Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Chin Chair

by Paul Newton

I can’t sleep. Jeremy took the last of my pills. That’s why I’m sat here on the edge of my bed, staring at my mother’s rocker, counting twos.


Somebody told me counting to two would eventually bore you to sleep; I should have took the pills Jeremy swallowed.

Jeremy Stephens was a pain in the ass, which is ok if he was the sort of pain in the ass you could keep at arm’s length; dirty-looks-across-the-street kind of thing or completely blank if happenstance brought you shoulder to shoulder, but no, Jeremy was the worst kind of pain in the ass. He was the kind that was also my best friend.

He first came into my life during second grade—some thirty years ago— halfway through Mrs. Carlton’s English class, and I saw it immediately.

The Chin Chair.

Are you familiar with The Chin Chair? It’s a strange phenomenon. No, that’s the wrong word, more of a charismatic power, a talent or a gift. I wasn’t aware it existed until Jeremy walked into that classroom all those years ago, all black hair, blue eyes and confidence.

I know all about it now, though.

Mrs. Carlton led Jeremy through the aisle of desks towards the empty seat beside me, and as she did so, like toppling dominoes, each kid he passed—one after the other—raised their elbows upon the desk, clasped their hands together, rested their chins in the upturned palms and gazed, glassy eyed, at the new arrival.

The Chin Chair.

Over the years we got along famously. He always had interesting tales to tell, casting charms upon his listeners until slowly they’d assume the obvious position, and drown in awe and wonder. When he’d finished his latest story, or left their presence, they would shake themselves like a wet dog, or a victim of a vaudeville hypnotist.

Women flocked to him, of course. Maybe that was one of the reasons I hung around Jeremy for such a long time; picking up his cast-offs whilst they were still under his spell, using them for a night or two until they got bored to resume the search for whatever it was I couldn’t give them.

The Chin Chair.

After university we went our separate ways. I went into banking and eventually consulting, making a fortune in the process, bought a beach front property, got married, had a son.
Jeremy left the country to travel the world, and after receiving one or two postcards we eventually lost contact. It’s the way life works I suppose. I got on with things, and never thought of him again…

…Until a couple of days ago that is, when he knocked on my door.

He was forty-two years old yet he didn’t seem to have changed a bit. I surprised myself by being so overwhelmed. Tears and hugs and stories of his adventures took us well into the night. He asked if he could stay for a while so he could find his feet and get settled. What could I say? He was my closest friend after all.

My wife loved him at first sight of course…

The Chin Chair.

He took my son fishing, hiking, karting and….

The Chin Chair.

I know he didn’t know how he did it but it had to end soon. I had to approach him, to reason with him, man-to-man, friend-to-friend; my very future was at stake.

So we sat down together—and over a few cans of lager came to a solution. We should have done it years before when I think about it now.

Removing Jeremy’s head from his body was quite easy. The sleeping pills I mixed with the beer rendered him immobile and the new blade I put on the hacksaw made light work of the decapitation. The fleshy bits were a nuisance but a little research on the Internet about bleaching animal bones sorted out that problem.

So there he sits on my mother’s rocker—Chin on Chair—opposite my bed staring at me with those wide black sockets as I relate to him the stories of my day.

Staring at me as I sit on the edge of my bed.

Elbows on knees, hands held together, chin on…


Rachel Green said...

An excellent tale!

Michael Stone said...

Heh, very very good.

Jodi Lee (Morrighan) said...

Creepy. Very bloody creepy. o_O

Karen from Mentor said...

OMG nicely done.
"The fleshy bits were a nuisance" made me lol.

Love the title. Excellent story.

Karen :0)

Anonymous said...

Beautifully disturbing.


BryanRoyce said...

You had problems with some fleshy bits, so you looked up something on the internet about bleaching bones? What? The repetition of the inane title throughout is both illogical and insanely annoying. And certainly the largest source of "horror" in this laughable tale.