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Them With the Bad Hair
by Ptim Callan


Them with the bad hair, what them with the hair what kills. Them and their hair, it spreads to other people like a rot or like a sickness and the roots what burrow like a crop into the skull into the brainy head stuff. That hair, it’s what caused the problems, the madness, the rabid folk with the strange locks.

The inspector, he sez it’s a government experiment. He sez it’s a special nerve gas what makes crazy folk from uncrazy folk. He sez they all screwed up their hair that funny way cause of the nerve gas, or maybe the gas has that effect on human hair. I sez it’s the hair what’s the culprit, what with me the only nonvictim in the entire town and also the only completely bald man.

“Cue Ball,” sez I, Cue Ball what they call me what with not a hair on my body and no pigment to boot, “Cue Ball, you’re sure lucky you’re such a goddamn freak. Freak.”

And then I reply, “I am not a freak. I’m a hairless albino with a series of learning impediments. What I am not is a freak, fucker.” And oftentimes I fall to the ground biting and scratching until I’m too tired to fight no more. One time, one time the inspector he witnessed, let’s say he saw this exchange between me and me, and he was shall we say he was interested in the whole thing. Fortunately the bad hair it got to him and snapped his neck like a pencil.

“It ain’t bad hair, Elias,” the inspector tells me. He tells me, “It ain’t bad hair Elias, it’s nerve gas. It’s nerve gas what twisted my head around backwards. Super powerful nerve gas that can blast a man’s neck clean apart.”

I buried him out behind that billboard on Old Creek Road, the one with the smokes on the front, but that didn’t shut him up. He talks to me more now, used to be he had to sleep and eat and shave and defecate and conduct an investigation and all the other things what took time out of a man’s day, but now all the inspector has to do is talk at me.

We mostly play pinball and argue about what killed all them people. There are doctors what talk to me, but the inspector can just drown them out if’n he’s in the mood. The inspector still sez nerve gas, and I sez evil hair, but we can’t go back to check the documentary evidence, so we’ll never resolve it to everyone’s satisfaction. Still I think the inspector’s lost on this one. But I’m just a simple farm hand, what do I know?



About the Author

My writing has appeared or been accepted for publication in ZYZZYVA, Poetry Midwest, and others. I have written and produced films that have been screened at The Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films, San Francisco Independent Film Festival, and other festivals. I’ve been writing fiction since I was a teenager and took my English degree from UCLA, where I was fortunate enough to study creative writing under Robert Coover, Carolyn See, and John Barth. More information and wok can be found at www.ptim.org.