All about the site known as Eyeshot


click the nostril hairs to submit
A Hindu family, the Mahajans, moved into the space between my eyebrows. The space wasn’t for rent, had never been, but I didn’t have the heart to evict them.

People mistook the eyebrow – Mahajans – eyebrow for eyebrow – eyebrow – eyebrow, in other words, a unibrow. I told them it wasn’t a unibrow, just the Mahajans, setting the table for dinner. 

In their second month of occupancy, the Mahajans asked for an extension on the rent. Seriously? I said. You’ve got to meet me halfway here. The space wasn’t even for rent in the first place. They got all defensive, as if I’d affronted them personally. They said my eyes gave them funny looks, weren’t very “neighborly”. I believed this to be ridiculous, a protective reflex. My eyes had been nothing but good neighbors. 

The dandruff in the driveway needs plowing, they said. I laughed and asked them who they thought I was, the dandruff plow guy? Did I look like a plow guy? Mr. Mahajan said he couldn’t back his car out. You can call somebody, I said, but I’m not paying.

The Mahajans moved to the side of my nose in search of – in their own words – a more accommodating environment. Also, Mrs. Mahajan liked the view.

They built their home from hair (plucked from my left eyebrow) and flakes of sun-baked skin (peeled from the end of my nose). Mr. Mahajan grew a beard. Mrs. Mahajan learned to churn her own butter. At dawn, Mr. Mahajan climbed to the bridge of my nose and played “Sweet Caroline” on his sitar. I told him he’d need to stop that, and he took to practicing in his living room.

People asked about the mole on the side of my nose. I told them it wasn’t a mole, just the Mahajans, reading in bed.

I raised the rent and bought a tandem bike. So if a pretty woman ever asked if I owned a tandem bike and if I wanted to go tandem riding with her, I could answer, Yes, I have a tandem bike and I would love to go tandem riding with you.

I felt a little guilty about raising the rent, but Mr. Mahajan had a steady job inspecting for lice in the Northern Epidermis. Plus, I wanted a new coat. During my morning shower, I could feel him splashing around up there in his rubber waders, wearing a nice coat too I bet. The coat I owned had a hole in it. And the first rule of management is to dress better than your tenants, right?

They laid a plaid blanket over my left temple and had a picnic. After eating, they took a hike through my sideburn, stopping occasionally to take in the scenery.

They were a pain in my side, but they seemed happy. I liked watching them in the evenings: hand-knit sweaters, hot chocolate by the fireplace. Laughing, touching. They hooked arms when they drank, like magazine ads for Aspen timeshares. I didn’t think real people actually drank that way. Apparently they do. Sometimes I thought I could go on watching them forever, in their tiny house, by their tiny fireplace, with their tiny mugs and coasters. But then I’d find something else to do.

I bought a new hat. An authentic bowler, wool with satin lining, stitched by the Chinese. Mr. Mahajan complained about the rim, said it blocked out the light in the mornings while he was doing his crossword. He liked doing the crossword to natural light. He asked if I would tilt the bowler up, or else take it off altogether. I told him to sit tight and dug through my hat closet until I found an old sombrero.

They thought about getting a dog. No dogs, I said. What if it’s just a small dog, they asked. No dogs, I said, and sniffled, to show them I meant business.

When the weather grew warmer I buzzed my head. A poor quarter forced Scalp Wildlife Management to make major budget cuts. Mr. Mahajan was let go.

The coat I purchased claimed to be made from the fur of one hundred stoats, but I had my doubts. It would have been just as easy to toss in a few squirrels or rats in the mix and pass it off as pure ermine.

At night, Mr. Mahajan snuck out of bed, hid in my right nostril and either cried or played these heartbreaking tunes on his sitar, or both. I could feel the haunting vibrato sizzle up nasal cavity like soda fizz. 

While I watched Mrs. Mahajan perform her jazzercise workouts through the bedroom window (thrusting in, thrusting out, thrusting in, thrusting out), I started to sweat and flooded the house. Mr. Mahajan was at a job interview along my mandible with National Plaque Defense at the time. Ruined was the finished basement, the hardwood floors on the first level, Mr. Mahajan’s collection of classic vinyl, and most of their antique furniture.

Mr. Mahajan didn’t get the job and they were forced to seek out less expensive housing. I asked if they had insurance. They didn’t. They asked after their deposit. I said I couldn’t rightfully give it to them without sixty days notice. But the space wasn’t even for rent, Mr. Mahajan said. Well you wrecked my basement, I said. You wrecked your own basement, he said, his voice rising. I shrugged. Let it go, Mrs. Mahajan said, and pulled her husband by the arm.

The last time I saw them I was combing my hair. They were passing through the helix of my right ear, waxed leather bags under theirs arms, eyes melancholy and gray: a solemn plea to the road ahead.

[Forever after at http://eyeshot.net/lowbrow.html]

Originally posted March 7, 2009

Archive of Recent Activities - Suggestions for Submitters

Super Lo-Tech Slideshow - Our Storied History

A Random Selection from the Past

What We Posted Last Time We Posted Something New

The Readerly Resonance Chamber

The Eyeshot Literary Escort Service

Access the Endless Archive

What is Up These Days at Eyeshot

Available now from Barrelhouse Books
Order here. More info here.