Homer had been waiting the better part of an hour in this tiny office on a cold aluminum chair that refused to warm under his bony posterior. An overhead lamp buzzed and flashed, assaulting his aching head through closed eyelids.

He put his forehead to the desk and again the unwanted voice shattered his peace, bringing with it a new wave of pain at the base of his skull where the strange device intruded.

Come on, big bird, we have got to go! Mission’s over, it’s time to bring it home.

Just then, a pigeon-chested man in a tan cardigan popped through the door. He clutched a tablet to his chest as a bushy brown mustache danced over his lips. “Homer Columbo?”

Is he the best they can do? I’ll make him eat that mustache.

“Columba, with an A. Did you bring any aspirin? I asked for some aspirin.”

“Mr. Columbo, I am special agent Wilson and I’ll get you a whole bottle of aspirin if you can just clarify some of your statements for me. So let’s get right to it, shall we?”

Homer covered his eyes and nodded.

“Okay, now: You claim you removed evidence from the scene of an active investigation, how did you get it stuck in the back of your head like that?”

Homer dropped his hand and stared at the agent.

“I already told the first guy, I didn’t take it, it attacked me and embedded itself into my skull!”

Homer winced.

“Then why didn’t you contact us right away?”

“I blacked out. The next thing I know I’m sitting at home staring at a wall. I’ve said all this, in fact I see it typed out on your screen there.”

The agent pulled the tablet to his chest and pointed at Homer.

“This will go a lot easier for you if you just cooperate. Now, what is it?”

“What is what?”

“The thing in the back of your head, what is it?”

“I don’t know, some kind of computer, I was hoping you people could tell me what it is!”

“Okay, where on the scene did you find it?”

Homer gaped at the mustachioed cardigan with a badge.

“I told you, I didn’t find it, I was attacked!”

“By a tiny top-hat shaped computer that goes by… Charlie?”

“Yes, he wants me to go somewhere, I don’t know where, he just keeps telling me to go home, but I already went home and this headache keeps pulsing unless I head southeast, and being stuck in here feels like my head is going to explode!”

Agent Wilson consulted his tablet.

“And this Charlie, in your head he sounds like… the drill sergeant from Full Metal Jacket?”

I do not.

Homer nodded. “I think he thinks I’m a bird.”

“So, what is Charlie saying to you now?”

His momma must’ve left the growth hormones out of his baby formula. I can take this runt!

“Something about your mother.”

Wilson bristled beneath his cardigan. “If you want us to take you seriously, Mr. Columbo, we need you to cooperate. Where did you find the device and how did you get it stuck in your head?”

“For the last time, it attacked me, it put itself in me, it’s trying to control me. Why won’t you listen to me?”

“Try listening to yourself, Mr. Columbo. You claim that a computer leaped from the rubble, inserted itself into your brain and is speaking to you. Now, you’re not leaving this room until I get a story that makes sense!”

Just stop fighting me you goddam overgrown chicken!

Homer shook his head. Fine. “Nobody here will listen to me.” We’ll do it your way.

Lock and load!

Homer felt himself stand, felt his arms tuck in beside him and his head pull back as he towered over the agent.

The agent stood, mustache ruffled around pinched lips. “What are you doing?”

Homer pulled a terrified grin, his eyes wide. “I’m sorry, but I think I’m about to peck you.”


Homer’s face crashed into Wilson’s and each stumbled backward.

“Ow! You broke my nose!”

“I broke my nose.”

Homer grabbed at his chair for support but his arms flew up, trench coat flapping as he spun, and the chair crashed into the agent’s back as he clutched at his face.

“Oh, god, is he dead?”

How the hell should I know? I’m not a medic. Now, get them weird phalanges of yours over that door handle, we’re getting out of here.

Dazed, Homer turned the handle, pushed the door open and was blinded by a bright room full of FBI agents all staring at the strange bird and his bloody beak standing in the doorway.

“No, no-no-no!”

Okay, big bird, get ready to fly!

Share the Post:

Related Posts