• Dream of Shadows

A Hole in the Head by Harry Waveney (October 2020, Winner of the Halloween Contest)

I’ve got this hole in my head that I need like a hole in the head. Gets dirt and grit in it. Sand if I go in the sea. Maggots once but, honestly, how I got food in there for that to happen I don’t know.

I can’t even remember how I got it, that’s the worst thing. If I had some sweet anecdote for parties and potlucks, maybe it’d be worth it. But, no, I can’t remember shit. I just noticed it one day and thought, Shit.

Still, here’s the coolest anecdote I have:

Once I was searching houses over in Trefechan and, yes, I know what you’re thinking. Haven’t all those houses been searched top to bottom already? You need to go out into the boonies to find the good stuff.

That’s what you’d think, given that it’s so close to the cleanskins in Aber-

No offence. But that’s exactly the point. None of those speckless feckless cleanos want to even cross the bridge, because Trefechan is crawling with crusties.

Febrile Rhys, though – as they call me in the Ship & Castle, my local. When they let me in. I’ve got that thick skin. And I don’t just mean I’m an emotional fortress. That I am. Although, I’ll tell you, the day after I found that VHS of Marley & Me, oh boy, I blubbered like a rich kid who’d just caught the stink. But that same stink’s why I got this thick skin.

Some of the kids that catch the bug go feral, tear up the place, cause a nuisance, infect everyone and their dog (they had such a pure love) and contribute very little to rebuilding this society they helped kneecap. Others just fall apart, all brittle like. Like, I don’t know, like someone who has been infected by a brain-rotting virus that turns them into a zombie.

I’m allowed to use that word, you’re not. Actually, you’re in my light. Could you move a little to the left, please? No, my left.

Me? I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m ugly, but I’m sturdy. The crusties can’t touch me. Smoothies don’t want to touch me, but that’s their loss.

So, Febrile Rhys they call me. It’s like the PC word for it, opposite of feral for the crusties, you know?

What was I talking about?

Yeah, that’s right. This hole in my head. Well, this time a few years ago, just after the Marley & Me thing (fuck), I was up in Trefechan, trying to find more goodies to sell. You know how it goes: books, CDs, DVDs, video tapes, hard drives, those funny little glasses you put the circle pictures in. What you might not know, secrets of the industry like, is that the best goodies are the ones you can copy. You could copy a book, but, honestly, do I look like I could write out hundreds of pages by hand?

That was a joke! You’re allowed to laugh.

This is the problem with you kids, you’re too scared of offending.

Well, the easiest things to copy are the things you can pop in a computer - blang wham poomp, copy it, burn some CDs, DVDs, USBs, maybe even do a little FTP and then, whoop, see deez - nuts? Nope, don’t have those anymore – see deez mon-nay rollin’ in! That’s how your boy Rhys got to dress so fly. At least before, you know, the incident. I’ll get to that. It’s probably the question on the tip of your smooth little tongue.

Are our tongues different? I’ve never actually checked. Stick yours out… Auuuuuuh…

Ah shit, I can’t get a look at mine to compare. Is yours smoother than mine? I guess you can’t see yours either. Ha! Funny that.

Anyway, so I’m going through this house in Trefechan. First thing I do is go into the back garden, scope the place out like. This garden goes up on the hill. Pen Dinas, they used to call it. Doubt you’ve ever been there. Crawling with crusties. But for a tough cookie like me, mae fe’n dim byd. It’s nothing.

Bit of the old tongue there. I know it scares the shit out of you smoothies. The sun’s moved again. Could you shift a bit more to the side? I can’t exactly move very far, you see.

So I’m up in the garden of this house, on Pen Dinas, stopping to have a look across Aberystwyth and its environs. Beautiful from that height. I give the whole lot two middle fingers - fuck, I miss those little friends. I give it all the finger because, like, what has it ever done for me, you know what I mean?

I think, right, proper ready to search every nook and cranny in this joint and, what do you know, this smoothskinned prick - no offence, mate, I know you’re not all the same, but I say it like it is and that’s how it was: she was a fucking prick. She grabs me by the hair on the back of my head and stabs me right in the side of my head.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Rhys, that’s obviously where the hole in your head came from.

That wouldn’t be a bad guess, but no, you’re wrong. She stabbed me right in the hole that was already in my head! Nuts. What are the chances?

I would’ve been impressed, but, as I’m sure you’ll understand, even if this exact scenario has never happened to you, it didn’t produce a pleasurable sensation.

So this slippery prick backs away all stunned when I shout, “What the fuck do you think you’re playing at, mate?!”

She wasn’t expecting me to speak, thought I would just groan or try to eat her or some shit. She freaks the fuck out and runs down the hill into the house and fucks off on her merry way. Absolute bellend.

Worst thing was - and now, if you don’t believe this, I won’t blame you because I wouldn’t, but, I swear, this is exactly how it happened: Ms. Prick had only gone and tied the knife or whatever it was to a tree. Not even round the trunk, but really high up.

It obviously wasn’t her first rodeo. She knew that a little stab in the noggin won’t take me or a feral out. Pretty smart if you think about it, I’ll give her that. But, nah, it sucked. It didn’t kill me (if only), but it hurt like hell.

So there I am, feeling like an absolute nonce, stuck at the top of this garden like I’m a fucking pinecone - I’m sorry if I’m getting worked up about this, but it was not a good day. It was a bad day. No, actually, it was two bad days! Yeah, that’s it. I was stuck up there for two days.

I tried for hours to get unstuck but eventually gave up and slept – yeah, we sleep, don’t listen to those idiots.

Most of the next day, I sat and thought over my life decisions, until I realised I could just climb the pissing tree and untie the knife.

I had that thing in my head for a week before someone else was able to pull it out. Looked like an absolute twat. I knocked it when I was pissed in the Ship, and my eye nearly fell out.

Anyway, after I detached from the tree, I thought, nah, I still like my job. I went into the house, found a few boxsets of The Walking Dead - that show is fucking hilarious, I tell you. Have you seen it? You can thank me for that. I was the lucky cunt who found the last season. Fucking hell, they didn’t know how wrong they were.

But yeah, I found those boxsets, made an absolute mint and bought myself some banging clothes and a brick of snow. Don’t worry, I don’t touch the stuff anymore. Goes straight to my head.

Oh COME ON! Now that was funny!

Anyway, all this has just been to butter you up, create an emotional connection between us so you’ll help me, you know what I mean? I’m stuck like this because a couple of brave cunts thought they’d pinch what was left of my brick for themselves. They were smart like that bellend up in Trefechan, but they thought it’d work better if they just chopped my whole body up and left my head. From a hole in the head to a head in a hole. Pretty funny if you think about it. I’ll look back on this one day and laugh, I reckon.

Come on, fella, what do you say? Please take me somewhere warm with a TV. Some flake too, if you’re feeling kind.




Harry Waveney is self-exiled in Wales, usually writing about politics, sometimes about zombies. He can be found @LuxuryCymru.

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