I could see this whenever I want, but I’m choosing now. No use in waiting till the movie is actually made. I’m looking to find my inner child in its accumulated abuse: in the malnutrition of my soul, in the dehydration of my brain, in the hypothermia of my senses. I’m looking for something to give me permission to kill myself. To be this sequel’s Mademoiselle. Or else I’ll be the American remake and hope will come maul me back to life at the last hour. I could do that standing on the head I don’t have. I’m treating it like a medical experiment. I’m treating it like an industrial accident. I’m treating the paediatric ward like it’s the entire hospital. I’m remembering how nobody goes into medicine to keep the dead alive. I’ve chained myself to the chair to stop me shitting out. Not even through the titles and already it’s like I’ve been raped by a truck. My wrists are turning themselves into ribbons. I’m bleeding orange juice from my eyes. The infection is no nice people in the world ever. It’s pain that never redeems. It’s having no one else to talk to but yourself and only hours of darkness in reply. It’s remembering who you are by remembering what it is to be afraid. See how poorly I’ve become. My nerves are breakfast in every time zone. The screen is warning me that I’m going to hear what Mademoiselle heard. I’m going to hear more than she heard. There’ll be details that’ll touch my insides till they hurt. I see Anna preserved in a glass case. I see her move. I see how it is euphoria displaces death. How I’m the worst. How I can’t touch her for trying to listen too hard. How it’s my looking that’s the gross out not her skinless body. I want to show her how ill with myself I am. I want in the fewest words to convey how decomposed with humanness I am. So I ask her, ‘Are you happy?’ And the look in her eyes tells me it’s none of my business. It tells of all the effort it takes to exist without your skin, how much it costs to be like her, how I can’t expect to fall over and find myself there. I suppose I wanted to hear what’s unheard of. And that’s the point. Only, being forced this low just isn’t my thing. It’s not the same as not caring yourself into a stupor. It’s not the same as sharing God’s address on Sunday mornings and watching your parents rot. It’s not the same as the foulest stench making a voice of itself in your head till it aches.
30 Fake Beheadings imagines 30 unthinkable sequels to 30 sui generis movies. Drawing on decapitation theory and the post-cephalic nature of cinematic experience, it documents a viewer’s repeated decollation as a way of documenting the invented films. But as the films themselves are also documenting the viewer, each is ultimately feeding on and inventing the other. However unique a human head, its coming off demands a sequel.
Gary J. Shipley’s most recent book is Warewolff! (Hexus Press). He has published in Spork, Sleepingfish, Gargoyle, The Black Herald, Action Yes, Vice, Fanzine, 3:AM and many others. He is the founding and managing editor of Schism Press.