Friday, November 4, 2011

Explosion on the tram.

There’s a man on the tram with a forehead so bulbous I imagine it's pregnant. His head skin doesn't have anymore stretch, pushed to its limits. Inside, there's one idea feeding off every piece of information he's ever consumed, drawing on everyone he's ever met. His head cap is stretched to its limits, veins bursting. He motions for a book in his satchel but I distract him with a yelp.

“Are you ok?” He asks.

“Yes. Just startled easily by...” I search the tram. A lady and her headscarf eye me lazily. “... by pigeons. I'm startled easily by pigeons.”

I couldn't risk having his head explode through the carriage. I'd be implicated in some sort of terrorist plot. I'd go to court, plead ignorance, but the prosecutor would know better:

“Mr Coleman, you knew a book like that could push a man's brain cap beyond its capacity, didn't you?”

“Yes, yes I did. But it was not my book.”

“Not your book you say...?” The wigged prosecutor for the Crown would mumble before screaming ‘AHA, it just so happens’ and introducing the court to a person I’d never seen before who’d ultimately be responsible for my demise.

I'd go to jail for 20 years. A book would be written about me. In the end I'd confess, but in the decades following, would make several appeals claiming police had intimidated me into my statement of guilt. The title of the book would be "Mind Trials" and upon my release would have sold more than two million copies. I'd never see a coin.

“You're startled by pigeons?”

“Yes sir, could never survive in Rome, much less as a fountain.”

“But there aren't any pigeons around here?”

I searched the tram for the headscarf, but it was gliding through a mass of school bags and blazers and newspapers to the doorway. I started to move for her, to grab her, prove to this man that pigeons could be on trams. She escaped and we lurched forward. I could never explain now, so it was time to depart from this man and his bulbous, pregnant brain. But not before I let him know, warn him.

"By the way, don't read that book."

"And why would that be?" He asks in a most demeaning way.

"It’ll make your head e... Don't worry. Sorry."

No insanity plea today.