Situation Normal. Atmosphere Breathable. Brainstem Injected. Dialogue Engaged.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Trepanning The Obese

I like to stand on the front walk at work and launch crabapples into the field across the street. My 1x4 plank bat is stained with two summers of apple blood. My coworkers cheer me on, and sometimes they even take a few swings. Often we compete to see who has the longest range or the highest sky.

A couple weeks ago, I was playing solo with some young apples when I saw a lost dog on the sidewalk across the street. It paced back and forth along a short stretch of pavement, leash trailing behind. The plastic handle rattled and bounced.

I hate dogs. I considered calling animal control. I decided against it for the moment and walked towards the befuddled canine. I hoped to find the missing owner by looking up and down the street.

The shaggy waggy stinky shitball barked as I approached and quickly turned away from me. It took two tentative steps towards a small patch of trees amidst the dead yellow grass and barked again. It paused, looking back to me, imploring me to follow.

I was going to turn around and head back into work when my imagination conjured images of a man halfway through a leisurely stroll with his affectionate pet. I pictured him clutching his chest, his knees buckling. I saw a heart attack victim collapsing under the sun, incapacitated, dying, hot, wet, and alone.

Reluctantly I trudged behind the excited creature. I followed its wagging ass to the trees and surveyed the shade. A fat man wearing purple shorts and an orange Hawaiian shirt lay faceup on the earth. His eyes were open wide and his face was covered in livid red splotches. Each breath he gulped was a hitching stab. Pools of sweat accumulated in the crevices of his forehead, in his ears, at the nape of his neck, and on either side of his nose.

"Mmm, mmmmah ha, harr t. Ehhhlp. Mme."

I was right. Heart attack. Before I could reassure the man and run to a telephone, the idle dog yelped and swiped at its own left ear, producing a nasty gash. Insect attack? It howled, convulsed, and flopped onto its side. Another heart attack? Do dogs have heart attacks? This could almost be funny.

The dog bolted upright and launched itself onto its hind legs, imitating a human's posture. It growled a fierce wave of Purina halitosis up to my defenseless nose and settled back to all fours. I turned again to go for a phone, this time careful to glance back. I was afraid the toothy fucker had blanked his domestication and decided to eat my feet off at the ankles.

I hadn't jogged more than ten feet when I heard a loud, mean bark and then a wet tearing sound. Man's best friend had buried his snout into the side of the prone man's gut. This was gross. The dog had clamped his sharp dirty teeth into the flab and jerked his head back and forth until the guts were open, and then it proceeded to snack on the exposed flesh. Loose fat dribbled from its jaws, gleaming yellow kernels from a life of excess. I had to go back. The poor man may have bad taste in pets, but if I didn't go kick the beast in its scruffy jewels, it would make dinner out of its master long before the paramedics could resuscitate him.

I charged forward and punted the rabid creature. It didn't fly up into the sky and off into the horizon like I'd envisioned. It just flipped backwards and landed on its head. The dog's neck snapped and the canine flopped dying on the grass. It vomited involuntarily, blood and lard and mangled intestine splashing onto the dry grass. Then it lay still.

The fat old man had not survived the compound traumas. Between the still heart and the gushing cavity in his abdomen, he'd stopped breathing. His bucket was kicked, his ticket punched. I sat down hard, replaying the bizarre events, trying to discern if there was anything I could have done differently that would've changed the results. I came up empty.

It twitched. The dead dog twitched. No hallucination. Were leftover electrical impulses settling along the nerves? Fart gas rippling through the colon? It twitched again, violently. I scooted back. Time to leave. Let the professionals clean this mess up.

From both the nostrils of the deceased dog and from the purple shorts of the dead man dual waves of chrome insects poured forth. Cascades of silverfish blanketed the ground. They merged into a single wide strand and scuttled straight for me. They were fast. Too fast.

They got me. Up my legs, past my waist, up to my shoulders. Everywhere. Thousands. I shuddered and screamed in disgust as their grimy tiny little feet and slimy antennae tickled every inch of my exposed skin. They climbed into my clothing. They prodded my lips. They slipped on my boogers. They pried at my closed eyelids. I was flailing about, helpless and unable to remain still. I couldn't keep pace knocking them off me.

