the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Halloween Tale 2011: Roger’s Brain

From the writer of such horrific Halloween tales as The Old Parsons Tree in Flushing (2010), The Mommyblogger’s Demon Child (2009), Giving Head (2008), The Werewolf (2007), and The Joy of 666 (2006)!


About a year and a half ago, I had a mild cold. I went onto Twitter, as was my daily habit, and I wrote this status update:

“I have a cold and I am by myself and nobody seems to care. Boo-hoo.”

And no one responded. It was as if I was invisible to the world. A ghost.

Later that day, I noticed another update that was being retweeted several times. It was a tweet by a male writer/blogger named @RogerF.

The tweet said:

“I have a cold, but no cold will stop me from choping wood to help warm those in need at the senior center. I promised those wonderful seniors and I keep my promise!”

“You are such a mensch” replied @AngellaB on Twitter.

“Make sure you take care of yourself, too,” said @JeanninefromNV.

“I wish I could be there and make you some of my healing chicken oregano soup,” wrote @SaucySandy.

Roger lived in Montana, was a real outdoorsman who kayaked and climbed mountains. He also had a PhD in environmental science from Yale. He was as fine a specimen of the male species as God has ever created, a perfect combination of brains, confidence, and brawn, beloved for his grace, humor, and his writing — oh, his writing! He was branded as the best male writer on the internet, his poetic, witty, and heart-felt prose beloved by everyone from mommybloggers to the geekiest tech blogger. Whenever there was a Top Blogger List, he was always #1.

Roger was like a God — respected and popular — and I was jealous. I possessed a deep, burning envy that blackened my heart.

My hatred for Roger grew and grew. I started to have shameful thoughts. I wished him dead. I would kill him with my bare hands, then bury him in an unmarked grave. No more Roger. I WOULD THEN BE THE KING OF THE INTERNET.

On Yom Kippur, I refused to go to Temple, fearful of facing God with my own wickedness. But I didn’t care. Jealousy had turned me into a madman. I was not a real man compared to Roger, this Adonis of Montana. I knew I had to destroy him.

My life reached a new low when there was an announcement made online: Roger was chosen as a blogging representative by the United Nations and “Starbucks Helps” to travel to Nicaragua and report back on the country’s poverty.

The news made the mainstream media. Roger’s name trended on Twitter, surpassing even Justin Bieber.

Then, two weeks after Roger left for Central America, there was a massive earthquake in Nicaragua. Roger was in the middle of teaching English grammar to a group of impoverished students when the the Nicaraguan flag hanging in the classroom unhinged and fell on his head, crushing his skull. The US Army sent a special airforce jet to wisk him to the top rated brain-injury unit back in the states — Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

As a New Yorker, I knew Mount Sinai quite well. One of my best friends from elementary school was once a top brain specialist at the hospital, even though he has worked as a busboy in the hospital cafeteria since 2009.

(It’s a long story. Aparently, and this was never proven in court, Reefer (Rob’s nickname because of his love of smoking exotic weed during medical school) was caught “feeling up” a busty female patient during her brain surgery, and he was promptly disbarred, although union regulations prohibited the hospital from outright firing him, so they transferred him into the kitchen instead)

I called my old buddy, curious about Roger’s condition.

“Is he going to survive?” I asked my friend.

“As I was busing tables for lunch,” said Reefer,”I heard his doctor say that he is in a coma and will never come out, which is a shame because his brain is still alive, and the perfect specimen of brainhood.”

“Yeah, yeah. Of course.” I replied. “He’s always so perfect.”

“I have an idea,” said Reefer. “Meet me at the diner at 86th Street.”

A few hours later, we were sitting in the fake red leather booths of the coffee shop, eating corn muffins and drinking coffee, and Reefer was telling me the most astounding story that I had ever heard.

“Every since I was disbarred, I’ve been bored out of my mind being a mere cafeteria busboy. To keep my mind occupied, I returned to research, particularly my medical school thesis on neuro-brain transplants.”

“You mean like Frankenstein?!” I asked.

