It began with a Mr Parsons in Edinburgh, an elderly lawyer who, upon placing his customary hat upon his head, discovered the hat was unexplainably too large. Later that same day, while hat-less and at work, he took his customary bathroom break and noticed that a small growth had sprouted from his inner thigh.
He made nothing of it for the time being, and certainly did not connect the odd events.
Over the next months, many people around the world independently made similar discoveries, a diminution of the head and the emergence of a strange growth, called variously—albeit erroneously—a cyst, a skin tag, a pimple, a tumor, a boil, etc.
My head remained the same size and I developed no growths.
Soon, internet communities sprang up, e.g. myheadisshrinking.com, /wtfisthisfuckinggrowth, in which people shared stories of similar observations, and observations they were, for it was all verifiable. You could measure your head and your growth. If you saw your doctor, the doctor could not deny the physical reality, only offer some kind of explanation. It was not the fault of the medical profession that it grasped so lamely at straws and provided wrong diagnoses.
Eventually two conclusions were made: that the increase in the size of each growth was proportional to the decrease in the size of each head, and that as people’s heads shrank, their intelligence diminished.
I became aware of being surrounded by idiots.
By year’s end, the world’s population had heads the size of softballs—grotesque balding ovoids of cubistically rearranged facial features—and melon-sized flesh sacks emanating from their bodies, making communication and locomotion increasingly difficult. These disturbing creatures babbled, drooled, slumbered and ate.
I was the exception.
The voice spoke to me one night in a deep REM sleep, speaking words I can describe only as smelling of bergamot and vetiver.
Meet us in Atlantis on the mindful ocean, it communicated.
The same sentence began appearing in unexpected places: in emails from no one, repeated on the page of a book, in pop songs, on billboards, and as a tattoo on my forearm.
The meaning remained a mystery—
until that fateful day when Earth experienced its simultaneous noon, the oceans boiled and evaporated, and everyone’s head condensed into nothingness while their growths, now bulbous, wispy-haired and veiny, detached from their bodies and rolled obediently to the floor of what but yesterday was the Atlantic.
There: they popped.
And their oozing, organic fragments trembled before congealing into a single, throbbing mass of gelatinous consciousness!
I understood the message.
I arrived in New York and from there walked upon the pulsating softness to Atlantis.
We sat cross-legged across from one another and meditated.
My eyes closed, I felt myself gently descending, and when it was done I was seated upon the desiccated ocean floor, and where my head once was there now palpitated a tremendous sphere of the entirety of humanity’s head-matter!
I could think anything and it was.
I think you.