As the setting sun burnt his iris, he still couldn’t turn away. Everyday he watched the sun leave the city behind, as it faded behind the silhouetted cardboard facade. As it sunk behind the life sized film set, he felt himself free falling through the earth. If he closed his eyes, he would pop out on the other side of the planet, and watch it rise again, against a land both foreign and unknowable. He felt uncertain about the axis from which the earth rotated, he felt that every time he looked around, he was in a different world. The voices he heard constantly provoked his feelings of isolation, constantly confirming all his negative self-beliefs. They explained to him, his place in the universe and confirmed reality as he understood it. While at the same time he knew that they were trying to get him, get what he knew, take away his autonomy, his knowledge, his truth, take away his life. These things he knew, these things were true, these things the voices confirmed.
Looking every which way, he paced the sidewalk in front of the agency several times before he walked up to the slide open take-away window. tThe young looking woman with green dreaded hair, septum piercing and light green eyes asked in a sing-song voice,
“Hi, how can I help you?”
He felt human for the first time all day, walking the alienating streets, talking to himself pulling a converted golf bag cart, with various electronic devices tied to it with bits of coloured wire, he rescued curb side along his travels. He was storing this gear, under a bridge by the river, knowing that eventually he would build a device that would finally take him home.
Smiling at the attention from the striking looking woman, he replied:
“ Can I have a bowl pipe?”
She handed him a glass meth pipe, wrapped in a thin white styrofoam sleeve. He put it to his ear, listening intently before, he frowned and tossed it into a yellow No Frills bag, hanging off the cart which was overflowing with his street haul and asked:
“ Can I have one more”.
She smilingly passed a second pipe, again he put it to his ear, this time releasing a sigh of relief, putting it in the torn front pocket, of his torn and stained, burnt orange puffer jacket.
“This one likes me”, he smiled back at the still engaged worker.
“Did you know, that my brother is looking for me? He wants to help me to work at our father’s company, but I know he is actually working for CSIS and they want to steal all my patents, cause I know how to stop all global suffering, but the government doesn’t want that to happen, as it would put them out of business, which is why they have been giving those vaccines”
He spit out the last word while making air quotes.
“You see every time they jab someone, a little piece of nano-technology goes into their body and the government’s central computer, because they are looking for me, so now every time someone who got the vaccine is near me, it beeps the location and a hit squad shows up trying to kill me”
“ Wow. I’m sorry that is happening to you. Is there anything I can do to help?” she asked earnestly.
He looked into her sincere eyes, the depth of green reminding him of the ocean when he went to Florida as a kid, then with his gaze to the sidewalk below him and sounding a little scared said , “ No. But I have to go, so you won’t get caught in the cross fire – cause they will be here any second now”.
“Okay, well, would you like a bottle of water and a granola bar?” Her hand extended through the window with those items in it. He paused for a moment, looking hard at the items and then back into her eyes. Reaching forward he took the granola bar, leaving the water bottle in her hand.
“That shit will kill you”, he said as he turned and made his way down the street, limping slightly and slyly watching the reflection in the storefront windows, waiting for the agents to appear, again.