Join Date: Nov 2008
The Man With No Brain:
I noticed that stories don't stay current here very long. Lotta people posting, which is a good thing...
Anyway..Here is the first part of what started as a joke and a way to smack down..Lol a guy in another forum.He was/is a raging atheist (Which is fine) and he and i got into some great arguments..The entire forum was constantly waiting for the next round..
Finally after he stated that he could beat me in any forum with his brain behind his back, gotta admit that was pretty good, and that I surely had more ghosts in my closet that he. I retired from the forum for about a month. One night as I lay sleepless, yet again, too much pain does that, i got the idea to write this short story. After I posted it "Gandalf is Dead", the former History teacher i had the war waging with, came out and said he really liked it and asked me to finish it. So, I did. I even incorporated him in the last part, which I lost after a reformat...There is a young man in the stories, actually the one gandalf and I were vying for.. he, to bring him toe the dark side, I to bring him to the light, as it were.
His screen name was "Slackbladder" , which I immediately shortened to "Slack" to nearly everyone's delight..
he is an important part of the trilogy and I hope you get to know him and care about this fine young man as I did..
So, here is part one of "The Man With No Brain".
It has been so long, I do not quite know where to start. I mean, how do you go back and change the unchangeable, I do not know. It seems like only yesterday I was on the forum, exchanging ideas and views with my friends, and then this happens. I do not even remember his name, or why we held each other in such contempt. I only know that last encounter turned my world upside down and inside out, and let me tell you, that is not a pretty picture.
The last thing I remember was a comment that he could beat me with his brain behind his back. That image must have triggered something in my subconscious, something very basic. Because after that, things got very complicated and frightening. I found myself unable to engage in even the most trivial conversations.
My wife began looking at me strangely, asking, “Honey, what is it, you can tell me.”
But, how do I explain something that I can barely even bring myself to examine?
Friends started to avoid me,… both of them. Family found inane reasons to suddenly move out of state.
But, the hell with them, the hell with them all.
I was on a quest, a journey to end all journeys, to find the Man with No Brain. I knew he was out there somewhere, watching, waiting. And, somehow, someway, I would find him and end this once and for all.
I began having problems sleeping.
I would wake suddenly from horrible broken images of being chased down busy city streets by a man with his brain behind his back. Or, at least, by a man with his hand behind his back.
Everyone was suspect. I could trust no one. Or no two, three was definitely out of the question.
Dark, deep dreams, from which there was no escape, no awakening. What could I do? How could I go on with this madness pursuing me during my every waking moment, and every bit of sleep I could snatch hither and yon. And yon I did, I got very little sleep- that would make the strongest among us yon, er, yawn.
See; see what it is doing to me?
I began to skulk about the streets and avenues of our little city, certain I would find this monster soon and bring an end to my pain. But no, he was smarter than I, it seems, even without the benefit of a brain.
I wondered, in those rare times of lucidity, if his brain ever got cold and what he did when it rained, did he get water on the brain, poor deluded fool. Ah, what do I care; I’m the one being tortured by those horrible images, not he.
Was his name Frankenstein, I wondered, several times removed? Removed, removed, Muuahhaaaaa, I must be losing my mind, or my brain? Never, I swear, never will I let that happen.
Then, one night, after tossing and turning restlessly on my lonely bed I had an epiphany… At least it was here last night…Er..
My wife had left me months ago, where she went, I do not know, nor do I care. I needed no one, and no one needed me, except perhaps, the man with no brain. And I knew what he needed and most desired was my total and complete destruction.
Or maybe it was tickets to the Linda Rondstat concert, I don’t know nor do I any longer care.
Suddenly, in the midst of the most detailed and horrible nightmare to date, I sprang out of my bed in total terror and ran blindly right into the closet.
I stood in complete blackness and heard only the roaring in my poor tortured ears that was slowly lessening, as my hoarse breathing came finally under my control.
I realized then where I was. In the closet, now why did I run here, of all places?
Quiet, blessed quiet.
I thought I would never experience this again. How peaceful it was,…. for a minute that is.
Suddenly,… I began to be aware of another presence, slight rustling sounds,…. clacking,…. clicking noises.
Then, to my eternal and total horror, a thin bony hand dropped from nowhere onto my shoulder.
I knew than I was lost, I would die right there and now, but at least my pain would finally be ended.
With a cry of primeval fear that started as a low moan and escalated to a roar, I fumbled for the door handle, but my grasping hand found only another grasping hand,… one devoid of flesh and blood.
I stood numbly awaiting my fate- take me Lord please, I am ready.
Whispers, I hear whispers, a discussion going on right in front of me in the blackness.
