Oxo Marx awoke on a Monday morning with a large blemish on his left cheek. He felt it the moment his eyes opened; the muscles moving to let light into his brain sent a sharp, fierce pain throughout his face, and he let out a small sound: -Gahaaa.
Sitting up, within his sheets, he sought it out with his fingertips, delicately feeling out the soft flesh below his eye like a blindman might. When he touched the pimple another shockwave of pain fluttered through his face, causing his eyes to blink a few times without his permission. A tear rose to attention in his left eye, but didn’t have the heart to jump.
-Goddammit, Oxo hissed through clenched teeth. -A pimple. A fucking pimple.
He was angry not only because it was Monday, a day he routinely loathed, but also because he was meant to have his first date with Priscilla later than evening. He had bought tickets for the circus. He didn’t know if Priscilla liked the circus anymore, but she had been an elephant rider for years, and then quit one summer day to become a dental hygienist. Just like that. He hoped she still liked the circus. He hoped she wouldn’t notice his pimple.
The pimple, not his pimple. He wasn’t going to think of it as his, he had nothing to do with it, apart from the fact that it had decided to nest on his face.
-Goddammit, he hissed again, and got out of bed.
As he walked to the bathroom to survey the damage, he let out a fantastically long and loud fart. Feeling slightly better, he faced his reflection in the mirror. It was worse than he thought. The pimple was about the size of a quarter, red, pulsating, a drop of pus just starting to ooze from the head. ‘A decidedly ugly pimple’, he thought to himself. He laughed then. -As if there’s an attractive pimple. he said to himself.
It was then that the pimple spoke.
YOU’RE NOT SO HOT YERSELF, YA KNOW. it said. He believed he even saw the pore open and close slightly as it spoke. The movement was painful, and uninvited. It was, to be quite frank, insulting. He was not used to being addressed by blemishes, and chose to ignore the remark.
Oxo turned on the water in the shower, and when it had reached the desired temperature, he stepped inside. The water smacked the pimple immediately, jolting him again, and Oxo turned his back to the hot stream. He cursed slightly under his breath, and the pimple throbbed. He felt it was gearing up to speak again, or had he imagined that? No blemish had ever spoken to him before, and he had never heard of a blemish speaking to anyone else. He had just gotten out of bed, after all, perhaps its the was the remains of a dream. A hypnogogic hallucination . . . or hypnopompic maybe, he could never remember which was which.
As he stood in the shower, feebly washing his chest with a sudsy rag, he went over what he had heard the pimple say. “You’re not so hot yourself, you know.” it had said. He washed the back of his neck. He knew he wasn’t the best looking guy in the world, that’s precisely why getting the pimple in the first place had angered him so much. He really didn’t need the pimple to point it out to him. He washed his left arm. Oxo had never been particularly attractive, in fact he still harboured the memory of a girl on the bus telling him point blank “You’re ugly” when he was fifteen. He hated that memory. He hated the memory, and hated that he remembered it so vividly, when he had forgotten so many other memories. He wasn’t certain if the memories he had forgotten were good ones or bad ones, since he had forgotten them, but he secretly always assumed they were good ones. It would be just like him to only remember bad memories. He washed his genitals. The thing about that memory that bothered him most was what he had ended up responded at the time. He didn’t like to think about it. Oxo washed the crack of his ass. Witty comebacks had never been his strong suit, nor had quick thinking on his feet. When she had told him he was ugly he hadn’t known what to say, he was so blown away by the sheer naked honesty of the comment. He responded, quietly, “I know.” and quickly taken a seat, his ears and neck turning red, and burning hot. Oxo washed the back of his neck again.
He thought of the memory again, saw the girl’s face, her casual indifference, and started to become angry again, after fifteen years. He would love to meet the girl again. He would love to see her on the street, or on the bus, and have something to say back to her. Oxo was mindlessly running the rag back and forth across his chest now. He imagined bumping into her on the street and saying “Oh I remember you, you’re the girl who said I was ugly. Well, did I mention that you have bad breath?” No no no.
He slapped the sudsy rag down to the bathtub. What a terrible retort. Even after fifteen years he couldn’t think of anything good to say back to her. Say something hurtful, something that would make her think about the comment later, much later. Maybe for the rest of her life. Tell her that she has fat thighs or that she has . . . he paused, remembering. It occurred to Oxo that he couldn’t actually remember the girl’s face anymore, he could only remember his memory of it. She had blonde hair and blue eyeshadow, that much he knew, but would he be able to recognize her on the street if he saw her now? He didn’t think so.
Oxo turned the water off, and stood dripping. He was going to be damned if he would spend another fifteen years wondering if he could have responded more appropriately to his pimple. Without drying, he stepped out of the bathtub and faced the mirror. He wiped away the fog that steam had left on the surface and looked at the pimple. It still throbbed.
-Say something, smartass. he said to it. It throbbed on, but made no reply. He looked down at it, another single drop of pus starting to ooze out of the head. -C’mon smart guy. Say something smart. I dare you.
The pus dribbled out of the head, but still no reply was forthcoming.
Oxo leaned in, toward the mirror, almost pressing his face against the reflection. -Say something you little fuck, I know you want to . . . come on!
And then the pimple spoke again. The pore opened and closed as it said YOU’RE UGLY. then began to giggle.
Oxo stared at it, dumbstruck. He had expected it to repeat its original comment. Standing there, still dripping wet and nude, Oxo began to shake with rage. Again! Again with that comment, and now from a pimple. A fucking pimple. That was the last straw.
He was getting rid of the pimple. The pimple was going to be gone, that’s all there was to it. One way or another.
Oxo stalked off into his apartment, slammed open a closet, and began to rummage through a box in the bottom. He thought he could hear the pimple ask what he was doing, but kept lifting objects up, feeling beneath them and then dropping them back down and moving on. Finally, his finger tips found what he was looking for.
Oxo Marx pulled out his father’s saw. -HA! he cried out in triumph. He walked into the kitchen, took out the cutting board he had never used, and placed it onto the counter. He turned his head, laid it onto the cutting board, and began to saw at his neck in long quick strokes. In three full slices his head came off from the stump and rolled into his sink.
In this way, the problem was solved.