The Men Who Lost Uncle John’s Head
This is a true story – at least, it’s as true as I reckon they get. I’ve heard some daft tales in my time, and this isn’t one of them, whatever you might think.
Back in the day when Walt Disney had himself frozen, my Uncle John said, “That’s for me. That will do me just fine.”
We were having a Sunday dinner. Uncle John was talking around a mouthful of roast chicken and Brussel sprouts. If my Aunt Cath had been alive, he’d have been for it. She could not abide to see a man speak with his mouth full. He’d have been for it.
“You can freeze my head,” Uncle John went on. “Them guys’ll thaw me out, fix me up with some robot body, and I’ll be good as new. Better, I’d bet.” He held his arms out like a robot and shifted his shoulders from side to side. He looked nothing like a robot, really.
But he did get frozen. He saved all his life – went without a lot, all told – and all to get woken up in the future with a robot body that wobbled from side to side when he walked. Truth is, Uncle John wobbled when he walked as it was, so it seemed little improvement to the rest of us.
Now the company that froze folks, they had some success with it. After a good few years, they diversified into other, related areas. FreezeCo, they called themselves. Made sense. It’s a good name, I’d say.
They had themselves a great big warehouse on the edge of the city, all divided up into different areas; the biggest were the frozen foods and the frozen folk, on opposite sides of the building.
We went one day to pay Uncle John a visit. Now, we couldn’t talk to him as such. The technology didn’t allow it. Uncle John was a good few years from getting his robot body, much less getting thawed out properly. But my Mam and me, we’d pop in, see how he was. They allowed that. They’d lead us into an anteroom, and bring him in on a trolley, draped in mist. We’d only get a minute or two, but that was plenty for Mam to get him caught up on the gossip – who’d married who, and who was left what in some will or other. Then they’d wheel him out again and we’d go round the building and pick up some frozen food for the freezer. Chicken pieces, some veg and the like. It was a day out.
Except this last time, we waited in the anteroom for a good long time and Uncle John didn’t come down. Eventually a lady came in and apologised, said that they couldn’t bring Uncle John for a visit. They’d lost him, somewhere there in the aisles of the warehouse. Mam created a fuss, but the upshot was that they’d give us a call when they’d tracked him down. I could see Mam getting more and more upset, so I suggested we leave the FreezeCo people to sort the situation out as best they could. There weren’t too many places to lose a frozen head, after all.
Eventually Mam settled down and we went to get the shopping done. She enjoyed a good bit of grocery shopping. At least, up until she started screaming that she’d found Uncle John’s head in with the frozen chickens. They had to call and ambulance for her.
It wasn’t Uncle John’s head, as I’m sure you’ve figured out for yourselves. Belonged to some bloke called Patel, we later found out. They never did find Uncle John’s head and we never shopped there again after that.