The next day he went shopping. He bought a spanner size twelve with
grips on both ends allowing for two hand manoeuvres, a warped
screwdriver with double head to allow for simultaneous levering, a red
10 litre capacity bucket and a bottle of bleach. In another shop he
acquired three vanilla scented candles burning time approximately 10
Then he went to the biggest record shop in town, here it was getting
difficult he had to choose the right sort of music for the procedure to
have the required effect. He was looking for some Native American
music, the spiritual kind, he eventually found what he was looking for
in the world music section. He picked up the Beastie Boy album 'The
Sounds of Science', Can 'Soon over Babaluma', Missy Elliot 'Under
Construction', The Penguin Caf? Orchestra 'Signs of Life', The White
Stripes 'De Stjl' and finally 'Milestones' by Miles Davies. Packed with
all those goods he returned to his office to prepare for the following
day. He compiled a play list consisting of the afore mentioned albums,
then rearranged the space, creating a perfect circle on the ground in
which he placed the three candles creating a perfect triangular, in the
centre of which he placed a chair.
Then he realized that he had forgotten two vital elements, firstly a
perfectly unsharpened pencil with two perfectly shapen ends and
secondly the superglue with which he had to keep various bits in place,
he knew that those items were easily obtained from the shop across the
street just that it was usually closed after 8pm and it being almost
ten there was little chance for him to obtain those before the
Everything was as close to perfection as one could hope, he had one
last look around checked on all the items he would need then turned the
light off and left. On his way out he called Jack and arranged to meet
him for a couple of beers at Maria's.
They got there at the same time hovered for a moment, then got seated
at the bar pretty much at the same place they were seated before. Maria
came over to greet them. "It's like you never left."
"It's always like that Maria."
She pulled two beers and placed them in front of Kelm and Jack.
"What's new," she then enquired.
"I am waiting to hear myself," Jack indicated.
"I am doing a brainwash tomorrow", comes proudly out of Kelm before he
can even think twice.
They both look at him with disbelieve then Jack comments.
"I hope you know what you are doing."
"Yes and so do I," Maria throws in.
"Hey guy's, I've read all there is to read about it and I believe I can
do it like that," and he makes a flippant gesture with his right
Maria shakes her head and walks to the other end of the bar to serve a
Jack for once is silent and just looks into his glass before he repeats
"I hope you know what you are doing."
"Come on man, it's not like I have failed before."
"Yeah cause you haven't done it before, but there is always a first
time for everything."
"I'm cool. She's cool. And I know what I am doing so relax, I am gonna
introduce her to you when it's done, field trial," and he smirks.
Jack nods and pours the better half of his pint down his throat before
ordering another couple and a double whiskey for himself. They have
three pints that night before Kelm insists on leaving to get the
suggested and as far as he is concerned appropriate hours of
Before going to bed that night he takes one of the twelve hour non stop
sleeping tablets he had lying around for most of the last three
But with all the excitement rushing through his veins he still wakes
after only eleven hours and twenty seven minutes and stays in bed for
the remaining thirty-three, his eyes tightly closed, pretending to be
asleep. Then he rises, well rested with a steady hand. He showers gets
dressed and heads for Lorenzo's for the all day breakfast special and
leaves there a quarter past one. On the way to his office he pops into
the shop opposite to get the perfect pencil and some superglue and at
ten to one enters the building accommodating his office.
Once again there are no new messages and he disconnects the answering
machine from the speakers so as not to get disturbed later on. He
checks the equipment then realises that the bottle of sparkling
chardonnay is missing. He writes a note for his client and sticks it to
the outside door when he leaves the building to acquire a bottle from
the off licence down the road, on his return the clock in his office
At three o'clock sharp the bell goes and he buzzes Luna inside. At
3:06pm she is sat down inside his office.
He sighs, then they both sigh.
"The price it comes to is seven and a half grand," he tells her and
almost expects her to change her mind. Instead she reaches inside her
bag and counts out the money, right there in front of him.
"I would much rather this wouldn't go through the books, I don't mind
paying a little more for that if necessary."
"Not necessary," he responds and greedily recounts the money, before
placing it in the safe behind the painting of the roaring stag.
You may be seated he then indicates for her to move towards the chair
in the centre of the circle which has been carefully glued into
"You better take your coat off though."
She does as told then proceeds to sit down in the chair, finding a
position comfortable for herself.
Kelm turns the music he prepared on, starting with the spiritual Indian
stuff playing a tune called 'Calling of the Deer'. He then gets the
bottle of sparkling chardonnay and pops the cork shattering the
lampshade by the window.
"You need to lean back, your head leaning into the devised contraption
allowing me to feed you the wine. And from now on, please do not talk
Luna Miller was seated, her head tilted back her mouth wide open. Kelm
inserts the bottle and pours its content down her throat some foam
rises up surrounding the bottleneck as she keeps swallowing. When the
bottle is empty he places it on the table next to him, Luna is as
relaxed as relaxed goes, he gently massages her head, his fingers
searching for the hidden screws that slowly protrude from underneath
the skin. He can feel the edge of the lid he has to open, and reaches
for the spanner and places it on the first screw, a quick jerk with
both hands forces the as yet sealed screw to break loose then gently
open. The same is done with the remaining three till the screws form a
neat little line on the table next to the empty bottle.
