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The following short story is part of a series of rather peculiar incidents that could potentially unfold in and out of our brains. Their storylines develop in my head in times of turbulent emotion. Writing them down gives me some wind down time and something to giggle at later. Read all the stories here.
I'm overloading my time with stuff to do to a pathological suffocative point. I undertake new responsibilities and passion projects until I can't take it anymore, and then I deflate like a pierced balloon. In 20 seconds of real time, my mind processes the 6 projects I've been working on lately, shared among my three jobs, my master degree thesis and an application for a grant.
Sometimes I think I need a vacation; not to go on vacation per se but a vacation from myself. Time off from my thoughts, my obligations, my own life, do you know what I mean?
xxxxxtsaaaf crack psssssss krkrkrkrkrkrkr...
Wait, what! What happened? One moment ago I was thinking about something, and now I feel like I woke up from 10 years of lethargy. What year are we going through, still 2018? Hmm. Did I have an accident or something? Speaking of such, when I had that car accident, I fell on a 5-hours long comma, but waking up from it felt completely different. So I think that we eliminated the after-an-accident category. Could this all be one of the notorious pranks of my friends? I don't know. What I am sure of, though, is that I am standing here, well not precisely as I can't distinguish my legs. I am feeling like floating in a milky colored substance, and for some weird reason, I have no problem breathing in it too.
Oh what's that noise, somebody is talking. Hmm, I see the voice is in English, and I can perfectly understand the accent. However, the voice seems like coming from the outer space, and yet like it's in my head penetrating me fully. It's like this little voice of my consciousness that reproves me once in a while, and "forbids" me from spending time in nonsense, when I should be writing my dissertation. Similar but yet different, this time the way the thoughts form has a peculiar (how can I explain it?) linearity. Thoughts follow each other organized, reach the mouth, and from there they jump into the world to be heard. Not even close to the chaos of my stream of consciousness that the assembly of a sentence resembles more a swarm of scared birds flying from here and there, without, seemingly any order.
Therefore, this voice was definitely not mine, it was the voice of someone much more prosaic, for my taste, human. Which raises an interesting question, whose voice is this? The flow of my consciousness does not have the slightest effect or power on it. And then it struck me! I'm not in my body, and certainly, I am not in my head. I am in the head of someone who is called (wait, what is your name?) Dick. So how did I get in here, and why did that happen to me? Should, should I panic? On the other hand, I can't even pee on myself from the terror, as Dick's urinary system is not my jurisdiction to control.
After the initial panic, the whole situation was the most relaxing experience that I have ever experienced, for some strange reason I have bent the natural laws. It was like when I was admitted to the hospital, and for two days I was administered with intravenous fluids. Back then this almost extraterrestrial euphoria of victory over the feelings of thirst and hunger felt delightful. Now the non-human euphoria wasn't the outcome of analgesics or liquid food, but of the fact that I, literally, took vacations from my body and the responsibilities of my physical presences! For some reason, the conscious parts of my mind were transferred to another brain, and now I was an observer of that other entity. The colossal question that oscillated me was whether this guy was aware of my "existence" in his head. Could he identify the traces of my thoughts in his everyday life?
Whatever was the case at the beginning was great. I watched Dick's everyday life as if I was watching 24/7 a movie, although most of the things he did were against my core beliefs. To put it nicely, I had the misfortune to co-exist with a chauvinist thug. For example, he had a female colleague at his work that if I could stitch his mouth for every time, that he "stormed" her publicly with you-don't-call-them-compliments, I would do it. What kind of human was that anyways? Later I learned about his family situation, and his problematic personality was put into perspective.
One day we visited his family for dinner, and at last, I had the opportunity to observe his parents closely. Dick smoked a fat joint, before exiting the car to smooth his tense nerves, and now I know why. When we got in his parents almost spat on Dick's face, that's how far their love goes regarding him. In their presence, he behaves like a tame six your old boy, nothing like I have seen so far. Not to linger, his father is the embodiment of a human reptile and our broken system. On the dinner table, he bragged on how he ripped these two clients, and on how he hates the fat midget director of the foreign affairs department, that ridiculous feminist, communist (do people still use this world?) that want to see fired. As for the mother she was absent almost all night, she only passed by to say "hi darlings," and to refill her glass of wine, before she disappeared again into her room.
When Mrs. Vanessa, their domestic assistant, served us, a manhole of disguised degrading "compliments" flushed from the father's mouth, with the son sniggering at the end of every sentence. At some point, my man rushed to the bathroom and after two-three puffs out of his fat joint; he passed by from the kitchen for a glass of water. In the meantime, my nerves a hot fussy mess, I wanted to vomit in his head and get out of this ridiculous show. If I were in his shoes, I would thank Mrs. Vanessa, who was doing some chores in a corner, at least for the delicious dinner and her steel patience towards the borderline misanthropy of his parents.
Out of the blue, Dick opened his mouth, and I heard him saying "Thank Mrs. Vanessa for the delicious dinner and your steel patience towards the borderline misanthropy of my parents. For a moment she froze, but then an instant smile illuminated her face, and she thanked me heartily. She must not have been accustomed to such comments on his part, but he didn't feel himself either. He started shaking, said something awkward and run away. And then something unexpected happened, I began listening to his thoughts as in a speaker in my "mind." Petrified he felt as if someone was putting words in his mouth, while he was obliged to watch this happen, unable to take control of his mouth.
As you surmised this was the beginning of a new era; my existence in the bucket of shit of his head gained a meaningful purpose. Now I was harmoniously turning into an autonomous piece of the central system of his brain. I had found a way to synchronize my ideas with his own, to participate in his conscious thoughts, to control his frontal cortex for decision making and his somatosensory cortex to move around as I pleased. Having access to everything, gave me the last word in everything he was doing, saying and thinking. The rules of the game changed radically after that.
