Faces

Taking a dump on you.

Joe Ray Woodhouse presents

A Twisted Pop Production

Faces

Melanie sat on the edge of the bed, softly playing the acoustic guitar. There was no rhythm, just gentle twangs to the soft electronica CD played through the television. An array of colours burst from the television screen lighting up the dark room, spacious enough for two: Melanie and the man with no face, who led on her bed. The two in a small city of Japan.

The man has no face

I found him by the roadside

Rainy afternoon.

 

The CD finished, Melanie played the last note. Turning around, she saw the man now awake and sitting up. His skin was a cold cream, his face not there. It was like the head of a featureless abstract mannequin with slight ripples around the edges. Beans, a fat ginger beast which liked to go ‘mirr’ ,looked up at him. .

‘Hello,’ Melanie said smiling. The man patted his head, looking for something.

‘I can’t feel my face,’ he replied, his voice crackly and distant as a poor radio signal.

Melanie shuffled closer and hugged him tightly. Beans jumped off the bed and went ‘mirr’.

‘It’s alright, we all lose things. You did lose your face, right?’

‘I didn’t lose it. Someone took it from me.’ He stood up, the bed sheets falling, revealing his cracked-up skin, the early morning sun shining on his naked body. He walked to the door and fumbled for the doorknob. Melanie grabbed her polka dot dressing gown and threw it over him.

‘What’s your name?’ she asked as she tightened the belt around his beige shorts, then grabbed her knee-high leather boots. ‘A new day has begun. I’ll help you find yourself, but I don’t know what to call you.’

The man put his hands through the sleeves of the dressing gown and opened the door, a cool gust of air broke through the stuffy flat. ‘Surface.’

A light rain started the day, a puddle by the damp grass on which Melanie sat. Surface stood behind her holding a black umbrella, his head looking around the field.

‘Can you see anything?’ Melanie asked as she tapped on her phone.

‘Everything is blurry, like looking through….’

‘Sorry, I can’t hear you. Like looking through smoked up goggles? Or a pair of glasses which aren’t your own?’ Sharp rain droplets patted against the umbrella.

‘The rain causes problems to my voice.’ A car drove past, the tire mowing through the puddle, a wave of water splashing Melanie and her phone. She blinked and continued looking at the screen.

‘It’s broke.’

‘Who are you talking to?’

‘No one, it’s just a habit.’ She touched the wrinkles by her eyes.

Nothing at the start

Surface and Mel caught a fish

As the storm begun

Midnight Chameleon was a café situated on the top of a fifty storey skyscraper. The view was magnificent; behind each window was an even greyer, even higher building. Glass reflected the black clouds in the sky and the storm. Melanie sat with one leg over the other, Surface sat across rubbing his neck and stabbing his blank face with an ice pop.

‘I’m sorry, it didn’t cross my mind that you couldn’t eat.’ she apologised as she sipped her tea. ‘Don’t worry; the food isn’t so great here. I only come here because I like to look down and see the cars and people the size of Matchbox toys. I wish I could take control from up here and move them around to do my bidding.’

‘I’ve been here before.’ Surface said as he looked around. ‘I can just feel I’ve been here. The cheap plastic chairs, the faint smell of raspberry incense sticks, the obscure sight of the masks on the walls. It’s all slightly hard to sense, but I’m sure.’ Melanie looked at him, frowning.

‘I wonder what you looked like back then. But well done, man. We know you’re probably from around here.’ She smiled and touched the wrinkles by her eyes.

‘I came here with a woman with long hair. She was an actress in a tragic play.’

Mel on the toilet

felt the wrinkles on her face

grinned and flushed the chain

A clown at the entrance had his face falling off in the rain. He was eating a novelty-sized lollipop and holding up a sign that read ‘We are already dead.’ The building was as plain as the rest, a block amongst the mess. No windows, just one door. The two walked through the front to a cold barren room, empty seats and a few people rolling around on the floor. Everyone wore masks, beautiful masks which only covered the upper faces. They all stood in line in front of Mel and Surface, wiggling their arms in time, and back flipping into the distance

‘I never came here, I never watched her dance.’ Surface commented as he sat on one of the viewing seats.

‘Don’t worry, I was never mad.’ Mel replied as she waltzed onto the dance floor.

‘I thought so. I wasn’t sure because of the short hair you have.’ Surface watched Mel dance around the room, but only saw a fleshy blur spin round. ‘Why did you take my face?’

She leapt over to the seating and pulled Surface onto the stage. Holding hands the two twirled around, the group of masked dancers now sitting in the audience, clapping and cheering. ‘Because if I didn’t, I would never have seen you again.’

‘It never worked out.’

‘You stopped replying to my texts.’

