My mom died and was buried two months ago today. Now I, at twenty her oldest son, canít stop seeing her face. Out our back door, across the street in the neighborís yard, by the fountain shaped like a frog, there it is, my momís face. It lies on the grass like a lost handbag. Or sometimes I see it in the tree on the other side of the street, shining through the branches like the rising moon, or on the ground like a picnic plate, maybe a basketball. But itís her face, all right. Iíd recognize that mean squint, yellow skin, and hairy chin anywhere. If at first glance her face looks like the moon, a paper plate, or a basketball, that only fools me for a second.
One day I saw her face right outside the front door in the middle of the street. It lay on the hot asphalt like a shriveled mask, or the peeled-off skin of a giant grape. When I thought no one was looking, I ran out and picked it up. Then I put it on, right over my own face. It stuck, and I could breathe and see through it just fine. I went back inside and checked the mirror. Yep, momís face, all right. The mark of a tire tread across it recalled the hit-and-run that did her in.
I thought that I could make the best use of momís face by terrorizing our cretinous neighbors. So, still wearing her puss over mine, and leaving it oily and dirty from the road to heighten the effect, I finished tricking myself out like mom. I put on an old blue dress of hers and a pair of her brown shoes, hoping the mismatched colors suggested instability. Then I set out to pay a few calls.
I started with Timmy. Timmy was the 9-year-old slug next door who mom despised for sneaking into her flowerbeds and burning down her jonquils with lighter fluid. The little retard was still doing the jonquil thing, too, with mom dead and gone. I knew Timmy was home, so I stumbled over in my dress and slingbacks and pounded on his door. I hadnít bothered about my hair, which was spiky and uncombed and perhaps suggested a zombie. Timmy came to the door and his eyes widened at once.
ďThere you are, you bastard,Ē I shouted at him. I didnít try to sound like a woman, so Timmy heard a manís voice coming from mom. ďI came back from the grave just to tell you what a little prick you are.Ē
Timmy, who of course recognized my mom and was well aware of her death, started screaming. I pretended to reach for him with my long, muscular manís arms to get the most out of his reaction. Soon his mother came to the door, and her eyes shot open too.
ďCanít you raise your brat any better than this?Ē I yelled at her. ďWhy I have to come all the way here from the cemetery to tell you that heís still burning up my flowers is beyond my comprehension.Ē
She was speechless and stood there gasping for breath. Before she recovered, I raced across the street like a demon, my blue dress flowing, to Mr. Morganís, a man my mother had detested for his barking dog. I ran because momís face was starting to come unstuck from mine, and I wanted to finish this job before my cover was blown. I was in luck, and Morgan also answered when I pounded.
ďYou jerkwad,Ē I lit into him. ďI can hear your damn dog from six feet under. I crawled out of my coffin to let you know I canít rest.Ē
Morgan appeared to go into a trance. There was no one home in him. I pulled down the front of my dress and exposed my flat, hairy, white pecs while continuing my rant. Morgan glued his eyes to my/momís bubbies, and finally showed a few signs of life. Choking and sobbing, he slammed the door in momís face.
I made it back home just as momís face slid off in my hands. It didnít seem to want to stick on my face anymore. But Iíd had time to give major paybacks to at least two of momís former enemies, so I couldnít complain. I left her face outside on the back patio, thinking Iíd be seeing it around.
[Forever after at http://eyeshot.net/fowlerface.html]
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