Do not continue if that will offend you. (Previously published online. Posted here to get it into this blog's database and searchable.)
The Brain Eater
He always enjoyed this part best. The screaming was finished and he could eat the brain in peace. He enjoyed the rest too (but, not to the point of creepiness. He wasn't one of those sickos you read about in the paper). It was, simply, an enjoyable thing. But, not all that noise--he didn't like that so much. 'Oh, please, please! I'll do anything you want!' Shut up, shut up! They wouldn't stop. He had considered gagging them, but, as much of a nuisance their chattering was, and though their agonized screams did make him feel a bit guilty, he was able to put that aside and enjoy the snippets of conversation -- the back and forth. After all, he didn't have any friends and companionship was rare.
Once he had them here, restrained and under his control, he did like to think of them as companions, if not, admittedly, friends. Artificially brought together, true, but no more so, it seemed to him, than people who make each other's acquaintance in everyday life, like at a bus stop or in line at the grocery store. This was their last chance for contact with another person, and often it made them more open, more real, more apt to an honest exchange, which he took full advantage of. He was closer to these people than he had been with anyone else. So, he didn't gag them and, sometimes, he would stop sawing to ask a random friendly question.
They were eager to talk. He figured it was to buy time, or maybe, if they established a bond he would let them go. In fact, often they even suggested this. They'd say, 'You know, we're friends now, don't you think? Why don't you let me go'? He knew it was a trick. He knew what they were and why there were here. So, he would decline and within a few minutes when his captives saw their sleight of hand wouldn't work and they couldn't hold back another second, invariably, they would start with the names. 'Crazy, insane, bastard',et cetera . There was never much variation. Sometimes, they would use the F-word. That was embarrassing. To him, it was such an ugly word and a pretty rude thing to say. Plus, what it meant was just so graphic. It always caught him off guard, the crudeness. Using language like that made it pretty clear they weren't going to be friends. He thought they would want to make an emotional connection with him. At least try. He was always wrong. They never did. When they reached this point -- this lack of civility -- it made him hate them again, even more than before, so he figured he might as well get back to work.
As the cutting progressed they would promise any imaginable favor if he'd let them go. When it became clear this would not happen, they would promise the same favors if he would just stop for a moment, just a couple minutes so they could get their strength back, catch their breath before. Even the men. A couple times he considered the propositions, but they were so, well, real. Such things. How could they even say those things? Itcreeped him out to consider doing those things with them or any person, or letting them, or any person, do that kind of stuff to him. So he wouldn't listen. Besides, the pleads and promises were the same every time, so once he was used to hearing them -- after, say, the hundredth time -- he would just ignore it. And he had done the hundredth one such a long time ago the screaming now fell on deaf ears.
Toward the end they all promised the same thing -- 'I won't tell anyone'. But, that didn't hold water. Of course they would tell. They'd have to see a doctor, right? With that big-ass gash in the side of their head? Besides, walking around like that somebody was bound to ask if they were okay. Do you need help? What happened to you? They'd tell. He couldn't let them go. They knew it. They were just desperate. You say anything when you're getting the top of your head sawed off. He could respect that. He figured he'd ask too if he was in their place. However, he didn't care. He just wanted it quiet. He just wanted them to shut up. That was all he wanted. Shut their God damned stupid mouths. He just wanted to eat.
It would get quiet. The screaming would stop. The buzz of the saw would stop. Even if they kept talking, they usually shut up about the time the top of their skull came off. Those who talked after that point tended not to make much sense. Nobody said anything after the brain was removed.
He had become adept. In the beginning he needed a knife and fork. He would cut the tissue carefully with the knife, impale it with the fork, and eat. But, because his hands were occupied with utensils, the top of the skull, which he inverted and used as a bowl, would roll around and things got sloppy. Sometimes, as he raised the fork to his mouth, the flesh would slip off and fall onto the floor, splattering the carpet. What a mess; warm, fresh raw human brain soaking into the carpet. He would have to stop eating, wipe it up with a napkin if he had one, or a nearby tee-shirt, sock, or whatever was around if a napkin wasn't handy. This would mean missing a few seconds of the TV show, and he hated that.
For the most part, that was the reason he learned to eat without dropping any; he didn't want to miss any TV. Now, after so much practice, he managed quite well. He would hold the top of the skull (inverted in his left hand like a bowl) and scoop with the right hand. The bloody hair between his fingers served as a grip of sorts, especially once the blood congealed and got sticky. (Bald men's heads were more slippery, of course, but women's heads with long hair presented their own problems, and so, medium-length hair [men's or women's] was preferred as it offerred the best grip).
The brain would swim around a little in the encephalic fluid, but he was still able to scoop the goo up with his right hand using just a spoon, and get it to his mouth without spilling any. That way he never had to stop to wipe a spill off the carpet, and he never missed any of the TV show.
In fact, he never had to take his eyes off the screen at all.