WELCOME TO HELLYWOOD CH.4 - BUSTIN' LOOSE!
By James McShane
What the hell? you think. Where do these guys get off with auctioning your skin? They have no right. Bastards! Isn’t stealing your soul enough? Dr. Skin and whoever else he has on his team are messing with the wrong Legend. This far, no further. A line has been drawn in the sand and pity the poor fool who crosses it. You feel empowered by your inner strength.
Then you look down at what Skin gave you and collapse into a heap of teenage angst. You cry for your mother, and she appears to you in a weepy dream.
"Get off your ass and take back what God gave you," she says. "It serves you right for thinking the grass was greener on the other side, child of mine. I AM on the other side, and trust me, there ain’t no green from where I’m standing. It’s all dark and cold...and evil. Oh Lord – here he comes again. Don’t let him take me! Not the pit bull! Please, no – not the pit bull..." She screams loud enough for you to stop your bawling.
That’s my mother, you think; as full of motivation as she was of Jim Beam. But deep down you realise she’s right. You must get back into your own skin. But how? The doctor hasn’t left you any obvious ways in which you can do this. No copies of “Skin Grafting for Dummies” anywhere. You look around and suddenly you spot what just might be your way out of there.
Dr. Skin has had the electricians in. There is a tool box beside a busted socket. You scurry over and rifle through its contents. You pick out a screwdriver, some double-sided sticky tape, a small hammer and packet of cigarette papers. You wonder if you have any weed at home. You may need a massive spliff once you get back. This has been one mother of a day. And it’s not over yet.
You reach the tube that holds your skin and bang on the glass with the hammer. You remember a part in a film where you played a member of a chain gang and channel your inner convict. You’re not so much Cool Hand Luke as Feck-All Use Justin, but you give it your best shot and eventually a small crack appears in the tube. You use the screwdriver to wedge it open. In a matter of seconds the pink goo that was protecting your skin seeps out. The crack opens wider and you reach in to grab your real skin. Now you’re holding it like a comfort blanket. "My Boobie," you say as you stroke your skin. "I’m sorry I mistreated you. Let’s skip this joint and get you back on me. I’ll find a real doctor who will do a proper job. Then we can go back to having threesomes again. You’d like that, wouldn’t you, Boobie?"
Now you think about how to get your soul back. You throw your skin over your shoulder and secure it with the sticky tape, so it won’t come loose. You head to the vault that contains your soul and introduce the latch to your new friend, MC Hammer. You break it open easy enough and enter the vault. Once inside you’re inundated by the voices of imprisoned souls, each crying out for freedom. They fill your head until it’s about to explode. You cover your ears, but that’s no use. You look for your own soul, but can’t make it out. The doctor hasn’t labelled them. You scream so loud the other souls echo your cry. What’s left of your mind is escaping from every pore of that teenage wank-stain’s skin.
You take your hammer and break every soul-filled container. Each freed soul enters your body and fights for dominance. You run outside the vault and slip on the pink goo, banging your head viciously on the concrete floor. A hole appears beneath you. You feel yourself falling into it. You look down and see your mother. She’s waving at you.
"Come on down," she says. "Me and the pit bulls need some company." You fall further down and pass each of Dante’s Nine Circles of Suffering. You wonder if there’s room service.