the pearl

I Just Love Your Brain

Justin woke up on a cold steel table.

He blinked a few times, rubbed the back of his head, and frowned at being cold. And naked. And apparently in the morgue.

"That's not good," he said to himself, his voice rough. He frowned, and practiced a bit. "Ain't nobody love you like I love you..." he sang. He winced at the sound of his voice, vocal chords scratched and inelegant. "Fuck."

He looked around, vainly hoping for some clothing, but ended up having to wrap the thin plastic sheet around his waist. He slid off of the slab, grumbling when his bare feet landed on cold linoleum, and stretched slightly, testing out his body.

It was still cold. He was still naked. And, now, he realized, he was hungry.


He walked through the morgue, looking at everything oddly. He didn't know what kind of prank the guys pulled on him, but if his voice was fucked, there was going to be trouble.

"Hey!" someone shouted behind him.

Justin turned towards the person, and winced, blinded by the flashlight pointing at his eyes. "Faaaugh..." he said, unable to think with that flashlight directly at his eyes.

"Jesus Christ!" the man yelled, dropping his flashlight. He pulled out his gun. "Don't come any closer!"

Justin walked towards him. He could smell...something? Burgers, maybe. Whatever it was, it smelled good.

That smell got better as he got closer and just as he reached the man, he was overwhelmed with the urge to just...bite down.

So he did. It took awhile to get to the good stuff, his teeth not really meant to be gnawing through flesh and bone, but when he did, he was amazed at how good everything tasted.

Sweet and sour and really really good — better than anything he ate while on tour, that's for damn sure.

He dropped the body on the floor, and looked at the clothes. Polyester, drab brown, and probably at least five sizes too big, but they beat a plastic sheet.

He kneeled down and began stripping the body.


He shambled through the streets, his feet slipping in the too-large shoes. His clothes hung on his, cuffs trailing in the dust and muck of the street, and the blood streaks from his last meal made people give him a wide berth.

He walked past freeways and tract housing, past palm trees and Disney signs, his feet moving him closer and closer to something — but he wasn't sure what.

Occasionally, he tried to sing, but with his vocal chords wrecked and his mind tired, all he could manage was a few grunts and high-pitched shrieks. He thought it would make a great underlying track for a future single, and promised to remind himself of it the next time he was in the studio.

The streets looked more familiar, and, before he realized it, he found himself in front of his own house. Most of the lights were on, and it looked like a party.

"Fuckers," he muttered to himself. "Having a party without me."

He stumbled up towards the front door.


JC walked through the house sadly, touching everything around him with reverent fingertips. "I can't believe he's gone, man," he said, for the umpteenth time that night.

Britney nodded. "I know..." She sipped from her martini again, trying to think of something new to say. "It was so sad..." she finally said. "We should've..." she trailed off.

"We should've told him we loved him!" JC shouted, throwing himself against the wall angrily. "We should've told him!" He burst into tears again.

"Hey, hey, hey..." Britney said, wrapping an arm around him. "It'll be okay...he knows we love him...shhh..." She held him tightly. "Shh..."

JC sobbed onto her Versace mourning ensemble, and she patted his hair tenderly. He straightened, looking up at her with a weak smile, then froze as he looked behind her. "Shit," he whispered. "Justin..."

Britney turned around, frowning, then dropped her martini on the carpet as she saw what he was looking at. "Shit!" she said loudly. "You're supposed to be dead!"

"Feeeaagh..." Justin replied. He coughed and swallowed, shaking his head. "Hey," he said, his voice really rough.

"Dude!" JC said, peeking from behind Britney. "Dude, you're dead!"

Justin blinked. "Huh?"

"Dead!" Britney repeated. "You're dead! You died three days ago!" She put her hands on her hips and looked at him crossly. "This is your wake, Justin! You're supposed to be dead!"

Justin looked at Britney with narrow eyes. "Was I talking to you?" he asked. "Do I ever talk to you?" He frowned, looking at them, then sniffed the air.

"Goddamnit, J, just because we broke up doesn't mean that you can come back from the dead and still be rude to — " Britney stopped her diatribe to look at him oddly. "What?"

Justin continued to sniff at them, then leaned closer, pointing a single finger at JC's head. He poked JC's forehead, tapping at it a few times, then frowned, grumbling in dismay.

JC shrieked and cowered behind Britney, his hands wrinkling her outfit. She frowned and pushed his hands off of him. She opened her mouth to reply to Justin, then gave a brief sound of dismay when he saw that he had walked past them.

"I wasn't done talking to you, Justin!" she shouted, stomping down the hallway.


Justin stumbled through the party, ignoring the shrieks and gasps of horror as he fumbled past people. Britney's shrieking voice echoed through his skull, repeating "Dead dead dead dead dead dead dead dead dead dead dead dead DEAD!"

He shook his head, clearing his thoughts, and sniffed the air again.

There was a faint spicy scent on the air. Something sure smelled good.

He kept on moving through the house, following the scent. It took him to the kitchen, where food was stacked in piles on every available surface, and, next to the homemade nachos with beef, stood Chris, pouring out small shots of tequila.

Justin sniffed the air again, looking at Chris, and he smiled. "Hey," he said.

Chris turned around drunkenly, then slumped back against the counter. "J...fuck..."

Justin nodded. "Chris," he said, coming closer.

"You''re supposed to be dead..." Chris said, looking at him.

Justin shrugged. "But I'm not..." He moved closer, the scent becoming overpowering. "And you're..." He smiled. "You smell nice."

Chris leaned back further, away from Justin. ""

Justin opened his mouth widely, moving closer and closer to Chris.

"Get the hell away from him!" someone shouted from behind him.

Justin whirled around, hissing. There was a loud *bang*, and he felt something slam into his shoulder, whirling him around.

Britney stood there with a shotgun in one hand. She reloaded the shotgun with one hand, and pointed it at him again. "Justin, you're not eating Chris!" she shouted. She shot at him again.

Chris ducked down, and shouted at Britney. "The brain! You have to shoot him in the brain!"

Justin stopped snarling and looked at Chris. "Not the face!" he said angrily.

"Too late for that!" Britney said, pointing the shotgun directly at his head.

One single blast, and it was all over.


It wasn't widely released — most people willing to, instead, believe that it was a mass hallucination, brought on by grief and a large amount of alcohol consumed on the premises.

Britney, JC, and Chris never spoke about it again.

Except that Britney's next album had a song on it entitled "Who needs a brain?"

This Real Person story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at