Q An A-Hole: Have you ever started your life over from scratch and if so, how did it go and how did you do it?
Well, it’s not something I like to talk about. Not because I’m ashamed of my past — far from it — it’s just that you can never be sure if the Statute of Limitations has passed in some locations.
I distinctly remember having my head dunked in cold water to jar me awake, which does a remarkably good job if you’ve never had the pleasure. The tall lanky one told me that things were going to be ok, and that it might take a little while for the programming to subside. I remember seeing and smelling that tell tale iron odor of blood somewhere, but I was still a little rattled. Two sets of hands lifted me from a chair…no, a bed…and I was dragged down a hallway to a set of double doors. They were thrown open with a loud creak and clang, and I was blinded by what I can only assume was intense sunlight because i distinctly remember hearing birds. I was thrown into the back seat of a vehicle, felt a sharp sting in my arm. I wanted to tell whatever that was to stop hurting my arm, but everything faded to black before I could mouth the words that were forming in my brain.
I awoke on a bench. Slowly sitting up, the world seemed to be at a lag with my actual motions; a clear sign to that I had been drugged. Uneasily rising to my feet, I became aware of eyes on me. I shook my head vigorously to try to rid myself of the cobwebs, to see a family of four staring at me intently. Not scared or alarmed as far as I could tell, just not quite sure what to make of this person standing in front of them.
Turning away from the family, I was faced with a large open concourse. Slowly it dawned on me that I had been deposited in a Greyhound station, and that I was dressed in a hospital gown. I turned back towards the bench and noticed a gym bag with my name on a tag attached to one of the hand straps. I picked it up, shrugged at the family, and went out searching for a bathroom.
To say I was shocked at my appearance in the bathroom mirror would be an understatement, although I found myself at a loss to remember what my normal appearance was. I had a substantial growth of facial hair, It looked as if I had not bathed in days, and my hair was down to my shoulders and a mess. Rummaging through my gym bag, I found a bath kit, and I made use of the shower stall and towels nearby. I did my best with the hair, but a cut would have to wait as I had not yet managed to locate a wallet or money. There was a change of clothes in the bag; the fact that they fit almost perfectly was a fact not lost on me. Just before I zipped up the bag, I noticed a small internal pocket with the corner of some kind of paper sticking out of it. It was a one way ticket to Virginia Beach, and judging from the ticket, I was in Atlanta. There was a note attached to the ticket. “Get on the bus, your POC will meet you in VB We have the cleanup. Eyes Up.” It was signed with a single initial, V. I flicked through a mostly empty mental contact list, coming up empty. I went looking for a phone in the bag, no luck. I looked in the mirror again, and there was a flash of something buried in my memory that poked it’s head above the surface. The barrel of a gun, at an extreme close range and so real an image that I ducked and threw my hands up in a defensive posture. I came to my senses, and calmed down. Unfortunately, when I went to stand back up, I realized rather painfully that I was under the sink, and I believe I lost consciousness briefly, because when I next was aware of my surroundings, I was in the same place, but a janitor that had not been there a moment ago was screaming at me. Scrambling to my feet, I was still woozy, and one hand went to my head while the other grabbed for the sink in an effort to steady myself. It was getting to the point that this instability was getting to be annoying.
Stepping back out into the concourse, I saw the large clock on the wall. I had minutes to get on my bus. I made my way to the terminal as quickly as I could, shouting loudly as I approached. The attendant on duty gave me plenty of side-eye as she took my ticket and allowed me to board. I was somewhat pleased to see that I was on a window seat in the very last row. It meant I was next to the bathroom, but I didn’t mind that. There was plenty of space between me and…whatever would come on the bus.
The trip itself was uneventful, and as luck would have it, I didn’t have hardly anyone joining me in the back row for any length of time. I suppose most people in my situation would try to piece together some idea of who or what I was, but I was so exhausted by that point, I slept most of the way, getting up every few hours to make sure I didn’t develop any blood clots in my legs and wondering why I would remember something like that, but not much of anything else. What was my name? Sure enough, that was hazy, but the part of my ticket that stayed in my possession had a first name, KRIS. I reclined in the seat, a little satisfied that at least I had one piece of the puzzle. Another piece was days ahead of me in San Diego. A person who I did not know, but I assume would know me. More pieces should fall into place after that.
This series of events happened some years ago. I met my contact in Virginia Beach, I was given identification papers and a wallet with some cash, the keys to a car with an address. I have lived here ever since, and while I do not remember much about my previous life, I believe you’ll agree with me that my budding career as a writer of fiction has some promise.