Chapters 1-2 Summary
Ignatius Martin Perrish was very hung over after a night of drunken debauchery. He made his way to the bathroom where he began to rub his head. His fingers found two surprising growths on his head: horns. Upon seeing his reflection, he accidentally urinated on himself.
Last night, the drunken Ig had found himself in the woods, visiting the site where his deceased girlfriend, Merrin Williams, had been brutally murdered. The tree where her body was found was decorated with religious ornaments and other paraphernalia; the religious pieces offended Ig’s sensibilities. Now, standing in his bathroom, Ig feels sure that the horns are a sign of his own impending death. The horns are small, and appear to be roughly the same color as his skin; they are sensitive to the touch. There is no logical way he could have grown horns, so he believes he must have a brain tumor that is causing him to see things. To test his theory out, he heads to the living room, where he finds his current girlfriend, Glenna Nicholson, watching trashy daytime talk shows. Concerned about his own state of mind, Ig decides not to ask Glenna directly, but instead see if she notices the horns as well. Glenna appears to have other things on her mind. She has a box of stale doughnuts in front of her and keeps asking Ig if she should eat more. Like Ig, she is terribly hung over and feeling nauseous. When Ig inquires why she would do this, Glenna says she wants to get fat and make herself sick as a punishment. She tells Ig that she needs to make a confession. At dinner the previous night, Ig had gone to the men’s room and not returned for a long time in an effort to ditch Glenna. When he returned, she was gone. She reveals that during his long absence, she ran into Lee Tourneau, one of Ig’s old friends. Lee and Glenna used to date, and quickly began to rekindle old feelings. Lee took Glenna out to the parking lot where she performed oral sex on him in full view of other patrons.
Glenna is filled with guilt, particularly in light of all of the suffering Ig has endured. To make matters worse, she also mentions that people talk about Ig behind his back. It is clear from her description and his distant friendship with Lee that many suspect Ig in Merrin’s death. Glenna continues to eat the doughnuts, and even seems to swallow a fly in the process, further adding to Ig’s disgust with her. Ig encourages her to keep eating, and edges out of the apartment to get away from her and to find a doctor.