It was a glorious plan: I would dye my hair red. I would look irresistible and complementary of the festive season all at the same time. It was a glorious plan, and then I realised that red dye on top of black hair only makes a deeper black. Save for the blonde roots, which would become red roots. Black hair and red roots. Ginger roots. Ginger trying to disguise ginger and failing miserably. Awful. So awful that looking at it would make your eyes water… although that might also have something to do with the ammonia. Awful, but fixable. Tomorrow I would purchase some more black hairdye and save my roots from ridicule. Tomorrow everything would be fine.
And so with tomorrow my hair was fixed and I became sassy and tremendous once more. But there remained a single fragment of red: a red spot upon my hand where the gloves had split. No amount of soap and water would rid it. Nor toothpaste. Nor battery acid. I couldn’t stand the silent ridicule from my work colleagues and friends; non-existent, but potent. A secret ginger. Caught red-handed. I could stand it no longer.
I took a glass bowl from the kitchen and emptied the contents of a bleach bottle into it. And then another. And then another. Then I plunged my hand into the bowl and waited.
For hours I sat, growing dizzy from the bleach. It smelled chemical and carbolic. There was also the faint scent of biscuits from my liquefying flesh. My hand burned without respite. My skin crawled all over my body, pulling up from my arm, trying to sever itself from the dangerous mixture at the end of my hand. I drifted in and out of consciousness. Sometimes I was walking into the warmth of a swimming pool; other times I was in a bakery devouring donuts and being sick on the Christmas cakes; but most of the time I was sat in a bathroom, dissolving my hand in a glass bowl filled with bleach.
Eventually the pain stopped, but the smell was overpowering. The nerves in my hand had dissolved, but my nose was still greeted by the remnants of my flesh, soaked in a cocktail of Toilet Duck and Lemon Scented Household Bleach. Disturbing and delicious. I pulled my hand from the bowl with great difficulty and lay on the floor for a few hours more, the bleach running from my hand gently dripping onto the bathroom floor tiles, making them fizz and hiss.
Finally I opened my eyes and looked at my hand. It was no longer recognisable: it had become a sludgy mess of red liquid and exposed bone, partially dissolved and utterly destroyed. I pulled myself to my feet and looked in the mirror. I was horribly disfigured… but at least I wasn’t ginger.