The Face Reader

Posted: December 20, 2009 in Paper Cuts

The Face Reader
February 10, 2009

He saw it in their eyes. It showed: Hesitation and clandestine deliberation. They did not have to say it. He read everything they said in their glinting eyeballs.

When words fall flat faces wrinkle and barely visible furrows formulate on the edges of their lying mouths.

The only time he misinterpreted a face was that of a wicked man. Deep down he knew but opted otherwise. Two years of masked lies—two years wasted.

Why do people lie? Is it to hide their motives, profit out of others, is it out of greed and selfishness, or maybe because they are too afraid to reveal their true and ugly souls.

Masking one’s soul through his face is not an easy task. It takes years for people to master their faces and control each and every contorting muscle and they are by the hundred.

When people look at my face they open up to me the same way a flower does when facing the sun. How are they to know that I am the wolf and not the Sheppard that will lead them into the shadows!

Who am I? I am my inner monster.

At least I am not afraid to reveal my true face unlike those liars. I don’t lie. I am who I am a monster. Still that doesn’t mean a monster that kills cannot be polite. I’ve killed a few people in my life but I’ve never hurt an old man, a child or a woman.

You ask, “What’s the difference between hurting and killing!”

Killing is to squash a fly; hurting is to rip its wings and let it live. I don’t rip people or their souls apart.

A gentle little girl, no more than six, offered me some candy. I bought one. She went to a thin man, who stood next to thin and expressionless girlfriend. The little girl begged but they pretended she wasn’t their. Their greedy eyes were fixed on the shinning covers of the DVDs lined on the floor.

They refused to give the girl half a JD but bought a number of DVDs for over 20—those are the soulless monsters. They’ve ripped her soul out and she will grow up to become a soulless beast that will in turn rip other souls.

The other day a young man chided a little boy. He was mean; a bastard like no other. If you don’t want to give him money don’t, but don’t insult him or be mean to him. What did he do to you?

It is not enough that his father and mother whore him around the hour. An idiot of a man yells at him. That same man would probably go home and caress his brother’s children, who are probably the same age as that boy, with affection.

The boy’s parents are probably people like us—only they simply stopped caring about what happens to their child, who is standing in the middle of the street after 12.

He could be kidnapped, raped and then murdered. Imagine the horror of that child if such a thing happened.

Heavy panting followed by a short shuffling of feet was heard. “Hold him still?” one of the men whispered to another, whose pants and drawers were still down. The third stood motionless smoking a cigarette. A short light shined in the dark. Seconds later a red warm fluid dimmed its glow. The whimpering stopped. The panting stopped and life ended. Not a tear shed.

Why did I kill? No reason in particular.

I found a hammer, talked to it, picked it up and started killing. After a few months I got bored and decided to put it back in my father’s blue tool box. I honestly cannot remember if I washed the blood and hairs that got stuck to its surface.

No one ever saw my face but they most certainly heard my voice and the voice of my hammer.

Shopkeepers thought twice before turning their backs to a customer asking to take a look at an item found on an upper shelf. It was so delicious. I was the man sitting next to you on the bus, passing you by the vegetable market and talking to you whenever the phone at the office rang.

I was like you—a simple man. I am still that man and you have every right to be afraid even though it hasn’t talked to me for a while now. I’ve hid the toolbox under a carton of used boxes and a heap of dirty clothes that belonged to my parents and sisters. Where am I now? This question I will refrain from answering.

Who am I? I am the face reader. I’ve read a few faces in the past few years. I still do. But I stopped writing on them. I just hope and for your sake that I don’t read your face…so hide your soul and hide it well.

For when you hear the hammer…you will hear the blow…you will hear life end for you…and start for another…then again I could be one of those liars and none of the above ever happened.

Good night…

  1. Hend says:

    I love the good spirit you write with. But I would say that the use of the hammer as the murder tool makes this a week copy of Abushakoosh 🙂

    You started it with good subtlety, but then lost that aspect. Think about regaining it the next time you edit.

    Keep writing this good stuff.
    A few sentences here echo some of me, and THAT frieks me out ! 😦

  2. Hend says:


    You know 🙂

  3. mikevderderian says:

    The dialogue simply guided me towards the toolbox that was lying next to the heating apparatus in the boiler room.

    It does need more work. A text, whether a poem or a story, for me is a living organism that breathes every time we touch it.

    I have to re-read it and determine where I lost that subtlety. I sort of started it out as a reading into Abu Shakoosh’s mind. He is a fascinating Jordanian Urban legend that needs more attention from our writers.

    When I have the time I will work my way through some police and news archives…

    This is merely a prelude to something bigger that I am working on about the man with the hammer.

  4. هيثم الشيشاني says:

    (Talked to a “the” hammer and started killing with it)

    Always like what you have to offer Mike.

  5. mikevderderian says:

    Haitham 🙂 Long time mano. Hope all is well on your side of this cyber connection? I am glad you liked it. Once I have the time I will turn it into a graphic novel.

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