Carnevale di Venezia

The Medico della peste mask is made of old white leather ripped from someone pure long ago, a body still bleeding, still screaming, left to hum with pain and agony.

The thing buried under shadows in the mask crooks his finger.

He crooks his finger at the belladonna with long brown hair that bounces in the moonlight. He crooks his finger at the belladonna with the seafoam eyes that make men love her, with the hips that sway, with the jealous husband who kills, and she comes and she dances on him close and loves on him with her simple peasant skirt between her tan legs and rubs on his shiny frock and the red boa like they were alone and not in the center of the Piazza San Marco with the full moon competing with the lit street lamps dancing in the summer breeze.

He turns his back on her and she screams, spurned, and dances all the harder as he crooks his finger at another in the piazza.

A bystander, an old fat baker, bald, flour-dusted and on his way home to his wife and ten children, he merely stopped to watch, wondering when the Doge’s guard was going to stop this display of lust, then found himself dancing to enthrall the masked man himself.

His belly jiggles as he reaches out to him.

But each step closer he finds his desire that much farther away.

He and the curly-haired temptress compete sweating and fuming and demanding his attention.

But the masked thing shrugs off their advances, crooking his finger time and time again amassing men and women each wanting him so badly that they break themselves against each other to get at him.

By midnight, he stands in the center of a riot soaking in violence, feeding off hate.

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