Harvey Lumpf’s Head Wound (excerpt)

Prologue

There’s a hole in my head where the happy spills out. Every couple of days I have to drain it or it gets infected. It swells up and makes my head pound. Throbbing with positivity it stretches my mind to disintegration the way a kid pulls a dry rubber band until it snaps. So I just poke at it until it gets sore and red around the opening, just enough irritation to pus up and leave a space for my middle finger nail to scratch up a bit of the skin. I hold it as wide as I can while I tip my head forward over the bucket. And sure enough, it oozes forth; every last bit of happiness held in that swollen head of mine. Just hanging my head over that eager, empty two gallon chasm makes it all normal again. Nothing to be happy about anymore. This is where the Rubbermaid hits the road and progress finally ignites. The pain of holding on to all of that swelling subsides and I can be miserable again. Back to a clear head and a rational mind. Back to basics. Those few days following are some of my best. It’s all so crystal then. The thoughts, the words, the agony all come so swiftly like songs from sparrows. I belt them out loudly as paeans to a depression deity. And then I smile. I smile for the pretty things that mock and hate me for being so ghastly. I smile for the moments when I can’t comprehend being so adored by an innocent being. I smile because I’m happy all over again and it’s excruciating. I smile and my forehead bursts. I’m dead again.

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