Ben made heads. He made them out of foam rubber and latex and he made them to resemble his friends and family. It was Art. It was personal. It was a statement about identity and mortality. He kept the heads in his bedroom, twenty in all. He was seventeen when I knew him (I was 16) and I let him make a duplicate of my head. He poured goop over my face and made a mold. I had to breathe through straws in my nostrils. I felt smothered and claustrophobic under all that goop. When he’d finished there was my severed head in the pile with the others. I felt strange and fractured, looking at my own face. He’d even captured the little blue vein in my temple. The hair was painted on. All the heads had closed eyes. They looked like they were sleeping. Peaceful heads. His parent’s heads were there. His grandparents were represented. The only head he was missing was his brother’s. His brother Justin was twenty-two and refused to let Ben copy his head. He thought the whole enterprise was creepy and morbid.
So it was quite ironic when Justin was decapitated in a car accident.