Human Head Flower
When someone puts a loaded gun in their mouth and pulls the trigger, the human head opens up like a flower. This flower formation can happen from GSWs to knee-caps and even the groin area, but nothing compares to the head. It’s utterly horrifying to see, but maybe by the time you’re done reading this, you’ll see just how beautifully poetic it can be.
The only reason I know all of this is because I am so privileged to once have had an almost promising career in the medical field, and I was going to eventually specialize in Forensic Pathology after becoming a general surgeon. Fourteen years of schooling sounded like a fucking dream to the nerd I’ve always been. I was the youngest-ever candidate chosen for an exclusive summer program at University Medical when I saw my first and only self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. And just like myself, this person applied and was approved for Full Body Donation—so I was free to do hands-on study of his remains (thank you for your service, Sir).
The first requirements you need for that line of work is a strong stomach and an eager love for the science. However, to keep you there requires a genuine desire to help others. I am an advocate at heart, and the crux of what a pathologist does is give a voice to the voiceless. I’ve always been determined to leave this world in better shape than it was given to me, and this was my way of helping people. Studying those precious former lives under the most phenomenal doctors was by far the best professional experience of my life.
So, of the dozens of autopsies I have taken part in (both in person and through video/photo lecture), one of them, sadly, was this suicide I mentioned. He was a middle-aged male and the cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot into the mouth. It’s not the only suicide I worked on, but definitely the most visually memorable. The pressure a gunshot creates inside this air-tight, fluid-filled compression chamber we carry on our necks forces a human head to open up like the fully-bloomed petals of a lily. Any remaining teeth become forged with pieces of skull and brain because the force and heat of the explosion literally turns any hard matter into the shrapnel of a pressure cooker bomb. Ever observant as I was, they allowed me to remove a tooth I identified that was lodged into one of the petals of the human head flower.
Unfortunately, I never even made it to medical school because life threw too many punches at me at that time [*ba-dum-tee* formerly-abused humor anyone? Eh? Ehh?]. Just joking! I’ve always said, “If I couldn’t laugh at my life, I would’ve fucking killed myself a long ass time ago.” But aside from comedy saving my soul countless times, that suicide case is seared into my amygdala—from the sorrow and duty I felt toward this man and his family, down to the smell of his chewing tobacco still stuck to portions of his gums. Clearly enough to give anyone reservations about that second of bravery it takes to just fucking do it.
This was the case which also piqued my interest in the funeral business. Any Funeral Director/Embalming Specialist who can put that train wreck back together to resemble anything of the man his family and friends love so dearly, oof... to me, that is art of the highest caliber. Only the most skilled specialists in the world can pull that off well. Most families will opt for a closed casket in these cases, and you don’t get a “body funeral” if you’re signed up for Full Body Donation—but I wanted to be the one-of-a-kind talent who not only performed autopsies to the utmost perfection, but could give families their beloved back, looking beautiful, one last time.
Death wasn’t just my calling to help the world… Death was my life’s passion. I might still have a chance at the funeral business someday—that is, if it’s not me who ends up on that cold, stainless steel examination table first. Death has reappeared in my life, in a bad way, and that fucker is lurking ever closer, each day.
The majority of my physical and emotional scars belong to a single bad man who I will soon introduce y’all to in my darkest tale of woe. This man is solely responsible for the loss of my ability to continue my education and accomplish these dreams I once had. I had to plan nonstop for my escape because he was so cunning. And one day, the plan finally fell perfectly into place because he’d given himself a little too much heroin. He was completely zonked out and nodding off so heavily that I simply walked right out the front door. I told him I was off to send a gift to his mom, which he easily took me up on since he’d forgotten her birthday. He let go of my shirt and I slipped away. I escaped nearly 20 years ago, and to this day, he still finds ways to contact me online.
As long as this bad man stays away, I wish him no harm. But the videos he’s been sending me lately are what struck my desire to start writing again. Not only do I need to finally heal this pain once and for all, but I need to document what he did to me (just in case):
1) My beautiful body, gone.
2) My beautiful mind, gone.
3) My beautiful career, gone.
4) My beautiful life, FUCKING GONE.
This bad man has delusions that I will always be his property. I truly feel sorry for him, but I can never forget what he stole from me. How could I? His torture is all over my naked body every time I look in the mirror. The stalking and obsession seems to be growing, and because he was so smart, I can never call the cops on him again (long story).
