Egos and Alter Egos. A story by Lila Stuart

Des O’ Lation threw his head back and laughed. I should say one of his heads – for he had two – and felt that there might be another one growing just north of his left shoulder blade.

It all started in early January 2020. He thought he had a pimple on his neck, no – maybe a boil, no- perhaps at the rate it was growing, it might be an enlarged gland. When the knuckle of hair poked through his beard, he blamed the new beard trimmer he had bought online. Just missed a bit, he thought. More hair came, then forehead and so on right down to the chin – minus a beard. Don’t know why women complain about childbirth, he thought. I hardly felt that.

The postman, Joe Mailer, unknown to Des, had taken a video of his two headed version as he backed down the path, dropping the letters as he went. By midday every news channel in the country had wind of this phenomenon. Des, ignorant of this development, struggled to get dressed having had to alter his biggest jumper to accommodate another head hole. By this time the whole street was out gawking and laughing. Des was a man who liked to keep himself to himself, but he had to brave the barrage of abuse, the tittering and guffawing of his neighbours as the paper boy had dropped the paper outside the gate, as did the online delivery man with his groceries. The twins next door were playing catch with his apples and other kids were brandishing his bananas and making monkey noises.

It was awkward though. The two heads kept clashing. Who said two heads were better than one?
Funnily enough, the second didn’t seem to like what was going on with the first one and tried to distance itself from it: the cord connecting the two got longer and thinner and was dangling in front of Des making faces at him, if you please. It was all too much for Des. Incensed, he just caught it between the ears, shook it and was amazed when it just detached itself and took off into next door’s back garden.

The twins dropped the apples and tore after it tossing it to each other like a hot potato. It was neither hot nor gruesome – just like a harmless Halloween has-been. Des felt his shoulder swelling growing and was beside himself. It was all out of his control now. He shrieked, cried and laughed all at once. The twins, tiring of their new toy, chucked it back to Des, who grabbed it and threw it as far as he could. It landed in Ian Flation’s front garden. The twins made faces as they ran into their house, each holding his neck. Des, hot, hurt and bothered ran for his own house kicking the door as he went.

A& E were not ready for the invasion of patients that evening. The junior doctors started a head count to see if the system could cope. Professor Cap Utman said he had heard of other similar cases in other parts of the world but it had been classified as fake news, too head-staggering to be rationalised.

By supper time Des O’ Lation didn’t know if he was on his head or his heels or which mouth to feed.


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