Sunday, January 16, 2005

Slow Chemical -- Scatterbrain

How is it that one can know so little of the things that make them up? How can any person lead a seemingly normal life without ever really connecting with all of the small things that effectively taught them how to live? How then can it even be possible -- if outlook is based on ones conditioning -- to really live? If you can't understand where exactly you have come from, and every moment that has made you into what you are, then in theory it should be quite difficult to form any sort of character or an opinion. If none of these thoughts are true, then we must be reduced to nothing greater than machines; all of our emotions and reactions would have to be hard-wired into us as people. We try, we fail; we sit down and we stand up; we frantically spin our wheels in some desperate attempt to go somewhere new and try something different. We don't know why we do it, though. Just 'cause we're machines.

I had forgotten everything. I was shaken awake by a mall security guard by the name of Anton. He told me that I was homeless, and recommended a few shelters for me to visit. He said my name was C. Malcolm, because it was signed on my library card, which he kindly returned to me. He had to tell me these things because I had forgotten them -- I had no absolutely no idea who, what or where I was. Anton told me not to sleep on mall property, and turned to walk away. At this point Anton was the only person I knew in the world, so I wasn't about to part with my bestest friend ever. I followed him, and though he didn't have answers for the questions I really needed to ask, he seemed to want to help me, and I certainly needed help. I let him go at the end of his shift, thanking him for his time. Now all I had to figure out was what I would do if I knew myself.

"$5 - 15 Minutes Internet," the sign read outside of Buckley's Café. Unfortunately, the only things in my wallet were my library card, a condom, and a picture of a beautiful girl, signed on the back, "for potato boy," a nickname I hoped was a joke. Inside, I tried to decide which of the two staff members would be more sympathetic to an amnesiac: the woman at the counter had a large stain on her shirt from some earlier kitchen disaster, so I thought she might be in a bad mood and opted for the older gentleman bopping along to loud jazz music as he swept the floor. I barely had to plead a case with Mr. Buckley, simply telling him that I was lost, and he offered me unlimited Internet access until closing. I was very grateful, and I told him that I would find a way to return the favor -- seeing Mrs. Buckley roll her eyes through the corners of mine.

There didn't appear to be a whole lot available for me on Google. There were a few C. Malcolm's in Vancouver: a swimmer, a skier, and a marathon runner. Looking to my beer gut for guidance, I decided that I was probably not one of these people. Just I was ready to give up, I spotted a weblog with the username "potato_boy," the nickname I remembered from the photo in my wallet. Unfortunately there was only one entry, but still it told me a few things about my life; my friends and family, and gave a name to the girl in the photo: Ashley. More importantly, the posting told me that I had left Vancouver for another town, Chilliwack, about two months ago.

I tried Google again, with "Chilliwack" in place of "Vancouver," and the first thing I saw set off an atomic bomb in the pit of my stomach. It was a newspaper article from the Chilliwack Progress, with the headline, "Colleen Malcolm murder investigation continues -- missing son suspected."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful piece if one happened to stumble upon it out of context, but combined with the previous entries it loses its ethereal quality and becomes too mundane for a piece with which it is so difficult to relate. I appreciate the masterful and precise prose, but the concept is lost in an inconsistency of quality, behind which can only lie unneccessary embellishment of the artist's true feelings, sacrificing function for style.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Christoph said...

In the next chapter: your anonymous mom loses her ethereal quality, your anonymous dog becomes too mundane to relate, and your anonymous face is lost in an inconsistency of quality. Then Cloven unneccessarily embellishes his true feelings and wanks it to a pilates video.

8:08 AM  

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