The first challenge for my newly acquired skills was to apologize to my colleague at work for all the times he treated her like a pig, underestimating the quality of her work unfairly. During our discussion as I was borrowing his body to carry out my mission, I was aware of his inability to take control of the whole situation; his mouth was moving, but his eyes were dead, full of panic. He felt awake but at the same time as if he was in a dream. When his colleague thanked him for his understanding and repentance, I felt him stiff as a spider. When she left I let him free to do whatever he wanted, but he remained there as a salt column, unable to process what had just happened.
Over the course of the next days, as I perfected my control techniques, I felt strong and independent as back in the day when I had my own body and life to live to the fullest. At work and in his group of friends, everyone was wondering who this new guy was. My masterpiece, however, was when I sold his expensive car and donated the money to an NGO offering pro bono legal support to unprivileged citizens. It took me a little more than a month to get this project done, using everything I had; from squirming in his "ear" while he was sleeping to taking full control over final transactions and signatures. With this last action I pulled the rope harder than it could hold, I had brought him to his limits.
When he signed the contracts, I allowed him to articulate a word. He in return murmured something stupid, while he was calling for a taxi, 'cause no more fancy car my friends. When he arrived at his house, he groped his way to the door, got rid of his clothes, and rushed into the bathroom. Between the foam and the steam, he sat in the middle of the bathtub and cried like a toddler. In the meantime panzurlism dominated his mind, scattered thoughts crashed manically on the walls of his head, panic everywhere. I tried to put an order to the mess, but it was utterly impossible. It was like throwing a house in the eye of a hurricane and urging to spring clean at the same time.
When I shifted my attention back to his actions, he had come out of the bath and with the water still dripping (the jokes are over, tomorrow the program has cleaning), he grabbed a bottle from the shelf on the wall, and threw two pills in his mouth. Mechanically he put on his boxer, turned off the lights and fell into bed. What? Are we going to sleep that early, I am bored I want to do someth...
Eh, what? How many hours was I sleeping? All my morning is lost, but he looks upbeat today. Where is he going to? Let's see, hmm, the front lobe says something for an appointment with a psychiatrist. He called him crying in the morning, and the poor doctor accepted to last-minute see him, and listen to (I am sure about that) all the bullshit that Dick will serve him. Or... maybe not! Maybe by watching me in action, he observed his ill-willed behavior, and here he is, wanting to discuss his mental issues with a professional. Who says after all that people can't change, all you need is a voice in your head to silence yours and to open your eyes. What is unfair though is that he doesn't know my name, to thank me for giving him a new perspective on the world. It wasn't that later that he arrived at the doctor and after the bureaucratic introductions here he was on the doctor's comfortable couch; the perfect contradiction between a mind in a thorny state and an ass sitting on feathers. So here we are, I feel so proud of you for what you ready to achieve my boy!
His following statement struck me harder than a rumble of thunder. "Doctor" I heard him whispering, "I think I'm not alone. Lately, I listen to a voice in my head. When it takes control, all I can do is obey because I do not have the slightest strength to resist it." He went on saying how he looks like a fool to his friends and his bosses at work, when he follows the demands of the voice (what an idiotic moron). Even his father, that human cast, snubbed at him one day "what are these incongruities of yours, are you trying to mimic your mother?"
And then it was my turn to turn into a salt column. In my fallacy, I wished that if every cell of my body stayed immobile, or if I don't breathe for a moment... ugh what a silly fool I am, I lost these privileges long ago, he would change his mind. That he would ____ the voice to the weed, the alcohol or his stupid brain. The martyric session, however, ended after an hour of consecutive interrogation, with the doctor resulting "I think you are right, something grows in your head besides your consciousness." Uncanny doc congratulations! "But do not worry the treatment for such conditions is a piece of cake nowadays. Follow me please in this room."
In the next room, he instructed him to sit on the front of a machine very similar to the ones that were checking our myopia when we were children. Then to see through a set of binoculars, and while staying still to focus his gaze on that red air balloon. "The technique is very precise, you know, and you will not feel the slightest pain. During our times, such machines for deletion of remnants of foreign consciousnesses are absolutely necessary. With the new technologies of exchange of consciousnesses, the options to store yours in online databases, we had to develop a method that works similarly with your computer's recycle bin. In your computer when you detect a useless file, you click on it and by deleting it, it disappears from your system. So now, while you fixate on this air balloon, I can detect... Oh, excuse me I have to apply these filter settings first. What were we saying? Oh yes, that I can detect deviations in your consciousness, alike to forgotten parts of other consciousnesses, and delete them. "
What? What is he talking about, what will happen to me no after this deletion? Before I can wrap up my thoughts I "saw" a compact laser beam targeted at me, as if I was the worst criminals in a manhunt at the moment I was knocked off. ZAAAAAAAAP!
Ahh... * inhale, deep exhale *
Now I swing in nothingness. Since I have no human body to co-exist in, I have no access to new experiences, as I have no access to the senses of this body to make new memories. Nobody will give me his eyes or his ears to experience the world anymore. I will never hear the sweet rustling of the leaves, the same way as I will never again taste ripe summer nectarines by the waves. The only thing left to me from now on are my memories; to rebuild and forget, as I please. Beyond them there is nothing new for me out there. I wonder what happened to my poor body when I jumped out of it. Did it fall into a coma without dawn? Or did it collapse my moment my consciousness got out of its window? I would like to see it one more time...oh what am muttering?
Ahhh... *inhale, deep exhale*
Eternity is so long. What did I say? That I want to take a vacation from myself and bullshit? Well, you out there better be good and be careful of what you wish for.
Credits | Text & Graphic: Despina Kortesidou