Warm towels a-comin’.
Simon awoke one morning to discover he was a homosexual. It couldn’t have come at a more inconvenient time. He said the word to himself in the mirror: hoe-moe-sex-you-all. What did it mean? It meant he preferred penis to pudendum. What else? Nothing else.
Problem: He had taken a part-time post at Nuts Magazine writing gratuitous sleaze for builders and bozos. How could he poeticise the female form with conviction? Answer: The readership were illiterate and he could fake his way through using the words pwoar and tittifarious.
That problem was solved. What was more distressing was the man dressed as a four-bedroom Georgian terraced cottage rapping on his door. What did he want at this time of the morning? He was a double-glazing salesman! Skilled at the job thanks to his fifteen double-glazed windows – real-time examples of the power of padded glass.
“I trust you’ll be wanting safety and protection for your family?” he asked. Christ he was smug! All Simon wanted was a shave, a slice of toast and penetrative anal sex with a Russian builder.
“Oh, so I suppose you want your family to get raped and killed to death?”
“Choose from a range of panes! Look at our catalogue!”
“But they’re all the same!”
“Yes. You’d better get in there QUICK!”
The man was a nuisance, plus he was blocking out the sunlight with his four-bedroom Georgian terraced cottage outfit. So Simon bought the glass, even though he had bought triple-glazing from a Viennese pied-à-terre a month ago, quadruple-glazing from a Romanian bordello two months ago, and a subscription to Glazed Windows Monthly from a priest wearing a Moroccan village on his head seven hours ago.
Simon logged onto the interknot and checked the BNP-4-Baldies Forum. Four people had replied to his post on rounding up headlice and getting them into decent schools, including a man ranting on his hatred of bloody foreign headlice, coming to Britain and stealing British scalp-space! Simon was late for work, so dashed out the door without commenting.
Towels. The impending swarm of towels.
During the commute (he hovered to work on his discarded sense of gallantry) he collided with a man dressed as a Victorian mansion with adjoining swimming pool and tennis court.
“Oh, so sorry!” Simon said. The man had a stunning bathroom. And look at that kitchen! Such craftsmanship!
“No problem. Where you from?”
“Say, what do you make of this immigrant headlice invasion? Don’t our children have the right to British lice?”
“Yes. I love you.”
The laws of socially acceptable conversation had never bothered Simon before and the man dressed as a Victorian mansion with adjoining swimming pool and tennis court found this candour arousing. He invited Simon inside and directed him towards his penis (it was hidden behind the immersion heater in the fourth bedroom – not exactly conducive to a trouble-free homosexual intercourse debut!) Ouch, hiss, spuuuuurt!
After this disappointing exchange, Simon arrived late for work. His role at the Headlice Distribution Centre was to make sure each British headlouse was in work and to reduce the queues of headlice at the dole scalps. Since immigrant headlice had been granted the right to work, thousands of infirm or inexperienced headlice had been laid off and replaced with skilled workers from abroad, willing to work for a reduced salary.
Simon found this unfair – after all, British headlice were renowned for their ability to nibble through dried skin and burrow into the scalp until it bled – but immigrants had the right to work too.
He didn’t know. It was a complex moral cake. He was more preoccupied with seeing the handsome Victorian mansion again. Although the sex was weak (the mansion ejaculated soot of all things!), he felt secure with his thighs wrapped around that immersion heater. The snugness of warm fibreglass insulation upon his prickling skin, the gentle hum as the heat spread from his headlice to his pubic nits. It was quite close to bliss.
THE TOWELS ARE HERE!
Citizens of the UK had been instructed to ignore the subliminal Towel Propaganda being broadcast on QVC over the last two months. However, it was trickier to ignore the propaganda when five Nylon Bathtowels, hovering in from the North Sea, were smothering the country in a warm shroud of soft fibres. Tall buildings prevented the towels from suffocating people, and sun blockage was solved by burning a hole through the fabric with laser thingies:
The invasion put things in perspective for Simon: his arms, his nipples, his toenails – these were the things that mattered the most. Likewise, his latest fling with the Victorian mansion with adjoining swimming pool and tennis court. Surely, this was more important than the UK being coated in a series of snug Nylon Bathtowels, or the subsequent state of perpetual darkness visited upon the landscape? Of course it was! He went home.
Unfortunately, as he dashed for the door, five homeless Czech headlice invaded his scalp and began feasting on his dandruff. These Czech lice really knew how to monopolise a scalp, and Simon was itching non-stop on the hoverway. The man opposite him giggled twice (though this amusement might have been caused by the Moroccan stand-up comedy tape he was listening to – though that was hardly likely!) The lice leapt from his scalp and onto his legs.
“(we demand attention and respect),” they chorused.
“What? Sorry, could you speak up, please?”
“(of course we can’t, we’re lice).”
“Oh, look… use this microphone,” Simon said, retrieving the lucky microphone he kept in his pants in case someone wanted to interview his penis (well, stranger things had happened.)
“WE DEMAND RESPECT!”