When they crawled into my ears, I felt a sharp stabbing pain deep in my ear canals. I gasped and a few more bugs wormed into my mouth and slid around in my saliva.

Suddenly, the vile assault halted. Most of the bugs descended my legs and scampered back onto flat ground. A few remained, stuck in my pants and shirt and hair. The pain in my ears flared up. A high, keening wail howled in my brain. A voice. The commanding entity of the silverfish army wanted to chat.

"Sorry about that, dude. I need help."

"Wha- wait. What?"

"The bugs, sorry. This is the only way I get to chat. Had to summon some little crawlies to ring your bell. Anyways, here's the deal. I need you to let me out. You do that, we're square. You don't, and I'll send beetles while you're sleeping. I can't wait for decomposition. Even if I get out of this head I'll still be buried. No good. By the way, pretty good show I put on, huh? With the dog and all that? Didja enjoy it?"

"Who are you? Where are you? Why the fuck-?"

"Hold your ponies, pard. I'm a homunculus. I'm sure you've seen movies and tv shows about spirits haunting sacred graveyards, that sort of crap, right? Well, that's me. I was a great Japanese warrior. Name's Kazuo. I was felled by a thrown blade a few centuries ago. I pawed at wisps in limbo for a while, and then I grew restless. I hightailed it back to the land of the living. The only way I was able to figure out to come back to life was a bit convoluted, but I took it.

I managed to commandeer a tapeworm spore in this fattypants's larb nua. He was scarfing a big fat dish between grunting fuck sessions with lice-ridden hookers. I guess they made him hungry. He brought me back to America from Thailand when his so-called business trip ended. Here I am.

This guy ate so much chow that I couldn't keep up, and he managed to gain mass poundage even while feeding both of us. I've been soaking up your lazy culture and your processed food for a long time, buddy. Cops on tv and John Wayne movies and Geraldo Rivera for what seems like eternity. And trust me, I know eternity pretty well. One compliment I must admit: American culture is so much more relaxed than that disciplined bushido crap I had to deal with before. I've been thriving in Billy's intestines for twenty years. He made a hell of a great incubator.

So anyways, about two months ago I migrated north, chewing a noodle thin trail through his guts up to his head. I've been growing in there. Billy-boy's been pregnant, and he had no idea! I'm a man again, only I'm six inches tall and I have no skin. Not a worm anymore! I figure once I get out of this claustrophobic skull, I'll sprout right up and live a normal life. I'm weak right now, but I get along with bugs and vermin real well. They'll crawl right into my mouth, crunch crunch crunch. I can also gnaw on that dog. I've always loved dog. Delicious.

So poke a hole for me, captain. Lemme out of here. Or it's bugs for you. Kay?"

"Yeah. First get these fucking silverfish outta my ears."

"No way, you first."

"Okay. Okay. I will. I am."

I yanked my swiss army knife from my pocket. I kneeled before Billy's corpse. He already had a swarm of flies. I snapped out the awl and jabbed downward at the knobby skull. I tore skin but failed to even dent the skull.

"Not gonna work, buddy. Take the eyes out first."

"No way. I'll get you out, just gimme a sec. You've been waiting for twenty years in there, Kazuo, a couple more minutes ain't gonna hurt."

I aimed my awl and jabbed again. And again. Once more, with feeling. I finally managed to plunge through the rocky dome. It was considerably easier after I'd scalped the head and wiped the wet away. A high pitched cackle of glee whistled out from the tiny hole. Now the voice came from both the dead head and from inside mine:

"More, quicker! You're getting it!"

I switched to the corkscrew. I twisted it inwards a few spirals, put my feet against the skull, and pulled backwards with all my might. With a dull pop the skull fractured. I was picking away loose shards when a little pair of hands grabbed my index finger.

"Pull me out!"

I did.

It was a naked little Japansese man. Miniature, maybe six or seven inches tall, naked, bathed in the pale ichor of brainpan fluid. His tiny eyes were solid red, his hair was jet black, and true to his word, he was skinless.

"The silverfish. Get 'em out now. They sting."

"You got it!"

The pinching sensation released and out came the bugs. I took a few moments to flick the rest of the bugs off me, those trapped in my hair and clothes. I felt nearly human again.

"So what now? What are you gonna do, little fella? Can I go?"

"Yeah, see you later. I'm gonna fuck and eat that dog."

