Unconventional Exit Strategy

I sat up in bed, my head throbbing, the voice deep inside screaming, “WHY DID YOU DRINK A WHOLE LITER!?!?”

It wanted out. Johnnie was forcing his way out.

I staggered to the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror. I was wearing a gold top hat, tails and carrying a walking stick.  I looked like an idiot. But it wasn’t my face. It was a hideous, Twister™ version of my face, with big red, green, blue and yellow dots and a spinner.

The Twister™ mouth in the mirror screamed at me.

“Get over to the toilet and throw up.”

I asked myself what my problem was.

“The problem is, I LIVE IN YOUR HEAD,” the voice said. And I knew it was Johnnie Walker. “I hate it in here. The floors are all sticky with memories of Bobber’s man-goo. There’s ash floating around like Mt. St. Fucking Helen’s in here,and I know exactly who it is. Silent Alice in her wheelchair, pointing that bony finger. Millicent, stringy-haired and soaked to the bone. I didn’t know how disgusting you really were when all this started. You’re too disgusting even for me. I want out. And you want me out. You can’t control me. You’re afraid I’ll tell what I know. You don’t fool me. Don’t think I don’t know.”

My real mouth told the Twister™ reflection in the mirror that it was absolutely dead on. I did want Johnnie out of my head. I knew he could put me behind bars for the rest of my days. But how to get him out?

Radiation therapy? Chemotherapy?

“You’re an idiot,” he said. “That would take months. We’re doing this right now. Super WalMart is open 24 hours, right?”

I nodded.

“Good. Write this down, then get dressed.” And he whispered. It was terrible. It was genius.

I only had to buy the one thing at WalMart. I already had the rest. We were back in front of the mirror.

“Okay, take that big old rusty screwdriver. No, the regular head. The Philips is gonna hurt more.”

I said I didn’t care.

“Okay, it’s your head. Not like I give a damn.  Stick it right in that dick dent there,” Johnnie said.

“They’re not dick dents!” I shouted at the mirror. “They’re electrode lockring caps!”

Walker sneered. “Whatever. You say potato, I say dick dents. You want me gone? Stick the screwdriver in there.”

“Right here?” I asked the mirror as I dug in.

“That’s the place,” Johnnie said. “Now, get the hammer.”

I did. It was awkward holding the screwdriver, and trying to hammer backward using the mirror.  I popped my forehead three times.

“Come on, DUMBFUCK!” Johnnie Walker shouted from the mirror. “Hit it hard!”

“But won’t that damage my brain?” I asked.

Johnnie laughed. It chilled my spine. “Trust me, this part of your brain is already gone. Even if there’s anything left, you’d be happier without it. It’s just impulse control and the really good curse words.”

I knew he was right. I brought the hammer down with savage purpose. I heard the bone crack, felt the first quick rush of air…and passed out.

“WAKE UP, YOU PANSY! FINISH THE GOSH-DARNED JOB, YOU CORK-SMOKING MONKEY! Great googly-moogly, I miss the profanity already!”

As I recall, the most painful part of the entire procedure I underwent in 2007 was getting my scalp anesthetized. It was like having a swarm of fire ants attacking my entire skull while the nurses placed my head in a giant vise and cranking it three turns too tight.

This did not hurt nearly that much. When I fell over, the screwdriver was driven deep into my prefrontal cortex, and there were turkey vultures and meerkats perched on the window sill. I pulled the tool most of the way out, then levered it to open the skull.

Oh, that breeze, though!  WONDERFUL!!

The cap of my skull lifted up. I removed the screwdriver. It was coated with a pinkish gray film. I decided to examine it. I rolled it around a little. I sniffed it. It was like a booger, only far, FAR stinkier! Never — NEVER — have I seen such a thing in my skull.

I looked up to see a hand emerging from the butt-crack-like division between the hemispheres of my brain. The skin was green and rancid looking.

“Well? Pull me out!” said Johnnie. I looked for something to grab the hand with. My fingernails reeked of poo, and I did not want to risk infection. Infections of the brain are nasty if you have one that isn’t already 98% rotted through like mine.

“Quit being such a snowflake,” Walker said. “Grab my hand and pull.”

I did as I was told and Walker slid out, arm followed by head, body and the rest.  He turned a neat flip in midair and landed on his feet beside me with a flourish and a bow. Top hat, tails, walking stick.  He looked fabulous.

“That’s better,” Walker said, blinking his smoky brown eyes. He looked up and gave a quick salute. “Later,” he said with a smile that opened his cheek and showed about fourteen teeth too many.

He snapped his fingers and vanished.

To make sure he was gone, I nutshuffled through the tincasa and turned on all the lights. There was no sign of him. Even the computer was powered down.

I went back into the bathroom to clean up, and to sniff my brain-poo again.  I decided to put it in an old mayonnaise jar for a keepsake. I wound up putting it on a shelf next to my NIH participation trophies Awards of Accomplishment.

I looked at myself in the mirror. My skull was still propped open like a Jack-in-the-Box.

“Johnnie!” I yelled. “How do I close this hole back up?”

The remnant of a voice whispered from far away. “Does it matter?”

I said, “Yes. I don’t want anyone to know.”

Johnnie’s voice again, still lower and farther away. “Look in the shopping bag.”

Oh!  Super WalMart! I forgot! The memory must have been in there with the impulse control and curse words! I waddled to the living room and snatched up the bag.

An industrial staple gun.


Author: Paul Krendler

The Thinking Man's Zombie

24 thoughts on “Unconventional Exit Strategy”

      1. I still can't get over how -weird- his skull looks. I've seen pictures of people undergoing dramatic skull work (typically for the removal of tumors) and they look more normal than he does.

    1. An absolute tour de force!!!

      ....and the nice thing is.......THE INTERNET IS FOREVER!

      What an epitaph!


      1. Ah shore hope that there dumbfuck don't copy this and put it in a "book" on Amazon and then be his only customer. Lawdy no. No siree. That'd be a durned shame.

  1. This reminded me of the John Varley Gaean trilogy - at one point, they have to pull something out of the hero's mind that the goddess put there. But they kept him in a mayo jar afterwards.

  2. Thank you, Paul. I read it to the see ones. They really enjoyed it.

    Take note, Shakes. You will never be that good. And at the end of the day, you would kill your wife (again) to be half.

    1. Nor will it ever be in a position to read to wee ones; won't even be allowed meet most of its grandchildren.

      How repulsive and thoroughly without any redeeming quality whatsoever must one be to have no contact with the grandchildren?

  3. Look, I hate to criticize, but:

    1) Superglue works better than staples.

    2) If Johnnie had any courtesy at all he'd have cut loose with some "Johnnie Walker Yellow" to sterilize the wound before he left. I mean really, how rude!

      1. Oooh, I got it now!

        Because this way he can be found with his thumb super glued to the hole in his skull, and the docs will assume this was to keep the vacuum in.

        Nobody has that in the dead pool, right? Then I got twenty bucks for the dead pool. Now if you don't mind I need to look up mail order cyanoacrylate.

  4. What did he drink a liter? What a foolish question, even for a zombie. Tried to find a fifth recently?


Comments are closed.