"Hi," said the smiling man. He was smoking the pipe.
Since he was blocking the aisle with his cart, which was full of overripe honeydew melons, I figured I had better respond, and then maybe this guy would go away and leave me alone. "Hi," I responded, trying to make it sound as bland and uninteresting as possible.
"What do you do for a living?" he asked, adjusting the pyramid of melons in his cart.
I briefly toyed with the idea of lying to him, but that always gets me in even more trouble, so I decided to tell him the truth. "I'm a talent coordinator for 'Late Night With David Letterman,' I said slowly.
That was a baaaad move on my part. "OH WOW! You cast people for 'Stupid Human Tricks'? he asked hyperactively with that look in his eyes. I see that look at least six times a day. "Watch my trick! Watch! You'll love this! Don't blink or you'll miss it!"
Suddenly, he clenched the pipe firmly between his teeth, and then--POW--his head exploded. Blood and cerebral cortex rained down around me. The pipe clattered to the floor.
"Did you like it?" said the headless man. "You liked it? You loved it? When do I get on the show? I'm free tomorrow night. And the next night!" He paused for half a second and then howled, "Wanna see me do it again?"
My nerves finally unfroze and I screamed and ran away and screamed and tried to brush the bits of cerebellum off my shirt and screamed and screamed and screamed. I ran out into the parking lot, trampling some ripe melons that the man had dropped, and several minutes later, I stopped screaming when I realized... I'd forgotten where I had parked my car.
I tried to collect my wits. Okay, so the guy's head had exploded ALL OVER ME, but if I could just remember where my car was, I could get the hell away from here and drive into the next state and do my grocery shopping in a different time zone. I started walking around the parking lot in a well-planned search pattern to find my car.
As I walked around a battered RV decorated with pictures of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a man came into view. His head had LOTS of Band-Aids on it, but it was recognizably the same nut. He was still smoking the pipe, still grinning maniacally through the Band-Aids.
"I'm even free TONIGHT if you want to put me on right away!" he bellowed as he bit into the pipe-stem. POW. Blood, gray matter, white matter, the pipe, and Band-Aids filled the air, splattering against the pictures of Leonardo and Raphael.
"Whaddaya think? When do I get on 'Stupid Human Tricks'? I'm pretty human! When?"
I screamed and ran for the subway entrance. I bounced down the flight of nineteen stairs in only two steps and did a triple somersault over the turnstiles, slam-dunking a token into the slot. I jumped across the outbound track, landed on the inbound platform, rushed onto a train, and collapsed into three seats. The train squealed out of the station. I almost lost consciousness as I stared numbly at the floor. But then--
I noticed a empty Disney Band-Aids box on the floor. And another. I looked at the man next to me. His head was coated in Band-Aids. "Isn't this AWESOME?" he said, clenching his teeth. POW. Fragments of head caromed around the inside of the car. An ear struck a sofabed ad. I tried to catch his eye, but it hit the floor.
"AlalalAll Right," I stammered, "all right, all right, I'll ppp-p-put you on the show. Now... please... STOPDOINGTHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I collapsed into tears as the headless man gave me a friendly hug.
"I love you," he said. Then he re-lit his pipe and started collecting his head.
That night, the man, who gave his name only as "Bob", squeezed his bow tie on live TV. Sixty-seven million viewers saw it. POW. It was repeated in slow-motion: Powwww. Dave Letterman had to take extra pills during the commercial break. Paul had to do the second half of the show by himself, too. But at least I had finally gotten this lunatic off my case. I went to work the next morning in a relatively cherry mood, with "Bob" temporarily forgotten.
There were five men waiting for me, all with pipes.
"I saw your show last night, where the guy made his head explode, and I have something better," said the first one, "I can make my feet explode!"
"No, wait" said the second one, "I can make my head implode!"
"I can make my WHOLE BODY explode," stated the third one, expecting a prize.
"But I--and I alone," said the fourth man, whose pipe blew bubbles, "can make DAVE'S head explode. Or the viewers' heads. Or anyone's."
"Can you do it thirty times a second for six hours straight?" asked the fifth. He clenched. So did the others. POW. Their heads exploded. Dave's head exploded. My head exploded. George Bush's head exploded. This went on for six hours.
And that is why I am now happily committed.
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