The Head Of Happiness
“Stop following me!”
Greg was beginning to get annoyed. The giant floating head who had claimed to be a physical manifestation of his conscience had been following him for a month now. At first it had been somewhat of a novelty. The head would critique decisions he was about to make, causing mirth for him and those around him. But things had come to a “head” two days ago, while he was in Birmingham, on a business trip.
“I don’t know what it is you want from me, but the joke isn’t funny anymore”. The giant head stared at Greg. He said nothing. Greg hunched down and march onwards, grumbling to himself.
“It was a perfectly nice evening until you had to put in you twopenneth. She was going to ask me back to hers… it was a perfect trip away”. He swung on his heel to face the giant head. “THEN YOU RUIN IT!”
The giant head blinked, smiled and said “But Greg, you’re married.”
It was true; Greg was married and had been for the past two years. They had met on an online dating service. Greg had been enjoying the single life, but he was aware that all of the senior partners in his firm were married. If Greg wanted the position he so dearly craved he would have to follow suit. He had used the online site “Future Professional Dating Services”. They boasted on their online literature that “once you take the plunge we guarantee a successful marriage”. It was expensive, and Greg was pleased with its prestige. He met Sam, and within 6 months they were engaged. At first it was fun. Sam was an intelligent woman and (although Greg refused to admit it himself) more than his equal, in terms of her career and looks. They would go to theatre together or one of the various functions that their respective employers would hold. They established themselves as an up and coming power couple. It suited them well.
But then the doubts started creeping in. Greg had what he called an “eye for the ladies”. To most observers Greg was a letch. It had never bothered him before. It was what men of his age and status do. One conquest to another. Sex was purely a business transaction. He got what he needed and they… well, he didn’t have to see them again.
But six months of monogamy was starting to take its toll.
He looked forward to the Bi-Annual European conference. It was a fine chance to network, meet new people, and, yes, make a conquest or two. But this time, while packing, something odd happened. As he was running down his mental to-do list a giant head had appeared. He wasn’t sure if it had just materialised or let itself in. One minute he had been packing, the next a giant head was floating directly in front of him. It took him a moment or two to gather his senses. Once he did, however, he wanted some answers.
“WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU?” he asked. The giant head floated for a moment. It seemed in serene contemplation, then a giant beaming smile crept across its face.
“Greg. I am your conscience.” Greg stood puzzled for a moment. He couldn’t remember being burdened with such a thing before.
“My conscience? Why do I need you? I’ve done just fine so far.” Again the face stared passively at him.
“I’ll ensure your successful marriage. I’m here to help”. Greg laughed.
“OK fine, whatever. Can just I see you or will other people be able to?”
“Greg, it’s important everyone can see your conscience.”
Weeks passed. The Head encroached increasingly on his life. In meetings Greg would be reminded of promises made to colleagues, or where his actions would compromise others. He had to change his route to work as passing rough sleepers became a minefield. He was a man at the end of his tether. Although…
He was changing. As time went on the Head seemed to cause him less humiliation. It hardly seemed to butt in anymore. He found he was considering others. He felt compelled to be loyal to his wife. He felt pleasure when friends and colleagues succeeded. Could it be that the head, after all this time had changed him? Greg sat in his office staring out the picture window over the city in contemplation.
“Do you know” he said “I think that maybe I understand now.” He turned round to face his conscience. But it had gone.