throat open with her mouth.

“I’m going to kill you myself – with my bare hands.” Dee let out a muffled scream of pleasure as her teeth sank in ripping flesh and blood vessels. “This is so excellent,” she mumbled as she ate and drank. Gore was everywhere – even on the dirty white ceiling. Dee tore off her trachea. “For your jars.” She handed it to me. The blood urine and female perfume intermingled and made me slightly retch as if I had inhaled mustard gas.

I placed all our souvenirs in a plastic bag that I had brought along and gave the bag to Dee. “Keep it safe,” I said. The night was screaming outside. The clouds were long gone and had entered my brain – my brain wrapped in blood and leather.


There was one guy left.

One fucking asshole.

My favorite one. He had not said a word during this entire incident and he had not attempted to intervene. 

A true pussy.

I walked over to him He was still seated in his chair, but not smiling anymore. I could detect a slight tremor. I shoved the blade into each eye and twisted in a scooping motion. The eyes popped out and landed on the carpet – no  sound. He raised his arms as if to stop me – they shook, and then came to rest on top of the armrests. Dee picked the eyes up and carefully placed them in the bag. I placed the tip of my blade under his chin, drawing it slowly around his face, etching a pattern, when I reached the beginning point, I placed the blade underneath the skin and gently pried his face off. His mouth was moving. “My melancholy baby,” he whispered.

I handed the face to Dee. “A new mask for you.”

She laughed, placed it over her own face, then removed it. She licked her lips. A real pistol, this girl is. She placed the face in the bag.

“A good collection,” Dee pronounced proudly, gently patting the bag.

I looked at Dee forthe first time with clear eyes. The lenses were cleansed. I gently kissed the bloodstain on her forehead. I grabbed her hands and felt desire.

“Let’s go home and fuck,” she said.


Back in the cube, we placed our trophies in the mason jars. I cleaned the switchblade and placed it back in its teakwood home. Dee crawled inside me and I orgasmed several times. She licked the blood off my face. She kissed my thoughts and our love splattered the walls. They didn’t know what was going on, but we knew they were watching.

“Can I ask you a question?” Dee-Doll whispered inside me.


“Who were those people?”

“I knew them a long time ago. Another history lesson.” 

I’m encased in a metal room in a building where the women are always crying. I don’t know why I’m here and I don’t remember the time before now. I’m just here. I engage in traditional rituals so I can be comfortable. 

We drifted into a coma. We fell into disrepair.

Until next time. There’s other versions out there. 

That’s all I have to say.

By Peter Marra


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