Misha Temkin was often called Dushka by his closer friends, but this is of no concern to us, nor was it of concern to Dr. Vassili Galashnikov as he sawed open Misha’s head and pondered its curious contents. Gently setting aside the top half of Misha’s skull, the good doctor proceeded to sift through the still-warm ashes and carefully catalogued the remains of Misha’s head: three curiously small fingers (two thumbs, one pinky), a conical red hat of equally tiny proportions, and what appeared to be the burnt carcass of a spider of small stature. Hardly noteworthy if found apart, thought Galashnikov, but together, and inside a man’s head? A puzzle if ever there was one.
Presuming Misha Temkin, while alive, had a brain or equivalent apparatus — and there was no reason to think otherwise, as he had that very morning walked into the clinic without assistance — Dr. Galashnikov had to conclude that the ash found within the confines of Temkin’s skull was nothing less than the remains of that very brain, or that very brain’s equivalent. This he jotted in his notebook.
The ash was at thirty-nine degrees centigrade. Considering this was several degrees above even the most spirited men’s body temperatures, and the fact that, with uncanny constancy, ash is the remnant of flame, the doctor supposed poor Temkin’s brain had burnt asunder.