The Man Who Collected Eyelashes

If you saw Ricky, you would keep your distance. He had greasy red hair, missing front teeth and his eyes had darkness behind them. His clothes were dirty and baggy.

Women would stare and move away quickly. Ricky loved the chase. He would try to get as close and say, “C’mon little darling, how about a kiss on the cheek?” Women reported him but nothing ever happened.

Ricky decided drunk women were the best to grab after they left the bar. Ricky would tie them up and with tweezers, pull their eyelashes out. One at a time. Gagged, they would try to scream. Their shoes were removed just for the heck of it, just because he could. After he pulled the eyelashes, he would let them go.

He collected the eyelashes and put them in envelopes. He had to do this to many women to get an envelope full. Sometimes, there would be false eyelashes which would be pulled off all at once. He called this double lashing. Some women had their eyelashes dyed blue or maroon but he liked just plain old black the best. Some eyelashes were straight, some had a slight curl. He enjoyed pulling them out slowly leaving a bare eyelid. It was a tun on.

Ricky did not know what was wrong with him. He had no feelings or remorse. His social affect was bland except when they screamed or became emotional. Then he was enraged. He just liked to play games in his head believing that each one of them loved him, wanted him, but he was so wrong.

The police never did catch Ricky. He was too smart and moved around. Later, he discovered if he cleaned himself up and acted like a charmer, women could be picked up. Did not matter if they were prostitutes or housewives, trust had to be established. He now was a changed man. In looks only.

Ricky was persistent and would try to up the number of eyelashes collected every week. On Sunday, he would sit at a table and count them getting angry if some stuck to him or other surfaces. It was not easy counting eyelashes!

One night, he pulled out his own eyelashes loving how it felt. It was painful. Afterall, the eyelid is sensitive. When done, he put his in an envelope and shoved it in a drawer. Then took out a 45 and blew his head off. Little did he know, some of his eyelashes did fall on the floor and were mixed with his blood.

When the police arrived after getting a call about the sound of a gunshot, they did not find him.

Legend says at 11:00PM, you can see a red-haired man walking around town saying eyelashes, eyelashes, eyelashes but he could no longer pluck them. Poor Ricky, doomed at only yearning now. A ghost…

Oh, I forgot to tell you. Ricky has a son, named Chester. He eats eyelashes. Says they tickle his stomach.


Gloria Mindock is editor of Červená Barva Press. She is an award-winning author of 6 poetry collections, 3 chapbooks and a children’s book. Her poems have been published and translated into eleven languages. Her recent book, Ash (Glass Lyre Press, 2021) has received 7 book awards and was translated into Serbian by Milutin Durickovic and published by Alma Press in Belgrade in 2022. Gloria’s work recently has appeared in The James Dickey Review, 10 x 10, Ibbetson, Growth: Journal of Literature, Culture, & Art (Macedonia), Constellations, and others. Gloria was the Poet Laureate in Somerville, MA in 2017 & 2018. For more information, visit her website at: