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Literature / The Handsome Squirm

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Like Franz Kafka's The Trial meets an erotic Body Horror version of The Blob.

A man is arrested in the middle of the night. He doesn't know why. He doesn't remember committing any crime. The cops drop him off in a small community in the middle of the woods where a wedding is about to begin. It is his wedding. He doesn't recognize the bride, but she's allegedly pregnant with his children. All twelve of them. And by law, he must marry her or go to prison for the next two decades.

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But who is this strange woman he is to spend the rest of his life with? She doesn't seem quite human. Her expressions are cold and emotionless. Her movements are like that of a spider. She is Usagi, a creature who feeds on her human mate during pregnancy. Now this man has to find a way to terminate the marriage if he is to survive. But it's not going to be easy. His friends, his family, and his country are all against him. They believe a father should be willing to give up anything for the sake of his family. Even his life.

From master of Bizarro Fiction Carlton Mellick III comes a darkly absurd tale about the horrors of fatherhood.


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This novella contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: The narrator's mother, who is a "reverse kleptomaniac" - she compulsively goes into stores and puts her own wares on the shelf. She also has absolutely zero regard for his feelings or dignity, or indeed for his life.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Deconstructed hard. Everyone in the world except the narrator appears to think that reproduction is so vitally important that you should obviously sacrifice everything for it, including your life if necessary.
  • Coitus Uninterruptus: Dave insists on trying to talk shop with the narrator while they're attending an orgy together, to the narrator's annoyance.
  • Crapsack World: America's laws have essentially taken a massive swing into the very very Far Right. Pop-culture has been completely hijacked for the sake of family-values, private acts of fornication (like planned orgies) have to be granted permission judicially and can be protested publicly, not marrying a woman you knock-up has massive legal repercussions and the police can literally get away with anything. Useful for the Usagi, hell for the narrator.
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  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: The whole reason the narrator is in his mess in the first place is because a Usagi woman in-heat hunted him down and raped him. When she is found pregnant, America's Far-Right laws forces him to marry her with the threat of being sent to prison for twenty years. When he discovers that he will have to die as part of the Usagi's reproductive life-cycle, the corrupt cops (who are given unchecked authority) essentially forge his signature of consent and send him back to his doom. Even his own mother doesn't seem all that bothered that her son will die because of circumstances beyond his control.
  • Explosive Breeder: Usagi women frequently bear as many as a dozen children per pregnancy. They're hoping to eventually replace humanity altogether.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: They're a good bit more than half human after many years of interbreeding, but the Usagi descend from the crew of an alien ship that crashed near a remote village.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: The narrator gets progressively smaller for each time he has sex with Dokura. He eventually disappears entirely.
  • I Want Grandkids: The narrator's mother don't care the slightest that her son is going to die, as long as she's getting a litter of grandchildren in exchange.
  • Multiboobage: Usagi women have twelve nipples, though the extra ten only have breasts behind them when the woman is lactating - the rest of the time, they are easy to mistake for moles or tattoos.
  • No Name Given: We never find out the narrator's name.
  • No Pregger Sex: Averted in a very squicky way. Pregnant Usagi women need to feed off of the father through sex on a regular basis throughout the pregnancy, or else they'll miscarry for lack of vital nutrients.
  • Out with a Bang: The fate of any Usagi father is to be gradually be consumed by the mother through sex, eventually becoming completely absorbed.
  • Straw Conservative: America has been taken over by a super-right-wing movement, enforcing family values by any means necessary.

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