Friday, September 27, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: The Head Case

Reed’s head was a book, and one that was three-quarters unwritten.

Penn’s head was a writing utensil. Not a pen or pencil, because even I’m not that bad, but a fine horse hair brush. Penn fell madly in love with Reed, and he went on to scrawl most of the following in the margins of his lover’s head.

Taryn’s head was a fire hydrant. She spat on burning buildings, and for this was considered a hero. She had many unwanted suitors.

The Finn Quintuplets’ heads were fish. They kept trying to swim in Taryn’s spittle, following her around from heroism to heroism. She found this untoward, and so kept her valve shut whenever the Finns were at the similar parties.

If there was someone Taryn admired, it was Antonio, whose head was a water filtration system, and whose head filled hers with the naughtiest thoughts a hydrant can retain without leaking. He was, to Reed’s estimation, Penn’s mental image of himself. Antonio threw the best parties, with the spiciest foods, and interesting foreigners who played the latest music on their heads, and it all would have been perfect if Antonio didn’t own the biggest and most elaborate swimming pool in the city. The Finns always used this as an excuse to come, and so they followed Taryn along through the intricate tubing of the pool. They could be in any room she was.

Marta Maria’s head was the most elaborate swimming pool in the city. It was very hard on her neck, and she got quite lonely having to keep her body two floors below the best parties in the city. Thus Antonio often excused himself early to go downstairs and visit with her, and rub tiger balm on her neck.

Taryn would excuse herself early and follow Antonio to be jealous of Marta Maria’s neck problems.

The Finn Quintuplets tried to excuse themselves, but were stuck up in the pool, unless it was raining. If it was raining, they followed Taryn down and performed obnoxious tricks with flakes of calzone crust.

Marta Maria would have given them all a disparaging look if she were capable. However, she was capable of asking Miss Yaki for help. Miss Yaki was a city councilperson and universally heralded as wise since her head was an idea. If you wanted solutions, you had to look into Miss Yaki’s eyes. Fortunately for Marta Maria, Miss Yaki loved spicy food and was entirely intolerant of it, and so always attended Antonio’s parties, and always ate a bite too much, and always needed a glass of water. As you’d imagine, Marta Maria had always been good at finding glasses of water. Miss Yaki owed her a favor, and Miss Yaki came up with a solution seven seconds later.

Now Penn thought this solution should have been: “That solution, like the rest of this story, is in Reed’s head.”

Reed, however, kept blotting away Penn’s brush strokes. Reed felt that the solution should be: “And they found Rosetta, a nice girl whose head was the world’s best neck support, and Rosetta and Maria Marta fell madly in love, and they explained sexual harassment to the Finn Quintuplets, and Taryn confessed her feelings to Antonio, who let her down gently about his lack of reciprocity, and the two of them instead became casual friends with minimal awkwardness ever after.”

Penn felt that his lover, while cute, was a terrible writer. And so the man with head of pages and the man with the head of a brush argued about the ending for three dawns, until as a gag they started transcribing the best parts of their bickering, the sharpest lines and barbs, and goofiest ideas. It is surely for that reason that Jove showed up in their story, a radiant third-gendered young person with a god for a head, who fixed everything for everyone to everyone’s satisfaction.

If that seems like a disappointing ending, then you’ve likely guessed that by the third dawn, Reed and Penn had stopped taking their joint novel seriously. Co-authoring is very difficult for some people. Partners tend to get ahead of themselves.

22 comments:

  1. That is the most realistic thing I've ever read.

    The head-selfs reflect unscrupulously individual details about people, the kind of tiny things that make us impossibly distinct from each other, and the way they interact in the story twists and turns in ways that defy my expectations based on the style of writing. It pretended to be a love story, then gestured like an existentialist statement about the human condition, then dabbled in being slice-of-life, then kind of just smushed them all together.

    Delicious!

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    1. I couldn't have asked for a more generous first reaction. Thank you, Max!

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  2. Oh my. And my head is spinning. Love this - thank you.
    How are you doing? Is having a break from daily blogging being good to you?

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    1. The cessation is incredibly helpful. I wrote an entire screenplay this month and am now buzzing through my to-read list. I still feel guilty for not posting daily fiction, though.

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  3. My head would be full of confusion at that point!

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  4. By Jove I think they got it! :) Sorry, couldn't help that one. This is a super original story John and like Max said, you got everything in here - excellent!

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    1. That pun was entirely warranted and I embrace it.

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  5. Heady stuff. Unusual, weird and silly. All stuff I like.

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  6. interesting and weird, love it - glad I ran across this blog!

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  7. Surreal, man. I think if I self-medicated and re-read this, I'd giggle all night.

    Reed and Penn are compatible, in the end. Sounds like they had lots of fun!

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  8. Love the weird. This put great imagery in my head.

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  9. I love the weird too. I'm glad I am not my head!

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  10. Very surreal - I just don't have the head for it ;)

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  11. Like Yaki, I always need a glass of water. I found myself trying to picture each of their heads and it was a lot of fun, particularly Taryn and Marta Maria. Thinking of it all as metaphor for various personalities, now that's fascinating.

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  12. I'm with Max - absurd presentation, and yet it all made perfect sense somehow. And a novel substitute for that tired old question - "if you could be any animal, what would you be"? I'd like to be a benign eraser head, going about and helping everyone erase embarrassing and stupid things that people are about to say or do. (Erasing after the fact would create all sorts of other problems.)

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  13. I'll be honest, I think this one's a little beyond me. Possibly I'm not intelligent enough to follow it.

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  14. Fun piece! I loved the surrealism. And the ending was delicious.

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  15. This year I bought an album called "Your Mind is a Box -- Let Us Fill it with Wonder." And by the end of this all I could think of was that album. http://www.daspoltergeist.com/

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  16. Very unique piece Jon - had to reread some of it to make sure I was following it correctly. Fun and strange - both a winning combination Sir!

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