So, my only choice was to finally agree to have a gun in our home full-time (specifically, when Mister is gone). Thanks to the Traumatic Brain Injury from this bad man, I’ve been a nervous, stuttering klutz ever since—so not only did it kill my once surgeon-steady hands and ballerina grace, naturally, I was always scared to be responsible for my own gun. However, I have too many lives depending on me now. She’s no Colt .45 with a pearl grip, but she’s definitely a stealthy bitch that’s more than willing to do the job. Her name is “Kiddo,” named after Uma Thurman from the Kill Bill films. Pretty fitting, don’t you think? Well, I’m proud of it—proud of my Kiddo ;)
If he ever finds me again, the play-by-play of what would happen is now also seared into my amygdala—from the fear I feel just imagining seeing him again, down to the smell of his black leather combat boots and body odor. I’ll know he’s here, and the memories will all come flooding back:
It took almost 1 decade to escape him for good. It took 2 decades to have the courage just to write about him. It took 3 decades to meet the first kind gentleman in my entire life. It took almost 4 decades from the day I was born to find self-love. He is NOT taking a single thing away from me again.
But this massive man with his roaring voice will surely be black-eyed and screaming at me. I need to remember what matters. I can’t get distracted or crumble into pieces. I need to remember what Mister taught me:
1) Just breathe and focus on your target, not the gun.
2) Keep your arms strong and grip tightly.
3) Squeeze the trigger, don’t pull it.
4) Keep your eyes open, and never shoot to injure (only you can finish it).
If he tries to attack me or step foot into my home, it’s either him… or him. Turns out, I can still contribute to the morgue of my dreams, because Kiddo and I have unfinished business…
1) Heart: for stealing my life’s passion.
2) Lungs: for every time I couldn’t breathe.
3) Dick: for every time he forced me to my knees, screaming.
And just like the first time I escaped his captivity, the last words he ever heard from my beautiful voice, that I still have:
“Shhh it’s okay… go back to sleep…
I’m just going to send your mom some flowers…”
4) MOUTH: for my condolences.
Human Head Flower
A “Those Damn Enigmas” Production
Based on true events, but no one was harmed writing this story.
Slipping easily off the deck railing you grasped my wrist and even in the dark I could see you were dead serious. You said you were tired of playing fxking spin~the~bottle. And you spat as if to add, "in this Life," placing a small semi-automatic in the middle of the glass table of our little patio. I'm dumb about guns and you proceeded to fill me in: "Glock 21 .45 ACP ...thirteen rounds."
"...How many bullets does it have?" I hazard beyond the technical details.
"I don't know this game," I whisper into your ear, suddenly fully present in the moment, aware of your firm hand, the air compressing within me, pressure elevating with each breath of yours upon my neck while you sigh, "It's simple," as if to say self-explanatory.
The unsettled and uncharacteristically ornate, mother-of-pearlized-handle of the thing under the umbrella nods and grins in the breeze like a shock of white teeth caught in flash the sweaty paparazzi streetlights. A fine model. I draw my eyes back up to you...
"..if there were two bullets you think we'd know how this would end..." my voice trails off into the cul-de-sac.
I know it's my turn, because you are already host of this cabaret. So how will it go down? Philosophically. Stoically. A literary ending? is that what you see for us... we couldn't make it work in life, so we'll make up for it in poetic Death?
"Yup," you let go of my wrist abruptly and gesture gallantly at the thing in question, twisting your fingers a little like I don't already get the idea... and I'm wracking my imagination for what next..?!
"And if it points to you, you shoot? or I shoot you?" I wonder out loud.
"You're the Spinner," you say with a puff of condensation escaping into the air. The sinner I correct myself...
".o.k," if you insist, I confess now I'm curious as to the probability versus the randomness.
For a moment, I wish we had a dog. God. The barrel would aim at the muzzle, and you would call the whole thing a bluff. But it's just us. No softness between brethren. Not even a fog to dress our grievances in the wilderness.
You've gotten under my skin and stoop to spin the sh*t; aggravated it slips into the hole by the pole and slides across the funnel shaped anchoring pedestal landing neutral at your feet like a loyal mutt begging.
"My turn," you say replacing it craftily on the far edge closest to yourself.
Pearls are the result of irritation. Ask any oyster. Or the host of any guest who's outlasted his welcome.
And I'm irritated.
The irony is that I use this concentric-layered aragonite and calcite to sequester my irritation. It just happens to be on the end of a pistol. It's to settle my discontent that began small as a grain. That milky white irony is now firmly within my grasp: solid, purposeful, 45-calibred, and well-aimed. It is an iron-clad clasp that is clammy and sweaty. I won't wait a day longer, lest it become rusty.
