Mattress Of Nails

by Brian Vincent

Dedicated to T.

In a relatively small town located in the very far west, a goblin lived among people on the outskirts of town. He slept, as he always had done, upon a bed of nails. This was not exactly an uncommon practice among his kind, as their sensibilities are obviously very different from our own. He did not find the arrangement uncomfortable, as he certainly never lost any sleep on account of the material of his mattress. He would even lay in it out of laziness, often setting his alarm early enough to give him time to sit in bed and check his phone in the morning before work.

A good (human) friend of his, his next-door neighbor, after giving it some thought, decided to try such a mattress for himself. He took great care to not just create his own mattress of nails, but to copy the mattress exactly, including the length and width of the nails, the placement of them (90x30 nails over a seven-foot-long mahogany board) and the patterns of rust across them. It was an exact replica. The neighbor did not do this to impress the goblin (who had no feelings either way on the matter), but out of curiosity.

On his first night, the man found it quite painful to sleep on a mattress of nails. This pain from sleeping never went away, but the man did get used to it not long after he began dressing his nightly wounds during his morning bathroom routine alongside showering, combing his hair, and brushing his teeth. He simply lived with the pain and continued along with his life.

The bed itself was somewhat aesthetically pleasing to those who saw it, and friends of the goblin’s neighbor developed their own curiosity about it.

“Why does he sleep on such a mattress of nails? What is he getting out of it?”

A neighbor of the neighbor, who lived closer to the center of town, became curious enough to try it for himself. The goblin’s neighbor was quite happy to be commissioned for another mattress and took great pride in his creating another perfect replica. Right down to the rust.

Before long, mattresses of nails had gained some degree of popularity in the little town. It was still deviant from the norm, but clearly gaining in popularity. A good chunk of the town was now sleeping in such a fashion. Unfortunately, due to the rust, tetanus and other health problems began to spread among the townspeople.

The goblin, a fellow with notable concern for his health and longevity, was worried. Though he had slept on such a mattress all his life without contracting tetanus, the sudden outbreak of tetanus among nail-mattress-sleepers alarmed him enough that he decided to purchase a normal mattress from a store in the little town.

He found the mattress a bit unpleasant, but continued to use it out of fear of tetanus. The discomfort was worth his peace of mind.

You can follow Brian Vincent on Twitter at @hettakhe.