Saving Face

Copyright 2009 by Carl Garrett

Walter Boggins came home from work with the notion that his face didn't fit right. All through Rodney's leathery chuck roast, his face felt too loose and then it felt too tight. It seemed to ripple in new ways as he tried to watch his favorite sitcom. It felt wrong as he scrubbed it before bed; even his beard stubble seemed to scratch him in a different direction than usual. He finally gave up on it. With the straight razor he kept handy for just such a necessity, he deftly drew the blade in a perfect line around his face, then tore it off and tossed it in the trash with a practiced hand. He'd be needing a new one, he thought with a sigh, and followed the clinking of Rodney's chain to give the boy the bad news.


To Set the Record Straight

Copyright 2009 by Carl Garrett

"I'm not a violent person," he said. "It was that dog, that damn dog of hers. The way he'd sit and just stare at me, like he expected me to kick him or something. I never kicked him. I never did anything, okay? Or the way he'd start whining and pawing at me when I was trying to watch tv- you know what I mean? Annoying. I'm not a violent person. I'm not. It just gets to you after a while. So one night I got pissed off at it and I just was out of there, you know, and it jumped on me. Freaking dog jumped on me, like it was going to hold me down, keep me there. I lost it, alright? I know. I lost it. I knocked it down. I kicked it. And I busted it up and it died. I know. Are you really going to give me all this trouble 'cause of some damn dog?"

"Your late girlfriend," came the official reply, "Never owned a dog."


Pure Science

Copyright 2009 by Carl Garrett

Bernstein, absorbed in the action on the monitor, was only dimly aware of the screaming. He continued. "So, you see the nature of the experiment, Mrs. Peters. Now that the room has been set ablaze, an African-American gentleman has been presented to lead your daughter to safety. However, you have taught her from an early age to hate and fear non-whites. We will now determine if her innate survival instinct is strong enough to overcome her racist socialization."

And when Mrs. Peters' shrieks morphed into howls of horror and despair, Bernstein only remarked, "Impressive, Mrs. Peters. You taught her well."


One Bad Morning

Copyright 2009 by Carl Garrett

Summer Blair clawed her way out of a wet-blanket sleep. What was wrong? It couldn't be the way she'd outed Freaky Kate in the cafeteria yesterday about her crush on Chaz Foreman. That had made the whole room laugh til they cried, made Freaky Kate cry til she laughed. Then Freaky Kate had giggled, "I'll be busy, anyway. I'll be busy, anyway," to no one in particular, before stumbling back to special ed. Chaz will call me, or he'll text me, Summer thought. After yesterday, he will. But amid the happy buzz of her smartphone she thought, Why does my face itch? A supple, perfectly-manicured hand rose to touch what was now a monstrous wreck of a face, crudely-stitched sutures dancing in obscene patterns as the last of the ether wore off.

Freaky Kate, she realized, had been very busy.


Final Session

Copyright 2009 By Carl Garrett

The scream gradually dried up on his lips. He pried open his eyes, felt salt-sticky wetness on his face (had he been crying?). He realized he'd been under hypnosis a lot longer than usual. "Was it a bad one?" He asked.

Judging by the blood, the horror frozen into his psychiatrist's face, he guessed that it had been.