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Five Months Later, and …
23 Days Without Medication
As stress relief, Floyd Cervenka desperately wanted to masturbate, but in his oven, a severed head laughed at him. At first, Floyd didn’t know whether it was a hallucination, or if somebody had put it there. If he retreated from hysterics long enough, he could rationalize it. He had not slept in 72 hours. Over the last three days, he had done nothing but eat peanut butter on white bread, and he drank about five bags worth Shop & Drop instant coffee, black without any sugar or creamer. He had also drank about a case of Lo-Carb Creature. It was Floyd’s idea of acting responsibly – IBSL was threatening foreclosure again, and he had a lot of work to do and a lot of money to earn.
Most of it consisted of consulting Gray’s Anatomy and his own, personal copy of the DSM-IV-TR and The People’s Guide To Pills. A medical website was paying five bucks for each medically adequate definition of drugs, illnesses and body parts. The work was so profitable, Floyd was afraid to go to bed, thinking that he’d wake and it would be claimed by somebody else. Then, he would be back to writing search-engine-optimized Botox articles for $1 each.
Before hearing a high-pitched cackle from his stove, he had taken a break from the upper arm’s brachial artery. He was surfing the net for naked girls, specifically for a brunette with tattoos. He was about at settle on a link that suggested, Nerdy Girls Need Hard Loving! That’s when he heard the cackling. Other noises were hard to describe, and the closest Floyd could manage was phlegmy cough after sucking helium.
When he opened the oven door, he dropped his coffee, and then he slipped on the subsequent puddle, once he tried to back away. That’s when he came eye-to-eye with the severed head. It didn’t look normal, though. The skin had turned a twinge of blue, and the eyes were only dark cavities. Still, they blinked. Often. The head’s mouth was drawn into a wide, brown-toothed grin.
Like many times before, Floyd sought to prove it wasn’t real, that this was just another hallucination or a left-over figment from one of his all-to-vivid dreams. He got to his feet and walked over to the oven. Reaching in, he grabbed the head by its gray-streaked hair . Instead of his hand going through an immaterial head, the thing’s hair felt greasy. He tried to raise it to eye level, and the thing slipped out and smacked face-first against the floor. Still, it didn’t stop laughing. Floyd stood over it and stared down at it for a long while. He kicked it, slightly, and it rolled.
“Don’t you ever stop laughing?”
The head slightly rolled over to face Floyd. It winked an empty eye cavity. Then, it stopped laughing for a moment. “OF COURSE NOT,” it rasped. Then, it went back to its phlegm-filled cackling.
Floyd gritted his teeth, and then, he lost his temper. Bending over, he grabbed the head by its greasy hair and flung it against the wall. When it didn’t stop cackling, he grabbed a broom from next to his fridge and started beating the head with the straw end. That did nothing. Floyd really didn’t want to do what he did next, but he felt he had no choice. He reached into his pocket for his phone.
“911—what’s your emergency?”
“Somebody is pulling a prank on me.”
“Oh Christ—Floyd, you’re not supposed to call 911.”
“Fuck you. There’s somebody fucking with me.”
“Have you taken your medications?”
“No, but that’s not the point.”
The dispatcher, a woman, sighed. “Please hang up, and only call this number when you have a real emergency.”
“This is a real fucking emergency.” He stared down at the laughing head.
“No, it’s not. Take your meds, Floyd.”
“Here,” he said. He put his flip phone next to the laughing head. “Hear that?”
“Floyd, I’m going to hang up, now.”
A sneer broke out across his face. Again, he stared down at the head. The empty eye sockets squinted, and elaborate crow’s feet spread out across the thing’s temples, merging with the four major brow creases. “Oh, fuck you.” Floyd opened the kitchen cabinet above his sink and started throwing glasses at the laughing head. “Fuck you, you fucking fuck!” When he ran out of glasses, he started flinging plates.
“FLOYD! You still there?”
“Where the-goddamned-else would I be? Ulan Bator?”
“You know,” he held the phone at arm’s length, “I HEAR MONGOLIA IS JUST FUCKING SNAZZY IN THE SPRING TIME!” He brought the phone back to his ear. “You hear me? Or will I need to start reading the copy I sold to snazzy-planet-dot-com last week?”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean? Do you need help?”
“Do you think I call 911 for the scintillating conversation?” He breathed deeply. “If so, I‘m so far from scintillated right now. If scintillation were a boulevard in Ulan-Fucking-Bator, it would be…”
The woman dispatcher sighed. “Alright, I’ll send somebody over.” Then, she hung up.
Floyd grabbed a forty of Jersey Reserve Malt Liquor from his fridge. He sat on the floor, crossed his legs, and uncapped the bottle. He took a sip and stared at the laughing head. However, fatigue mingled with his caffeine crash, and the alcohol just made it worse. He fell quickly asleep, resting his chin on his fist.
When he woke, somebody was nudging him with their wingtips. Floyd looked at the foot, and then upwards. He saw a black man in a Khaki trench coat staring down at him.
“Oh,” Floyd said. “Detective Johnson, it’s right,” he pointed. However, the laughing head was gone. “Oh.” Floyd clamped his eyes shut for a moment. “Oh, fuck.”
“That’s all you got to say?”
“Trell, it was here just….”
“You know what? I don’t know, and I don’t care.” He turned and strode out of the kitchen. “I have so much more important shit to do.” And he left.