Cover 14

Troubleshooting My Haptic Cock

Emrys Donaldson

Q: What do you do when your haptic cock—this biotech artifact of industrial capitalism—stops working?
A: Get it up just get it up up and at ’em change out the batteries turn it off turn it back on turn yourself off and back on then adjust the bullet vibe between your folds and press it hard against your bundle of nerve endings. Curse and adjust the straps of your harness. Come hard as your lover sucks you off, as you find the brief eternality between I and O.

Q: What about when, squeezing your cock, you move your hand up and down and nothing happens except a maneuvering of air? Is it a problem with circuitry? With you?
A: Flaccidity indicates an error between brain/body/silicon/circuits. All of us augmented. Both of us rock-hard and feeling nothing. Each anticipatory stroke reminds you of holding your uncle’s electric horse fence and waiting to feel the buzz. When it finally came, the jolt knocked you flat on the grass. You smiled. The line’s ersatz zaps pressed into your palm.

Q: What happens when you reconnect broken tubing?
A: In yet another coffeehouse bathroom, another white lady with flat hair clutched her hand to her sternum as she watched you wash your hands. Was she in the wrong bathroom, she wanted to know. More frantic clutching. You asked her if she wanted to get on her knees. She did. You smeared lipstick all over her face before opening the door with a paper towel. Can’t be too careful.
A: Ejaculate collects like rainwater in a Pyrex measuring cup. Your body feels like a home you want to escape, just like your country. You float in a watery, miasmatic place where Doctor Alexander Skene cannot name parts of your body. You embrace the raw, messy vulnerability.

Q: What are you?
A: You and your lover in a sodomitic ouroboros. His dark hair coiled on the pillow. When he spreads himself for you, he is soft and furry. You watch the muscles in his shoulders tense. Like a colt, this one, all fast heart and warm skittishness. As you enter him he closes his eyes.

A: You consider buying some Truck Nutz to hang from your haptic cock.
A: Eternal Silicon Erection is a good band name.
A: Even though the company name is Orgasmatronics Inc., orgasms are not guaranteed.

Q: What are cocks for?
A: Your Lord and Savior Maggie Nelson says they are for fucking, says that orifices are for filling up. You want to have faith in her.
A: It was a summer night in this Southern town and you and your ex-friend were half-heartedly fucking. Both of you were messed up from broken hearts and pining for femmes and drinking too much. You sat outside drunk and naked and failed to light your first cigarette. The lighter clicking. In the distance a woodcock call, a siren saying go.

Q: How do you know if you’re a real boy?
Q: Don’t you want a biocock?

A: You enfolded the silkiest of girl biococks, the most glorious and disappointing of boy bio- and silico-cocks. In this state you can only change your box from F to M by submitting your genitals for the approval of others.
A: You wear whatever you fucking want and wear your binder or not and wear eyeliner or not and tattoo their name across your upper chest and whisper little ditch kitten whispers or not and you are a boy or not a boy or whatever you want to be. You are tired of fear and you are tired of being tired.

Q: Why would you want to change your name?
Q: Did you get married or divorced?
Q: Sir? Ma’am? Ma’am!

A: You and your haptic cock are soft as treebuds breaking in spring. It is so easy to change your name that you are almost offended. You are elected to nationwide office where you decree that all cisgender heterosexuals wishing to enter into holy matrimony with the State must receive a permission letter from their psychiatrist. People afflicted with this condition feel that they cannot operate alone and must be subsumed into one another, which causes them significant distress. The poor dears.

Q: Show me yours I’ll show you mine?
A: No.

Q: I’m uncomfortable and I’m not sure why?
A: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Q: Why are you still alive?
A: Spite. Love. Exhaustion. Mostly to not let the bastards grind you down. In part for your sister. In part because of orgasms and jalebi and dogs and redwood forests and to feel loved and to love like this. Maybe if we knew how this would end we would never begin. We begin anyway.

Q: What makes you sure you know what gender you are?
A: What makes you sure you know what gender you are?

Emrys Donaldson is an instructor and MFA candidate at the University of Alabama. Their work has appeared in Necessary Fiction, Gigantic Sequins, Fairy Tale Review, and the VIDA Review, among other venues. They can be found online at