I was in a restaurant, very fancy, very exclusive. The waiters take drink orders, but the food is selected for the customer and personally served by the chef. The chef brings my meal; it is a man's head, roasted in some way that does not burn away the hair or damage the eyes, which are open and unblinking, but which turns the skin a golden brown.
The chef sets the head in front of me, turned in profile, so it is facing the chef. Then, with the middle finger of his right hand, the chef takes a tear from his own eye and touches it to the head's left temple. With his other hand, he takes a tear from his left eye and touches it to the head's right temple. Then he spit's on my dinner's forehead. The spittle is black with tobacco. The chef rubs the spittle into the skin, leaving a grey smudge. He turns the head to face me, and stands, waiting.
In the dark recesses of the restaurant, other patrons are cutting away the flesh of their own meals with sharp knives, opening the skull with hammers and chisels, and scooping out the hot, steaming brains, which are the color and consistency of stringy custard, with their fingers. My stomach turns, and I can't bring myself to pick up my own knife, my own hammer.
I know, in the way that one knows in dreams, that to refuse to eat would be an insult so grave that the chef would have no alternative but to kill himself, and would be so disrespectful to the man whose head sits on a plate in front of me that his family would never rest until I was dead.
The dead man's eyes watch me, waiting. And judging.