“Which truth is the most true!”, the largest giant floating head shouted once again.
Martin couldn’t understand why the thing was shouting in the first place. The room, if it was a room, seemed to pick up sound quite well. Even the tiny puttering of his forty-three-year-old heart. He was impressed. Working as a sound engineer for most of his life, he’d never been in a place with acoustics so perfectly-
“Which truth?! Answer!”, the closest head exclaimed, it’s eyes bulging slightly.
“Answer, SLUT!”, another added. A few more quickly repeated the word, hitting the “s” for emphasis and winking suggestively. In a matter of seconds the entire group of monstrous heads had whipped themselves into a frenzy; some shaking their drooping foreheads suggestively at Martin, others grinding the bulbous protrusion of brain on their backsides against each other, cooing and making little piggy noises.
Disgusting, Martin thought. In all his years as a sound engineer he’d never-
“You think WE disgusting?!”, said a slightly smaller head listing to one side. It appeared to Martin that it was struggling a bit to maintain flotation. “Look at yourself, Martin Brown!”
They can read my thoughts?, Martin thou-
“We can do more than that! We can see into your very soul! And what we’ve found, is lacking!”, a head somewhere behind him said.
“Severely lacking, you…jag wagon!”, piped in a third, and with that the group quickly devolved once again into a tumult of insults and crazed gyrations.
Martin Brown used this time to collect his thoughts. What exactly had happened to bring him here? It had been a normal Friday night. Home from work, then his evening snack of orange slices and an episode of his favorite show, The Way We Were; a delightful comedy about three senile octogenarian friends trying to construct a time machine in order to murder themselves as children. The funny part was they were doing it so as not to experience the tragedy of their respective dreams slowly being crushed in adulthood. Martin could relate. As a boy, he’d always wanted to be a chemical engineer, only to find out later in life he was slightly too stupid to do so. One of the characters on the show, Jeanie, was constantly lamenting her own stupidity, though she always ended up accidentally fixing whatever time-paradox-related problem had occurred. She was Martin’s favorite. One second he’d been watching Jeanie successfully fit a square peg into a round hole, and the next he was here. How?
“Do not try to use logic”, the largest head said scathingly, interrupting Martin’s train of thought. Martin decided he would call it Mr. Gabrielson, after a particularly brutish gym teacher he’d had in fifth grade. “Or reason!”, it continued. “We spit on logic and reason!”
Many of the heads spat, to demonstrate this, though the smaller one struggling to float could only drool a little.
“You must answer, or stay here with us forever!”, Mr Gabrielson said. “Which truth is the most true!”
Well, I might as well try and answer, Martin thought. I’d rather not stay here. It seems to be a rather sad and silly place. Also, I’m getting hungry again. “Could you repeat the ummm, the question, or the statements, again?”
“Very well!”, Mr. Gabrielson intoned. He loomed closer, eyes twitching.
“A woman decides to fire a man with tiny fingers.
‘Indeed, you are much too angry, and you have no experience’, she says.
‘Do you not see my extremely tiny fingers?’, he replies.
‘Indeed I do, this is a ring factory!’, she says in turn.
Here are your choices:
One: The man should not have been working at a ring factory in the first place. The woman is a witch!
Two: The woman is mistaken! The man’s lack of ring knowledge would give the factory a new perspective on ring-making entirely. The family farm is saved!
Three: Rings are symbols of eternity and original sin. As such, they must only be worn by those who have attained arcane knowledge and/or immortality. Apocalypse is inevitable!
Now…Which truth is the most true?”
“Which truth is the most true?!”, the throng of heads surrounding Martin repeated in chorus.
Martin tried to think. The heads had moved closer now, and he was getting woozy from a sickly sweet smell coming off the fat rolls of their sweaty, pallid faces. “…Ummm…None of them? I don’t-”
“Incorrect!” Mr. Gabrielson said, moving closer still. “You are a being of consciousness, Martin Brown. Able to discern truth. Able to understand morality, agency, will, and when an orange has gone rotten! Has the orange gone rotten Martin?! Do you deserve this gift you’ve been given? Round two!”
Mr Gabrielson returned to his place in the circle of craniums, and another wizened head with pinprick eyes took his place. Martin could have sworn it had his mother’s face.
“A wolf comes into town.”, the head of Martin’s mother said to him. “The townspeople admire its beautiful fur and fine teeth.
The wolf says, ‘I am a wolf. I kill sheep. I would like to kill your sheep. Will you help me kill your sheep?’
The townspeople love their sheep. They decide to make the wolf Head of Wolf Killing, so as to distract him from killing their sheep.
Here are your choices:
One. Wolves cannot talk, the story is a fallacy. There is no God!
Two. The townspeople are the wolves and wolf is the sheep and the sheep are the people. Think about it!
Three. I have cut your head off, Martin.”
Indeed, she had. Martin looked down and beheld his ragamuffin body being slowly swallowed by a gaping hole in Mr. Gabrielson’s brain-butt.
“Which truth is the most true!?”, the chorus of heads once again demanded.
“They’re all true!”, he said, plaintively. The words barely came out. Being just a head was proving a difficult transition.
“Incorrect!”, they replied back in unison.
“Then the first one! No, all of them are false! I don’t know…I don’t know! What’s happening to me?!”
But Martin’s mother’s head wouldn’t reply, instead gently corralling him to an empty spot in the outer circle.
“Give me another chance”, Martin said desperately, trying to fend her off . “Isn’t there a third round? There’s always a third round.”
Mr Gabrielson had finished consuming Martin’s body and resumed his central post. “There’s no third round Martin. Not here, at least. A square peg does not fit inside a round hole. Unless, of course, the hole is very large. Welcome to The Search.”
Written by Matthew Soson (mattsoson.com) . Illustration by NODU ( https://noduart.wordpress.com/)