Monday, August 17, 2009

HOWLING BEARD (a bizarro love story)

(This story is dedicated to all those who are brave enough to wear a beard, real or otherwise.)

Despite having had a drink thrown in my face, I didn’t want to go home.

She’d already told me to go screw myself. Throwing the vodka tonic in my face was probably just a symbolic period at the end of that sentence. So even though she had started to ignore me, I stood my ground.

And my beard continued to grow.

The bar was alive with all of the activity that a college town can bring. A never-ending cacophony of annoying and pointless conversation created a din that pounded my eardrums. I took a sip of my Red Bull and vodka while enjoying the sprouting hairs that popped up through my face.

She got up from the table and started chatting it up with a frat boy who was at the bar chugging a beer. Oh well, I thought. Better him than me. I was far too proud to leave the bar even with her drink still dripping down my face, wetting the newborn beard hairs that slowly forced their way up out of my pores.

The frat boy at the bar also had a beard. I stared at it, concentrating on the shape, on the rough color that highlighted his jaw. A forceful jolt of adrenaline surged through my body. The growth of my beard got more intense. My hairs twitched like spider legs.

I kept my eyes glued to the guy’s face. His was the tenth beard I had seen that night and it was taking its toll on me. Being the self-confident guy I am, I wanted to wait it out and hope I didn’t make a scene like last time. Still, a huge part of me wanted to tear that beard from his face in a frenzy of gore and spittle.

As I watched the frat boy make the moves on my wife, I felt the spider legs push themselves out of my chin. More hairs sprouted out from under my ears and then my neck. Before I could take another sip of my drink, my entire chest was covered in sharp, black hairs that matched the beard that was growing on my face. I put my hand up in front of my eyes in order to block the sight of the frat boy’s beard but I knew it was too late.

I fell to the floor, my skin entirely covered in wolfish hair. With a quick jump, I made my way to the bathroom. Luckily everyone around me was substantially drunk and didn’t notice my appearance. I slammed myself into the handicapped stall of the bathroom.

What could I do? It was happening again and there I was, trapped in a filthy public restroom. I’d been here before, though. It was familiar. Shit and urine stains thrown around the floor and walls in some bodily attempt at modern art. I think I even saw some fresh semen stains.

I crossed my legs and stared out the window. Moonlight oozed in like wet hair. It struck my face and my beard hairs immediately responded by waving frantically like a cornfield caught in a tornado.

My body was in full-beard mode. Five inch fangs of green steel protruded from my gums. I trembled with anticipation, thinking ahead to the orgy of psycho-violence I would unleash once I left the bathroom. Frat boys would be slaughtered, their entrails strewn about the pool tables. The desperate young women that came to get laid by some drunken macho douche-bags would indeed get penetrated but only by my hairy fists as I opened and explored new orifices.
I was a monster. I knew that. I accepted it.

With my face in the toilet, I vomited out foot long strands of black hair along with the corn chowder I had for dinner. The toilet water became a shimmering swamp of apocalyptic goo. I looked closer and was entertained by the strands of hair that twisted themselves into marionettes. Three of them stood up and began acting out slapstick scene that seemed straight out of a silent movie. I moved my face closer and smelt the stench of corn and shampoo.

It scared me.

Though I desired violence, deep in my heart I didn’t really want to hurt those people out there. It seemed inevitable, though. The marionettes were putting on a show and that always meant one thing: there was going to be a shitload of bloodshed.

One of them looked up at me and motioned for me to get closer so I did. I put my ear real close and heard a whisper. It barely sounded human but I got the gist of it. They wanted me to go out there. They wanted me to preach the Gospel of the Beard.

The bathroom got brighter as more moonlight fell in through the windows. It hurt my eyes so I bathed them in the toilet water. The marionettes caressed my beard as I blew bubbles.

My entire body was tingling from the millions of hairs that were snaking in and out of my skin, tying themselves in knots and forming an almost infinite number of obscure patterns. I took my head out of the bowl and stood up.

The marionettes waved and walked over to my legs where they jumped and were taken into the mass of hair. I felt them travel to my crotch.

A tinge of adrenalin tweaked my upper body. I was ready. Closing my eyes, I opened the stall door and walked out of the bathroom with a howl.

The bar was empty.

I had expected it to be full of potential victims. There was to be a slaughter that would soak my full-body beard in alcohol-drenched gore. I would have ripped them to shreds simply because that’s what I knew I had to. But instead, the bar was empty.

Empty, that is, except for my wife.

She, too, was bearded. But unlike me, she was the one covered in blood and chunks of muscle tissue. Surrounding her was a jigsaw puzzle of coed body parts.

I slowly walked closer to her expecting the worst. Instead, my wife simply opened her mouth up wide. Her long blue metal teeth shined even in the dull light of the bar. I took this as an invitation and leaned in close, licking the saliva off of them.

“Sorry about before,” she said. She made a face that emphasized the cute wrinkles around her eyes.

“Don’t worry about it,” I replied, putting my hand on my wife’s beard. I let the hairs prick me like so many spider legs.

Then we stepped outside and lost ourselves in the moonlight.

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