Real Me

Real Me

I I was kidnapped from the maternity ward of a hospital after birth. When this appalling incident happened, to avoid a scandal, the hospital authorities took the unidentified baby in the next crib whose parents had abandoned him on the street and gave him to my parents. I am someone else. I could have been a normal baby growing up in a normal family and became a functional adult, but my destiny was not written this way. Just to add a little flair to my life, when I was a kid, once my mother told me if it wasn’t for a defective condom, I would not be born. I don’t know who I really am, but I’m so glad the real me disappeared otherwise he would have had some serious issues. My life started based on lies, misunderstandings and deceptions. For all practical purposes and for the sake of clarity, from this point on, the narrator of this text is referred to as I although I don’t know who or where the hell he really is.

I was born with two left feet. I always wondered, “How could this simple birth defect affect my life?” But it did. The first problem was that my father had to buy two pairs of shoes for me and discard the two brand new right shoes. He was not a happy man when he did so, but I wish all my dilemmas in life were as simple as this little financial burden on the family. Having two left feet turned my entire life right to left. As a result of making inappropriate left turns when the right turns were warranted or advised, I put myself at odds with friends, family members and eventually with the law. At a very young age, I ended up in prison and spent many years behind bars.

My youth was in complete disarray until the revolution happened. The country suddenly plunged into chaos. Up was down and down was up. Left and right switched positions, coins changed and the emblem on the flag altered. Anarchy governed the country. When the new leaders came to power they redefined all the revered values. Fortunately during this widespread turmoil I was doing time. One day as I was resting in my cell, the same prison guard who used to beat me whimsically told me I was freed. As soon as I walked out to the yard, I received an astonishingly warm reception by the prison Authorities. During this ceremony I was welcomed back to society with a wreath of flowers.

”You Sir are a national hero. You were born on the day of the revolution,” said the prison director.

And that was how I was instantly transformed from a born troublemaker to the very symbol of liberty. The time I served in prison was officially declared to be the ultimate heroic price I’d paid for the cause of freedom.

I was now a hero in a right wing political system with two left feet. I knew this unforeseen honor would not last long. Either the leaders of this regime would discover my lefty secret or the next upheaval in the country would convert me from the symbol of freedom to icon of treason just because I was born on a certain day. In either case, I could clearly see my dead body dangling from a tree with a noose around my neck. The best course of action was to flee the crime scene-my birthplace.

As eager as I was to escape this death trap of mine, I could not afford the travel expenses. I decided to bank on my newly acquired nobility. In a private meeting with high ranking government officials, I demanded reparation for years of heroic sacrifices for cause of liberty. They offered me a lucrative position in the ministry of culture and an education with a lofty salary and full benefits including no deductible medical and dental insurance. My job was to censor all counter-revolutionary ideas in books before they were published. I was to read the literary works of dissident writers and flush out their harmful thoughts. I had to read thousands of pages every week just to edit them out of the books. In addition to the fixed salary, in this position I could earn a hefty commission based on the number of books I could censor. I was assured that this promising position would enable me to quickly climb the social ladder and reach the highest offices in the land including the minister of culture or his cultural attaché in foreign countries.

The censorship didn’t bother me at all, the long reading hours I didn’t care for so I refused their generous offer and demanded a reward with more liquidity. During one intense negotiation, I demanded 10,000 frequent flyer miles for every year I was unjustly imprisoned as a reward for my sacrifices. They counter offered a free vacation to compensate my patriotism, a round trip ticket to any destination and a passport. I swapped the return ticket for free in-flight meals of course.

In a short time, I hastily booked an international flight to escape the country before getting in trouble with the ideals of revolution or before my free ticket expired. The day of my voluntary exile arrived and I was to leave my homeland in search of a better future. I had nothing to take with me abroad but my cherished memories of childhood, the very recollections the new political establishment considered impure, corrupt and therefore illegal. With great anxiety, I delicately concealed some of my contraband memories in dirty socks, some I stirred in the shampoo and others I squeezed in a bottle of French cologne. Memories were all I had to live for. Fortunately my suitcase went through security checks at the airport with all illicit items undetected. I sighed in relief when I finally settled in my seat in the plane and fastened my seatbelt.

