Tuesday, June 07, 2005


The phone rang. Brandon lay stretched out on his bed. His entire body was swollen. His skin was flushed, bright red. He was so uncomfortably hot that he lay naked on top of the sheets.

The phone rang. It had been a week since he had been to the doctor, two weeks since his first visit. After a week of still pissing blood, he had gone back to get a different perscription. This one wasn't working either.

The phone rang. He did not have a urinary tract infection. He didn't know what he had, but he knew that something much worse was wrong with his body. He woke up every morning with blood stains on his pillow. And a few days ago he had started to shit blood. Just blood. He hadn't been eating much; he didn't have the energy. His muscles ached. His joints were stiff. His whole body was puffy and burning. Even his penis was erect and swollen, even though sex was the furthest thing from his mind. His head throbbed.

The phone rang. He had had a headache for a week and a half. His head pounded. Brandon felt like his brain was going to crack through his skull and leak out onto his bed. Every miniscule movement he made, every tilt of the head, made him feel like his head was being bludgeoned, and tears would well up in his eyes. He wished the pounding would stop, or that he would die.

The phone rang. The answering machine picked it up. A voice flooded into his apartment.

"Hey, Brandon, Bran-done! It's Tom. Where ya been, man? You've missed almost two weeks of work. Everybody's asking about you. Are you still down and out with that UTI bullshit? C'mon, man, who are you trying to fool? Anyway, the boss said that he's been trying to get ahold of you, but you haven't been returning his calls. You need to call him back, man. I think he's getting pissed." With much effort, Brandon lifted himself up and sat at the edge of his bed. He panted and moaned. A sledgehammer firmly tapped his head like a metronome.

"You missed a hell of a time at the bars last weekend! We saw Kelly out at Swashbucklers. She was looking as skanky as ever. Oh, and Lindsey, Lindsey from Payroll, she was out that night, too. I hope you don't mind, but I gave her your address. I think she's going to send you flowers or some shit. Man, as soon as you are feeling even a little bit better, I would not hesitate to call her up and tap that shit! She wants your rod, man. Anyway, call me sometime and let me know what's going on. See ya."

Brandon slowly made his way to the bathroom. Every step was a train wreck in his head. He stepped through the doorway and looked at himself in the mirror. His eyes were bloodshot. They were almost completely red. And tears of blood trickled down his rosy cheeks.

Brandon looked at his face. The pain had to stop. It was puffy and red, as if the blood was just sloshing beneath the surface, searching for a leak to spring forth from. The pain had to stop. Brandon wanted to let it out. The pain had to stop. He opened the medicine cabinet and searched for something sharp. The pain had to stop. His eyes fell on a small pair of cuticle scissors.

The pain had to stop. It had to stop. It had to stop. It had to. It had to stop. The pain had to stop. The pain would not stop.

With all the skill of a drunken surgeon, Brandon plunged the scissors into his temple. He screamed and closed his eyes. He forced the scissors shut, making a half-inch incision in the skin. Brandon dropped the scissors and fell to his knees. He screamed again, and vomited. Blood.

Blood flooded down the side of his head. It came in waves matching his heartbeat and coated his right shoulder.

The pain that was in his head, the pain that was his head did not go away.

Brandon picked up the blood-covered scissors and made a mirror-image incision, accompanied by more screams. He wearily stood up. In the mirror it looked like he was wearing a vest of blood. He calmly stood gazing at himself, at his wounds. The cuts on either side of his head bubbled like geysers with every beat of his heart. They showed no signs of stopping. As he looked, he noticed that his face was becoming less swollen.

Maybe I just have too much blood. His grip on the scissors tightened.

Screaming, he cut himself down each wrist and watched the blood spring out in small, unicolor rainbows. Screaming, he watched the blood spread down his legs and run between his toes. Soon his screaming turned into a sickening, pain-wracked laughter.

Suddenly he noticed that the pain in his head was gone. He looked in the mirror and blinked. There was nothing. His mind was empty. His head was numb. He smiled. And then he wretched at the sight of himself, covered almost completely in his own blood. He looked like something from a horror movie. He threw up in the sink. Blood.

Brandon looked around his bathroom. Almost every inch of his white tile floor was now red. How can one person bleed this much? His wounds showed no sign of stopping. Brandon felt the numbness in his head turn into a faintness. He finally began to panic.

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