As i’ve mentioned before, i’m not picky about where i get my ideas for this blog – i collect thoughts shamelessly from wherever i might find them lying. Even so, it’s rare that i’ll write something based on someone else’s idea – this is one of those rare occasions.
This was Dugi Rubble’s idea – i didn’t steal it… he offered it to me – i’m pretty certain that what i’ve done with it is probably not quite what he had in mind, but tough titties, once an idea gets under my skin, it tends to get a bit mangled and you don’t necessarily get out anything remotely like what you put in. It’s kinda fun. So, thanks Dugi – here’s how i messed up your idea!
i don’t like the room – it’s comfortable enough, but the chairs remind me of an old-folks’ home and the walls are that nasty shade of institutional green that never lets you forget you’re in a hospital. i keep telling them there’s nothing wrong with me… just let me go home, to the things i’m familiar with; give me my things back and i’ll be just fine – but, of course, they won’t.
Apparently, i’m suffering from some form of delusional psychosis – they are, of course, wrong – i keep telling them it’s just the after-effects of the accident. Who wouldn’t be a little out of sorts after going through that, and then… what?… Three years in a comatose state – of course i’m confused, but i know i’m not delusional. They keep telling me that the world i’ve ‘created’ isn’t the real world, that what i believe to be real memories are a result of my psychosis… my brain incorrectly interpreting half-remembered things as truths, although they tell me they are not real at all. i simply want to return home; to do the things i used to, to enjoy my new-found life and to escape the dreary unreality of this place.
The door opens and Doctor Sanderson walks in. She smiles warmly at me, “I see you’ve made yourself at home?”, nodding in the direction of the styrofoam cup of brown liquid – i hesitate to call it ‘tea’ – nestled between my hands.
We exchange pleasantries and, as the minutes tick by, we go through the same routine that i’ve become so familiar with since i awoke from the coma. The standard questions, the subtle tests of character, perception and understanding… and then we come to the interesting part:
“We tried tracking down some of your friends using the names you gave us… Carla Moondrop; Lenny Corcoran; Gemma Westwind… well, everyone you mentioned, actually – I’m afraid we weren’t able to find any of them: It’s just as we told you, these people you ‘remember’, never really existed.”
She paused for a moment, waiting for it to sink in; eyes fixed on mine.
“Yeah, well people change their names all the time. Some of those guys… you never knew who they were one week to another… besides, you’re medics, not the FBI – hah! i bet you wear those name badges all the time to stop you forgetting who you are!”
She pursed her lips slightly and scribbled a few notes in my file, somehow i got the impression she wasn’t writing ‘early release’; from her expression i reckon it was more along the lines of ‘mad as a box of frogs’ – but i’m not mad!
“But i’m not mad… i know these people, they’re my friends – just ’cause you can’t find them means nothing. Look, there’s Carla – she’s got her own business – sells shoes, Carla’s Clogs, it’s called… and my mate, Lenny – ‘Lenny the Lemon’ we used to call him, ’cause he used to open nightclubs no-one would go to! – Dammit! These are real people – my friends… i’ve got a whole list of them somewhere, but you won’t let me have my stuff!”
“Yeah. My clothes, my things, my car, my lists…”
“Your lists?” More scribbling and a quizzical expression.
“Yeah… my friends, favourite places…”
Now she’s interested in me again, not trying to fob me off or tell me i’m deluded, but then there’s more questions… ‘Did i often keep lists of things?’; ‘Would you say you have obsessive tendencies?’; ‘Do you have set routines you follow?’ – on, and on she went – i can tell she thinks i’m barking mad. Then we’re coming close to the end and ‘that’ part, the part that i’ve been asked to go over time and time again – it’s not as if i’m going to change my story, doesn’t matter how many times they ask me.
“Tell me what you remember from the time before the accident.”
“i remember the world before it was only hospital walls and the smell of antiseptic. i remember a world without walls of pale green and baby pink… a world where i was free to come and go as i wished, a world of colour and music and friends. A world where i had the freedom to look beyond these four walls and where i could enjoy the simple pleasures of dancing and shopping. A place where i could choose who i wanted to be – where i could dress as i wanted, go wherever i wished… i could run and jump and laugh and fly to my heart’s content. And i just want to go home.”
As always: Silence. Then;
“Tell me what you remember about the accident.”
“i… i don’t remember. i was talking, talking with friends – just an ordinary day. Hyacinth was there and Proteus, and i think – yes – Ichiko too… we were discussing building things. Then i heard – no, i felt an explosion. Everthing black. Silent. Crushing. That’s all i remember until i woke up.”
Again, she tells me how i was pulled from the rubble – how there were no other bodies; that all the evidence pointed to me being alone: The friends that i know i was speaking to, nowhere to be found – untraceable.
She reminds me how, in the three long years i lay in that hospital bed, not a single person of the many of whom i have since spoken, ever called or visited.
With that strange look in her eyes, she tells me of the efforts they have made to identify me… how the name by which i’m known is quite obviously not my own: There are no records, no addresses, nothing anywhere that can be connected to my name – she tells me, despite my protests, that there is no Venetia Mandrake – she tells me, i am not who i think i am. Venetia simply does not exist.
“i just want to go home. This is not my world, this is not the world i know – this is a dream, a nightmare – and i want to wake up!”
i look at her with anger flashing in my eyes…
“How can this be real? If this was the real world, i’d TP the hell out of here right now! Please, i beg you, give me my stuff – my inv. – let me find my friends… let me live again”
Say goodbye to everyone
You have ever known
You are not gonna see them ever again
Editors – Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors