Happy New Year of 2021 (almost)! As a gift (or torture method, depending on how you look at it) here’s this short story from us.
We started this back in early 2019 but then never really got round to finishing it. Which has annoyed us a bit.
It’s a decent effort, but we think we can do a lot better. Which is why we’re currently working on novel adaptation of the Santa Claus newsletters—with a new character instead of the Santa guy.
But anyway, here’s this story. It’s about a man who lives his life with sentient (and emotionally difficult and needy) limbs.
So, yes, the short story is unfinished, but was almost there. If you have any ideas, let us know. Then we can wrap it up.
The Personal Arguments of Mr. Armleg Fistfoot
Mr. Armleg Fistfoot is unusual. Born in 1980 over near Putney of London, delivery room doctors were startled to find the newborn’s limbs featuring independent and functioning mouths.
Six mouths, in total, across his body. All of them wailing away incessantly, including the normal mouth on Fistfoot’s face—the din was most appalling.
X-rays revealed that inside his body a small brain was under the skin for each limb—on the outside the mouths suckered away, grimacing and awkward at the forefront of his flesh.
His extremities were alive! Not that doctors could explain it. A “medical miracle” was bandied about. A convenient way for them to wave this off and move onto curable cases.
The child’s mother and father, Susan and John Fistfoot, were quite amazed.
How do you approach raising such an individual? Well, they did their best. They raised their collective whole of a son along with independent limbs, whom they named:
- Right Arm.
- Left Arm.
- Right Leg.
- Left Leg.
But there’s also Buttock, the right cheek, who has a mind of his own (although the left cheek has no such appendages and remains forever dormant).
Now, a note again on those limbs. The mouth is that of a normal human and appears on the flesh visibly. The small brain, however, is tucked under the flesh away from prying eyes.
For Left Arm, the mouth is near the wrist. Right Arm is further up nearing the armpit, which he vociferously complains about to this day—especially on warm sunny days. The taste of BO is a curse for him.
Left Leg’s mouth is directly above the kneecap. Right Leg’s slightly higher on the thigh, mercifully distant from the scrotum.
Buttock’s mouth, meanwhile, is slap bang in the centre of the right cheek.
Thankfully, all this caused Armleg Fistfoot, the young lad, minimal physical discomfort—to the extent he grew up to be an exemplary child and student.
But, perhaps naturally, as a different type of person, there were troubles.
With above-average intelligence and good looks awaiting in his formative years, why wasn’t school popularity readily available? Hanging over him were his assorted body parts, all capable of interjecting on a whim.
And a medical marvel loses its impact once it’s an annoying banality.
When his peers overcame their initial excitement of an unprecedented situation, so the alienation and bullying did start. Fistfoot was soon an outcast—not that he was lonely. He had his limbs to talk to.
Throughout high school, their personalities did form. Right Leg an ambitious go-getter. Left Leg awkward and uncertain. Right Arm condescending and forward. Left Arm possessing a tremendous capacity for rapport, but also a sly temper born out of attention seeking.
But there was also Buttock—acerbic, profane, and sullen. He was prone to moody and monosyllabic outbursts. Those regularly landed Fistfoot in a great deal of trouble at school. In time, it formed for him the image of a young rebel. A bit of a tearaway.
For example, one day in math class the teacher, Mr. Johnson, singled out Fistfoot and asked, “You, my boy, how many sides does a hexagon have?”
Before Fistfoot could respond, Buttock surged on in with a muffled bellow (for the body part spent much of his formative years pressed against a classroom seat), “Piss off, you stupid old prick!”
The class laughed. Fistfoot went to detention. And throughout it Buttock roared obscenities, leading Mr. Johnson to remark, “That backside of yours has a personality disorder, Fistfoot. I advise you go and get some therapy to take care of its anger management issues. Now… I’m not quite sure if there’s a buttock therapist in existence, but if you speak to your GP then they may be able to at least assist with its obvious Tourette’s syndrome. You’ll find it difficult in life if that thing sounds off whenever it feels like it. Do you hear me, Buttock? Behave yourself!”
To which Buttock roared, “NO, YOU OLD BASTARD!” Another half-hour was added to everyone’s detention. Afterward, school bully Clive Smith gave Fistfoot a black eye for detaining the other pupils for longer.
And in later years, Buttock rapidly became a nuisance in higher education circles.
University was an odd experience. The backside, despite extensive therapy sessions, remained a scabrous annoyance.
Take one important exam. Beforehand, Buttock had promised to behave. Halfway through the test, all was silent—200 people in one hall scribbling away. Fistfoot was pleased with progress. His revision was paying off!
Then Buttock let rip with a mighty roar—as if an animal was mortally wounded, “FUUUUCK OFFFFFFFFF!!”
A terrible silence followed. Then much consternation did ensue from fellow students and professors residing over the test.
Ultimately, Fistfoot was booted out and finished the exam unceremoniously in a hallway. Alone, except for his limbs, with Right Arm cursing Buttock’s existence whilst the offending body part proceeding on with his expletive-laden outbursts.
For Fistfoot, such antics did have unexpected advantages.
Initially, he found they did make him appealing to the opposite sex. Women interested in oddities flocked around, his good looks helping. But maintaining a relationship was difficult. Trying to find a woman the limbs all agreed upon was hard work.
They were all set on what they wanted:
- Right Leg wanted a right-winger with traditional conservative ethics and a propensity for mindless hard work.
- Left Leg insisted on a vegan hippy who didn’t want marriage or kids.
- Right Arm was a keen nationalist and centrist with demands of the same from his “babe”.
- Left Arm, ever the idealist, was after a woman with, “A nice left arm, with strong leftist ethics. A democratic socialist of great purity!” He and Right Leg often raged for hours at night, furiously debating politics and the future of Great Britain.
- Buttock, meanwhile, simply roared lewd remarks at women. He even went as far to suggest Fistfoot should open a brothel.
How, Fistfoot did wonder, would everyone agree on anything?
Getting his first job was no easier. How does one control several chattering limbs? His general ability to do so had improved greatly by the time of his 22nd year. But it was still problematic.
Whilst working as a student union barman, his limbs would rant incessantly—chatting up women at the bar, bonding with colleagues, and then there was his backside screaming away through it all.
But he and others (Buttock included) agreed they had to work in unison to earn a living.
A social media freakshow act did flicker away as a potential side-hustle, but ultimately the collective Fistfoot agreed they didn’t want to make fools of themselves.
But they also agreed they all had to follow the same career. It would be too complex to have each limb pursuing its own fancy.
And Armgleg Fistfoot, perhaps rightfully, viewed himself as the leader of his various limbs. He was the central brain. He was the one who picked things up, put them down, and guided the others through life.
So, silently in his mind, he realised he must make the best decisions for every part of him—a moral stance he was determined to maintain.
After graduating in digital marketing, Fistfoot was pushing for his first career-based job.
Upon landing an interview with a technology company called StenchTech, Fistfoot grew nervous. He knew he had to confide in his limbs for acquiescence.
“Guys,” he said the night before the big day, “I need you all to behave for this. It’s our first job interview.”—”You’ve had job interviews, man, we know the score.”—”No, Left Arm. This is my first proper job interview. It’s our career hanging in the balance here. Do you all understand?”
A slight pause, then a “Yes” in unison, with the addendum of a bellowed “PISS BUCKETS!” from Buttock.
“Now you see that, there, is what I’m talking about! How am I supposed to control my nerves tomorrow wondering if he’s going to behave himself?!”
Left Leg offered a solution, “You could inject a local anesthetic into him. That’d keep him quiet for a while.” Fistfoot scoffed, “Right! Attend an important interview with a numb arse! Whatever next?”
But the others were in agreement. Fistfoot was adamant—for his retort he said, “Look, I can’t even get any of the stuff. I can’t just buy some from a local chemist. Anesthetics are only available from hospitals and all that.”
A silence of contemplation. Buttock could be heard muttering to himself—bitter resentment. Left Leg was in again, “Look, just get one of those numbing agents, then. A gel. Buy a few packs of that and rub it all over your arse. Problem solved.”
“Was that too ludicrous?”, young Fistfoot thought. At least in these quiet reflections he did have some peace of mind. No one could ever know what his reasoning was.
But as an option… well, it was worth a shot.
And that’s exactly what young Armleg Fistfoot did. The next morning he nipped to his local supermarket and purchased five packs of numbing gel. Back home in his flat, standing naked in his bathroom, he slathered it liberally on his behind.
Buttock, of course, did protest most volubly. Fistfoot wondered where he learned such obscenities!
Buttock’s teeth also bit and nabbed at Fistfoot’s hand, attempting to fend off his slathering attempts. “Stop that!” shouted Fistfoot. “You see, if I could trust you this wouldn’t be an issue now, would it? No, but instead I’d be there in the interview and you’re be roaring about my genitals or some such!”
Buttock’s rebuttal was immediate, “SLANDER AND LIES YOU DISMAL HEATHEN!” And he continued to roar in fury.
But after 10 minutes, the body part was suitably numb and rambling. Slurring his words. He was happy to inform everyone, “You’re bunch off… shipping fits… I hape you all… I’m best off you all… damn…”
Eventually, he shut up. Delighted by this success, the task now was to make it to his job interview.
As he dressed and then made for his apartment door, he stumbled on his numbing legs and fell over.
As he lay there he said, “Left Leg, I hadn’t duly expected this would spread down you and Right Leg. Are you two all right getting along?”—”Oh man, this is quite a trip. I’m, seriously… this is incredible!”
Right Leg forced his way in, “Pull yourself together, leg! We don’t need any of your hippy crap right now! Right leg forward, we’ve got a job to land!”
Armleg Fistfoot righted himself, urging his failing body on. And out into the street he staggered, like a drunk man trying to make his way home.
Stumbling about foolishly, he gave up on the concept of public transport and hailed a cab passing by sheer happenstance.
Clambering inside his legs felt in awe—the numbing agent was overwhelming. It was as if he no longer had a lower body.
The cab driver looked at him and recognised Fistfoot for his minor local celebrity, “Oh… it’s you! That guy with the talking arse! HAHAHA!”
Fistfoot frowned and, trying to remain polite, stated, “Yes, yes. That’s me. Look, please take me to the address I have written on this piece of paper. I have an important job interview to attend.”
He offered the taxi driver the address, but the man was staring at him open-mouthed. Silent for a moment, he then roared with laughter—spittle flying over Fistfoot’s face.
“A job interview!? Is this for your arse or you?!” And he roared with laughter some more.
Angry, Fistfoot waved the piece of paper in the taxi driver’s face. “Yeah yeah, cool it you goddamn freak.” He took the paper and they set off.
The journey was largely uneventful, except for the driver putting on some gangsta rap music and chiming along in freeform fashion about his customer, “Yeah, uh-huh, yeah! Got a talking arse and I’m in need of some cash, I better hope I… make a splash! Let’s just hope my butt don’t got no… rash!”
Fistfoot ignored him through grimaced teeth. He tried to prepare for his interview. He tried to ignore the increasingly deadened feeling from below.
The taxi pulled into the business complex 30 minutes early. Paying the driver and ignoring his further jibes, he doddered on into the premises.
He approached the receptionist in the main building, who told him to take a seat in the dimly lit waiting room.
Plunging over into the waiting area, he sank on down into a plush chair. Fistfoot cursed his numbing agent gel decision! The feeling below his waist was almost entirely gone. Tingling further below, his feet just about resounded to touch and feel.
Fistfoot knew he looked a bit odd. It was taking all of his might to just keep himself sitting upright. He started sweating—perspiration sprung out of his forehead.
Panic was welling up. Could he stand again? “My God… how can I explain this to my potential employer?!”
He looked down at his legs, “Guys!? Are you okay?”—”Muh…” was the only response.
Eventually, after a 40-minute wait due to his early arrival, a man emerged from a corridor and approached with an arm outstretched, “Armleg, great to have you here. I’m Mike. We really appreciate your time coming to see us.”
As is customary with such a greeting, one must stand and shake hands—it’s rude not to. Fistfoot was rooted to his seat. He was numb. He whispered harshly in desperation, “Left Leg!” No response.
He thumped the limb sharply. “Uh…?” was the fuddled response. “Left Leg! Can you stand up!?“—”Christ no, man…” Fistfoot, aware Mike was giving him a look of confusion, turned to Right Leg. Similarly, he had to thump the limb to rouse it. A long, drawn-out gurgle was the only response.
Right Arm suggested, “Maybe you can ask Mike to carry us through to the interview room?” Armleg Fistfoot seethed in desperation.
The interviewer was worried, “Are you okay?” Fistfoot, pleading, looked up to Mike, “Erm… could you please carry me through to the interview room? My legs have gone numb, I’m not sure what happened.”
To Fistfoot’s surprise, the business was rather accommodating for him—Mike didn’t carry him through, but did offer to assist him through to the interview room.
The hour-long interview ran its course, but Fistfoot’s nerves got the better of him. In response to the common question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” he hesitated, before trying to quip a witty line. It ended up as, “I expect Buttock will have learned some manners by then!”
Although this drew sniggers from Left and Right Arm, interview Mike seemed a bit confused by the statement. He hastily moved on, “And do you have any questions for us?”
Fistfoot thought for a moment, “Yes, could you please help me back out into the reception area?”
Shortly afterwards, as he sat on a bench outside the business, Fistfoot waited for a sense of feeling to return to his legs.
He knew he’d fluffed the interview. But this did give him time to reflect on his life.
With this assortment of individuals, Armleg Fistfoot was rather unusual. Ignorant observers would often perceive him to be arguing furiously with himself as he ambled down roads, a cacophony of noise sounding out from various appendages.
But in his local community, he did have that minor celebrity. He was a curiosity with the talking limbs. Was that a good or a bad thing?
He harked further back to his formative years. He appeared on national television. The BBC produced a documentary about him. Scientists studied him and then moved on—Buttock’s obscenities ringing in their ears.
But the reality of his life was clear. He could offer something exceptional by chance, but by turning into a nuisance he was merely a banality in an orderly society.
Really, who isn’t a nuisance in this day and age?
A decade on from his youthful mishaps—it’s the year of 2019. Armleg Fistfoot awakes one morning to embrace a new day.
It’s Saturday morning and he’s hungover. Having hit the town with his colleagues the night before, a quick pint extended into a major session.
Whilst out and about, he, unfortunately, got into a fight with a drunken stranger after Buttock roared “Fuck off, you bloody bald bastard!” at a 6ft hairless bodybuilder.
Fistfoot is now sporting a black eye. Laying on his bed nursing a sore head, he enjoys the peace and quiet whilst his limbs slumber. But it’s not long before there are grumblings of discontent—a muffled obscenity from within the confines of the duvet.
Fistfoot sighs in exasperation, “For the love of God, Buttock, don’t start already.”—”Fuck you!” fires right back at him.
Fistfoot offers a cutting indictment of his backside, “What’s the problem? You wanted the night out above everyone else. You insisted on those expensive cocktails. You were the one demanding I waggle my backside at that woman… and she screamed, Buttock! She screamed in disgust at me and then you started making all those sexist remarks. I do a lot for you and get little in return, man. You know? I take to walking around our flat with my pants off so you have a better view than just our underwear and jeans. But still… it’s this persistent belligerence!”
“Fuck off!” roars Buttock.
“It’s your fault, you know?” pipes up Right Leg. “You’re always sitting down. If you’d chosen a career where you weren’t doing that he’d get all the air he needs and wouldn’t be so angry. None of that artsy fartsy stuff, a proper job using your hands like a real man. A career change, yeah?”
Fistfoot takes offence, “What am I supposed to do, exactly? All the best paying jobs are in offices with my clothes on. I can’t hamper my career just because Buttock wants a sweeping panoramic clear view all day, every day.”
“Bollocks! Because it’s always Buttock’s fault!” yells Buttock.
“Will you shut up? You’re making my head hurt and the neighbours will complain again. And, also, that’s the last night out we’re having if you’re going to start fights with random strangers.”
There’s a silence. Using the opportunity to start the day, Fistfoot alights from his bed and lumbers over to his kitchen. He pours himself a glass of orange juice, a greasy half-eaten kebab from hours earlier staring at him from within his refrigerator.
“God, who convinced me to buy that thing!?” he groans. Left Leg chips in, “Buttock said he was hungry.” To which Right Leg adds, “And I was a bit peckish. You’re underfeeding us, Fistfoot. This libtard lifestyle of yours is making me feel too weak to support the rest of you. I might take the week off.”
“Layabout!” Buttock belabours. Right Arm chips in, “You’re no way doing that again! Not another strike, we got a warning from work last time. What if you cost us our job? You’re going to make us all homeless!”
Left Arm furiously states, “Right Arm is right! How the Hell are we supposed to function as a human unit if we’ve got Right Leg striking every other month because of his laziness?!”—”LAZINESS!? I’ll have you know I’m the dominate leg here, Fistfoot strides forward with his right leg. Me! That places me under tremendous strain.” Right Arm pipes up, “Awww… diddums! Are you expecting a medal? You don’t hear all the other right legs of the world complaining. Do you?!”
That line triggers off a passionate cause close to Right Leg’s thigh, “That’s because they’re libtards! Snowflake leftists spewing out propaganda because the left doesn’t want us to work and wants to bankrupt our once-great nation so that…” Buttock interrupts the polemical discourse, “Fuck off with that again!” Left Arm rounds on Buttock, “Will you please stop with the endless profanities?”—”Prick!”—”Goddamn it, man, I’m sick of him. He never changes! All that therapy we had when we were younger and this is the end result. An arse cheek with a potty mouth!”—”YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND THE PRESSURES OF MY LIFE, YOU BASTARD!”—”What pressures, Buttock!? What imagined ‘pressures’ are these!? You snowflake, all you do is sit about swearing!”—”SHUT UP, YOU BASTARD!”
Fistfoot moves to quell the raging debate, “Guys! Guys! GUYS! It’s the weekend! Can you just, for once, get along!?”
“Bastard!”—”Now now, Buttock, he’s right.”—”Yes, us limbs must stick together.”—”Buttock isn’t a limb, he’s an arse.”—”Haha, yeah, good one Left Leg!”—”Fuck you!”—”Well, that doesn’t matter, but is there any way we can stop him screaming curse words all the time?”—”Only if we can shut you up, too!”—”That’s a flagrant insult from one leg to another!”—”Jesus, if you two don’t shut up me and Right Arm will come down there and rip you from our body!”—”We’d like to see you try!”—”Oh yeah, you goddamn starting, eh?!”—”We bloody well are! You so much as touch a hair on our legs and we’ll give you dead arms!”—”Like that’s even possible from where you are, you idiot.”—”Bring it on!”—”Hang on, Right Leg, I didn’t agree to any of this, it’s your fight, not mine.”—”Fine, you snowflake!” – “UTTER BASTARDS, THE LOT OF YOU!”—”God, now you’ve triggered Buttock off by thrashing about like that!”
And Fistfoot finds Right Leg lashing out violently in an attempt to strike Right Arm. As you might expect, this awkward endeavour doesn’t flow glamorously. Armleg Fistfoot is forced to grip onto the kitchen work surface as the leg kicks forward.
Whilst doing so Right Arm jeers at Right Leg scornfully, “Yeah, there we go! Keep at it, stumpy! Oh, look, you almost got above waist height that time!”—”I’m going to fuck you up!”—”Of course you are! If you get Left Leg involved we can have a proper can-can here right in the kitchen.”
As Fistfoot barely maintains control of his body and his limbs rage at one another, it’s worth noting such a scene is the norm. Even walking about in public he must deal with the issue. But for Fistfoot, a fastiduous sort, it is a constant nuisance.
“GUYS! GUYS!” He roars. “GUYS!”
“BASTARD!”—”Jesus Christ, Right Leg, stop doing that! At the very least so you can spare us Buttock.”—”STOP IT, YOU BASTARD!”—”I WILL STOP THIS ONCE I GET AN APOLOGY!”
Armleg Fistfoot jerks around uncomfortably for a few more moments whilst there’s confusion amongst the juddering and thrashing.
Finally, Fistfoot takes control, “Right. STOP THAT! This is my body and, essentially, I am the owner of all of you! So do not even attempt to continue on with such verbiage, or I’ll…”
There is an interjection, “SHIT!” The others ignore Buttock. Left Arm states, “Or you’ll what? You have the central brain here, but you’re nothing without us.” The others chip in with roars of approval, except for the nether region who simply bellows more profanity.
“Yes, quite! You need my opposable thumb!”—”And mine, plus you’re right-handed.”—”Exactly, and minus a leg you’re not going anywhere.”—”Indeed, even if I am the dominant leg.”—”Bastards!”
Fistfoot, at a loss, attempts to quell the disorder. “Okay, look, I’m sorry. But you must admit last night was rough. Someone punched me in the face because of Buttock! I have to sport that. Me. And deal with the pain. And the worst of this hangover. Can you just give me a rest, then? I do well for you guys. We have a flat. I binge-watch television shows you all like. What more do you want?!”
“Tits!” To which Fistfoot scowls, “Buttock! This has got to stop! Any more of these outbursts and I’m going to figure out how to gag you.”
A silence. The limbs revel in the quietude. Eventually Right Leg pipes up, “Well, you’ve been dating Susie for three months now, Fistfoot. You’re 32. Time to man up and land some kids into your life. No more of this libtard freeloading. I want to see you married by the end of the year.”
Okay, that’s where it ends! We may get round to finishing it one day, but kind of wanted the words up online anyway.