15 Feb It Blew (Up) My Mind
“It Blew (Up) My Mind”Written by Bryce Simmons Edited by Craig Groshek Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek Narrated by N/A
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available
⏰ ESTIMATED READING TIME — 11 minutes
The worst thing about trying to stop your brain from re-entering your skull is that, with it being your brain, you can’t exactly resist the commands it issues. You can struggle, dimly, bodily, but in the end, the brain wins out. It gets back into your skull, re-assumes its operation of your body. You again become uncomfortably whole; the flesh-mech regains its pilot, and together you go about your symbiotic business.
But during those few hours when I had been without a brain and was able to live, exist as a new, beautifully thoughtless thing…it was incredible, eye-opening. Intoxicating mindlessness. It was only when my brain came back, after having spent some time out in the world on its own, that I learned the full, previously unknown terrors of a brain-body existence.
I was, at the time, a bit angry with myself for having just messed up an opportunity to have sex. The girl, early twenties with a sense of humor similar to my own, asked if I was busy. I responded that I wasn’t, and she asked if I wanted to hang out. I attribute this to the fact that in my profile photo, I’m holding my two dogs; cute, fluffy little Bichon Frises. I have no delusions regarding my appearance.
She came over, and after some conversation and snacks—pizza rolls, of all things—I threw on a movie, and we snuggled up on the couch; the mood set, the clothes soon to be off. Both of my dogs had comfily arranged themselves beneath her feet and were snoozing peacefully by the time things got to the point at which the movie might as well have been off.
I was so close, so nakedly close, that had I been raised by slightly less weird parents, I would’ve scored—would’ve ended the night with a girl in my arms and pizza rolls in my belly. But thanks to my dad, a perpetually anxious man, I’ve always been a bit neurotic. Things pop into my mind at the most random times, and I just have to speak about them, regardless of the circumstances. Topics I’ve learned, things I’ve seen, thoughts I’ve had for days, weeks, however long, that I can no longer hold unspoken in my head. It’s a curse, and at that moment, when her hands were drifting waist-ward, I suddenly remembered the topic of microchimerism, something I had learned about earlier that day.
If there’s one thing women don’t want to hear about during a casual, no-strings-attached hookup, it’s the idea of cells of one person—or animal—being found in the body of another, a phenomenon that most often (in human cases) occurs during pregnancy. While microchimerism is not the same as impregnation—genetic distinction being a proponent of the phenomenon—the words “impregnation” and “pregnancy” are not, ironically, words conducive to getting laid in a casual fling.
So, when my brain decided to force my mouth to spout off a few facts about this entirely inappropriate topic, things quickly went south—and not in that way. Her expression changed from lust to disgust with a suddenness that was actually jarring to behold, and she politely but quickly recoiled away, saying that she wasn’t feeling too well, hurriedly adding the pizza rolls as the likely culprit while she redressed herself. I lied and said that I was feeling a bit weird as well and threw out the supplemental lie that the bag might’ve been in the freezer too long—I’d actually bought them earlier that day.
So, she left but had the decency to send me a “Sorry for the short night, but I had fun!” message before unmatching me. At that moment, alone and flustered on the couch, I held the two bluest marbles in the world and quickly opened up the app again to try and salvage the night with whomever I could find. But I quickly ran out of swipes and wasn’t quite desperate enough to sink money into buying more—knowing that the app’s algorithm would only screw me over in some other fashion.
Defeated, I turned off the living room TV, carried my drowsy dogs to their bedding area, and went into my room, where I shamefully shut the door, even though I live alone. Sitting down at my computer, I made the usual queries, opened a dozen or so tabs, and browsed and browsed and browsed—you know how it goes.
But nothing enticed me; there didn’t seem to be anything that I hadn’t seen before, hadn’t appreciated before, and I was left even bluer and even more frustrated than I’d been following the girl’s departure. I was now on the verge of a maddening need, but, being the over-stimulated dopamine addict that I am, I needed a visual focus—something peripheral, external, to assist me. I couldn’t simply live in the moment; I had long lost the imaginative ability to produce my own fantasies.
Just when things seemed particularly hopeless, and I’d opened yet another sickening tab, there was a spark of light outside in the night sky. My desk sits immediately beneath my bedroom’s sole window, and there aren’t any curtains or blinds. The view looks out onto my backyard, no other houses, and I’m a fairly heavy sleeper, so I haven’t bothered to put anything up to block the morning sunlight. While sitting there, face screwed into some pathetic expression, I saw the spark of light erupt perhaps a mile immediately beyond the window. There was another, a few seconds later and much closer, and then another, and this third one was so close to my window that I slid back in my chair.
