TRIGGER WARNING: This post contains a graphic description of a rather brutal hallucination.
He was picking at his ear with a knife – a dull blade, I guessed, because of the lack of alarming levels of blood coming from his ear.
It was a stiletto style blade – long, thin, and pointed, meant more for stabbing than for hacking and slashing. I think it’s a good thing he doesn’t have a gun. With a gun he would be long dead – the inside of his ear thoroughly cleaned out but a gaping hole out the opposite side of his head, his brains having splattered all over the girl sitting next to him and along the window on the far side of the room in neatly random patterns.
This man, if you can truly call him a man (and I suppose you can because of his genitalia), can’t be seen by anyone else – picking his ear with a stiletto. He’s a figment of my over-active-imagination, a mental construct meant for only me to see.
The baristas behind the bar are exchanging their favorite pop punk albums – talking about Greenday and Blink 182. And, as I hear this conversation and try to enjoy, with fleeting success, my private entertainment, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if this stiletto ear picking still fazed me.
The man, more a creature than a man, is completely naked, dull grey skin having wrinkled into oblivion. Heavy breasts occupy his chest and I’m curious to know if this particular species is one in which the male is responsible for providing sustenance to their young.
His face is hidden behind a nondescript mask – apparently made of stone, with slits for the nose and two gaping holes, revealing nothing but a black eternity for the eyes. Sometimes there’s a faint yellow glow emanating from the eye holes but, more often than not, they’re a simple black black.
I’ve tried to capture these creatures on paper – working my pencil on paper in desperation to show what they look like. To demonstrate how horrible they are. Oftentimes they’re missing limbs and I wonder how they lost them, land mines perhaps? or maybe by daring approaching freight trains by laying on the tracks until the last possible moment. But I cannot communicate with them, they don’t reply to my inquiries. They stand or sit, occupying spaces in coffee shops or doctors’ waiting rooms. And, though their presence can be jarring, they’ve never done anything threatening. They’ve never approached me or gestured maliciously at me or even made the slightest indication they’re aware of my presence.
The masked man, the creature, is getting even more engrossed in its ear, working the end of the stiletto into its perfectly normal ear deeper and deeper, occasionally removing it to check on the progress of its dedicated ear-wax-removal. I’m staring, ignoring my coffee and ignoring my book.
The creature removes the stiletto and runs its free hand along the length of the blade with a cloth. Golden yellow ear wax comes off onto the cloth. The creature nods in approval and lets the cloth drop to the floor. The square cloth has a long skid mark of the golden yellow wax along the entire diagonal length of it, it’s thick and has built up in large clumps.
I’m transfixed by the cloth. I’ve never seen so much ear wax and, as I sit there staring at the floor where the cloth rests, I see, from the corner of my eye, the creature move the stiletto so it points straight into its ear. And then, before I can look properly, the creature, this naked man with his heavy set breasts, pushes the blade straight through his ear so the end of the stiletto blade is pointing out his skull on the opposite end of his head.
Thick, blue-grey blood flows from the wound and spills from the side of his head onto his neck and shoulders and works its way down, quite slowly onto the rest of his body, dripping with a sickening thump onto the ground, onto the cloth, soiled with the golden yellow earwax.
I let out a controlled gasp. I’m used to these creatures sitting across from me, but usually they’re not doing much of anything – they’re drinking a cup of coffee, they’re gesturing at each other, nodding their heads gently so as to suggest they’re talking to one another.
My coffee isn’t nearly finished, but I know I must leave. I pack my book in my bag and hurry to put my mostly full coffee mug in the bus tray, wondering if the barista will feel bad – assuming she’s made piss poor coffee. I head for the door and hear a barista say goodbye. I wave my hand behind me, by way of returning the goodbye, as I head out the door to return home. Where it’s usually safe, where it’s usually calm.
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