‘I’d moved on.’

‘I saw you with another woman. By the roadside, eating ice cream on a rainy day,’ she curled her hands around Surface’s head and pushed her forehead against his. Soft jazz played and the audience squealed in delight. ‘That’s when I stole your face, I brushed it off and kept it for myself. I’ll give it you back if you promise to stay; we had fun today, right?’

‘What happened to the woman?’

‘You don’t even remember her name.’

Surface pushed her away and Mel fell to the floor. The audience booed and Surface ran off. ‘You’ll come back! I have your face!’ She stood up and bowed to the audience. Applause.

The plot twist revealed

Surface stuck in storm ran off

Mel wept for him, wept.

‘Uh… mmm.’ Mel groaned as she stood in the shower, caressing the mask on her face. Made out of diamonds with a golden mouth, she stroked the sides before collapsing onto her knees. ‘Rich, I love being inside you.’ Her hands left marks on the steamy glass.

‘Well, looks like you’re having fun.’ The woman said to Surface sitting on a cardboard box in the storm. She had long dark hair and a doll-like face. ‘An alien, that was a big mistake.’ Surface didn’t pay her any attention, instead looking at a drowning spider. ‘You need to get your face back, before it’s too late. And that dressing gown looks stupid.’

The two moved to a drier location, under a bridge with a river running by. Surface tried to open his mouth to speak, but he had no mouth. The woman smiled and held his hands which had begun to crumble.

‘You don’t remember me, do you? Your memories are lost to the mask Melanie owns. A special ability, so she can experience your thoughts and feelings when she wears you.’ Surface jumped back in surprise waving his arms around, skin falling from his palms. ‘You can see a little, speak a little, but it quickly fades away till you become rubble on the floor.’

Surface took a step back and crossed his arms before standing straight and pumping a fist into the air.

‘Dictator?’ The woman asked.

He shook his head and did a running motion pointing to the sky.

‘Confused marathon runner? Jesus on water? I’m not very good with this game…’

Surface marched off.

Surface rushed to the top of the nearest skyscraper  and pushed his hands together. For a moment he just stood there in focus, the polka dot dressing gown jiving in the wind. The blurry vision he had in his faceless head faded out and a clear picture of a ruby red room appeared. The girl marched to the top as she saw Surface turning to dust.

‘Thanks, Melanie,’ he crackled  before vanishing into the wet.

‘It’s Kira…’ she sighed touching the wrinkles on her face. ‘My head hurts.’ Kira said touching the wrinkles once more.  She stood watching nothing in particular and picked up the dressing gown which had fallen to the floor. She wrapped it around her shirt and walked off.

Surface travelling

Kira left behind wondering

Mel waiting and lost

Mel sat on her bedroom chair wearing Rich’s diamond face. An elegant kind of trance looped in the background, the dim room lit by the TV once more. The crumpled bed no longer contained Rich, Rich’s guitar smashed up in the corner, Rich’s books torn to shreds. Mel sat mumbling only one thing: ‘Mine.’ She stroked the mask smiling, a tear creeping from under the mask.

‘Good morning,’ the mask said. Mel stood up in surprise, looking around for a voice which was her own. ‘Gufa!’ She collapsed and tried to hold her mouth shut. A set of fingers burst out, the arms came next. Falling to the floor, the arms began patting around the room, pushing her towards the bed. The head came next, squeezing out and Mel made a popping sound.

‘Argh!’ Surface screamed as he kicked his legs out from her stretched gob. ‘Hoooo, I wasn’t quite expecting that to happen.’  He wiped the saliva off and swung his cape. ‘And I have no idea how I ended up looking like this, teleportation so random.’ Beans the cat jumped up onto the Surface’s shoulder going ‘mirr’.

Mel gasped as her face retracted back to the original size. She was shaking and sweating. Then laughing. Throwing her hair back she laughed, clutching Rich’s face. She jumped up, arms drooping to her sides, then grew silent.

‘Hello me,’ she said in a man’s voice. Deep and loud.

‘Hello you,’ Surface replied holding his arms in front, karate position.

‘Look at you. You may have a cape and a cat, but your body is falling to pieces. I don’t want to go back.’  She grabbed Mel’s guitar which was unbroken, and swung it forward like a sword.

‘I wouldn’t want you back with that attitude either, Rich, Kira, Mel. In that order.’

‘You figured it out. And you’ve grown so talkative, that’s what happens when we get close together, isn’t it?’ Mel possessed by Rich ran forward and smashed the guitar against Surface’s head. A large twang and the piece snapped in two. ‘Close to your own face!’ Surface cracked his neck then pushed his fist forward, sending Rich twirling through the door, like an elegant dance in the air,  outside into the storm.