Colt Manufacturing Company and Smith & Wesson solve problems. They remedy discontent. I bought stock in them before I bought this useful tool lock, stock, and barrel. It's the only thing that memorializes me in this alleged crime, committed--allegedly--by the alleged shooter who is me. Allegedly.
People with imagination, however, will ask, "Who killed whom?"
And what will finally solve my problem is that I must turn this pearly executioner on myself as well as you. Because the whole drama--the discontent, the irritation, the pain, the cruelty that ruins what's left of my life--is a package deal of you and me. There's no villain and there's no victim. You and I are way past that. How would one draw the line between us? This is our final dance macabre together. Does it matter whether it's here or at the end of a rope? What does matter in any dance is who leads.
I have clammed up tight, but the irritation has continued within--until I find I must open, explosively, to discharge that irritation. It's just part of the pearl-making ecosystem, don't you think?
You want to live? So do I! But there's no living with you. We're gonna go together. I've tried to understand your motivations and your reasons. I found them irritating, so I suppose I'm just a terrible host; and you've outstayed your welcome.
So, before all is done, we're both gonna be dead. Two birds with one stone, eh?
Me and my terminal disease. I hope you find it funny, but I've left explicit instructions that my tombstone read,
YOU SHOULD SEE THE OTHER GUY
Cleansed with Blood
I'd always wondered how it would feel to kill myself.
The morning sun recreated the bars of the windows on my bed, imprisoning me in a cage of shadows. I grabbed the sheets where the dark lines fell, seeing if I could pull them apart, and off to my liberation. But I couldn't even grasp them, as if they never existed. But I knew. I knew how the cage bound me in chains-- disguised as a blanket of warmth and comfort. Disguised as a tapestry of blood and kinship.
"Morning, sweetheart." He entered my room again, dawning his pretence costume of a saviour in the streets. People looked at him like a hero, but I knew who he was beneath all the medals and the stars. I knew the creepy ogre lurking beneath his malicious sneer. I knew the grotesque fantasies hiding underneath his firm assurances. I knew. I knew.
His filthy palms were on my neck. I baulked away from his disgusting frame, his foul stench. I knew I shouldn't have-- he was about to leave, and I could have been in peace till the night fell, but no. Today was different.
Frustrated sigh-- removing the metal watch and holster from his undeserving outfit-- he stood with his back against me. The silhouette of his stocky frame enclosed within the same bars that held me-- but he stood mighty, while I, an incomprehensible heap of slender patterns. But today was different.
I stood upon my bed, my shadow growing vast behind me. The bars could only then reach my knees, but they surrounded him-- a beast prepared for the kill. I bent down, seizing the holster without his notice. Bore the cold piece of metal on my skinny arms. Turn around, sweetheart.
The sheets would have to be washed. The floors would have to be wiped. The walls would have to be painted. But the house was cleansed of its dirt more than ever-- it no longer sheltered within an aberration, one the world didn't need.
I exited the bed and onto the floor. The bars could not hold me anymore.
Blood squished under my bare feet. I walked out the front doors and onto my liberation.
I'd always wondered how it would feel to be alive.
She only reaps when it is fertile,
only takes when there is enough.
Today she is overflowing
with a white, hot anger.
If she bottled it all up,
she could burn the whole world to the ground.
If only with her stare.
Those blue, diamond eyes that want to suffocate all of the light,
that want to blacken the soil with char and sulfur.
Resurrect her past offenders and fucking b r e a k them.
With her bare hands.
Her eyes a bloodthirsty cobalt, as hard as glass, and thirsty for blood.
She wants to rip them limb from limb.
Today, is the reaping.
She will meet those murderers of her past and present life, chrome .45 in hand,
staring down that barrel of death saying the last words they'll ever hear...
"Today, you die.”
The weight of the little gun is comfortable, in the waistband of my jeans. My sweater hides it, so no one will see it until it decides to bark, and then the only one I will be looking at will never see anything, ever again.
He left me broken, bleeding, and probably thought I would never survive. He beat me bloody, used my body for his own selfish needs, then threw me into the swamp beyond the campground. My mother always warned me not to trust guys I just met, but he had money and cocaine, and I was naive and more than a little hungry for the nose-candy.
I played dead as I floated away from the little canoe. I had thought it was a very cool looking boat, when it was still on top of his van. I was so fucking dumb.
I remember I slowly turned my head just enough to grab a quick breath, doing my best not to scream at the pain that permeated my body. My face hurt bad; I didn’t know that worse pain was still waiting to happen, once the numbness wore off from my damaged nether regions. I chanced a small glimpse, and saw that he had rowed away. He obviously thought I was dead, and that the gators would take care of the evidence.
I floated there for at least 20 minutes, breathing shallowly, and on the alert for predators. I grew up in these swamps, and I knew that bleeding in the water wasn’t a wise idea. Luckily, the only critters I saw were a heron and some squirrels chattering in the trees.
That was nine months ago.
I healed, and after some minor surgery, I can even show my face in public again. The large dark sunglasses and hat are a perfect camouflage, and will allow me to get close enough to him to finish my plan.
I intend to stick this little pearl-handled beauty in his face, hoping he sees the barrel grow to enormous size, before I lean in and say “Next time you rape and kill a girl, do it right — oh wait, there will never be a next time.” I need to see him sweat just a little before I pull the trigger.
After that, who gives a fuck… I will have saved some girl from experiencing what I went through, so regardless of what comes after, it will be worth it.
© 2023 dustygrein
Catch and Release
"I miss the days when a man could have a seat in an old vinyl booth, slide across the cushion shined up with Armorall, and order a fifty-cent cup of coffee."
"So the coffee is three bucks now. So what?"
"So, now I have to go outside, at least three paces from the door, to light up. Coffee and cigarettes in an all-night diner, son. I miss that."
"It hasn't been that long ago, except for the fifty cents a cup part."
"It's been too long."
"Like this meeting."
The clink of silverware on porcelain, the sizzle of the flattop griddle in the diner's kitchen, these sounds filled the air and complimented smells of bacon and pancakes. Snatches of conversation could be heard over the movement of city life.
The two men contemplated one another. One, an old man with the sharp eyes of a hawk. The other, a younger man with the wary eyes of a rabbit about to run. The old man knew the younger one was scared, so he kept movements large, slow, and measured.
Finally, the grizzled veteran of wars fought at home and elsewhere sighed.
"Kid, I know you did it."
Instead of answering, the old man rolled his eyes. He took a long sip of his almost-too-hot coffee, added a little more creamer from the tiny metal pitcher that sat next to the salt and pepper shakers. He sipped again, nodded, and reached into the jacket of his cheap sport coat.
The rabbit flinched.
The old predator smirked, tossing a clear plastic bag on the tabletop. It was like a ziploc, but not as supple. Crinklier. It was permanently sealed with a red band at the top; any attempts to reopen it would end up with the word "evidence" broken and split apart. The next best thing to tamper proof, it was certainly tamper evident.
That last thought, fleeting as it was, made the old hawk laugh out loud.
"What's so funny?"
"You, mostly. But stray thoughts make me giggle in my advanced age, too. So. You want to run, or what?"
"Why would I do that?" He licked his lips, tensing. He glanced around at available escape routes.
"I won't chase you, kid. I don't do that."
Somehow, that made the younger man even more nervous.
"Why would I run, anyway?"
"Because you killed a man with a forty-five caliber handgun. You shot him six times. You picked up five shells. The sixth shell has a partial thumbprint on it. I found it. You didn't. Ballistics have been run on the slugs, and there's no match in our database to the barrel, but I figure, if I were to search you right now, you might just be dumb enough to have the piece tucked in your waistband. Or maybe you're smarter than that. Maybe that gun is gone. Maybe you're super smart; lots of people have forty-fives. Maybe just the barrel was tossed in a river somewhere, and you were slick enough to pick up a replacement barrel at a gun show. With cash. Out of town. Maybe even out of state. Could be all of that is true, and it's all damned clever, too, except for this troublesome little hunk of brass here. Wrapped up so pretty and nice in a plastic bag." The man's speech seemed to have worn him out, his breath was a little hollow. He coughed, sighed again, and sipped his coffee.
The rabbit was now white, but still not running.
"What is this, detective?"
The waitress reappeared as if by magic, and an omelette appeared on the table next to the cup of coffee. The old cop smiled up at the young lady, thanked her, and he proceeded to butter his toast.
"Seriously. I don't joke about food, kid."
"I guess you're a man who doesn't joke about much at all."
The detective shrugged, ate. Watched.
Tentatively, the younger man reached for the plastic bag. He held it up, looking through it at the man who had invited him to the diner.
"Pretty crazy of you to just toss this at me, if what you say is true. I could just ... take it. Maybe shoot you. Maybe just leave." With that, the kid flashes a chrome 1911, complete with what looked like pearl handles.
The cop's response was to scoop up a mouthful of fluffy, deliciously cheesy breakfast.
"I love how this place is just greasy enough, y'know?"
The rabbit cocked his head at the predator at the table. "I threaten you, and you just...eat?"
"I don't feel threatened."
The younger man couldn't help but bristle a little at the subtle insult.
"Kid, if I wanted you gone, you'd be gone. If I wanted to arrest you, we'd have done this in the dead of night when you were tucked in bed with your sweetie-sweet. Naked as the day you were born, snatched up and cuffed before you knew what day it was or where you were. Instead, I invite you to breakfast. I didn't invite you to the station. We're not in an interrogation room. We're at a diner. Jesus Christ, you're thick. Smarter than most, but still so fuckin' dense. Flashing me your nickel-plated sissy pistol like it's my first time. I'm a long way from prom night, sugartits." He stops, takes a bite, sighs. "Goddamn, we never catch the smart ones, really."
"You never caught smart ones, huh?"
"Sure. Had to kill a few more than I caught, though."
Just like that, conversation was over.
The rabbit watched the hawk eat, sip his coffee, and finally lean back in the booth.
"Old man. What is this all about? Can I just, Idunno, go?"
"Sure. You never had to stay."
"What about the shell?"
The plastic bag slid off the table and into the rabbit's pocket.
"No? What do you mean, no? You just said 'what shell'!"
"Fuck's sake, kid. Take the shell out. Wipe it down, wrap it in a napkin, toss it in the trashcan in the bathroom. Just like that, it's gone. Like it never existed. Throw away the bag somewhere else, but make sure it ends up in an actual trash can on the street. Go be good to that woman."
At this, the rabbit's eared perked. "What are you saying?"
"What I'm saying is, she's worth it. You did the right thing. Be good. Do good."
"What do you know about it? Aren't you supposed to take me in, or something?"
"My job is to catch bad guys, kid."
"Murder is bad."
"What you did was kill a man. That makes you a killer, not a murderer."
"What's the difference?"
"If you do her like the last man did, you'll know."
With that, the old man left the younger one to pay the tab, and they never saw one another again.
A Personal Farewell
And there I was suddenly,
staring at her pale, dead blue eyes.
“This is it, isn’t it?”
I asked her, but with no reply;
only a trembling in her lips.
Hysteria begins to overwhelm me –
I felt the cold, weight of that silver .45 press against my temple.
Here it comes;
she will finally be the finality of me.
Maybe this torture will cease now.
But what a fool I am! Ha!
She will never have mercy on me!
She will never pull that trigger for a coward she is!
I watch her gaze as it haunts my vision;
piercing into me as if to center that knife deep into my heart.
I see her pity for me,
so repulsively beautiful,
as it drips from her face.
“What are you waiting for?!” I screamed at her.
I hated her,
Oh, how I hated the woman who was a curse to my life!
A curse to life;
And I cannot live in a time where she wanders;
I cannot be attached to her anymore –
to her fears, to her dreams,
to her irrationality.
Her insanity is a parasite!
Oh, how she’s contagious!
Rip me from her, I plead!
And as that last droplet of sweat descends from my forehead,
tingling my skin in its warm mass,
I last her speak;
those haunting words that will imprint onto my soul -
“She is me.”
And that click of the silver marches quickly
as I fall so unforgivingly before that mirror.
When I had dared to look inside
The loaded barrels of my eyes
Safety broken in my mind
I must of lost all sense of time
Before bullets fly
I open my mouth wide
In a fight to flee the scene
Paralyzed beneath the sheets
I try to let out Muffled screams
From this awful dream
Take a breath and sigh of relief
Write in my journal
Look for the lesson
Why was I held captive
By my own reflection
I can still see both barrels
Of my eyes Inside my mind
I breath out
I stand up to turn on the light
I face the Mirror
And I say ahh...
(Unfortunately, I had to shorten this, because I ran out of time. I am still late in posting it, considering that I may not get too many likes, Thank you for reading anyway.) :)
Doc Holiday’s Daisy
Call me crazy.
A woman in a bar
Tombstone where we are
Drunk and frisky
Challenging a master
Flirting with disaster
Wanting him to break
his guns to take
Bringing them alive
His hands never slip
Like a flash of a candle
He grasps the handle
The barrels all m eyes see
His Daisy I be
Never want to be no daisy at all