Carbunkletown. Population 789. Home to Mrs. Catsballs the contortionist, Father Pricklenuts the limp wrist, Frauline Gertude the snowglobe collector, Peter Sniffles the throat slasher.
789 residents: all different colors, some with herpes, some with stinkeye, all incapable of embracing emotion.
But down in the hollows of Carbunkleton, past Herman’s Booze Hut and a few stone throws from Porno Delight, lived a boy named Sigmund, and Sigmund loved music. He loved it more than the other 788 townsfolk, who turned the radio to the local Top 40 station only to block out barking dogs and dumpster-rummaging flaneurs. But they never listened to music to FEEL.
As he tacked up posters of his favorite bands, Sigmund would silently thank them for singing the words that swam in his heart, for screaming the cries that rattled inside his mind. He’d throw on records he found in neighbor’s garbage cans — discarded after they realized they might need to put effort into listening to it, that it wouldn’t go down nice and smooth like a swig of Pepto Bismol — and lay back in his bed, watching the hair on his arms stand up as the singer’s voice pierced through his heart with molted emotion.
Sigmund would excitedly run through the town square when he found a new band that made his heart quake. He’d try to implore the Widow Crotchbiter to listen, he’d tug on Jake the Smut Peddlar’s sleeve, tap Susie Chibbles on the back.
"Please, you have to listen to this band! They’re so good and full of emotion and they’re from Smugglesville and there’s this one song and and–"
"You’re so dumb, Sigmund," they’d laugh.
"Grow up, Sigmund," his co-workers would say.
"But, this record saved my life, seriously!" Sigmund would cry in defense.
"Music is for drowning out crying babies," his boss Patty Rumproast sighed when he asked for a night off to go see the Anal Probes play at a neighboring town. "And sometimes dancing to when you get drunk at weddings. Why would you want to actually FEEL something? That’s so stupid. YOU’RE stupid."
Slowly but surely, Sigmund put up his walls and stopped trying to express himself and stopped trying to share his love of music with his friends. He stayed inside his hut, listening to post-hardcore records with his headphones on, so he wouldn’t receive a citation from the out-pouring of emotion from his windows.
After time, his right eye swelled from the stress of bottling his feelings. Turned out his giant right eye really like synthpop, though.