top of page



Shoulder People

Charles Jones

Whoever said that there had to be an angel and a devil on your shoulders has got to be an idiot. I don’t personally know anyone with such religious figures whispering into their ears at all times. Not even the pastor who lives down the street. He has an elementary school teacher and Robin from Batman. Yeah, the one who wears tights and says all those stupid puns.

The pastor makes a lot of puns.

I’d give anything to have shoulder people like that. It sounds a lot easier.

I personally have a viking and a 1950s housewife on my shoulders. If you’re trying to determine which is the angelic figure of good will and which one’s into red body paint and pitchforks, don’t. You can’t claim any moral duality between these two. They’re both blood-thirsty quacks.

The viking—his name is Skarde—loves the idea of smashing anything in our path. Specifically those automatic sliding doors at Walmart. Or the random jaywalkers when my dad gives me driving lessons. He’s seen shattered glass before, and I’ve told him time after time that if we break glass, whether it be from Walmart doors or windshields, I’ll get my face slashed. He doesn’t really care, and neither does Darla.

She’s the housewife.

Darla is most assuredly worse than Skarde. Whenever the kids at school make fun of me, she just laughs before brandishing her nails and spewing out convoluted murder plots in which the only feasible way we don’t get caught relies solely upon my subpar acting skills. That’s what they argue over most, actually. Not my acting skills, the whole murder bit.

Skarde likes the idea of bludgeoning our foes mercilessly until they’re not even twitching anymore. Darla loves all things poison and kitchen knives. She always talks about carving annoying seniors up like turkeys before roasting them and throwing them away like bad leftovers.

Right now they’re arguing over Marty Blivesdale.

“I’m telling you, dear, a little paring knife will do nicely,” Darla says.

“Smash his face in with a rock!” says Skarde.

“No, no, no, that’ll leave far too much spatter for her to clean up when it’s over. She’ll miss a spot,” Darla insists.

“The rock is faster!” bellows Skarde.

“A knife would do wonders and make everything neat and orderly,” Darla states. “Doesn’t that sound just perfect?”

“Bash in his skull!” screams Skarde.

“Shut up!” I yell, trying to catch my hitching breath.

They’re quiet for the first time all evening.

Marty looks up at me with empty eyes.

I’m a lot more practical than my shoulder people.

Give me a secluded basement and some acid, and I’ll take care of our problems with as little repercussion as possible.

I look down at my best friend's face, the acid eating away at his tear-stained skin. The gag is slipping out of his mouth now that there isn’t much flesh left to hold it in place. I keep pouring the contents of the vial, and his features melt, floating down to the drain in the middle of the cement room, the acrid smell burning my nostrils.

Don’t worry about him, though. I’m doing the world a favor.

He had a lawyer and a car salesman on his shoulders.

bottom of page