“Pst. Hey, buddy! Over here!”
I jerked up right, eyes wide, sweat pitting my coveralls. I thumbed off the vacuum cleaner and listened in the darkness.
That had to have been my mind playing tricks on me, the Pink Palace had been closed for hours. The security guards swept through before maintenance went to work, no way there was still some one in here.
But there it was again. “Over here!”
The words were coming from the shrunken head.
Its dried, leathery eyes were open, as were its lips in a distended grin.
“Hey! He catches on…finally.”
I stepped over to the stand the head rested on, scared out of my mind, but also a little fascinated.
“You’re not supposed to be talking to me. You’re not supposed to be talking at all! You don’t have a tongue!”
It frowned at me.
“What do you want?”
“I want what every desiccated head wants.”
“…Brains?” I took a step back.
“Brains? What? No! Where the hell did you get brains? Space ice cream! They’ve got some down in the gift shop! Bring it to me and I’ll grant you a wish or something.”
Turns out, shrunken heads can’t grant wishes.
One of the most infamous and awesome treasures of the Pink Palace Museum is their shrunken head. A real shrunken head, mind you. It has a goatee. At some point, the museum stashed it way, probably for reasons very similar to what I’ve laid out in the story above. I think it is back out on display now, though. Ready to scare an entirely new generation of children.