“It would not be good for everyone to read the pages which follow; only the few may relish this bitter fruit without danger.” — Maldoror… K.J. Bishop’s hallucinogenic, transgressive fevre dream of an ode to the original Maldoror (1869) by Isidore Lucien Ducasse, writing under the pen name “Comte de Lautréamont, appears online for the first time on WFR.com. The story originally appeared in my anthology Album Zutique. This is updated version includes new sections and deletions from the printed iteration. Reprinted by permission of the author, “Maldoror Abroad” is debuting online for a limited time and will vanish back into the ether within a couple of months… - Jeff VanderMeer
The flourish of the razor through my cheek!
The mass guillotinings in the delta of the buccal nerve, the monsoon haemorrhage, the considerable pain, are no longer shocking. This act of self-mutilation has become habitual. I perform it every morning after my nightly exploits, at the hour when other men are shaving, defecating and scrubbing their skins to remove all the material their bodies have produced under the cover of darkness. As for me, I am clean: formaldehyde preserves my entrails, and lice, more careful and discerning than human beings, can rarely be persuaded to enter my bed.
I confess that my mouth performs a happy smile poorly, even when widened by two red inches on either side; but however dreadful it looks to the uninitiated, this graven expression is really a suave and contented one.
My own blood nourishes me as fully as mother’s milk nourishes an infant, and tastes more wonderful than the flesh of peacocks stewed in cognac and rose-syrup. It paints primitive colour onto my jaw; like henna it beautifies my tongue; then like magma entering the sea, steaming and potent, it hastens down my throat and falls into my pearly stomach. No need to take it as a clyster, as I used to. I am evolving.
My cut mouth heals swiftly, leaving no scar. No one suspects my addiction. I am not documented in any medical textbook.
This story ran on Weirdfictionreview.com from December 2011 through early February 2012. Many thanks to the author for permission to run the story for that period. This excerpt has been retained for archiving purposes. You can find the complete story in Bishop’s next short story collection.