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The Madness Within

One of Fourteen Billion
One of Fourteen Billion

I don't remember when others' ears began to intrigue me, to occupy nearly all of my cogent moments awake or asleep. It seems like forever. I can't help it. Unlike anyone I know, I in fact have made a lifelong examination of them.

Ears come in all shapes and sizes: large, ugly ears; dainty ears; fat ears; thin ears; flat, pinned-back ears; pointy animal-like ears; ears that stick out; ears that don't. Each set of ears has its distinctive anatomy. Photograph an ear and you can identify its owner with fingerprint accuracy.

Strange things happen to ears.

Prizefighter ears become pulverized from getting popped repeatedly. They look horrible. Nevertheless, those ears may return several thousand dollars a pop.

Many ears suffer multiple painful piercings. Baubles and beads suspend from them, distorting their outlines.

A famous painter lost part of an ear to his razor. Some say he did it on purpose. His painting captured the sight.

Some people have ears but no hearing. Given this rude, raucous world, one might consider them lucky.

My therapist claims I have an ear fetish. Because I study them, I have an ear fetish? I have news for him. He has tiny, tight, twisted ears in desperate need of cleaning.

Nevertheless, you must know that my love affair with ears inevitably led me to my present unhappy situation.

My ears catch the tread of heavy shoes. I hear them coming for me.

The ears I came to love belonged to her. I adored all of her, but loved her ears most of all. Delicate, pink, like convoluted petals of an exotic flower, they lured my gaze.

She lived not far from me. I knew this because she left the same bus at the same time and place I did when day's end came. She went one way, I another.

One evening I went her way. Her ears, visible under silky hair, drew me like a bee to nectar.

She heard my steps. She looked back. She hastened her pace. I walked faster. At the corner she turned to cross over. A car loomed. I tried to pull her back. She screamed once.

The car's occupants swore they saw me push her. False! Other witnesses testified I always took a bus seat behind her. True. Whatever they say, I can't have her now, or see her ears.

The Row of Death
The Row of Death

They won't let me have anything sharp: I might take my life. No, like the artist, I would crop my ears. A life of loving ears, now I hate them. Every ear I see, mine, mirrored, or those of guards or fellow inmates, sicken me. If the population has reached seven billion, there exists fourteen billion of these awful appendages.

If I severed mine I would still hear her scream. I cover my ears; her scream remains.

Now I await my last day. The injection. Sleep. No more screams.

My ears catch the tread of heavy shoes. I hear them coming for me.

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