For sale: Human Head.
Best ad I’d seen on craigslist all day. I’d spent the last hour surfing the site for a passive-aggressive gift for my ex-girlfriend’s wedding. Was this a possible candidate for gag gift of the year? Well I certainly thought so.
I didn’t think it was a real for a second when I texted the user. I just told him what I wanted it for and asked if he had any left. It didn’t even have to look that real – just enough for a little jump scare and a good laugh.
Here’s the reply I got a few minutes later:
PLENTY LEFT. DO YOU CARE WHOSE?
Screw the fact that he’s shipping heads. There’s nothing that labels someone crazy like typing in all CAPS. But hey, let’s be fair here. Considering I was asking about buying one, maybe I didn’t have a right to condemn his eccentricities. I replied and told him I didn’t care, just as long as it wasn’t someone I know (I mean come on, he’s got to have a sense of humor, right?).
WHO DO YOU KNOW? I’LL CHECK.
I asked for a picture and told him I would let him know if I recognized them. I didn’t hear back after that and figured the joke had run its course. Just as well really. Maybe it was petty to try to sabotage the happiest day of her life. Then again, she did sabotage my entire life when she decided to wait until I’d finished paying off her college loans to tell me she was seeing someone else …
It wasn’t until that evening when I got the next reply.
SHE WILL LOVE THIS ONE. NICE AND FAT. HE DOESN’T NEED IT ANYMORE.
I almost choked on the pizza I was eating. Fat was a generous description of the picture he sent. Bloated would have been more accurate, like it had been sitting out in the sun for a long time. Congealed blood still clung to the base where several inches of spinal chord extended past the tattered flesh of the neck. The nose was gone, replaced with an explosion of sticky cartilage from where a massive force like a shovel had pummeled it in.
I’ve had a few hours to contemplate my life choices, and now that I was staring at the picture while trying to eat, I knew this was a bad idea. Sorry not interested, I replied before blocking the number.
The next morning I woke up to three more pictures sent from a different phone. Each bore a macabre description:
THIS LITTLE LADY WAS A FIGHTER, SO SHE’S A LITTLE MORE KNOCKED AROUND.
MY ONLY OLD MAN. THOSE BLOTCHES ON THE SKIN WERE THERE BEFORE.
IF YOU WANT MINT CONDITION, CHECK OUT THIS LADY. POISONED. NOT A MARK ON HER.
There are some things you just have to ask even if you don’t want to know the answer. Stuff like “do you love him” and “how long will dad be gone for this time?”
“Where are you getting all these heads from” is another one of those questions. I typed it in, simultaneously eager and afraid for the reply.
I ONLY NEEDED THE BODIES.
I seriously considered reporting this creep to the police, but again I still figured it was just a bad joke that I didn’t want to waste more time on. I told him not to contact me again and blocked this number too.
A week later I arrived at the wedding empty handed. Without a date. My ex gave me a tight smile and that half-assed hug which is usually reserved for people with a severe skin condition. She said it was nice of me to be here and thanked me for the present.
Present, what present? She told me someone dropped one off with my name on it. I found it sitting on the table in the reception room; a little brown box about the size of a bowling ball with a flair of red string tied up in a dainty bow. A note was slipped underneath which read:
YOU SEEM TO HAVE TROUBLE DECIDING. HERE’S A FREE DEMO TO TRY OUT. IF YOU AREN’T 100% SATISFIED, YOU CAN EXCHANGE IT WHEN YOU’RE DONE.
So many questions came to mind, like how he found me or what exactly one does to “try out” a head? When I lifted the box up to grab the note I couldn’t help but notice the dark sticky stain soaking through the bottom and onto the table. I couldn’t exactly leave it there. Shit, what was I thinking? It had my name on it and everything. Most of the people were still arriving and talking outside, so I just grabbed it and made for the door. There was a return address after the “demo period” had expired, so at least I could get rid of it.
I scuttled across the dance room, trying my best to wipe up any errant drips which were soaking through the bottom. I almost made it to the door before I spotted my ex. Quick turn-around, racing for the backdoor instead. More people were flooding in now, including her family and many of her friends who knew me. None of them could have guessed what I was carrying though, so as long as I could make it to the door …
… or at least I could have if backdoor wasn’t wired to the fire alarm. The blaring sound shocked me so much I almost dropped the box. It started to open and I caught a glimpse of the bloody pulp inside. It half-flopped out of the box as it tumbled, and I had to scramble to keep it closed. From the shards of splintered bone to the puddle of dried blood around the base, I had no doubt that it was real. By the time I looked up, the whole room was staring at me.
There was only one thing louder than the alarm after-that: my ex’s mother screaming “he’s trying to steal the presents!”.
My panic-stricken brain didn’t want people to think I was a thief, so I just dropped the box. If I had bee able to think even a little more clearly I would have realized it was much worse for them to think I was a murderer, but I couldn’t deal with that accusing siren or all those disapproving eyes. I dropped it and ran, swearing to myself that it wouldn’t matter as long as I never saw any of those people again for the rest of my life.
I did get some messages though. The next day, my ex told me that my present was a big hit. Everyone loved the gag. They thought the head was a symbolic gesture which meant her past romances were dead, and I was so sweet for giving my blessing like that. I guess no-one looked close enough to decide whether or not it was real.
It’s the other messages that bother me more though. All CAPS, sent to remind me that:
YOUR FREE TRIAL IS UP. YOU CAN PAY 10,000 TO KEEP THE HEAD, OR SEND ONE BACK IF YOU’RE FINISHED.
Now where the hell am I going to get another head?