“That’s too loud. About my level.”
“Sorry. How’s this?”
“Perfect. You were saying?”
“Yes, we erm… demand respect. Erm… you’ve stolen our momentum somewhat. Well, the point is – we’re from the Czech Republic and yes – we speak perfect English! Could you speak perfect Czech if you went to live in the Czech Republic, hmm?”
“Listen, Englishman – we want to live on your scalp. We’ve prepared a diagram mapping out the areas we demand on your head. If you reach into my pocket, you’ll find it. Be careful not to kill me.”
Simon micro-tweezed the diagram from the Czech headlouse and used his eyes to view it:
“It’s very comprehensive,” Simon remarked. The lice were unamused (as most lice often are).
“Englishman, I would save the frivolities for your fellow humans. We are short on time here, you understand, and are lacking vital nourishment after weeks spent living on the over-infested favela scalps of Czech dissidents.”
“Hmm… are you going to be a nuisance? ‘Cause I’ve started seeing this really great Victorian mansion with adjoining swimming pool and tennis court and I don’t want to blow things with him. Just keep a low profile, OK?”
“We will go about our business as lice in the professional manner to which we are accustomed.”
“Oh, fine! Christ, you try compromising with these lice but they’re so snooty.”
“We heard that!”
That evening Simon invited the Victorian mansion over for a boiler check (slang for penetrative homosexual intercourse!) As he rutted with the mansion’s (or Trevor’s) boiler, this feeling of closeness was confirmed, although Trevor felt distant from his lover – after all, his arms were at opposite sides of the house, and he wanted to hold Simon!
A suggestion was posited by the lice that Trevor remove his Victorian mansion suit, but this was implausible, as removal of the suit required a complex medical procedure, and Trevor wasn’t prepared to sacrifice his career for Simon quite yet.
In the attic, a blizzard of woodlice had arrived from Naples (of the migrating Neapolitan cabinet-munching genus Fanoplura) to nibble through the antique show furniture up there. During their intercourse, Trevor’s left elbow had nudged open the attic door and let the lice loose throughout the rest of the house. This meant Simon’s scalp was crawling with the overproductive buggers when he left Trevor’s penis for the night (that beauteous rod!)
The Czech lice had constructed a laser thingie atop his scalp and began blasting the invading lice from his paltry hairs. This was unfortunate for Simon, as the laser was quite powerful, and blew bits of his scalp off along with the lice – exposing his brain inside. Seizing the moment, the Czech lice crawled into Simon’s brain and began reprogramming his mind:
||Concerned With the Survival of Czech Lice Only
||To Prolong the Lives of Czech Lice
||Restricted to the Wellbeing of Czech Lice
What a horrible damper this put on Simon’s relationship! Being reduced to a servile drone operated by a Czech louse only interested in the wellbeing of his fellow lice confréres was not the ideal Thursday night for Simon. Luckily (though also unluckily), having parts of his head blown off meant Simon died within a matter of hours. The Czech lice were evicted from their home, and Trevor was evicted from his sexdog.
Trevor had never experienced a lover dying inside him before, and felt somewhat Byronic – a tragic hero from a Romantic ode-to-doom. It wasn’t too upsetting for him, as Simon had basically been an anonymous fellator, and he’d had plenty of those in his time. If his head weren’t confined to the chimney, Trevor might have stood a better chance in relationships. C’est la vie!
The lice left the mansion and joined the diaspora. Every headlouse in the country was heading for the Nylon Bathtowels and feeding off the fibres. Gradually, the towels would wear away, clearing the sky again for the citizens of the glorious UK nation, and thus freeing up British scalps for British headlice. However, no British louse wanted to live on a scalp anymore – the towels were much cosier. Soft, nutritious, a great community, and they got to lord it over the humans!
As the weeks rolled on (as weeks are inclined to do) Trevor had to vacate himself due to subsidence. He was back in his normal (and less spectacular) body, selling samosas door-to-door. He attended Simon’s funeral, but only to sneak a peak at the corpse, which never happened, since the head had been nibbled away by the lice, and Simon’s parents weren’t overly generous on letting folks having a peep at the mess. (There was substantial demand for it – over fifty people requested to see Simon’s nibbled pate!)
Luckily, the pallbearers dropped the casket en route to the graveyard, exposing the mushed brain area to the entire congregation. Trevor wished he hadn’t seen it. The mushy red rigor-mortis bulge atop the forehead, with that left eye lolling from its socket, was not a desirable sight for a Thursday morning. No sir-ee. That was most bilious!
He left the church nauseous, skipped the burial, and went off to purchase a semi-skimmed chocolate milk drink. The burble of disgust settled like an agoraphobic wasp in his gut: buzz-blurgh, buzz-bluuuuurgh!
M.J. NICHOLLS is a callow manboy clacking out experimental, sometimes amusing, but otherwise awkward fiction in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is currently undergoing creative irrigation. His works have been published in Gold Dust Magazine, the Delinquent (UK) and Piker Press and New Paradigm (US).