Mike Montreuil tries to remember where he lost his head

We haven't carried any flash fiction for a while so here's a piece from regular IS&T contributor Mike Montreuil. He says this started as a invented/imaginary haibun but it got too long – and that he still doesn't know if it will make people laugh…


I've lost my head many times throughout the course of the centuries. Some born of royal blood seem to avoid the tragedy of being headless. But not me. I have had my share. I believe, if memory serves me right, the first time was in the south of Egypt during the time of Thetmoses II, a pharaoh who ruled the Nile during the eighteenth dynasty. Seems I was caught stealing gold and artifacts from his father's tomb. It was a nasty cut. I could tell as I rose into the heavens; the executioner swung his bronze sword three times.

A thousand years would pass before I would become separated again. With my luck, I was probably a peasant or slave during that quiet time and never had the chance to live past my twentieth birthday. Not that they were counted or celebrated. Heck, making it to the next harvest was good enough. Anyway, this second time occurred as I travelled the Palestine as a rug merchant. As usual, I was arrested for selling favors to the rich housewives of the ruling class. However, unlike the other times, one of the wives confessed to her indiscretion. The motion was swift and without mercy.

Then there was China, eight hundred years ago. Life was too serious over there; too structured. That led me to trouble with a local governor. He didn't appreciate my advances on his three youngest daughters. The governor had me hauled to some kind of rack and after some fun with me, finally separated my head from my body. I don't know where it wound up. My spirit was a bit shaken after losing his daughters. Damn, they were eager and lustful.

That brings me to the twenty-first century. It's a good time to recollect all my headless escapades into some sort of ghastly story. Hopefully, it will enable some reader to realize that history, however insignificant like mine, does repeat itself.

Now, what happened during the American civil war? Let's see. Yes.

…Then there was the time when conquistadors looted our village near Cuzco. And let's not forget the time in Rome as the Vandals overcame the defences…

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