by Joanna Koch
Green muddy grass holds boot-prints in the struggle; boy thrashing, screen slips and falls, flash of knife and open mouth as camera eye wrestles with impossible perspective. Your friends run, laughing. Rancid smell of old leather; you can’t believe the mask wasn’t cleaned better considering the cost, but like everyone else you’ve agreed to play your part.
Flannels and flashes of elbow, guttural sounds ejecting human loss, camera phone muffled. The eye in your pocket sees better than you behind the Pigman’s mask.
Background noise: a girl screams. Grappling men, or man-like things; hungry pig breath of mutual desire grown labyrinthine in soft boy exile. Don’t get carried away, though. Unspoken teleology, signals louder than exegetic screams. Start with the boy to keep things spicy.
You allow him the hunting knife. Sensory let-down after the overload of attack. Unshuttered eyes leap through multiple frames. Below the boy’s assaulted breast, grunt and shove, wrestle ineffable hands through the car window. Blade work inept against heavy yellow workman’s gloves, distressed boy-breath escalates. Gloves drag him out of the car. This can’t be happening. Wait a minute. Stop.
He says stop. The gloves fit his neck. Your yellow hands huge and his head a balloon atop the clenching heft; he’ll do anything you say. Them’s serious words for a boy with no pants.
The camera’s getting the performance of their lives from your friends. Are they, though? Who can tell who your real friends are the way they joke but no one’s joking now. Boy pleads, girl screams; Pigman grunts.
Outside of the shaky eye, shaking to hide amateur actors and inept effects. But if you do say so yourself, this shot is looking pretty damn legit.
Boy’s tongue like a lizard pops out. Will it grow back if you bite it off?
It’s all in fun. Blood spatter and strangled silence. You’ve seen this before in other movies and this Halloween night you’re claiming the predator’s mask. No grief for teenage meat less tender than your eternal hurt feelings. Deadened by off-screen screams, the assailant fills the frame, panoramic in your plaid, your coveralls, your fleshy rented mask.
Pig breath fogs the lens. Playing the villain like the hero you are. Boy disposed; a hilarious corpse. Cut to the source of the off-screen screaming.
No title card. No credits. No knowing gag to alleviate tension. You want them confused, upset, questioning reality, feeling what it feels like to live inside the madman’s mask. The ultimate director’s cut is a blade held by heavy yellow workman’s gloves.
Camera eye thrusts into Pigman’s gullet. Strange carapace frames the soft pink palate. He tests it with his teeth. Pig gloves swing, eye of lens on pelvis as he waggles. You hear him better in his hand.
Snuffling down the road where the girl’s stopped screaming. She could flag down a car but she’s standing there stupid, tits hanging out. Lifts an arm and aims it at you.
Pigman, Pigman, mind your listing, tilting approach. She’s watching like a witch at a square dance. Swing your partner. Swing your axe. The weight of narrative momentum slows the camera to sludge.
When Pigman’s stomach growls, you hear his hunger. Grunting and heartbeats: listen for him in your inner ear on opening night, paraded above the popcorn crunch.
Come on, girl. Let’s see you run. It’s either slasher or farce. Chase the disheveled girl until bad focus overtakes her sweaty face and promises a rape. Your breath inside the mask sends a wet scent recirculating the legend’s stench. You smell the skin who wore the skin before you, the head of a butcher inside the head of a pig.
You’re ready to rut up the back of her party dress but she doesn’t run. She stands and stares. Next to a stop sign up ahead, arm rigid, gaped-mouth like a ghoul, she points at you.
Pigman wheezes soft in your ears. Eyes of divergent camera phones watch at weird angles in settling night. Nothing moves. Girl steady, disheveled; your would-be victim still as a pillar of black salt.
Something ain’t right. Not you. You use good grammar.
The hand holding the phone shakes more than before. Or does the cannibal wrist tremble with neurological disease? Eyes through pig slits pinched into thin edges blink too small to see what’s happening at the crossroads.
Chopped up images under the blinking stoplight. Colors changing. Girl twists from left to right. Her limbs look incorrect.
You call out, your voice childish inside the mask.
“Hey, you all right?”
She twists strangely, a spider made of black smoke.
Won’t answer. Why would she? Inside Pigman apology becomes a lecherous grunt, but you try. “Sorry that scene got so wild.”
Moving closer, under the flashing stoplight, something wrong with her face. Darkness crawling, writhing. And something white. Glinting in her jaw, whiteness spreading, slashing across the midnight black.
Arm aimed at you, pointing, bobbing.
Her mouth bursts black, red, yellow, green as reflective teeth reveal her raucous laugh in the stoplight’s flash. Wide open laugh, party dress of tatters, girl of smoke points and twists and wails.
Tugging, the rented mask clings. It seems to like your skin. Missed the snug fit of a face since the last Halloween lynching. You wrestle and snort. It clings to your cheeks.
Caged breath fogs inside with damp heat. Your protest surges into squeals.
Fight, Piggy, fight. Camera jumps and slashes. You plead, confined: Stop. Help. Your plaintive voice, muffled beyond human disguise, heaving outward in frantic breath, reborn as a barnyard bray.
Pig panic rising, short tail curled to your butt, haunches shrinking, lard loading into your teenage gut. Coveralls fall from sloped animal shoulders. Camera drops under knocking hooves. Hairy pink teats fill the frame. Hooves from wrists pummel pink flesh. Pigman tears at his own face.
The sliced off nose exposes your snout. Lights, laughter, flashing: cars are coming, police are coming, everyone’s laughing. Horrific squeals of impotent misery, hooves hurling barnyard heft towards the cover of cannibal woods, phone eye trampled. The footage stops on blood-grimed teats smeared by the crunch of a murdered screen.