Someone Else's Story - Page 5

“Do you understand how insane that sounds?” the man asked incredulously. “Did you even try getting some sort of psychiatric evaluation before tracking me down and barging into my kitchen?”

“No,” it admitted.

“And why not?” the man demanded to know.

“Because I understand how insane it sounds!” it hissed. “Insane, unprovable . . . but true! And whatever I may be, even if one of those things is crazy, I'm not stupid!”

“Fair enough,” the man responded with a sneer in his voice. “But if you're so smart and right, then tell me what happened to the person you replaced . . . now!” That last word was spat out with undeniable threat.

“I . . . I don't know!” it stammered.

“Then we're done here!” the man snarled as he bolted from his chair and started to make a move toward it that it instinctively knew would be a lot more unpleasant for it than taking away the tea cup it still held in its hand.

“Wait!” it begged, holding up the tea cup like a shield. “I don't know, but . . . but I think I can guess!”

It didn't know if it was the plea, or because it was still holding the tea cup, but either way the man relented long enough for more of its words to come spilling out. “I've been asking myself a lot how this could have happened, and I still have no idea, but I think I know when it happened! It had to have been the first time I felt a sense of joy that was truly mine, it just had to be then, and that was when my head broke the surface of the water after doing something stupid!” It paused, looking pensive. “Only . . . I don't think I was the one who did something stupid.”

The man didn't say anything to that; he just resumed his seat and mutely indicated that it should continue.

“Look,” it began awkwardly. “You know how some people have trouble with the idea of getting older?”

“I've heard,” the man intoned with a smirk.

Page 5

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