by Lincoln Michel


The mouth on the top of Franz’s head has a diameter of six inches. His address is 606 Hinton Ave. The electricity tower next to his house is sixty feet tall. Franz is an accountant; he immerses himself in numbers and yet he has, so far, failed to figure out the significance of these repetitions.

The mouth can speak, but only German. The mouth is rude and gets Franz into trouble. After a grueling day of accounting, Franz steps into the elevator holding his briefcase neatly in front of his crotch. In the elevator is a shapely young woman in a blue power suit.

“Du hast einen leistungsfähig arsch,” says the mouth.
 
The red handprint stays there for twenty minutes.

Franz wears a black bowler hat on the top of his head, to cover the anomaly. It was his grandfather’s. Franz sits on a park bench musing over his fate. It is mid-May and Franz is the only person wearing a bowler hat. Franz is an accountant, but if he were an artist perhaps he would be more optimistic about his fate, given the history of famous faces obscured by apples and white birds. Perhaps he would view himself as walking art, perhaps.

A small squirrel, not cautious due to years of hand-feeding in the park, crawls along Franz’s shoulder and wanders under his hat. It does not re-emerge. Franz weeps silently.


Franz sits nervously crinkling the thin white paper of the doctor’s table. The doctor prods with his tongue depressor.  


“It’s a tumor,” he says definitively.
 
“A…a tumor?”

 
“Yes, probably benign.”


“Benign?! It just ate a squirrel.”
 
“I meant it’s not cancerous.”
 
”Oh.”

The mouth is learning some manners. Eating some particularly peppery salami, Franz sneezes.
 
“Gesundheit,” says the mouth.
 
Still, to Franz, the situation is becoming unbearable. He lies in bed at night asking god, “why?” But god does not answer him. If only there were someone for him, some kindred soul. Some woman with an eight-inch ear fixed to her dainty head who would hold him in her arms and listen, listen.

Lincoln Michel is a young writer and fiction editor of GW Review who fluctuates between small towns and big cities and writes whatever burrows into his head and asks to be let out. He has only recently begun submitting writing for publication but his work can be found in Wooden Teeth, Le Cult de Moi and McSweeney’s Internet Tenedency (forthcoming).