Copyright 2011 Douglas T. Vale
Cover image courtesy of Adambooth / StockFreeImages.com
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Arnold wouldn't have tried the shampoo if he'd known what would happen to his long hair, which he felt rather protective of. The new shampoo seemed normal enough when he squeezed a bunch into his hand, made zigzags in it before lathering his scalp. It turned to white foam like most other shampoos. Only after he got out and prepared to comb tangles did he notice the snakes. A thousand tiny snakes sprouted from his scalp where his hair ought to be. Pale green, white, yellow, gray-brown, brown, emerald green. So many snakes. Arnold screamed.
“Oh God, oh God, what happened to my hair? Julie, Julie,” He said, running from the bathroom to look for his girlfriend. The snakes hissed and flicked their tongues and nipped his ears and face. Julie had been watching the morning news, and stood when he yelled. She opened her mouth to speak but could not. Then he met her eyes, and she turned to stone.
“Julie? Julie?” He said. He dashed to the statue, felt the could rough cheeks, the dead stone hands, the frozen eyes and mouth. “Julie, what the hell? Julie?” He blinked and stroked her gray stone hair, hair that was light brown and soft moments ago. But now she was like sun-bleached cement. Arnold gripped her waist and dragged her to a corner of the room, then stared. No words came, though he desperately wanted to say something, anything, something magic that would bring his girlfriend to life again.