Finalist for the 2003 Eating Mothballs Fiction Prize


All was silent, but the sound of the wind and a strange, gentle, flapping noise.

"Hello?" asked Milton. "Who's there?"

But there was no response, just the flapping noise, which grew ever louder.

"Satan? Is it you? Have you come for me?" shouted Milton into the darkness. "Well you can go back to hell! You'll never take ..."

"SILENCE!" boomed a deep voice, silencing Milton, who shrunk into his chair shivering in fear. "I am no devil! I am ... THE MOTH OF JOY! BEHOLD MY BEAUTY!"

And at that, the room filled with a thousand colors. Milton looked up in awe as before him flew a giant, glowing moth, its splendor illuminating the room like the northern lights.

"What ... who ... why are you here?" peeped an awe-struck Milton.

"I am here to answer your prayers, Milton Hobblegrove," said the Moth in a reassuring voice. "I know how you suffer, my friend. And I can help you."

"Oh, thank you, Moth of Joy! Thank you so much!" Milton was on the verge of tears. "For decades I have suffered from this awful disease. Even when my pills took effect, in the back of my mind I always worried that one day it would come back. That one day, the lust for women would overcome me once again, like it did in the old days after the war! Oh please, give me your cure, oh mighty moth spirit! Save my soul before I leave this world!"

Milton oozed off his chair and knelt beneath the Moth of Joy, awaiting his holy cure.

"Yes, Milton Hobblegrove, I can heal you," said the Moth. "But you must do exactly what I say."

"Yes, anything to be free of this curse," exclaimed Milton, as he fought off thoughts of writhing, barely legal teenage girls.

"In order to be free, in order to find your salvation, there is one thing you must do."

"What, what must I do, oh great spirit?"

"You must ... EAT MY BALLS!"

And at that the room filled with a shimmering white light, so brilliant that Milton was momentarily blinded. When the light toned down, the Moth of Joy was directly in front of Milton, just a few inches from his face.

"What?!" stammered Milton. "Eat your what? How dare you speak that way to me! I have suffered all these years, just for serving my country, and this is what I get? Damn you, moth, damn you to hell!"

"Wait, my friend," said the moth as he stared calmly into Milton's quivering eyes. "Hear me out. I know your pain. For ages I have been afflicted with the same sickness. For thousands of years I have been forced to fly across this world, mating constantly with every being who cries out in need of help. For that is my duty. The Moth of Joy exists to spread joy across the world, and answer the prayers of those in need. Unfortunately, you humans are such filthy perverts, all you ever pray for is sex. Oh, the shameful acts I have been forced to commit, only to satisfy the perverse cravings of humanity. But now, now it shall all come to an end. What a perfect end it shall be, as we each ask for the same thing — freedom from the sins of the flesh."

Milton was speechless. It was as if the moth was speaking to his very soul. He gazed into the moth's eyes, knowing that soon, his troubles would be over.

"Milton, now, through the ultimate irony, our torture will end. I am sorry it has to happen this way, for I know it will not be pleasant for you, but you must eat my balls. Yes, my balls, for that is where my magical sex powers lie. When they are gone, never again will I have to please another insufferable degenerate, for never again will I be able to do so. And you, Milton, you will be cured of your disease through the absorbing of my greatness."

"Yes, I see it all now, oh great Moth of Joy," said Milton. "I will help you, and by doing so, gain my own salvation. But let me first ask you something. Isn't there an easier way of doing this?"




"Can't you just, you know, cut them off yourself, or have them removed, and then maybe we could get some kind of magical extract from them which I could then inject ..."

"No, no, no, no," said the moth, somewhat frustrated. "Listen, Milton, do you want to get better, or do you want to sit there and jerk off to the E Channel? 'Cause I'll tell you, they don't let 92-year-old perverts into heaven. Trust me, man, I know."

"No, I do, I want to be cured. But there must be a better way. I mean," Milton looked around the room. "I've never done any, you know, gay stuff. Sure, I've thought about it, maybe I touched a guy's ass by accident during a group session back in the days, but you know, that's just not my thing."

"Oh, I see," said the moth, frowning. "Another homophobe, huh?"

"No, it's not that. You can do whatever you want. It's a free world."

"What then, Milton? My balls aren't good enough for you?"

"No, no, I didn't say that."

"Well, then, let's go, man! What's the holdup?"

"But, well, I just ... ah fuck it."

And at that, Milton began to slowly eat the Moth of Joy's magical balls.

Three months later, the two were seen frolicking together at a hotspot in South Beach.

The end.