Distant Brain Detection

by Richard Holinger

Once I removed the gray matter from my skull, it seemed to have a mind of its own. Dirty dishes and unanswered letters piled up. The shower stall stayed dry. Books went unread.

Then the neighbors began to catch on.

One afternoon, the blond trophy wife from next door stood in front of the snow blower I was using to mow the lawn. "You seem a little absent-minded," Belinda said. Or maybe it was Melinda.

"You should walk!" I retorted, immediately noticing the DBD (Distant Brain Detection) reception flawed. "I mean, 'You should stalk!' No, 'You should talk!'"

Her husband, Maurice, owns his own landscape architecture business, and their house is filthy with trees, shrubs and flowers. I'm a scientist. I don't go in for the outside, and my wife couldn't keep up with all their terracing and such, so she hated them, too.

She's dead, my wife. Brain tumor. I feel glad, no, bad about it. The operation failed. Her brain didn't take outside her body. She gave her life for sighing, no, science and for me, when she signed the consent form. I learned from her mistakes. My mistakes.

I can function, as is evident, but sometimes I'll go to boil an egg and DBD pressures me into frying it, floating melted butter in a pan. Real butter I bought at the grocery whore, store, against my will. Sure, my taste buds enjoy it, but before my body lost its mind, my actions were my own, so separation between powers, between the intent and execute the bitch. Sorry, intent and execution.

See? It comes and goes. Harmless, but annoying side effects that either the surgery or prescription drag queens, sorry, drugs, enhance. I will not, in good conscience, delete these findings, though flawed; science is founded on the truth and integrity of those who fabricate it. No, practice it. Any misstatements about my home life or scientific regimen I will gladly suffer in pursuit of prostitutes. Progress.

I'm looking at me now in a jar filled with liquid from which wires lead to four computers, each tirelessly feeding my body with autonomic andů wait, there's someone at the shore. Door. Belinda. My Linda. Melinda.

Back now. She needed utter for a babe she was making. Ha, not so fat. Butter for a stake she was faking it. This Turds-like syndrome gets to be or not to be more disturbing hour by how're you. I may have to devour, devalue, devise a way to hire a home breaker, housekeeper. Belinda might be able to service me, serve me well, part fine, time, when not with her guard up, garden.

No! No more mischief. Misfires. I can't control myself, slut like before. I'm going out of my grind. Pay me no...



Richard Holinger's fiction has appeared in Witness, The Iowa Review, WHR, Other Voices, ACM, Cream City Review, Flyway, The Madison Review, Flashquake, and Downstate Story. His creative nonfiction and book reviews have been accepted by North American Review, The Southern Review, Midwest Quarterly, Cimarron Review, Crazyhorse, Northwest Review; and his poetry has appeared in Boulevard, Chelsea, Southern Poetry Review, The Ledge, the new renaissance, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, ACM, and others. Degrees include a Ph.D. in English with a Creative Writing emphasis from The University of Illinois at Chicago, and a Masters in English from Washington University. He's been awarded an Illinois Arts Council Artists Grant for poetry.