"Have fun."

The image of Kazuo poking the dead dog's eye with his hard splinterdick revolted me. Quite possibly the grossest thing yet. I thought about stomping the little fucker into pinkish grey paste, but decided against it. We need more weirdness in this world.

4:00 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm


June 29, 2005 4:24 PM, Blogger Windjammer said...

We need more weirdness in the world...And I think we found it!

June 29, 2005 6:20 PM, Blogger alix said...

BINGO was his name, yo.

wow. what'd they say when you went back to work? ;)

June 29, 2005 8:14 PM, Blogger Alecia said...

You freak me out man.

Thanks for the comments...and walmart greeters would win. The old in general, I think have less shitty attitudes than teens. At least until we stick them in homes and start wiping their ass again.

June 29, 2005 8:15 PM, Blogger Nobody special said...

"Loose fat dribbled from its jaws, gleaming yellow kernels from a life of excess."

Beautifully disgusting.

That's the thing with some of your stories. It's about stuff I would normally NEVER read, but you write it so well, I'm pulled into reading through to the finish.

I'm repulsed but not disappointed lol.

June 29, 2005 11:44 PM, Blogger The Everglades said...

I'm paranoid about silverfish now. The pictures at the end proved to hammer home the visuals in my head.

And I always feel like you rope in readers so well and before we realize it, our eyes are darting across the screen from left to right, seeing images and hearing conversation that we would have never thought of otherwise.


June 30, 2005 8:06 AM, Anonymous biasedopinion said...

You just made my day...

June 30, 2005 9:18 AM, Blogger Kerouaced said...

Welcome to bizzaro world where little Japanese men live inside fat men's heads and nothing is as it first appears to did it again. Great stuff...

June 30, 2005 9:18 AM, Anonymous red said...

ahhhh, that's the stuff.

June 30, 2005 10:12 AM, Blogger Dave Morris said...

"They slipped on my boogers."

Priceless! I was hooked early thinking it was true... then simultaneously relieved, revolted and riveted.

At least there was a happy ending, there always is when dog cadaver sex is involved.

June 30, 2005 10:32 AM, Blogger Other Brother said...

Your stuff kills me, man. I can definitely see the influence King has had on your style. Disturbing and riveting at the same time.

June 30, 2005 11:06 AM, Blogger Brad said...

Years ago, I poured myself a bowl of cereal for lunch. About ten bites into my meal, I noticed a fleet of silverfish swimming in my Cocoa Krispies.

I'd forgotten about that until now.

Thanks. Really.

June 30, 2005 2:01 PM, Blogger Windjammer said...

Those silverfish remind me of the time I was cornered by agents and they activated a device that turned into a thrashing insect that put its tentacles into my belly button and crawled in. Then this nice girl named Trinity used a machine to suck it back out again. Shit. That was a movie. I had a friend who smashed a silverfish on my arm. The legs were still twitching as I rubbed the carcass on his shirt.

June 30, 2005 2:40 PM, Blogger Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

Alix, they just shook their heads. "Not again, Steve. You always disappear and come back covered in yuck." Then they threw me a roll of paper towels. "Buff off and get back to work."

Alecia, I'm thinking pay per view.

NS, thanks! A high compliment.

Blake, I'm a merciful storyteller. I decided not to go with earwigs.

Bias, thanks! Glad to see you wandered over from myspace.

Steve, thanks man! I still haven't cracked into chapter 2 you sent me yet. I'll get to it soon.

Red, I still have the one I mentioned planned for next week. You write?

Dave, The first three paragraphs are completely true, except that it was Tuesday, not a couple weeks ago. I actually saw the negligent dog owner up the street. She was looking down with pride as her second doggie crapped on the sidewalk. The field was inches away. Crappable grass, uncrapped upon. So sad.

Darrel, thanks! King is one of my heroes, as you know.

Brad, sorry about that. At least they weren't fire ants.

Jarod, I'm glad we understand each other.

June 30, 2005 9:07 PM, Blogger You've Got What I Need... said...

There goes my business trip to Thailand. Thanks a lot.


June 30, 2005 10:46 PM, Blogger amanda said...

GWAR? are they still together? LOL

July 01, 2005 2:54 AM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

My God that's good. [witty comment goes here] Your talent stuns me Steve.


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