White tiles on the floor. White tiles on the walls. White tiles on the ceiling. An actors theatre make up mirror in front of me. Large, round, bright lights running down the sides of the mirror. I’m sitting on a plain wooden chair. Behind me there is a drain with grille from which occasional echoey voices can be heard.

I have a fever. Sweat drips from the top of my bald head, down my face, drips off my chin. Sweat drips down my arms, down my legs. I’m sitting in the chair, transfixed by the sight reflected in the mirror. Water pools at my feet.

The door opens, I jump up. Dr Prescott enters.
Black leather worn Doctor’s bag in one hand. A wriggling sack in the other. He puts them down to my side. He stops, looks me up and down in horror.
“PPPPParasites.” He stutters.
The stutter comes with an intense facial struggle.
Out of his bag he pulls a bundle of twigs. Misshapen boney fingers. He unscrews the lid of a black jar. Machine gun laughter comes up through the grille. He dips the twigs in the jar and brings them out covered in a black tar.

“GGGGGGGGGGG.” He stops, “ Never mind.” He says.
I obey.
“ssssstill.” He nods his head.
He lights the end of the twigs, they crackle into purple flame. He waits a minute then blows it out. A black smoke pours out accompanied by an acrid smell that makes me want to run. He holds them to my nose.
“Breathe ?” I ask.
“Don’t finish my sentences.” He snaps.
“BBBBBBBreathe.” He points to my nose.
He moves behind me. With one hand he grips my forehead and pulls my head back to lodge it firmly against his stomach. His stomach is extended. It gurgles.
I close my eyes, set myself and take a deep breath through my nose. The smoke goes up through my sinuses, around my eyes. Up into my forehead. Up into my brain.
I open my eyes. I’m immobilized.

Cupping my right eyeball with one hand the Doctor slaps me on the back of my head with the other. My eyeball comes out of its socket into his hand. It’s connected to me by nerves and red wires. I can still see through it! He rotates it to look out into the room. Other hand in my back he leans me forward towards the mirror. He moves my eyeball to the mirrors’ surface and then pushes through. It’s like mercury. I hear a shout coming up from the drain behind me.

Through the mirror I see a dusty attic. There are two dirty windows in the sloping roof. Dust motes hang in the light. One passes close by and I see it’s a planet. The wooden joists and beams are all exposed and old. Dust sheets cover packing boxes and furniture staked up to the sides leaving a pathway down the middle. I see rocking horse legs sticking out from beneath a sheet. That was the horse I rocked by the open fire whilst Mother prepared food. She would serenade me with weepy arias whilst she chopped onions with the extra sharp knives. She’d chop like horses hooves in time to my adventures as Tonto. Tonto the Lone Ranger’s sidekick. Tonto always getting captured. Tonto to be rescued by Kimosabe.

Spiders hang in the gloom. I see a large brown spider looking down at me, from on top of a box, knitting a red mohair jumper. Her husband drags a thread behind him attached to a large wrapped ball of corpses. Protruding from the ball are proboscifgrjtyfgdrdhcgfs wings. He edges across the box towards her whistling “Heigh Ho Heigh Ho.” My Dad used to whistle that every morning at breakfast. The fluffy ball of corpses rolls forward exposing tiny hands and feet poking through.

I hear a faint scrabbling sound. It seems to be coming from inside my ear. It’s joined by more. Then more. Louder and louder. It’s unbearable. I am whisked backwards. Back into the white tiled room. Back through the mirror. Facing it again. The sound is like a waterfall. I see my reflection. The sound ceases abruptly. Silence.

A small brown ant comes out of my left ear. It climbs out and circles around the top. It looks back at me and holds my gaze. The ant puts its tarsus claw into its mouth and whistles. Another ant climbs out of my ear. Then another. Then another. With the roar of a dam bursting, ants pour out of my ear and onto the top of my shaved head. Tens, hundreds, thousands. Some climb down to my chin. They climb on top of each other, over each other, under each other. They hang from my chin like a beard dripping down. Like melted wax. The one at the apex is hanging on. It’s falling. The others try to hang on to him. He can’t hold on and falls. All the ants stop. Silence as he falls and falls and falls out of my vision. I wait for the thud. Nothing.