The final spark burst brightly in my room. It was a fiery shower of colors, pinks and bright greens and purples, and I remember thinking, “That’s actually really pretty,” even as it shot sparks in every direction. A few of those sparks struck my bare arms and thighs, but they were oddly cold, like heavy snowflakes. When the spark fizzled out, and my room was left with a slowly dissipating haze, I stood up—but I couldn’t recall having consciously given the order to my legs to do so. I then walked to my bedroom door, threw it open, and awkwardly stomped down the hall toward the living room, where I proceeded to look around as if in search of something highly important—something I wasn’t able to consciously think of, but knew, unconsciously, that I needed to find it.
Finally, after going along with the strange autonomy, I regained mental control of myself and stood in place before the TV. I forced myself to remain still and to think of what exactly it was that I was looking for. Then, from a voice that just wasn’t my own but was also starkly feminine, I heard the following words: “Where is the other one? She was just here seconds ago. Where’d she go, man?”
If I hadn’t first had the weird bodily possession experience, I probably would’ve thought that I had, in my extreme desire for personal gratification, gone insane. But I attributed the loss and re-assumption of bodily control to the strange voice in my head and answered its question with one of my own: “Why are you in my body?”
The voice, as if I had asked it a stupid question, rudely responded: “I’m not in your body, idiot. I’m in your brain—or rather, I am your brain, now. Your brain was vaporized, and I took its place. It all happened in like a fraction of a second. You wouldn’t have noticed. But that’s what happened.”
More confused than terrified, I asked it what I was, if not my brain, and it said: “You’re you, what do you mean? If you cut a nail or lose a tooth, are you no longer you?”
Obviously, I then said, “But my consciousness emerges from my brain. It’s where I am stored—was stored, I guess. Unless you’re saying that my identity is actually held within a soul? A spirit?”
Moving of their own accord, my legs brought me to my bathroom, and my hands, operating freely, turned on the light and wiped away the smudges from the mirror.
“I don’t know about a soul. We don’t have them where I come from. There, back on my planet, we have brains and bodies. Some days I’m a body—today, I’m a brain. I assume it’s the same here. The fact that you’re still talking means that some part of you is still alive—still sapient.”
Still entirely uncomprehending—and not too comfortable with my body not obeying my commands—I argued, “But, if you’re now supposedly my brain, and also have control of my body, then what does that make me? What am I, right now, in this moment, as an entity communicating with you?”
My body left the bathroom and re-entered the living room, where it was made to sit on the couch by my unwelcome visitor.
“Well, right now, you’re horny. And so am I. So, where did she go?” Frustrated but hoping that by answering her questions I’d be given a little more insight into my unfathomable situation, I explained what had happened with my date. And, as if she’d been the one relying on the sexual release all along, she started to thrash around on the couch. My arms flailed, and my legs kicked as she let a litany of curses, some of which were almost beautifully eloquent, while others were the verbal equivalent of molten, festering sewage.
When she finished, she relaxed my body, and I was able to regain control of it just long enough to pick up my phone from the coffee table, intending to call the police. But then she came back and hurled my phone at the wall. It didn’t break, but I saw the screen flicker and die out as it landed on the floor. Before I could complain, the voice then said, “Do you have any idea how tiring it is to spectrally fly thirty-thousand light-years? I came all this way, traversed all that lifeless space to come here, to you.”
The thought that I was some alien’s cross-cosmic goal was so comically absurd I started laughing and only managed to wheeze out a response of, “Why?”
But the alien’s response was sobering, uncomfortably so, and I quieted down immediately.
“Because, in all of the space that my people have charted, you, forty minutes ago, were the horniest thing alive. And I, having detected you, set out to come here—to assume control of your ultra-horny vessel so that I could experience untold heights of release. To be so utterly aroused, to have so much anticipation, I wanted to ride that wave with you, through you. We don’t do anything like that on my planet; with our brains and bodies being so fundamentally independent, pleasure is conceptually…convoluted. You humans apparently have yourselves all wrapped up—the brain and body enjoy things simultaneously. I’m not a scientist, don’t ask me to explain it any easier than that. I just wanted to feel it, the human way.”
Still, without any physical control, I sarcastically offered her an apology, to which she responded with a fist to my face, which, despite the self-administration, hurt a lot.
After a few agonizing seconds of beating myself up—sadly, not off—my hands fell to my sides, and my body stood up from the couch. Without offering any ideas as to our destination, my cranial roommate headed out the front door, with me helplessly in tow.
What started out as a nice night full of potential soon became a nightmare of neurologically perplexing circumstances, most of which I still cannot explain—and kind of hope I’ll never be able to.
When, after a series of unsuccessful and unbearably awkward attempts to talk to women, we finally returned home, my body was clumsily piloted to the couch. I was, of course, berated, blamed for the lack of a partner, even though she’d been in control of my body during every single interaction. We had gone downtown and spoken to several women in the many bars there, and in every case, rejection had been the outcome.
“That’s it. I’m done with you. I’m leaving; I’ll find a body with better luck.” The voice spat the words from my lips, though it was through my own will that my face scowled in indignation. I was tired, fed up with the entity’s constant derision. I’d allowed it—not that I’d had any choice—to pilot my body all night and just wanted to get some rest.
