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My brain hurts so I go see Dr Zagduma. The waiting room is full of Mark Mothersbaughs in straitjackets. There are around twenty of them all wriggling around on the floor grinning and singing Jocko Homo but not in unison. I take a seat and say to the nearest Mark Mothersbaugh, "What's wrong with you then?"

He stares at me and says, "If I knew that I wouldn't be here."

He then begins to laugh hysterically. I fear that if he continues to laugh with such ferocity his head will fall off. Sure enough his head does fall off and rolls across the floor a few feet. The other Mark Mothersbaughs see it and start to laugh as well. They are all laughing in a frenzy and eventually all their heads fall off. Yet still they continue to sing Jocko Homo but not in unison.

"Mr Dumbfuck, the doctor will see you now," says the receptionist Mrs Vvvv. She conveys the message telepathically as she cannot be heard above the sound of the outrageous singing.

I get up and enter the surgery. Dr Zagduma invites me to sit on the couch which I do. I notice he isn't wearing his Dr Doom outfit today.

"Why aren't you dressed as Dr Doom from the Fantastic Four comics today?" I enquire.

He scolds me. "You are not here to ask questions," he says.

I fight off a sulking fit. "Sure thing, doctor."

"What seems to be the trouble?"

"My brain hurts."

"I see. Is it a dull ache or do you feel blinding flashes of intense pain at regular intervals?"

"It's a dull ache."

"Do you feel as though you might be dying or is it a mere discomfort?"

"Somewhere in between."

"Do you think the Steelers will win the Superbowl this year?"


"Okay, open up your head."

I open up my head and Dr Zagduma stands beside me looking into it. He studies it in silence for a few seconds.

"What is it, doctor?" I ask.

"Your head is full of silverfish."



"What are they doing?"

"Dashing and wriggling around all over the place."

"Shit. How did they get there?"

"I'm a doctor not a detective, Dumbfuck."

He approaches his desk, opens the right hand drawer and takes out a book which he hands to me. It's a paperback entitled The Kafka Effekt by D Harlan Wilson.

"Read this book three times a day," he tells me.

"Will that get rid of the silverfish?"

"No, but it'll take your mind off it."

I flick through the pages for a few seconds. "So can you get rid of the silverfish? My brain is hurting like fuck."

"Yes I can, but you have two options. One is the economy method which will cost you $100 and the other involves surgery and will cost around $5,000."

"Shit! Well I guess it has to be the economy method."

Dr Zagduma nods and reaches behind the desk for a baseball bat. He beats me a couple of times around the head and I cry out in pain before losing consciousness.

I come to with a terrible throbbing to my head but amazingly my brain doesn't hurt any more. I'm lying on the couch and my head has been closed back. Dr Zagduma is sitting at the desk reading another copy of The Kafka Effekt by D Harlan Wilson. I sit up to face him.

"What happened?" I ask.

"I removed the silverfish."

"Using the economy method?"


"So what happened to the silverfish?"

He points to a huge glass jar on his desk. Hundreds of silverfish are dashing and wriggling around inside it, all of them madly squirming for free space, running up and down the insides of the glass and banging against the lid before dropping back into the mass skirmish.

"They are yours," says the doctor, and hands me the jar.

"What shall I do with them?"

"Anything you like." He pauses. "A hundred dollars please," he adds, and offers me his palm.

I take out my wallet, give him a hundred dollars, then grab the jar and the book and leave the room. In the waiting room the Mark Mothersbaughs have all gone and now the place is full of Jim Carreys all slip-sliding around and pulling funny faces. I ignore them and leave the surgery.

On the way home I meet Babylonius Orgasm. He appears excited and is clutching his bag close to his chest. He stops me and grabs my sleeve.

"Guess what I have in my bag!" he says, his eyes cutting into my soul, blobs of spittle sticking to his lapels.

"South Carolina?"

I guess wrong and he shakes his head. "Frank Sinatra's elbows," he says. "I have Frank Sinatra's elbows in my bag!"

"What are you doing with Frank Sinatra's elbows?"

He ponders the question for a moment. "Walking down the street," he tells me. Then he notices the jar and says, "Hey, what's in the jar?"

I hold it up for closer inspection. "Silverfish."

"Jesus, man, that's so amazingly cool!"

He pushes his nose up to the glass and watches the silverfish dashing and wriggling all over the place inside the jar.

"Did you know that silverfish hold the Secret of Life and the Universe?" he says, all enthusiastic.

"What? The Secret of Life and the Universe?"

"That's right, buddy."

We watch as a black Lincoln Continental with tinted windows cruises by real slow and deliberate. It disappears over the horizon and Babylonius Orgasm seems agitated all of a sudden.

"Hey, I gotta go," he tells me. "It's not safe having Frank Sinatra's elbows in your bag. Later."

He scurries off along the sidewalk in the direction of Orange Tower and I continue my journey home.

I reach my apartment block and find myself sharing the elevator with my beautiful neighbor Miss Bab. I try not to look at her breasts as we chat but it isn't easy, and I attempt to conceal the jar of silverfish inside my jacket because I am embarrassed about my brain hurting, but I think she suspects it's there, although she doesn't mention it. We discuss the Phantom Masturbator and I find myself clumsily trying to convince her it isn't me. We depart with Miss Bab truly believing that I am the Phantom Masturbator.

I enter my apartment and rush directly to the fireplace. I sink to my knees and hold the jar up to the light. The silverfish are still dashing and wriggling all over the place. I unscrew the lid and gently empty them all on to the carpet in front of the fireplace. They dart around and run away, disappearing into tiny cracks and crevices that I didn't know existed there. I reach down and following several attempts I manage to snatch a hold of one of them. It struggles in my grip as I get real close to gaze at its fishy form.

"Tell me, silverfish," I whisper. "What is the Secret of Life and the Universe?"

It appears to be looking at me, observing my human form as I am observing his or hers. Suddenly it speaks to me in a child-like wormy squeal.

"Fuck off," it says.

Then it breaks free and falls to the carpet and hurries off into one of the cracks. I try to squash it with my palm but it's too quick for me, and I fall back on the floor and begin to sob like a baby.

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