Suddenly, I sensed a consensus had been reached, as I heard a clearing of throats, or what had once been throats. A timid voice called from the depths of the closet that now felt like my tomb.
King Tut never had it so good.
“Ah, Leep? Leep?, a voice called querulously into the darkness. “It’s us Leep, don’t be afraid.”
“Who is us, I wondered”?
I must have wondered this aloud, because I next heard the disturbing news that it was just us, your skeletons, you know, the ones in your closet?
“Get the light Charlie”, I heard one of them say.
“They have names?” I wondered.
With a slight click the closet was suddenly illuminated in the most wonderful, pure light. And there, hanging in the back of the small room were three skeletons. Somehow they managed to look soulfully at me and I was no longer afraid.
“Are you ok Leep.?
“Ah, I think so,…. hey how long have you guys been here anyway.”
“A long time Leep, seems like an eternity,”
“Man, it’s been so long, I forgot all about you guys.”
“We know, one of them said sorrowfully, and it’s really been lonely here”. “No one new to talk to for over twenty years and if Frank tells that joke about the bar and the Nun one more time, I swear I’m gonna’ take my ulna off and beat him into a pile of rubble.”
Frank,… it must have been him, looked as downcast as any skeleton I ever had seen.
Wait a minute, you idiot, it is the first one you have ever seen.
“Well, who’s the other one”, I asked, more confidently. I mean, these were my skeletons right, what did I have to fear from them?
“Oh, that’s Tommy, the youngest, he replied.
“Glad to meet you Tommy, what are you in for?”
I thought that was hilarious to the max, but they just looked at me pityingly. “Oh,…. I guess you’ve already heard that one huh?”
“Yeah, only about a million times, Frank replied.
“Well how come no one else ever saw you guys.” “I mean, I know you are way back there in the corner, but if you look closely, you can’t help but see you?”
“Leep, we are your skeletons, no one else can see us but you.”
Hmm, I thought, that’s kinda’ cool.
“Sorry about your wife Leep.”
“Ah, that’s ok fellows, the heck with her”, I said sadly.
“Well, Tommy said, at least when she was here, we had some other skeletons to talk to.”
“Yeah, said Charlie, and that one was sure cute.” “Not that we could do anything but talk, you know.’ “We are, after all, just skeletons.”
“Gee guys, its kinda neat having you here.” “At least I have someone to talk to now.”
“Ah Leep,…. that’s what we wanted to talk to you about.”
After a moment of awkward silence I asked timidly, “what is that guys?”
“Well Leep, we’ve been here so long and you never do anything to bring in any new skeletons and to be honest, we are really kind of tired and really bored hanging around here.” “Do you think it would be alright if we maybe left and went somewhere where there is a little more action and excitement?”
“Aw Geez’ Guys, I just got to know you and you want to leave me too?”
“Please Leep”? “We can help you with that other problem if you do.”
“Aw what the heck go ahead guys, you deserve a good time, and it’s my fault you’re hanging around here anyway; what can I do to help”?
Before you knew it I had all three outfitted in three of my old leisure suits from the seventies, and if I do say so myself, they looked pretty damn good.
They were prancing around the house looking in the mirrors, stopping to straighten a cuff here and there or a lapel that wasn’t hanging quite straight. I even heard one, I believe it was Frankie, humming “hah hah hah hah , staying alive and doing a little John Travolta move.
Looked pretty good too, if you could get past the clanking and clacking.
“Careful there Frankie, I can’t put you back together again If you go to pieces.”
“Not to worry Leep, he grinned, I got it all under control.”
Finally then, they were ready and we all stood around nervously looking at each other.
“Well guys, what’s next.”
“Ok Leep, in about half an hour, there is a train pullin’ out at the depot and we need to be on it.”
“Fellas’,I hate to have to tell you this, but that station has been closed for years.”
“Not for us Leep, Not for us.”
Then we were walking slowly into the dark night, talking quietly as we went.
I was saddened by yet another loss. Sure they were only skeletons, but dammit, they were my skeletons.
Why did I always have to be the nice guy?
Then as we walked into and onto the deserted station, a strange and remarkable thing happened.
Lights suddenly came on all around us and porters were hurrying here and there, all skeletons themselves, of course.
The ticket box was suddenly illuminated with the most wonderful array of colors and a mixture of steam and mist swirled around and about us all.
My three skeletons were beside themselves with anticipation and excitement.
In the distance I heard a thin wail, long drawn out and ghostly.
The train was fast approaching.
With lights glowing and steam rushing about, the train pulled into the station and with a hiss of the air brakes, it shuddered to a stop.
“All aboard the Bare Bones Express” The conductor hollered. “Make sure you have your tickets ladies and gentlemen.”
As I looked about in delighted wonder I saw skeletons hurrying and bustling about everywhere. Laughing and talking animatedly to one another.
“Well, what do you think Leep?”
“Gentlemen, I am truly amazed.”
As we stood, finally, on the loading platform, I realized that once again I was losing someone or someone’s that I had grown to care about.
With sadness pouring out of holes that once had held eyes they stepped suddenly close and embraced me in their thin bony arms, and I didn’t mind,.. even a little.
With tears very close I hugged each one and said my good byes, yet again.
“I think I’m gonna’ miss you most of all Tommy, “
“You’re not going to Kansas are you, I said whilst I held him.
“Always the jokester huh Leep?”
“Me too Leep” “I’m gonna’ miss you too.”
As they all got on board the “Bare Bones Express” to leave forever, Charlie turned and said, “Leep, That problem you had is gone now, so don’t worry, ok?”
I smiled sadly and said, “Sure Charlie, sure.”
“I mean it Leep, you’re a good man, a very good man and you deserve better and we’re gonna’ see that you get it.”
“Remember when you were little and believed in magic.”
“I remember, Charlie, It’s a little vague, but I think I remember.”
“After tonight, you will believe again.”
Frank stopped at the steps and looked back and said, “Leep”, you remember the man with no brain?”
With a shudder I said, “How could I ever forget him Frank?”
“Because of what you’ve done for us Leep, after tonight you will.”
“Oh, and Leep, Tommy said as he leaned out the window, After we get where we’re going we’ll get in touch with you to let you know we’re ok,… ok?”
He said this with tears of his own running down the hard planes of what had once been his own face.
“But, where are you guys going, what is gonna’ happen to you guys?.”
I said this with tears, real tears streaming down my face.
“Ah Leep, we’re gonna’ be just fine and we have to do what we were created to do- go hang in someone’s closet, a reminder to all that we all must strive to do better and be better, as a people, as a nation, as a country and as a world.”
“Wow Frank, that is good, really good.”
Frank smiled and said, “In my old life I was an aspiring writer, just like you Leep.”
“Don’t ever let anyone let or make you stop caring and trying to help, cause’ that’s what you are best at and the world needs more just like you.”
The train whistle blew long and mournfully and as I stood there helpless and saddened, Frank leaned out his window and said, “Go home now Leep, Go home.
“But where will you be, where are you guys going.”
Charlie said,” we already have a new gig lined up Leep”
“Yeah, where guys?”
“Well. lets just put it this way Leep, If the Man with no Brain was here we’d say, watch the papers sonny, cause we’re coming soon to a closet near you.” With the words, “By Leep” trailing behind the train as it pulled out of the station, I noticed that the lights were growing as dim around me as the ones streaming behind the engine.
Then, all was darkness,… quiet again.
The station was as deserted… as it had always been.
I turned slowly and sadly towards home.
“Home I thought bitterly, what a Joke.” “At least the man with no brain will have some company.”
But then I remembered what Tommy said, the youngest.
“Leep, first you have to take responsibility for what you have done in this life, then and only then will we and can we leave.”
“I have an idea we will be in our new place for a long time.”
Arc lights sent a dim glow before me, my shadow seeming to mock my every move, my every step.
As I neared the house, I saw lights on in the living room. I could have sworn I turned them out when we left, so no one would see the unlikely progression that I headed.
Warily I entered the foyer and turned into the hall leading to the living room. As I stepped into the room I saw the most amazing sight.
Was this an apparition, a macabre joke?
It was my dear wife, on the couch, reading.
“Honey, what’s wrong, where have you been, Oh more bad dreams?” I have been praying that you would get over this, whatever it is that’s troubling you.”
I walked slowly towards her. “Are you real, honey, is it really you?”
“Yes it’s me you big dummy, now come here and give me a kiss and let’s go to bed, I’ve missed you.”
As we walked slowly into the bedroom, hand in hand, I realized just how lucky I was. I knew now what Frankie, and Tommy and Charlie meant when they said I would believe in magic again.
As we passed by the closet, my wife said. “Honey, I noticed three of those old suits you insisted hanging onto are gone, did you give then away?”
“Yes I did Baby.”
“Hmm, about time you got rid of them.” “Whoever did you give them to?”
“Just some old friends honey, just some old friends.”
“Let’s go to bed now sweetheart, I think I can sleep now.”
With a wise and loving look she said, “I think everything’s going to be alright now, I really do.”
I heard these last comments only dimly as I dropped of into a deep, dreamless sleep.
(But, this was not the end of it and I suppose somewhere deep inside me, I knew that…)