“What’ll happen to me? You said my brain was destroyed—without it, what will I be once you’re gone?”
The entity put my hands on my head, bent over, and screamed, and I empathetically felt its frustration, even as my confusion deepened.
“I don’t know, man. I guess things will go back to normal, or you’ll die. Who cares? I’m leaving.” Just before I could say, “I care,” or anything else, I felt the relief of a sudden, previously unperceived weight, and then complete control of my body was returned to me. I watched, again mesmerized, as the spark flitted around my room for a few moments before rudely crashing through the window of my living room and flying out into the deep of the night.
For the first few minutes following her departure, I merely sat on the couch; waited to see if there would be any adverse effects of her absence. I felt fine, “normal,” even though, by the alien’s words, I was literally brainless. I couldn’t wrap my head around it and, frankly, didn’t want to try, so I got up and went into my room, where I started browsing the internet.
After a few minutes of this, I suddenly realized that I couldn’t comprehend a single thing I was seeing; that every word and image on the screen was beyond my understanding. That, somehow, I’d been stripped of my ability to read words and interpret the images in videos. I could still see, but nothing on my monitor made sense; I couldn’t ascribe meaning to any of the things featured onscreen.
My immediate reaction was terror. I got up from my seat and paced around while trying to think of a plausible explanation, but all the while knowing that my inability to comprehend the things on my screen was owed entirely to my lack of a brain. The return of that paradox only worsened my terror, causing insuppressible anxiety to arise on top of it. I left my room, desiring to get a few breaths of fresh air, which were conveniently available via the broken living room window.
The more I thought about my bizarre situation, the more frightened I became, dreading that I’d soon find the simplest of tasks impossible to complete or even understand. The room seemed to spin as I paced around until my vision was a haphazard storm of images: the shapes of furniture, wall-fixtures, and electronics all becoming distorted and warped. I tried to steady myself, even stopped in place, but still, my vision whirled, as if my head were spinning freely on my neck.
And then, with a sudden clarity of sight, true, unobstructed thoughtlessness came to me. It was as if a great godly hand had parted the storm of my mind, allowing a clear sky of mental oblivion to emerge. I looked around, saw objects, but couldn’t recall the name for a single one of them. I recognized them as things distinct from myself, but apart from that, they were as alien to me as the thing that had briefly inhabited my body.
Knowing that something profound had happened to me, I went outside, wanting to experience the world anew. I saw trees but no longer knew them by such a term; they were merely tall, mildly interesting, but otherwise immobile things. Cars, on the other hand, were fascinating; huge, fast, and loud, I gawked dumbly as they sped past.
I spent a little over an hour out in the night, wandering around, marveling at the simplest things, things I had seen countless times before. When I finally grew tired—physically and mentally—I returned home and, for what felt like the millionth time that night, plopped my body on the couch. It was now around 3 am, and all the excitement and terror of the day had thoroughly exhausted me. Just when I was about to close my eyes and drift off to a comfy, equally thoughtless sleep, there was a flash of bright light immediately above me, and I again felt that extremely discomforting sensation of a great weight being added to my body.
“You humans are so prudish, so stuck-up. Not one person was willing to try slime stuff. I mean, how do any of you losers even get off? Slime stuff is entry-level.”
In response, I groaned, more annoyed than frightened by the entity’s uninvited return. “Why are you back? Why not just go home?”
My hands, controlled by a will other than my own, cracked themselves and then fell to rest on my stomach.
“Because I’m tired and just want to sleep. I’ll go back in the morning. Probably. But until then, I’m gonna rest here, so relax.”
And just like that, control was again returned to me, but the feeling of an intrusive psychological encumbrance remained. In addition to this, for the first time that night, I felt a sudden sensation of what I can only describe as extrasensory knowledge. When the entity fell asleep, its thoughts were unlocked to me, to whatever was left of me, and I was made aware of some really dark and messed up things: terrible cosmic secrets and facts irreconcilable with my dim understanding of physics and universal laws. The most awful, most distressing of these was the suggestion that a sizable portion of humanity is made up of people being operated by extraterrestrial visitors looking to experience some facet of life unique to humans, whether that be sexual or not.
I learned other, stranger, though not necessarily terrifying things, but I just don’t have the energy to share them all now. I’ve spent nearly three hours putting down my thoughts while this thing sleeps in my head. I still have no answers as to how I exist without a brain, and have yet to receive any indication that I am some sapient spirit.
I don’t know if, in the absence of a brain, the human body can somehow create a temporary or emergency consciousness—but I’m here, aware, and, for the moment, capable of reading, writing, and comprehending words and the world around me.
At least, until the entity, my alien brain, departs in the morning.
🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None AvailableCraig Groshek Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek Narrated by N/A