Craig was a college man, one of those big Nordic farmboys that Midwestern university football teams can't do without. He had biceps like frozen grapefruits and was proud of the fact that he could smash beer cans flat against his forehead with one hand.

Being a man of action rather than a man of thought, he found it most efficient to use his ample athletic scholarship to pay brighter students to write his papers for him. One was a graduate biology student named Sandra. She was in her late twenties and had just come back to the States after spending several years collecting plants in the Amazon rainforest. She had deep green eyes, thick red hair, and the most perfect, creamy skin he'd ever seen.

Craig found himself thinking about Sandra a lot, especially when he was at the bar. She always had a sweet, musky fragrance about her that was unlike anything he'd ever smelled. He didn't much like most perfumes; they made chick's necks taste bad. He could always tell what a chick's honey was going to taste like after he'd tasted her neck. If she used too much cologne, that meant she was probably a stinkbag and never washed down there. Craig bet Sandra's honey was the very sweetest. The nectar of a delicate flower of femininity.

One night, Craig was at the bar, drinking long after his buddies had gone home. Thinking about Sandra, and getting harder with each passing moment. When he finally stumbled out and got in his pickup truck, he found himself driving toward Sandra's little one-bedroom apartment.

He wondered what her bed was like. Was she a futon girl, or did she go for waterbeds? Or maybe she slept on a straw mat or some whacked-out thing like that.

She was kind of a strange girl. Used a lot of foreign words and then just smiled at him when he tried to pretend he got what she was saying. She wore a lot of Brazilian jewelry, too. Went real native when she was down there. He'd heard that Brazilian chicks got into some wild stuff. Women down there were expected to know how to please a man. Whang, dang, sweet poontang.

He pulled into the parking lot adjacent to Sandra's apartment, jumping the curb and nearly taking out a sign that read "TENANTS ONLY. ALL OTHERS TOWED."

He had to ring the bell three times before she came to the door. She was wearing a deep green satin robe and, by the looks of it, not much else. Yeah, she wanted it, or she wouldn't be sleeping naked. She was just waiting for a prime stud like himself to come along, emphasis on the come. His erection pressed insistently against his fly.

"Craig ... what the hell, it's past midnight," she complained.

"Well, what're you doing asleep on a Friday night?" he teased belligerently, stepping forward into the doorway. "Can I come in?"

He pushed his way into her apartment.

"Yeah, sure, come right in," she said sarcastically, angrily, as she rubbed the sleep out of her eyes. "So, what's on that alcohol-pickled mind of yours?"

"I was thinkin' you and I should get to know each other better," he slurred, backing her up against her couch. "You been doin' a fine job writin' my English papers, and I was thinkin' I should show you my gratitude. You look like the kind of woman who appreciates a good steak dinner, and I got the best meat in town, babe."

Her eyes had narrowed to angry green slits, but her tone was calm and measured. "I hate to break this to you, Studmuffin, but I'm not attracted to you. At all. And even if I was, I couldn't possibly have sex with you. It's that time of the month. My little friend's visiting. All that."

"Hey, no problem. Blood's always kinda turned me on."

He grabbed her face and tried to kiss her, and she slugged him in the jaw, hard. He let her go with a grunt of pain and stepped back a few feet.

"Get out!" she shouted at him.

He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, and discovered she'd split his lip. He felt the blood and adrenaline and game-rage rush to his head. How dare this snooty little bitch hit him?

He shoved her into the back of the couch and pinned her there while he pulled off her robe and underwear. Her kicking and screaming made it hard to hold her while he got his fly down, but down it came and he was pushing into her, suddenly hitting hard resistance, strange, the blood ought to make things easy --

A white-heat point of excruciating pain exploded at the end of his cock. He screamed and clutched himself as he doubled over -- and realized there was something attached to him.

He looked down through his tears of pain and saw that a black, gnarled, mucus-slimed, tuber-shaped thing had engulfed the head of his penis and was slowly chewing its way up the shaft.

"Get -- get it off!" he shrieked.

Sandra had pulled her robe tight around her and was glowering at him. "And why would I want to do that?" she asked coldly. "It's a shame my little friend has to go to seed so soon, but what the hell. You were a waste of flesh, anyway."

Craig fell to his knees, tugging weakly at the tuber. Shock had set in. "Seed?" he asked numbly.

"Yeah. It's the seedling of an organism that has an animal-like larval phase and a treelike adult phase. There's chitin in its cell walls, so it might turn out to be a kind of fungus. The women of an isolated clan of the Suya tribe use them as tampons. The tubers eat blood and tissue in this phase, but the presence of estrogen quiets them so they don't eat anything but what you're shedding. When they get near testosterone ... well, you see what happens. There are smaller species, saprophytes that just crawl onto and grow in animal carcasses. The Suya apparently cultivated this version to enforce their taboo against sex during menstruation. It produces an antispasmodic; I hardly ever cramp anymore."

Craig's breath was coming in shallow gasps. Fight it, buddy, fight it. Got to get to a doctor before this thing eats your balls. He lurched to his feet and staggered toward the door.

"You've got about five minutes before it reaches your body cavity. Won't be much anyone can do about it, then. If I were you, I'd just cut it off."

"No!" he moaned through gritted teeth. He tried to run, but the pain was too much. He collapsed face-first in the parking lot. Sandra dragged him around to the side of the building, dumped him in the bushes, and stomped back to her apartment to go back to sleep.


In the spring, a new tree sprouted. Although it grew slowly in the Northern climate, it eventually produced bright purple blooms that smelled sweeter than any perfume.

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