Jamie Iredell

The man with a shoe for a head told everyone to look for him in their local Athlete’s Foot. He said, you should really buy my head. He said, go hard or go to the grocery store, and, just make your way through the world, you pussy, and, if I’m not in you then you don’t have a man with a shoe for a head inside you and that’s just a sad thing. He had a wife who had a tooth for a head. If you could have heard her, she would have said things like, you wouldn’t believe all the things that get stuck between me. Their children were frogs, but not real frogs. They were the kind of frogs that look exactly like the puppet frogs on a children’s television program. How the man with a shoe for a head, or his wife with a tooth for a head, or their puppety frog kids, or you, or the me, got to be the way we are is anyone’s guess.

Beneath her hair lay more hair, the black strands cables holding up the suspension bridge that is her head. If you could peer through these fibers—and few can—you would spy yet another world living upon her scalp. Her skull is the mantle of this planet, the skin a crust, the hair an atmosphere. Under this atmosphere, running about, tiny mothers in tiny minivans, with tiny bumper stickers with the wee-est messages scrawled across them: I vote for level-headed-ness. Let’s forget the word “tiny,” now that that’s obvious. A mechanic has a tow truck. He is grease-splattered. His grease-splatteredness makes its way all across the globe. This is the man of our woman’s dreams—our woman with the thick hair. What we mean, is that this man had once shaved his goatee and when he did so he entered the woman’s dreams. He fell through her scalp-crust, fell through the thin fatty layer, fell through the parietal, into the cerebral cortex, and thus became a dream of a man with no goatee. When he emerged he was inextricably changed: he ordered a cleanup of the world of the woman’s scalp. This mechanic’s greasiness became biodiesel, the scalp area grew more atmospheric hair. The tiny—sorry—people of this tiny—sorry again—world, breathed wonderful air. The woman ended up on a television commercial where she flipped her hair through air lit by a director of photography’s lights. This woman became famous even if only for a while. Then everyone forgot about her and her thick hair. And everyone upon her scalp died and the planet went extinct. And then the woman died the way all women die: her hands were crossed over her body peacefully.

celled its way to a golf ball-sized clump of cells. Tumors and certain weather phenomena are always compared to sporting balls and fruit. Example: There’s a grapefruit-sized tumor in his colon. Our town was pummeled by softball-sized hail. Why are not tumors and hail tumor and hail-sized? The doctors and meteorologists wander their offices tapping pencils to their temples and eyeing through stacks of Sports Illustrated, their walls wallpapered with fruited still lifes. This particular tumored man, about whom we’re discussing, possessed good teeth, bad gums. His gums smelled like dead flesh. He jogged. His heart was a very fat man’s, and he pounded it inside his chest. As many syllables as “cardio vascular disease” lined by on a sign inside his head. His tumor was a basketball under his shirt. Sex evaporated as quickly as his wife’s presence in his apartment. His body remained, tumor-attached. The body was named Larry. Outside the hail was the size of hail.

Jamie Iredell wrote Prose. Poems. a Novel. and The Book of Freaks, with the latter coming out soon from Future Tense Books.

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