“Don’t be silly. That is fiction. This is real. I set up a secret lab behind the kitchen, catching the mice that frequently found their way inside looking for food. I then “borrowed” human corpses from the morgue for experimentation regenerating nerve cells in transplanted brains.”

“Did you also steal medical equipment for the work?”

“Of course not. I had the kitchen next door. You’d be surprised what you can do in the brain with a butter knife and soup spoon.”

“So what does this have to do with me?”

“I need a healthy person and a live brain to do the ultimate test. And now we have the opportunity.”

Finally, I understood. Reefer intended to transplant Roger’s superior brain into my head. I would lose much of my own “self,” including my memories and consciousness, but I would obtain all the greatness that was Roger. I would inherit his writing skill, his good humor, his confidence… and his way with women.

There was no reason to think about this matter any further.

“Give me his brain!” I said.

Now, dear reader, here is where I skip over many of the more gruesome details of the operation for those of you with delicate sensibilities, particularly the women. Mind you, it was not pretty, as Reefer used a jagged steak knife to slice open my skull, and a turkey baster to siphon out much of the excessive blood dripping onto the linoleum floor.

Two days later, I woke up with Roger’s brain. The operation was a success. I was thinking, acting, and living just like Roger. My writing improved as did my social skills and IQ score. I was confident about every decision. Women send me flirtatious messages, wanting to cater to my ever whim.

One night, a half-undressed woman showed up in my hotel room during a writing conference.

“What has gotten into you? It’s like you’re a new man!” she said.

“I’m just thinking differently,” I replied.

But as I went into bed with the woman and the blood flowed to my manhood, I suddenly had an incredible headache, so much so that I had to stop the activity and ask the woman to leave.

This painful headache continued throughout the night, and kept on returning at the most inopportune times. What was happening? Had the experiment gone awry?

The answer came soon enough.

It was Reefer on the phone, with the troubling news. He had been looking over Roger’s medical history, and discovered that he had a lifelong issue with severe migraine headaches, a condition that affected many aspects of his personal life, particularly his sex life. Despite the appearance of his perfect life, he avoided sex at all costs. It gave him a migraine. And now I had his brain!

“What the hell…!” I screamed into the phone. “Who needs all this fame and glory? I want my stupid old brain back!”

“I’m so so sorry,” cried Reefer. “Last night, I smoked a little bit too much weed with the head chef, and accidentally left your brain in the kitchen. And since he was a little high as well, he made a mistake and mixed your brain into the chop meat for the meatballs at lunch today!”

I was in tears.

“But on the positive side,” said Reefer, “the meatballs were excellent.”

And that is how I got stuck with Roger’s brain.

And now I have a f**king terrible headache, so I’m stopping this story.


  1. Varda (SquashedMom)

    Neil, thank you for my first big Halloween laugh of 2011. Bravo. Sorry about the headache.

  2. christine

    dear lord! you’re crazy! but in a totally awesome and hilarious sort of way.

  3. Bill

    That’s a tough hospital, disbarring a doctor. I thought they only did that to lawyers! 😉

    Oh, and I love the story, as usual!

    • Neil

      Uh, yeah, I need to change that.

  4. The Honourable Husband

    Get your old brain back. It attracted fewer women, but it never hurt. Much.

  5. V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios

    My favorite part is the invention of a UN blogging representative sponsored by “Starbucks Helps.”

    And then of course, this line: “You’d be surprised what you can do in the brain with a butter knife and soup spoon.”

    I wrote a real horror story for grown-ups today, but don’t read it it, it will give you a headache.

  6. Bon

    migraines are a terrible, terrible curse. 😉

    nice horror story, Neil.

  7. Twenty Four At Heart

    I see you’ve taken to smoking weed while you’re writing ….!!

  8. Dana

    So, with Roger’s brain, your writing improved as did your social skills and IQ score. But what about your Klout score?!

  9. Jane Gassner

    Oy. Vey. I can say nothing more.

  10. pia

    That was hilarious

  11. shemashem

    Oh boy, I just had a god laugh today, you really are something! what a pity your brains are already eaten by the doctors and interns, they just love your munchy, crispy brainy meatballs LOL. So now what are you up to? no more sex!LOL.

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