The Incense Salesman
And the Wind Continues to Blow
Crossing a Line
The next few days of Gill Milligan’s eggy life are nothing short of a dream come true for the now eggy man. Rose does not leave the Milligan household; neither of them even leave Gill’s bedroom on that first day, save for Gill’s occasional run into the kitchen to eat his eggs and get some energy back, energy that he quickly spends like he never had it stored in the first place; later in his life when he finally talks to a therapist about all this, Gill will say that Rose sucked the soul clear out of his body, but that’s just Gill, and that won’t be for at least a few weeks, anyway.
Following the first night of not sleeping, Gill makes his Rose breakfast. In return, Rose treats her Gill to a lovely dessert. When lunchtime comes around, they leave the bedroom again (walking out this time) and Rose makes her Gill an eggy lunch. In turn, Gill treats his Rose to a lovely dessert, followed by an extra helping of afternoon delight. They eat each other for dinner, and it’s just as grotesque as you think it is. Disgusting even, absolutely nasty. Gill relishes every second of it.
The third day starts at noon. Forty-eight hours of not sleeping will do that to you, even if you’re as young and restless as Gill and Rose are, and the crawl down to the kitchen is hard on both of their worn-out knees, more so for Gill, if you’d believe it printed on a papery surface. Rose makes herself an extra helping of eggs and Gill watches her eat it, mesmerized like a dog watching its owner eat dinner.
“What?” Rose asks him when she notices him starting to leak slobber.
In response, Gill gets down on the floor and bows as if he was praying. When he lifts his head up, his Rose is no longer leaning against the counter. Gill is petrified for a moment, terrified, and that’s when the first doubt crawls into his mind: ‘Is this… have I been dreaming this whole time?’
Then, Rose’s right hand makes itself present between Gill’s legs from behind – neither of them have worn clothing since Rose chased Gill up to his bedroom on the first day, you see – and Gill’s doubts go away… for the moment, at least. They come back for a second or two after lunch, then Rose scares them away with her mouth. They resurface later when Rose is in the bathroom, this time in the voice of Gill’s Father whispering in his ear, but they shut right up when Rose suffocates Gill in a better way than he could even dream of. They come back a third time when Gill is in the bathroom a little bit later, this time in the form of his reflection taking on a mind of its own and berating him from the other side of the mirror – Gill stifles this noise by taking Rose to his Father’s bedroom and living out his greatest, most gnarly fantasy. They go at it in Bill’s bed until Rose is unable to walk and Gill is unable to, shall we stay, raise an obelisk in praise of his goddess, but it’s just as well. The sun is setting now, and Rose is getting very, very sleepy, so she asks Gill to change the soaked sheets on his bed so they can get some rest together.
“Why can’t we just sleep in here?” he asks her.
“Because that would be crossing a line, my eggy little man,” she answers, then she does a thing with her right foot that almost makes Gill pass out cold.
Gill hobbles into his bedroom – yes, hobbles, the eggy man’s walking with a limp at this point– and before he even makes it to his bed, the doubts rear their ugly claws and slice him to ribbons.
“This can’t be real… this is all a dream, it has to be a dream!” he shouts. He’s lucky he wore Rose out the way he did, because that’s not something he wants her to hear… if she’s real. But how can he tell? How can a man, an eggy little man like Gill who has trouble differentiating between a state of dreaming and a state of waking consciousness possibly hope to figure out if this sexed up goddess that randomly appeared on his doorstep is real or not all by himself? He’s a depraved, eggy little man, he’s never so much as touched a woman before Rose appeared out of the blowing wind, and all this woman’s done is touch and touch and touch him some more, and when she touched him with her right foot just now? Fesus Jucking Christ!
Gill wakes up on his bedroom floor a couple moments later. All of the blood rushed out of his head, it seems, but he’s back at equilibrium now. After checking to see if Rose was still laying on his Father’s bed – she was, and God damn him if the moonlight glistening off her ripe, sweaty body didn’t almost knock him out again – Gill returns to his room to clear off the sheets. He supposes there’s no way to really know if this is a dream or not; reality is the springboard from which all fiction flies, after all – that kind of makes you wonder about all those indie writers out there, doesn’t it? Well keep wondering, ya chinless chump – so is it really that hard to grapple with the idea that real life can be stranger than the fantasies in Gill’s head? Of course not. Gill just happened to get lucky – so, so lucky – when this Rose Williamson walked up from Fricker Drive in search of eggs (Gill’s most favoritest food), and that’s just what it is. As Gill wrestles with his blankets, he accepts that his life has taken a pleasant, amazing, miraculous turn, and he accepts it with a smile and thoughts dirty as the smile is grand.
Then, the other incense burner and the Wicked incense cone box fall out of Gill’s pillowcase.
Then, the doubts fuck Gill harder than Rose could ever hope to, whether she’s a fantasy or not.
Gill doesn’t waste time. He sets the burner on the floor, the burner with the black streak running through its center, and lines up the incense cone. Using the grill lighter he never returned to the kitchen because his Father isn’t home to use it anyway and as long as his Father isn’t home Gill is the man of the house and he gets to make the rules and do whatever he wants, Gill lights the incense. When the tip is glowing an effervescent orange, he blows out the flame and, whilst waiting for the smoke to build, puts his hands to his crotch. When the apparition takes form, Gill drops his dirty, filthy Peter, and his bottom jaw follows suit.
The djinn presents itself in the form of the masked woman from the incense box, except the cat mask is the only thing she’s wearing. The handle of the golden whip is clenched in her teeth, the tail is coiled around her voluptuous body like a snake around a curvaceous tree.
‘State your name, you eggy boy,’ the djinn hums seductively within Gill’s mind. The golden whip, as if it has a mind of its own, wraps its tail around the point where the incense smoke becomes the djinn’s plump, curvy thighs and slithers up her body, caressing her in a way that Gill could only dream of doing to Rose. Then, she throws Gill a wink.
Gill states his name, though it comes out in a dry puff of air rather than in his voice – it seems his breath has been taken away.
‘You have awoken me, Gill, and after rousing the great rose, no less. To return to rest, I must grant you a wish – you may have anything that you desire. Choose your words carefully, you eggy, eggy boy, though not for the sake of your undying soul; that egg’s been cracked, the shells sucked dry, and there wasn’t much yolk to speak of.’
Not bothering to contemplate what that might mean – not yet, at least – Gill looks the siren of his doubts in the eyes and gives in to its terrible serenade. “I want to know if I’m dreaming all of this, sexy genie, if the past few days with Rose has been nothing but a dream. That’s my wish – to know if any of this has been real.”
The djinn giggles, then titters, then bursts into a downright cackle the likes of which a Salem witch couldn’t manage no matter how much ergot-infested bread she ate. ‘Oh it’s real, you foolish, eggy mortal; in my granting of this wish, you’ll learn just how real it all is.’
The djinn, taking the handle out of her mouth, draws the whip back and cracks it in Gill’s face, the snap emitting a thunderclap that throws Gill across his room, landing him on his bare, sheetless bed. Though his bedroom lights are on, all Gill sees is darkness.
Then, he sees nothing at all.
And the wind continues to blow.
Hello Commons, this has been the seventh subchapter of the eighth story from Convenient Incidents, an anthology of fifteen interconnected short stories which revolve around a man by the name of Hilter Odolf Williamson.
Convenient Incidents is part of the Third Spiral, an anthology of sorts called The Here and Now which is comprised of stories told from the various planes of Existence.
Convenient Incidents is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
If you like Convenient Incidents and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here OR you can buy the ebook for even cheaper here.
If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~