Ian, the 52 year old Circle K clerk, got his left arm torn off by a great white on his last summer vacation. His frequent nosebleeds set off an underwater rollercoaster, and there it was. Big ass shark, a thousand teeth. He can still drive a car, make burgers, win fistfights, and drink booze and all of that. Now his friends call him Lil Lefty, the speedboat failure.
“Worst thing about it is I can’t even properly hug my wife anymore. It’s just not the same. That phantom limb shit has me feeling like I’m half-dead, like my ghost is hugging her on the other side. Bastard took my wedding ring and the Pinhead tattoo on my forearm that I paid $350 for, not including the hefty tip I gave. I could just about murder the son of a bitch.”
He grips a broken beer bottle in his hand every Friday. The TV has never wracked up his electric bill quite like this. He watches Shark Week when he needs a hit of adrenaline. He wasn’t depressed or anything like that, just angry. Ian would sit on the couch wearing a Pinhead mask in silence.
“Ian, honey, what are you thinking about?” His wife asks.
“Nothing. I love you, Darla.”
“I love you too, baby.”
Ian changed the channel to a body-building competition. He flexed his bicep once or twice and changed the channel once more.
“I could just about murder the son of a bitch. One day.”
Ian checked the local craigslist ads for a new boat, blood dripping from the mask’s nose.
— Alex Osman lives in Texas and writes stories in fast food parking lots. He wrote the book Problem Child, published by Expat Press, and is currently writing the Coneheads 2 screenplay.