As she stood there reciting her lies I frowned at the creature that was perched atop her head. Its talons dug into her skin, and small rivulets of blood trickled down her face. It was vomiting green bile all over her and she was oblivious.
They always are.
She reasserted the firm’s need for her overtime on this project, how important this all was to her, to us, and she promised it would be over soon.
She told me lies.
She was screwing him and I knew it.
The thing on her head stopped puking long enough to observe me, and then sneered. Its membranous wings were tucked behind its scrawny, deformed body, and its eyes glowed red. It stuck its tongue out at me. “I am Liar,” it croaked.
The kids continued shoveling macaroni and cheese into their faces while their mother hid her adulterous affair behind lies that sprouted from avacado regurgitation, spewed from the mouth of a beast that looked like it fell from the gable of a citadel in a Tim Burton flick. My wife kept blabbering on while the sticky fluid dribbled down her Maybelline face.
I told her that I wanted to speak to her privately in our bedroom. She followed me down the hall. When I closed the door I saw that Liar was gone and had been replaced by what resembled a shriveled up, hairless Chihuahua. It stood on her head and blinked at me, its pink wrinkly skin glistening. I looked at the canine-like entity upon her head and addressed it without moving my lips or making a sound. “Who are you?”
“I am the bitch,” it barked. “Leave us alone.”
“What do you want, Harry?” my wife asked, with all the warmth of a digital answering system.
“I want to know how you think that you can get away with all of your lies.”
The Chihuahua squatted and pissed down the side of her head. The golden urine dripped into her ear and her face contorted into that...that bitchy look.
“Look, Harry. I’ve told you a million times that I have to be available to put in the extra time on this project. Who the hell do you think you are to tell me how to do my job! You big loser! Just because you sit behind a fucking desk all day and click a mouse in that cubicle of yours doesn’t mean that my career can’t be exciting.”
“You’re sleeping with him, aren’t you?”
The dog was replaced by the gargoylish Liar. It opened its mouth and spewed guacamole. Blood oozed down her forehead, and the vomit clung to her eyelashes as she blinked. “No,” she said. “I’m not.”
I smacked her across the face. “Liar!”
A new figure appeared atop her auburn and cardinal streaked head. It was an albino wolverine. It stood up on its hind legs sniffing the air, keeping one of its beady red eyes on me all the while. Then it dropped down on all fours and began digging into her scalp like a dog burying a bone.
Her right eye twitched. Her face flushed red. “You bastard! How dare you-”
I smacked her again. This time she fell to the floor. “Liar!” I shouted. I dropped to my knees and wrapped my hands around her neck.
And I didn’t let go.
When I had finished I went out and sent the kids across the street to my sister-in-law’s house. I drove down to the bar where my...late...wife’s co-workers usually met after work. They were all gathered cozy-like in a corner booth.
“Hi, Harry!” Mildred smiled.
Bitch. She was in on it. There was a large black vulture sitting atop her close-cropped platinum hairdo. It pecked at her scalp, occasionally looking up at me and squawking.
It’s name was Accomplice.
“Hello, Mildred,” I replied. Then I looked over at...him, and he looked at my left ear. He stopped looking me in the eye around the same time he started banging my...late...wife.
“Hey, Harry,” he said. “How’s it going?” There were several lime colored creatures that looked like mice running about his head and shoulders, a few stood up on their hind legs and rubbed their tiny paws over whiskered faces. They squeaked in unison at me.
I pulled out my pistol, the one my father gave me when I turned eighteen. The big one.
When I had rid the gun of its bullets and this world of a few worthless hyenas, I walked out into the parking lot. There was screaming and shouting going on inside the bar but nobody dared come after me. I slipped my key into the car door.
“Harry.” It sounded like a throat full of crystal shards. I looked around the parking lot, seeking its origin. “Harry,” it repeated. It was the gargoyle-thing that used to belong to my late wife. I saw him two stalls over, sitting on the hood of a 1969 Dodge Dart Swinger.
“What do you want?” I asked, turning the key. I didn’t want to talk to that...that thing.
It leapt from the Dodge to the hood of my Mercedes. “I’ll make you a deal,” it whispered. Just then the police cruisers whipped in. Within seconds they had me surrounded and were screaming at me to get on the ground. They all had little white monkeys sitting on their shoulders. The monkeys drummed on the helmets of the cops and screeched at me.
“Harry!” one of them howled. “We’re going to have them shoot you! How would you like that.”
“I don’t think so,” I said, and laid down on the asphalt. They drug me into the back of one of their cruisers and paraded the bar patrons by the window to identify me. One had a large rat on her head, it defecated down her face as she nodded at me, gum snapping, her face turning red and blue and red and blue in the light of the police flashers. On the shoulder of another sat an impish leper, puss oozing from the boils on its face. One after the other they came. And they saw me.
And I saw them, and theirs.
I sit here now, strapped to a wooden chair. They have shaved areas of my body. My headband is made of steel. The curtains draw away and I can see the gallery is full. Mutant vultures and lizards and rodents of all kinds. They are all laughing at me, drooling and pissing and vomiting and crapping on the heads of their charges.
The people sit, oblivious to their...pets.
I see my mother, Kleenex held to her large nostrils. The tiny red baboon on her shoulder whacks itself off, spunking all over her shawl.
The priest does his thing. Winged cats dance all over his head.
The switchmen rest their hands upon the switches. Their heads are covered in black clouds.
I gaze at my reflection in the glass. My first glance of you. You’re sitting on my head. You look satisfied.
Who will you go to when I’m gone?
First published as "Perceptions" in Sinisteria #3, 2002.
Copyright © 2002 by Savanterio Nouveaux.