The presence of a rotting corpse in the room helped Peavler the deep-sea sausage maker wake up more quickly than was his custom.”How do you do?” he politely asked the cadaver, expecting no response.
“As well as can be expected, considering the circumstances,” came the response from between the decomposing lips. Lips decompose rather quickly, Peavler remembered, at once horrified as well as pleasantly surprised. He had often used less-than-fresh lips in the production of his deep-sea sausages, and he found them to get ripe at an astonishing rate – much more quickly than a sea cucumber or a barnacle.
“I suppose you wonder what I'm doing here,” asked the corpse, lighting a cigarette.
“It came to mind,” replied Peavler, frantically looking for an ashtray.
“No need to worry,” said the corpse, “I don't need an ashtray, if that's what you're looking for. I can just use my liver right here,” he said, producing the wet, slippery organ through a hole in his side.
“Lovely,” replied Peavler, looking a little green around the gills. The smell coming out of the corpse's side was overwhelming.
“Well, why don't you just have a seat and I will share a little something with you. Sit back down. There you go. Sit down, let your feet hang.” The corpse took a long drag on the cigarette before continuing. “A long time ago there was a young boy who lived right around here, named little Johnny Pitstick. Johnny Pitstick was a sensitive youth with two live garden slugs for eyelids. At least they looked like garden slugs – they were actually just his eyelids, but they were coated with a greyish ooze that made them resemble garden slugs. Johnny wore sunglasses most of the time to hide his eyelids from the public.”
“It sounds awful,” interjected Peavler.
“Don't interrupt me when I'm on a roll, sausage-boy. Anyhow, he wore sunglasses to hide his eyelids, but his mother thought those eyelids were just about the most wonderful things she had ever seen. She had a full twenty-seven pages of his baby album dedicated to closeups of those slug-lids, and she never missed a chance to show them off when company came. 'Just look at little Johnny's eyelids,' she would gush when Mr. Garza the mayor came to call. 'Look at how they glisten!' Johnny would tremble with shame, his face flushing bright red. Even those hideous eyelids of his would take on a crimson cast.”
“Once again, quite awful,” said Peavler, making a sour face.
“Put a sock in it for a minute, chopstick,” warned the corpse, who continued his story. “One day little Johnny Pitstick was watching some of his government-mandated 14 hours of daily TV viewing when he saw an advertisement for eyelid toupees. He had never heard of such a thing, but apparently hairpieces for the eyelids had become all the rage in Romania after a bell-wearing hippie from Minnesota had tried to begin an arts movement in Budapest. Not speaking any Romanian, the hippie was entirely misunderstood and what he intended to have received as a neo-Dadaist movement took root as a fashion trend. Romanian men began undergoing transplant surgeries. Follicle plugs in the upper lid were going like hotcakes in the Romanian countryside. Considering what a kick-ass hotcake your average Romanian housewife whips up, that's saying a lot.”
Peavler had learned his lesson and sat quietly while the rotting corpse lit another cigarette.
“Anyhow, little Johnny Pitstick just had to get some eyelid hair. He was consumed with the desire for lid-toupees or a transplant or some such method for getting hair in a place the Creator never intended. Using something that in the twenty-first century was known as the 'Internet', Johnny contacted a Romanian follicle specialist by the name of Dr. Radek Copacia. Dr. Copacia was amenable to giving little Johnny a go, so he scraped together the money he had earned selling 'anti-inflammatory of the month' subscriptions while hanging around the local hyperbaric chamber, bought himself a round-trip ticket to Budapest, packed up his sluggy little eyelids and off he went.”
“Hyperbaric chamber?” asked Peavler.
“Yeah. This used to be a mining community. Anyhow, little Johnny made it to Budapest and at long last the anticipated day of his surgery dawned. As the anesthesia was being administered, Dr. Copacia informed Johnny that the only donor for follicular plugs that week was a sixteen year-old Welsh Corgi by the name of Rudy who had met an untimely end at the hands of a rampant furrier. Johnny wanted to rethink the whole thing, but the anesthetic was dulling his judgment. He reluctantly agreed, and slipped into dreamland.”
“Corgis can be a mean lot,” said Peavler.
“Ain't it the truth,” said the corpse. “Well, when Johnny awoke from surgery, his eyelids throbbed like somebody was dancing the Charleston on them. As it turned out, Dr. Copacia and his nurse actually were dancing the Charleston on them. When they realized that little Johnny Pitstick was awake, they stopped dancing and got off the recovery room table.”
“Well, a few weeks went by and things just got worse. Johnny's eyelids swelled up like balloons and all but a few Corgi hair-plugs fell out. His poor, swollen eyelids looked like gray, slimy Swiss cheese, and Johnny had to rely on a continuous stream of Tramadol and Vodka to keep the pain at bay. Finally, a full month after surgery, Dr. Copacia declared the surgery a complete failure and sent little Johnny packing. Arriving back home in the 'States, Johnny felt depressed and woozy. He sat at the family table at dinnertime and hardly said a word. It was his mother who finally brought him back to his senses and with some kind words helped him to break out of his depression.”
“What did she say?” asked Peavler.
“She told him not to feel too bad...the old 'hair of the dog' strategy never works.”
Peavler gave a disapproving look to the rotting corpse and crawled back under the covers.