about the author

Alex Koplow is a writer from Virginia whose fiction has appeared in Metazen, Thieves Jargon, Thunderclap Press, and Short, Fast and Deadly.

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Frank and Tina

Alex Koplow

Illustration by Miden Wood

Frank ripped his leg off. There were colors and liquids he didn’t know were inside of him. Muscles emptied out of the uneven tear, plopping to the ground like apples. But Frank had enough strength to hand the twitching leg over to Tina.

“Did it hurt?” she asked, her bangs dancing on her brow. She wasn’t sure how to approach the leg, contemplating it like it was a too big for a bite sandwich.

“Yes,” Frank nodded. “Very much. But I did it for you.”

“Then I’ll hurt too.”

Starting just below the indented diamond on her thigh that he loved to kiss, Tina tore off her petite leg. She was quick and clean and barely winced. It made Frank laugh, his veins dangling from his thigh like ratty shoelaces.

Huddled in the bathroom, they attached each other’s limbs and changed into shorts so everyone at the airport could see. With Tina’s legs on the inside they strolled to the ticket-only entrance. Their teeter-tottering goodbye kisses might have made them appear off-balance but Frank and Tina had never felt more centered.

Tina watched him snake away through the security line. She stroked the black hairs on her new leg. Frank felt the phantom tickle and waved goodbye.

He sidled down the plane’s cramped aisle to his seat. Extra leg room, he smiled, the newest thing he loved about Tina.

The businessman in the window seat pointed at the mismatching legs and asked what happened.

“We made love,” Frank explained. He realized that it sounded like he and Tina just had sex. He meant they created love, building it from each other’s parts.

In the concourse in his hometown Frank touched the stitches and flaps by his groin. Her blood felt like warm applesauce. The distance would never matter again. They were always together.

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