The final battle

Mel, Rich, Kira and Surface,

Figured it out yet?

 

‘I had to see the resolution,’ Kira said as she stood outside with a pizza box in her hand. Mel, Surface and Beans looked at her for a moment, before turning back to the fight. Surface attempted to throw another punch, Mel dodged and pulled at Surface’s arm to throw him over the balcony. The arm instead tore off, Surface left to scream in agony.

‘Actually, I can’t feel anything… how odd.’

‘What a weak body. Mel’s body is perfect, you saw the way she danced.’

‘That was Kira dancing, not Mel. Wrinkles.’

‘She holds the memories of Mel though, like how Mel over there holds Kira’s memories. And how I hold yours on top of it all and you only hold them when you’re close.’

‘It all happened at the side road the day before. Mel had been thrown away weeks ago by me when I found out she was an alien. Kira was my counsellor to help me deal with the masks I saw. Mel confused this for a new found love and stole her face in order to become Kira and allow Kira to wallow in her old body. Wrinkles formed at the sides of each face and when she realised the truth, she stole my face too. Unfortunately she didn’t realise the setbacks to her own power and gave the mask to Kira who was now in the body of Mel. You just saw through the mind of Kira as she saw through the mind of you, you couldn’t change anything by trying to change minds!’

‘Very good, would make a good Wikipedia summary.’ Rich threw Surface’s right arm at him. Beans the cat jumped off as the arm flew his way and Surface plunged his other arm at the diamond mask.

‘AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRsodramaticRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRnot
doneyetGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGmissitsomuchGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG
GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!’
Pulling back he tripped on his cape, a leg snapped off and the mask came undone. He fell backwards clutching the diamonds in his hands.

Victor: Surface

Loser: Rich/Kira/Mel (That order)

Surface lied in on the floor, the mask on his face. He smiled as the diamonds glittered and his body crumbled away. ‘Damn, too late.’

Beans the cat jumped at the dizzy Kira in Mel’s body and slashed at the wrinkles on her face. A flash of light shot out of the edges as the mask drifted to the floor. Beans made another jump at Mel in Kira’s body, swiping her mask off too. The two pieces of skin lied on the floor motionless. ‘There you go, Surface, or should I say Rich? That scream was far too long.’

‘I knew you weren’t an ordinary cat, the way you always ate dog food instead of cat food.’ Surface laughed as his other leg fell apart. ‘Put the masks in the right places.’

‘Even Mel? After all she did to you?’ Beans asked in surprise, his hair standing on end.

‘Even Mel.’ Surface replied as the arm he pushed against his mask snapped in two. ‘Love does funny things to people. Besides it’s hard to tell who’s who, they seemed to swap eyes rather than minds.’

Beans fixed the two girls up as Surface watched. Kira stirred first, rubbing her eyes and looking down at the pizza on her lap. ‘Ugh, pepperoni.’ She looked around, Mel hanging on the balcony bars and a cat sitting on a broken naked mannequin with a torn cape. ‘That cape looks stupid… Rich?’

She crawled over to the body and saw the mask on his face.

‘Hi Kira, looks like this will be our last session.’

‘I had a nice dream. I went to a road with you, and a café, then we danced together. It was like I was in love, but you ran away. It wasn’t good.’

‘I think those feelings mean you might have become attached to your client, you’ll know what to do.’ A crack appeared in the middle of the mask.

‘Still seeing aliens?’

Mel woke up.

‘My plan failed!’ she sobbed. ‘I was meant to become Kira, but you two weren’t even dating and she got your mask before I did!’ She stomped the floor and flung her body onto Surface. She held her arms around his disintegrating body and pushed her head into his chest. ‘I’m sorry, Rich.’ Surface opening his mouth to speak but it fell through to the floor. A few flakes and a cracked mask was all that was left. Mel sat by the mask all night as the rain drowned out her cries. Kira dropped the pizza box and tried to find the moon.

‘This storm will last a long time.’

The mask snapped in two, left on the surface. He tried to scream out to everyone, but he had no mouth. Just a mask no longer fit to wear.

Kira back at work

Mel fell in love once again,

Rich left on surface.

Poetry provided by Beans the alien cat.

The end…

A child walked down the street one day looking for some change. He wore a cloak and said nothing more. ‘Change! Change!’ No one would give him change. He lived in a  high class apartment so the people thought he was just playing them for extras. At home the kid would bang his head against the wall as he shouted ‘Change!’ His mother didn’t know what to do with him. She was single and hollow, only caring for herself. She smacked her son and told him to take that stupid jewelled mask off his face. Hastily sellotaped after he found it on the street one rainy day.

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