Thanks goes to the horrible chemical. The campfire story didn't
just come about, like a happy accident. And the teller's
tongue didn't consciously fan out over a bed of soft warm teeth.
Our attention voluntarily parallel with it. Ants at our feet
with their own dirty brown feet. At the drive-in in the crawlspace
of night. Not an accident.
The terrible instability of the mental image: the bad-dream Afro.
Touch it and you'll never be alone again.
The tension between the pale interstices of shed skin.
Your worm's discomfort and its subsequent overreaction –
when after the metamorphosis it was not exactly Charlton Heston-handsome!
Which is precisely why he's such a conversation piece. Not because he's
an onion covered in corpse paint; or because he's a toddler with glowsticks
for guts. Their pungency neutralized by weak porridge.
A witch tearing out of the toddler a ghost's ectoplasm.
Charlton at the dinner table of his own home
sitting there unrecognizably...
For in reality no one recognizes him. Which is why it was
an apocalyptic sort of campfire story. The apocalypse
is an abnormality, after all. An apocalyptic campfire story
is an abnormal, musky sort of hat.