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2018

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We met local book artist Simon Pelle at a cozy nearby coffee shop to discuss his newest creation, a book bound and made entirely out of his own skin! He appeared in striking furs and a neat vest which covered his red bare and pulsing musculature, coffee was brought promptly as we sat down and talked.

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J: You look... well?

Simon applies a special greasy ointment on his skin, sometimes wincing in pain.

SP: Thanks, I've never felt better!

J: Let's get straight to it, what was the inspiration for your book (looks quickly at notes) "Potential Malleabilities of the Honorific Contemporary Spirit (Self)"?

SP: I woke up one day and just knew... I had to do this. I knew...

J: It's quite a long title isn't it. Is there a specific meaning or-

SP: (visibly annoyed cuts off what J was about to say) I think it's pretty obvious what the title means, even a skinless chicken could see. Personally I (empathetically gestures with hands at himself) think the title is the perfect length, it is an equal part meditation on my own spiritual journeys and venerable self. The purity of the Anthropodermic bibliopegy process was a perfect medium for this expression.

J and Simon sip their coffees rhythmically, drops of blood ooze out from Simon's exposed back tendon and drop haphazardly on the floor.

J: So, I've really been wanting to ask if the book uses all of your skin.

SP: Yes about 85%.

J thinks to self "what the fuck".

J: So where did the other 15% go?

SP: (in a sharp whisper) I had to do it, all of it had to go.

Simon stares unflinchingly at J for a moment before quickly blinking and shaking his head as if returning to reality.

A minute passes.

J: I'm really interested in how you harvested your own flesh, I personally feel queasy at even the slightest bit of pain.

SP: (under his breath "of course you would shriek at even the tiniest bit of discomfort you philistine worm).

J: Excuse me?

SP: The process is really quite easy, even a reporter could understand! The harvester is something of my own invention, I'm quite proud of it. Basically, it's kind of like a large vegetable peeler specifically tailored to my own body.

J: ...

SP: I'm quite proud of it hahaha ha.

*as if conjuring something from thin air Simon pulls out a strange machine from an invisible recess of his body and places it gingerly on the table. It appears to be a peeler as described but larger with elongated forms. The blades gleam sharply, on its wrought iron surface are stains of a rusty brown color. Simon strokes his tool on and off sporadically with gentle care and a clear fondness as the discussion continues.

J: I guess I just don't understand why this self-inflicted pain was necessary for this book's production. Are you a masochist? I'm interested in the books content itself. It has never been exhibited in the past as something interact-able or readable to the public. There have also been news reports recently of a strange figure who has been infiltrating the gallery at night squatting beside the exhibit and seeming to read the book in the dark. All the camera footage is blurry unfortunately but there have been some fan theories spreading around that this is you. What is your response to this?

As J talks Simon visibly frowns, his eyebrows (if he had any) formed an angry expression. This progressed into visible outrage as Simon half stood up out of his chair, fist clenched in anger and shaking violently, this action caused blood to splatter out from his palm like a lemon being juiced. J didn't notice this and continued talking nonchalantly. Simon sits back down trying to calm himself, smiling at the impudence of J's suggestions Simon decides that this anger is beneath him and starts to stare at J as if with pity.

SP: What's a mass-e-kiss? I've never heard anyone use that word. He he he, are you sure that's a real word? The inside of the book. Yes. Very important. The inside is very important to me, it will be very important to everyone soon. Very soon.

Simon smiles widely his teeth are very white, he must have good dental.

SP: I just don't know what to say about these news media rumors it's all very silly haha you shouldn't believe them they're just so silly and untrue. I don't think you should trust the news anymore, trust is something you have to earn. I really believe that. You trust me, right? You can trust me.

J: Um I guess so.

SP: Good, I've earned that trust. You are almost equal. You like the book, right? Tell me you like it.

J: Its good in some ways I suppose, the concept is interesting.

Simon is visibly pleasured by these words he holds himself and groans in pleasure, different areas of sinew spastically pulse and vibrate.

SP: Ahhhhhh that feels good! You're almost ready, so close. Do you want to know what's inside, inside the book it's very important!

J: I think you already said that.

SP: Haha I forgot.

J checks his watch; the action is so quick it would have been impossible for any sentient being's eyes to comprehend the vast concept of time.

J: Uh unfortunately my schedule is just packed today, it's time for me to vamoose as they say in the west.

J softly laughs in an attempt to lighten the mood, but Simon just stares disinterestedly as if he doesn't understand.

J: It has been... interesting talking to you Mr. Pelle.

SP: Good good it's been so good, maybe you can help me with my next book? It's going to be part of a larger series. Thanks!

Simon holds out his hand politely for a handshake, J takes it slowly, his hand is immediately stained red like every other surface Simon has touched. J unconsciously tries to wipe it off on his shirt and grimaces when it appears that this has done nothing. The instant their hands come out of contact with each other it seems as if an invisible switch is turned in Simon's psyche, he lets out an ear-piercing shriek. Alarmed, J also screams but the sound becomes stuck in the back of his throat, he backs away slowly from Simon's quivering form before breaking into a run for the door.

J briskly makes his exit from the coffee shop.

Followed soon after by Simon who gives chase.