I’m here. The brain waved. Not literally, of course. Clive waved because Clive had the arms to do so.
Across the road a stranger frowned.
‘Stop it,’ Clive said.
The brain tried to think of something else. It wasn’t difficult. Clive occupied the head space in his lumbering way, but there were plenty of
folds for the brain to fill in the gaps.
A child pointed and
said, ‘Look! That man’s talking to himself.’
The brain focused on silence, static lips and tongue. Hold back electrical impulses; override that cerebellum, tucked up
smug against the stem.
Clive continued to mutter – something about answering the voice in his head. It wasn’t unreasonable; although it made no sense to anyone else.
Pedestrians veered from their path, looping around him before hurrying out of the road and stepping onto the pavement. It made him laugh.
A dog barked at him.
Run, thought the brain, who had little sense of humour.
Running triggered a chase response in the terrier. The owner called Rockwell to heal, but the dog clearly had no mind to pay heed.
The brain felt teeth and sent impulses to Clive, and he howled.
Rockwell gave up his grip, and the owner took charge, grabbing the collar. ‘I’m so sorry,’ she said.
‘Me, too.’ Clive rubbed his leg.
Rockwell growled louder.
Clive smiled. He’d taken control, and was pleased the woman was considering his offer. ‘Clive,’ he said and held out a hand.
She took it. Her skin was cold, her grasp limp.
‘Actually, don’t worry,’ Clive said before she had a chance to tell him her name. ‘I don’t think I’ve got time, after all.’ He shot a pointed look at his watch and hurried off.
One foot, two foot, quick, quick, quick, thought the brain.