Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fred is My South Park Kenny: "Mutinous Facial Abstractions."

Fred is my good friend.  I've known him for 28 years, give or take a couple.  He has made it into a handful of stories, usually ending up dead, yet back again in another story, only to end up either getting his throat slashed in a strip club ("The Lust Vacuum"), or simply referenced during needle to the vein shenanigans ("The Anatomy of Addiction").  He's even one of the main characters of my novel being shopped around, The Wilderness Within, and I can't even get into what happens there, oh no!  Some surprises are worth the wait.  Actually, the house by the forest in that novel is loosely based on his house up in Northern California.   

He is my South Park Kenny.  Always coming back for more.

In the stories which I have Fred in mind, I usually call him Frank, though on occasion, he's Fred.  Now, as a reference for character, sure, I start with him, but the character diverts enough into a fictional alter-ego to make the reference more for my amusement than anything else.

Anyway, the following flash fiction piece, originally published in Nocturnal Ooze in 2003, stars Fred...and what happens to him in this piece veers heavy into bizarro fiction.   

You might think twice about that toothache you've been trying to avoid after reading this one.

As with all the flash fiction pieces, they are more of the claw hammer lobotomy type, a blunt lil' blurt of weird and done.  You want depth, check my collection, The Dark is Light Enough for Me.  (Amazon print and ebook:
Also available via Amazon in the UK, Germany and France, as well as OmniLit.)  Or hope, as I do, that a publisher comes along who loves the novel, because that one, oh yeah...layers, baby.  But for now...Enjoy this bit o' bizarro, "Mutinous Facial Abstractions."


We each have a breaking point.  Fred had reached his.  He had to stop the voices in his head and he had to stop them now.

For six months he’d noticed the ever increasing rant of static voices as they traipsed through his skull at all hours of the day and night.  They’d started as slippery, snake-like whispers coiled around his eardrums, indescribable clipped vocal blips that nudged for space amidst his thoughts, but now they had escalated to a constant, thought devouring roar as they bored into his mind and corrupted everything within the cramped confines of his aurally congested cranium.  After two weeks of cat naps at best, it was time to put an end to it.  He needed his sleep. 

It was the vibratory ache that pointed him in what he thought was the right direction, pointing him towards the two painfully pulsating fillings in the back of the right side of his mouth.  Uncertainty hung like a damp rag over a feverish forehead; he’d been feverish and moistly uncomfortable for the last week.  He wasn’t sure if the fillings were the means by which the voices had invaded his head, but he’d heard of instances in which a filling (or fillings) had served as a receiver (or receivers) of nibbling, squealing distortion radio transmissions or some similarly aligned intrusion.  He’d heard of this phenomenon, not really sure of its validity, but it seemed as good a proposition as any.     

Out of work for ten months, with no money or insurance, it was time to improvise. 

Fred took a swig of Jack Daniels, stuck the pliers in his mouth, grasped the nearest of the two enamel culprits capped with the traitorous, unknown amalgamation of metals, and pulled.

As the muscles in his arms tensed, he grimaced and a scream gurgled amidst the iron and saliva as the tooth, with a caustic sucking sound, was extricated from its bony roost.  He tossed it into the sink, spitting blood all the while, sweat pouring like Niagara Falls, body quaking and shaking like San Francisco, and determinedly continued his uprooting.  Two more shots of Jack Daniels, squeeze, grip and pull, and the pain seemed to split his skull with all the potency of an axe splitting wood as he ripped the second offender out of his mouth. 

But the voices still murmured, mysteriously present.  Fred thought it was maybe an echo, maybe the fillings had left their final unwanted radio messages in the cavity of his mouth before being rudely dismissed for their irritating conduct.  He leaned toward the mirror, mouth wide open, inspecting…when he saw them. 

From the ragged red caverns where the teeth had once resided, tiny creatures climbed out, as if released from the prison of his jawbone.  Like chrome-plated insects, but with faces like scuffed baseballs--the scuffs indicative of blinking, droopy clusters of eyes--and serrated mouths in constant movement, they clamored for space within his suddenly crowded mouth.  He tried to close it, to move his tongue, to spit them out, to no avail.  They unhinged his jaw with the strength of their exponentially accumulative presence. 

The voices were loud again, a convoluted cacophony, abruptly silenced by his shrill caterwauling. 

Their response was pointed—a scalpel in search of skin—the voices yelling in unison: “Shut up and do as we say.” 

Fred was swift to shut up, despite the stunning turn of events.               

“Get a spoon.  We need you to scoop out the eyes to let out the rest.”

Fred’s initial thought, barely registering amidst the racket and insanity overload, was, “Why couldn’t they just use the nostrils?”  But already his keening whine, like a whirring dentist’s drill, soared towards an ear-shattering crescendo as he stared into the mirror.  His mouth was full of these things, these tiny creatures, his bloated cheeks puffing out like those of a happy chipmunk, gleefully swollen with a harvest of nuts. 

He stared into the mirror, his aching eyes feeling like skewered onions, the pressure from behind and within causing them to bulge and roll obscenely, reminiscent of a chameleon’s disconnected visual perusal.  With abrupt shock, his left eye was jettisoned with all the force of a dislodged champagne cork, obscenely smacking the mirror, before spinning like a roulette ball in the sink, finally resting in the drain and dully staring back up at him.   As more of the tiny creatures crawled out onto his face, Fred’s ascending cries shattered the overhead light bulb and popped his eardrums.  His stunned reflection was trapped within the mirror’s cracked spider-web countenance.   

He had succeeded in achieving the silence he had so wished to attain, but he knew the sleep that would follow would not be satisfying.  It would be permanent. 

In the dreary, dreadfully drawn out seconds before his right eye succumbed to the same ludicrous fate, with Death waiting in the wings, Fred stared in disbelief and dour fascination as the slightly pudgier than infinitesimal—and quite incomprehensible--invaders continued to scurry out from within him, and his face started to crumple in on itself, a crinkled skin implosion of soft, malleable flesh devoid of skeletal foundation.     


Fun, eh?  BTW, as an interesting aside, it should be noted that I have never had a cavity.  Probably just my way of detering strange invaders.

Upcoming: a couple short stories are about ready to be published, another interview, etc., on and on.  Join in, follow here, buy the book, please and thank you and...

Here's a picture of poor Kenny doing what he does best.

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