Now the double-headed screwdriver is reached for and carefully wedged
between the upper and lower part at the back of the head. He pushes
down once, then again, then lifts the top half of the skull off and
places it inside the red bucket. Next he reaches for the perfect pencil
placing it in his left hand his right grips the beginning of the
woman's brain placing it under his thumb in the middle of the pencil.
With his right he reaches for a piece of cloth soaked in bleach. He
wipes the beginning of the brain then places the cloth around it as he
slowly starts to uncurl it onto the pencil. The music now plays 'She's
on it' by the Beastie Boys. It takes almost thirty minutes to unwind
and clean the whole of the brain onto the pencil during which he turns
the music up louder and louder just as the manual had suggested. A few
drops of blood splattered to the ground, but it wasn't anything to get
wound up about. Once the brain was cleaned he flicked the music over to
the Penguin Caf? Orchestra the song being 'Swing the Cat'. Now the
harder part of replacing the brain inside the perfectly shaped skull.
He winds it down slowly organising the exact placement with the index
finger of his right hand, ones there is only a meter left he pushes it
inside then reaches for the top clicking it into place then carefully
as to not damage the sensitive tissue inserting the four screws,
tightening them with the spanner. The head is back to how it was before
when 'Billy Boy' by Miles Davies comes to an end.
Kelm feels the pressure he has been under for the past couple of hours
subside and is thankful for the sleep he had the night before. He rests
on his desk as he starts noticing the first signs of her coming around.
Half an hour later she is fully awake, looking at him like a brand new
child. There is a glimmer in her eyes that hasn't been there before.
There is warmth that has never touched her before and as he watches and
she slowly rises from the chair, he realises that the brainwash was a
Slightly dazed she is there right in front of him, smiling with both
eyes and lips, it feels as if he has given her a soul.
Luna herself feels slightly different too, she can tell that there is
emotion where previously there has been none. She can feel that there
is need where there has been none, she feels ecstatic and invigorated
by the multitude of feelings she is experiencing for the first time.
She looks at Kelm and as she does feels a deep affection for him. It is
not a sexual affection she realises quickly, it is that a child would
feel for their parent.
It takes hours for her body to readjust to the new situation, during
which Kelm places her on the bed in the little room, which barely
manages to accommodate a bed, while he puts his feet on the desk
catching a few hours sleep himself.
They wake simultaneously at around 10pm.
First Luna doesn't know where or what she is but it is a temporary
thing experienced by many when woken from sleep in a place unfamiliar
with. She sits herself up on the small bed searching for a light, which
eventually she finds. The harsh strip lights blind her eyes and she can
feel an impending headache. She starts moving towards the door and
steps through to the main room where Kelm rises quickly. They look at
each other. They smile at each other with a smile that for the first
time reaches both their eyes simultaneously.
"How are you feeling," Kelm enquires.
A little dazed and a little hangover, I think it's that fizzy wine you
It will pass, how about your, hm, body is everything working ok?
She beams, her eyes radiating a warmth that seems to heat the room to a
rather comfortable level. "Fine, but different. I feel like I finally
started working properly."
I suppose that's due to the removal of emotion numbing residues, which
have build up over the years. The bleach has a property which stops
those build ups from happening in the first place. Total twenty-four
He calls a cab for his client, advising her to get a good nights sleep
and return late afternoon the following day for a final assessment and
perhaps a drink to celebrate. After Luna is gone Kelm clears the room
of any sign from the procedure, then pours himself a whiskey, lights
one of the French cigarettes inhales deeply and smiles.
Luna reaches Kelm's office just after 5 the next afternoon, she feels
well rested and invigorated. There is a spring in her step that hasn't
been there before, one that Kelm notices by watching her approach on
his computer screen.
Inside his office she greets him with a warm hello and a peck on the
cheek, the woodenness and practical formalism from previous encounters
has passed away.
Funny how things change, he thinks, people change groups splinter the
residue remains and grows into something else.
You look well, he says to her, how are you feeling?
I feel great ready to unplug trees, pull down houses and smile at the
world. I tell you about my way here, on the tube and while waiting and
in the street and the way people are with me, it's different they react
differently. They treat me different, I guess it's because I am
different, I see the world in a different light, it's warmer this way.
Life is fun this way I never knew it to be like this. We should go out
and celebrate. I'm in a mood to ... to ... to party I guess." She beams
a smile that lightens up the whole room some parts rather too much for
"Well lets go somewhere, I know just the place to try out your new
"Ok," and she swirls around in one giant swoop that would make most
dancers feel ashamed of their talents.
They aim for Maria's, Luna seemed to dance alongside him reminding him
of an overexcited five year old. It feels good seeing her being an
entirely different person, although he keeps looking at her slightly
alienated if a little unsure what to expect next. Once inside the bar,
Luna's eyes grow bigger as she takes in every square inch of the place,
there was much to be explored and you could tell that she was eager to
run off to turn things over.
