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Brandon’s Beard

Brandon’s Beard was born in the summer of 2003 when Brandon was twelve years old. At first it appeared like a thin layer of dirt, and its fuzzy wire limbs were not strong enough yet to grasp firmly onto his young face. “Son,” his father that Saturday morning, “it’s time to teach you to shave.” But Brandon was too young, too excited to listen to his father. He was too busy plopping piles of shaving cream onto his own face that he never heard his father say, “Son, it is our duty as men to control the beard. For if we do not the control the beard, the beard will control us instead. And son, we cannot have that. We absolutely cannot that.”

Brandon trapped the beard in the lathered cream and dragged the blade across his face, slicing off its tentacles. The beard’s dying limbs waggled in the air, vibrating fast enough to make a sound, but again, Brandon never heard it. Though the beard had died that day, its offspring were planted stealthily in his pores, awaiting the day when they themselves could grow strong and take control.

As the years went on, it gained control, one tiny layer of fuzz at a time. With each new shave, it returned thicker, stronger, more alive — but Brandon managed to circumcise it every time, slaying the monster and shattering its hold on him.

It was the crunch of Finals, the fall semester of his Senior year of college. Brandon hadn’t managed his time so well, and found himself suddenly faced with less time than he needed to accomplish the things he had to. Something to give. Some major timesuck had to be sacrificed in order for him to complete the semester.

On that fateful night, he heard the wiggling follicles whisper on the word. “Leave us, Brandon,” they said in unison. “Let us grow, while you take care of more important things. You can always cut us later.” And this time, Brandon listened.

Several passed passed without sleep, and the beard continued growing, each little symbiote limb sneaking out of Brandon’s skin and joining with its hirsute kin. On the third night, Brandon looked at his clock and saw it nearing 4am. He had only 4 hours until it was due. But he was too exhausted to complete it. Not even caffeine could save his weakened and exhausted mind.

Brandon felt a fire curtain drop across his eyes. The beard had its chance. As Brandon’s heavy head began to float down to the desk in search of its reprieve, the bristled whiskers reached out, each as far as they could go, and as they stretched further and further, their roots sunk deeper, deeper into their master’s flesh. The strands came together and tied a series of scratchy around Brandon’s abandoned pen. They lifted it from the desk in unison then brought the pen down to the paper and began to write in harmony.

Where once they were but individual fibers, now they were become Beard, and Brandon has not had a conscious thought in control of his body since that very day.