Someone Else's Story - Page 4

This time, much to the man's annoyance, it paused to wait for a response. After a few heartbeats, the man made a visible effort to not roll his eyes, and bid it to “Go on.”

Lost in its tale, it failed to notice the man's reaction, and simply did as it was bid. “His mother's testimony seemed to preclude the possibility of some sort of conspiracy to try and force some sort of made-up identity on me --” it began.

“Unless she was in on it, of course,” the man interrupted.

“I thought of that too,” it agreed with a pained grimace. “Which is why the next thing I did was to hire a private detective at random. I pretended to be a prospective employer wanting to hire myself . . . I mean him; dig into his background, look for anything unusual, paid in cash . . . you know the drill.”

This time the man did nod. “Nothing, I take it.”

“Nope,” it sighed. “Which only confirmed what my own research had told me. Either this guy I'm supposed to be was real, or somebody had done a flawless job of leaving a digital footprint of his life.” Its next sigh was even more heartfelt than the first. “Which one way or the other meant, whatever the problem was, it was probably with me, so I made a doctor's appointment, again at random . . . just in case, made up some story about feeling 'run down,' and asked for a complete physical.”

It paused while the man moved to refresh both their teas.

“Again . . . nothing,” it continued after thanking the man for his hospitality. “Normal human to all tests, matching his medical records precisely.” It took a careful sip from its steaming cup before adding, “So I paid the bill and started really worrying.”

“About what?” the man asked.

“About what had happened to the person I was pretending to be,” it said dejectedly. “Because even though I still hadn't found any proof, I knew in my heart I wasn't him . . . I just knew! What I didn't know was what had happened to him, but he seemed like a nice enough guy, so I felt like I had to keep looking until I figured it out.”

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