The ants stay frozen, locked into each other like gymnasts in a human tower, three or four deep. I have brown hair and a beard where before there was none. It’s a beetle cut.

Doctor Prescott leans forward over me and fusses with the wires as he replaces my eye in its socket. He smells of Gilette shaving cream. He brings his lips to my lips. He tastes of butterscotch. As he opens his mouth I see a slimy eel like creature where his tongue should be. It is undulating in his saliva trying to keep moist. Dr Prescott takes a deep breath. He exhales into my mouth. He takes another breath and does the same. Over his ear I see in the mirror. My head is starting to inflate. Dr Prescott is inflating my head with his breath. Between breaths he pinches my lips together to keep the air in. My face is starting to widen, my eyes separating. Breath. Expand. Breath. Expand. Bigger and bigger my head inflates. Surely my head will burst. Stop. Please stop Dr Prescott. I yell inside my head. He stops, pinches my lips together and stands up. He unpins the memorial day poppy from his button hole. He turns to face the mirror to look me in the eye. He raises the pin with a smile and brings it down into the top of my head with a loud bang.

10 Comments to Surreal

  1. Hamlet +'s Gravatar Hamlet +
    Mar 4, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Hmm.. enjoyed this and hope it hails more prose from you Tim. I wonder if the doctor’s name has relevance to you?

  2. Kathleen's Gravatar Kathleen
    Mar 4, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    Surreal… that’s a very good title. Very well written. I’m looking forward to the next installment.

  3. Mar 5, 2011 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    So in the end Prescott is a twisted acupuncturisted? Haha! Very original really. Blogs like these are great playing fields for you. If you don’t mind a comparison of how it felt atmospherically; had a unique sense of David Lynch. Great ending,the 2 hardest parts of writing anything. The alpha and the omega. Keep it coming, you have an audience!

  4. nic's Gravatar nic
    Mar 5, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    very well written, wish i could write like that.
    I look forward to more x
    I recently bought The Dice man – am yet to start reading it . . . . .

  5. Jaspa Dempsey's Gravatar Jaspa Dempsey
    Mar 5, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Most magnificent, almost Kafka imaginarium me thinks!!??!!
    Let more flow like a fantasea of ants.

  6. Kathryn's Gravatar Kathryn
    Mar 6, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Mmmm…there’s a warped ‘fairytale’ like quality about this. Interesting. Like it!

  7. Lou Purplefairy's Gravatar Lou Purplefairy
    Mar 10, 2011 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Did your head explode into a thousand silver and purple winged butterflies, which spiralled above the space where your head used to be, enveloping Doctor Prescot in a shower of tiny beating wings, a chorus of minute souls, cheering for the rapture? Did the mirror melt down the white tiles and slide in to a silver pool, disapperaing down the drain behind, you silencing the machine guns vocals in a hail of cold liquid glass?

    Loved it.
    Can I have more please?

    • Tim's Gravatar Tim
      Mar 18, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the encouragement to the surreal piece I put up last. I really wasn’t sure how you’d react – now you’ve encouraged me….. I liked the liquid glass Lou.

  8. Lou Purplefairy's Gravatar Lou Purplefairy
    Mar 29, 2011 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    You are welcome, Tim :)
    I’ve liked your words for years. I’m looking forward to some more surreal ones from you. You write so beautifully. Please continue with it. Any chance you’ll set it to music/sounds/images and make it a peformance piece? I’ll definately come and see that.
    I like those words, as they reflect my being. I felt quite at home in that almost DisneyPixar-Dali-esque imagery you pulled out of the ether.
    Life is surreality.
    That piece gave a refreshing air to the rickety old steam train of undissected thoughts, flowing fractally upon mercurical snake which winds around my brain.
    See you in Brum. You can’t miss me. I only ever dress completely in purple, and I’ll wave you a snake :)

  9. Ruko's Gravatar Ruko
    Apr 1, 2011 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    I just love this fascinating world! It’s great.

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