Maria behind the bar seems slightly colder then usual, but eventually
comes over to ask for his order. He flashes a smile at her, but it
"Luna," he turns, but she has wandered towards the back of the bar,
about to get seated on an empty table.
"A beer and a vodka tonic please."
Maria fetches the drinks and places them at the bar in front of
"You did it?"
"Did it work out?"
"I think she sure is a different person."
"Different for the better?"
"Much warmer and more relaxed and excitable."
She nods. "Those are on me," she says pointing at the drinks then turns
and walks off.
Kelm watches her disappear takes the glasses and walks towards the
table Luna is seated at. Once again he notices that her behaviour is
that of an excitable child and once more he asks her how she
"Fine, I'm really really happy and I think I ought to thank you for
that. Then she flashes that smile again. He sinks deeper into his chair
then notices Jack by the bar talking to Maria who points over at them,
he raises an arm to wave and Jack waves back at him.
When he comes over a few minutes later Kelm introduces the two to each
other, a spark seems to fly from the word go and as Kelm sinks deeper
into his chair, Jack and Luna indulge in deep conversation.
Something he can't pinpoint has gone wrong, not obvious wrong but wrong
nevertheless. He puts his finger tips together breathes slowly then
starts to replay yesterdays procedure. When he gets to the point of
closing the head he pauses then rewinds frame by frame till he can see
the yellow of the pencil shine through the red cords of brain. The red
and yellow looks pretty in its entanglement, he thinks, but realizes
that it is up to him to get it out again.
He looks across the table at Luna who is more smile than woman can be,
and he remembers how she had pronounced HAPPY with capital
"How the fuck am I gonna tell her that I have to crack her open
Perhaps the way the evening progresses and the way she keeps downing
that vodka will lead to a natural resolution. He looks at Jack who
returns his gaze with a question mark on his face, Kelm shrugs and
orders a coffee. He wouldn't want to get wasted to a point where he
would put the head on back to front.
Jack turns over and gestures, "What's with the coffee?"
"Gotta look after her for the night, it's the first since and you never
Jack nods, "Good thinking, she seems in top form though."
Kelm shrugs and tries to concentrate on his coffee while carefully
observing Luna's every move. And it's he who first notices the slight
drawl in her voice and the heaviness that is starting to show in her
movements. "She is getting drunk," he thinks and a smile creeps across
When they leave he is almost carrying her out of the bar, Maria frowns
at him as Jack offers to help but Kelm is quick to assure his friend
that all is well. So Jack stays behind with Maria who starts throwing
the undesirables out, while pulling another beer for Jack.
Kelm puts Luna into a cab then gets in himself giving the driver the
address of his office. Once there, there are four flights of stairs to
master with a seemingly unconscious Luna. In the end he slings her over
his shoulder and ascends the staircase, stopping more then once taking
a breather till reaching the door to his office. Inside he carefully
puts Luna in the chair she had been on the night before. He draws a
more or less round circle on the ground then places the candles and the
chair with Luna inside. When it comes to putting her in the right
position the problems start. Whenever he puts her head in the
contraption at the back of the chair she starts to slide downwards, he
has little option but to tie her into place.
Due to the lack of sparkling wine he gets a bottle of whiskey from the
cupboard, opens the bottle and pours half of it down Luna's throat.
With little empathy he rubs her head till the screws protrude and break
the skin, he undoes the screws then levers the head open again. The
pencil is found quickly and retrieved then the brain pushed back and
the head closed up again.
Luna has passed out completely, he sits himself behind the desk and
pours a large whiskey for himself then lights one of the French
cigarettes. "What to do next," he wonders, "stay here or take her back
to his place. Deciding to rest for an hour, he puts his feet on the
desk and blows ill shaped smoke circles in the air. Around an hour
later there is movement, it's time to leave. Carefully he unties her
after calling a taxi and when he pulls her up, her eyes open a little
and a drunken gargle comes from her mouth. With a lot of effort the two
leave the building to get into the waiting cab.
The next morning Luna wakes in a strange bed with an enormous headache.
I've never had so many hangovers in one row she thinks as she is
getting up to find the bathroom. When Kelm opens his eyes almost an
hour later on the sofa, he looks into her smiling face and receives a
steaming cup of coffee.
"I don't know how you take it," she apologises.
"Hot is always a bonus," and he pushes himself into a seating position.
"How are you feeling?"
"Good but a little weak, I have to get going soon though."
"How about we go for breakfast, then split."
"Best idea I've heard all day," she says laughingly and the smile of
her eyes doesn't betray her. It is more than noticeable that she had
changed once more, the five year old had somehow grown up over night
and blossomed into a desirable flower. She moved with a grace and calm
that she never before possessed. Over breakfast at Lorenzo's their
conversation returns to the night before, Jack's name is mentioned when
her phone rings.
"I have to get going," she says as she hangs up, I'll call. She gives
him a hug then turns to leave.
"Luna," Kelm shouts as she reaches the door. "Say hello to Jack."
"I will," and she blushes a little before disappearing.
Â© Marcus Bastel