Thursday, October 20, 2016


Carlos' Second Head

He had never seemed to use it, but now that his second head was missing, Carlos really felt the lack. 
Maybe it was silly, but he had really enjoyed putting his sunglasses on it when he came inside. 
It unnerved people, and Carlos especially enjoyed unnerving people.   Also, it had kept his left ear 
warm.  You wouldn't think it would make that much difference, but it really did.

Most importantly, losing the head made his nickname really stupid.  Carlos did not like feeling stupid.

"Yo, Shotgun.  Wazzup?" They rapped knuckles.

"Two-head.  Not much, my man.  Whoa!  What happened to your other head?!"   It went downhill from 

By noon he'd heard way too many jokes like "You ought to have your head handed to you" Or "You 
know what you need to get ahead?"  He just had to find out who had taken his head!

Naturally, in a case like this, he went to Madame de Risier.  She was the best fortune-teller in town. 
Carlos hated going to her creepy little store in the old part of town, because she was scary.  She knew 
things she couldn't know.  Like that time Vinnie the Trunk sent Old Man Randall to sleep with the fishes. 
She knew where Randall was like she could see him!  And he was in 60 feet of water under the 

So Carlos drove r-e-a-l  s-l-o-w-l-y all the way over to Frontiere Street.  He parked two blocks away 
from Madame de Risier's shop, and after he got out of the car he walked as slowly as he could.  Still, 
eventually, he got there.  He pushed open the door and went in.  The bells shaped like tiny human skulls 
tinkled as the door swung closed behind him.  "I know why you have come," intoned a voice from the 
darkened back of the store.  The words hung in the air like a shovel full of dirt about to be tossed into 
Carlos's grave.  The voice sounded like it came from something that spent a lot of time in a tomb.  The 
whole place even smelled a little bit like a graveyard.

"You know what?"  Carlos asked conversationally, "I'm leaving.  You can do your thing in here with the 
voice and stuff and I'll just go back home."  Then he added, "and you know what else?  I didn't come 
because of the missing head.  No, a lot of people would have come because of that, but not me.  No, I 
came because it's not right when people steal from other people.  The person who took my head needs to 
understand that crime does not pay.  That's why I'm here.  So, I guess I'm kind of here because of the 
head, but it's more than that."  Carlos decided it was time to stop talking.

"Your head" came the eerie voice, "has been a passenger long enough.  It yearns to be free.  Please 
release it from the sweet bonds of parental servitude with which you have held it for so long."

"What are you talking about?"  Carlos shouted at the crazy woman.  "It is a head!  Not a human being! 
It can't ever go out on its own," he said, shaking his remaining head in disgust.  Carlos turned around and 

He didn't really know where he wanted to go, so he just strolled aimlessly around through the touristy 
old part of town, fuming about the crazy fortuneteller.

He kept feeling like he was being followed, but whenever he turned around suddenly, no one was there. 
It was spooky.  One time he turned around when he didn't have that feeling, and he came face to face 
with his head.  His missing head!  It was perched on the neck of a mannequin, the kind that has wheels. 
Apparently, when it wanted to go somewhere, the wheels rolled.  It waved the mannequin's arm and said 

Carlos was delighted to see his head, but he was afraid it was for the last time.  "You, you have a new 
body.  Is this goodbye?"

The mannequin shook its head.  "Never that!  We will see each other around.  But I need to be my own 
head.  You will need a new nickname.  Something pithy and meaningful.  I'll be thinking about it."

Carlos'  neck had been itching all day where his second head used to be.  He scratched his neck 
absently, and he seemed to feel a little bump there.   It had not been there in the morning.

He smiled.  "I'm feeling lucky.  I think I'll keep my old nickname a little longer."

The end

Publ. The Simian Transcript, 2010                                                  

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