Chapter One I have a tumor in my head. I call it Bob. Bob is the boss. He controls everything I do. He is the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I think of before I finally drift off at night. If I drift off. Too many things to ponder in the dark, wee hours, when there's nothing to do but think. See, Bob isn't much of a sleeper. Although, the doc tells me that'll change. Evidently, Bob will eventually become a quite relaxed son of a bitch, sleeping for much of the day, resting me up for my big, inevitable nap. Bob's generous to a fault. Shares everything with me. Take these nuclear headaches. Bob gave me those. Doc says that they're from the increased intracranial pressureless and less room for a constant amount of cerebrospinal fluid. Seems Bob is doing some remodeling inside my skull, adding on to his digs, maybe a game room or a den. The ever-expanding Bob needs his space, squeezing my brain juice till it can't squeeze no more. The big question is, how far down into my gray matter does his basement go? Don't tell him I said this, but Bob is kind of a prima donna. Always has to be the center of attention. See, he's stretching out his tendrils into my brain like tree roots, short-circuiting my synapses, forcing himself into my consciousness even when I try to keep him out. I can't go five minutes without thinking about him. Putting on my socks. Taking a leak. Eating my Cheerios. I can feel him in there, a strawberry-sized lump of malignant cells, scrunching down in my cerebrum, getting comfy, putting his feet up on the coffee table. I can even feel it when I nod, not too heavy, about the same weight as a golf ball. The doc says I can't actually feel the tumor. I'm imagining it. He said it's all in my head. I told him, "No shit." Without a doubt, Bob is the most significant relationship in my life right now. He may be the most significant relationship I've ever had, which probably says more about me than I'd like to admit. But he's not happy just with me. He's reaching out. My former coworkers. My ex-wives. My daughter. My friends. He's become a presence in their lives, too. Hey, Bob's a regular social animal. He wants to get to know everyone, even complete strangers. I was in the grocery store the other day buying six boxes of Twinkiesafter all, at this point, what the hell do I care about fat grams and calories? Anyway, the cashier kind of looked funny at all the Twinkies and then up at me. I said: "Hi. I have a brain tumor. How are you?" I regretted it, of course, as soon as I saw the look on her face. She was maybe eighteen. Maybe nineteen. She didn't know what to say. Grown men I've known twenty yearstoughest cops you'll ever meet, who've seen more up-close tragedy than ten average lifetimeseven they don't know what to say. What did I expect some stranger, a kid, to say? She probably went home and cried. I felt like crap. Other times, I look around and see people going about their days, running errands, shopping for shoes, eating lunch, whatever, and I realize like an epiphany that they don't have brain tumors. I can't even remember what that was like. They all look like freaks to me now. And, what's worse, they don't even know Bob's there. Oblivious to Bob! How can that be? Bob is a palpable force that radiates from my head, lying like a blanket on everything I see, everything I think about, everyone around me. It consumes me. My friends feel it. My family feels it. I can't believe that everyoCavanagh, Thomas B. is the author of 'Head Games' with ISBN 9780312361327 and ISBN 0312361327.