The intelligence was a bloodstain on a mattress. It didn’t want anything until
it met the sickness.
The sickness was eight-year-old Melvin at a wedding. The wedding took place in the back garden of a rented mansion, with about two hundred guests on plastic chairs. The whole affair looked like a party of stick figures to Melvin, and he scowled darker and darker as the priest drawled out the vows. Near the end of the solemn oration, when the priest was saying “…intended by God for their mutual comfort,” Melvin leapt over his mother’s lap and started kicking and screaming in the aisle. “BORING! STUPID!” he shouted. “Honey, don’t,” his mother whispered, kneeling beside him. Melvin kicked and pounded so violently that his mother stepped back. “BORING! STUPID! BORING! STUPID!”
The priest had to speak louder to be heard above Melvin’s wails. Two large men in tuxes—uncles of the bride—picked Melvin up and carried him into the rented mansion. They lugged his struggling body up three flights of stairs and locked him in a bedroom. Melvin banged his fists on the bed, screamed a little while longer, then stopped and blew some snot into his hand. From the window of the bedroom he could still see the wedding, which was going on without him.
“You’re a brave little boy, Melvin,” said a small bloodstain on the mattress. “Do you want to play a game?”
“Who’s that?” Melvin asked. “Who’s in here?”
Melvin got off the bed and looked under it. A cheer rose up from the wedding party, which meant the groom had kissed the bride.
“It’s the bloodstain on the mattress,” said the bloodstain. “Do you want to play a game?”
“I’m going to tell on you,” Melvin said. “Are you a ghost?”
“No,” laughed the bloodstain. “Have you ever smelled an old bloodstain before?”
Melvin put his nose to the mattress. “You don’t smell like anything,” he scoffed. “You’re too dry and old.”
“I know, I’m sorry,” said the bloodstain. “But I’ll tell you a secret. If you look in that nightstand drawer, there’s a giant egg. You have pretty good aim, don’t you?”
“Yeah! I have really good aim.”
“Well, you could drop that egg out the window,” suggested the bloodstain. “But you have to have really good aim.”
Melvin took the egg from the nightstand drawer. Three stories below, the groom and bride were slicing the cake.
“I have really good aim,” Melvin repeated. He thrust his hand out the window, closed one eye, and zeroed in on the head of the bride. “Now!” said the bloodstain, and Melvin let go. The egg plummeted like a white asteroid and exploded orange sickness onto the bride’s expensive veil.
Melvin laughed so hard his stomach hurt. Down in the garden the guests were screaming and four dress-constrained bridesmaids rushed in with napkins to pat at the bride’s head. One of the bridesmaids tripped on a barking dog and Melvin laughed even harder. “Great job!” chuckled the bloodstain. Melvin’s mother and the two large men arrived a minute later.
“I’m not sorry!” Melvin shouted when they burst into the room. The two large men held Melvin down on the mattress while his mother yanked down his dress pants and spanked his bare ass.
“I’m proud of you, Melvin!” the bloodstain whispered.
“This really hurts,” Melvin mouthed through tears.
“Take it like a man,” the bloodstain whispered back.
Melvin shut his eyes against the pain while his mother spanked him harder and harder. When she got tired of spanking, she dug her fresh-manicured nails into his naked behind and left four deep claw marks that stung like nettles.
Angela Allan was born somewhere and lives somewhere else. She likes pineapples and capybaras. Her eyes are gray. She has been close to Antarctica, but did not make it all the way there.