Two hours later, the plane was cruising at 36,000 feet altitude and I was taking a sweet nap when I suddenly felt a draft. The exit door that I was leaning against was rattling and I feared it may ruin my historic flight. So I did what any other concerned passenger would do in a similar situation. I pushed the button overhead and a few moments later a flight attendant was looking down on me.

“What is it this time?” She sniped.

“Look! The door is rattling!” I said.

“We’re flying at 500 miles per hour and thousands of feet above ground. What do you expect me to do? Just don’t pay attention to it.”

I could see her point but sleeping with the hissing noise, the rattling door and sharp needles of airs poking on my face was impossible.

“May I change seats?” I pleaded.

“Don’t you see we have a full flight?”

“But I’m not comfortable.”

“I don’t care for your attitude. First I offered you a complimentary refreshment of your choice Coke, water or coffee, and you asked for cranberry juice. Then you insisted on getting a free headset to watch the movie when there is a two dollars charge for it. And now you’re complaining about a little draft.” She was pointing her finger at me.

A few minutes later, the door was shaking violently but no other passenger was alarmed. How could I possibly rest like that? I wondered. I had a legitimate concern about a faulty door. Was I not entitled to a hassle-free flight? As much as I was annoyed by the rude stewardess, I kept quiet to avoid further complications. She had already threatened me. “One more peep out of you and I report you to the captain as a potential security risk and you’ll be in a lot of trouble when we land Mister.”

I could not jeopardize my future for such insignificant travel discomforts so I ignored the nuisance draft and closed my eyes to see beautiful dreams, but the exit door kept shaking, and the noise became excruciating and the wind pressure intolerable. In a matter of seconds and before I could react to the situation I heard an ear piercing noise and saw the door being ripped out of the plane before I was sucked out into the sky. Aha, I said to myself, now I’m going to file a formal complaint against the airline, demand an apology for their poor customer service and a full ticket refund. As I was tumbling in sky, I realized I’d left my passport and travel documents in the overheard compartment and all my memories were going to a wrong destination. Before I got a chance to grief for my losses, I thunderously crashed into the ground. At least I was rid of the unpleasant flight and its rude stewardess.

In a split second, when I rammed into the ground at such accelerated velocity, the enormous force of impact wedged me deep inside the earth. When I regained my consciousness, I found myself buried in a very uncomfortable tight spot. The jet lag, the free fall and the crash caused a little headache but this was not the time to be wimpy. I had to be tough, get out of the hole immediately and start my new life. The good news was that I could see the light of day from where I was stuck. It took me a long time and lots of hard work to crawl my way out of that hole and resurface.

When I came out, I was completely dazed. Everything around me was so different from where I came from. I was now in a foreign land with no money, no identity and no memory of the past. As I was wandering in crowded streets in my ragged clothes, mussed hair and untidy appearance contemplating my next course of action, I was hit by a passing automobile. Once again, I found myself vaulting in the air before I collapsed on the hood of a speeding car. A few frightened pedestrians came to help me off the ground asking questions I didn’t understand. I was completely disoriented and uttering words more incomprehensible to myself than to others.

Then I found myself surrounded by a police patrol car, an ambulance, a sanatorium vehicle and a black unmarked car filled with government security agents. All these authorities stormed toward me and tackled me down to the ground. Since I could not communicate with them in any way, they were all confused on how to proceed. The first order of business for them was to figure out who was or what I was before they could determine what to do with me and where to take me. I was the center point of an intense altercation. Two paramedics grabbed my hand and dragged me to the ambulance while a huge police officer seized one of my left feet and pulled me to his cruiser. My other left foot was clutched in the hands of secret service agents and my free hand was being forcefully put into a straight jacket by the mental hospital staff. As I was fighting for my life with my teeth and claws to escape these maniacs, I was zapped by a TASER gun and collapsed.

The next time I opened my eyes, I was in a cage. Since then, I’ve been analyzed by experts of various fields to determine who or what I am. I’ve lost my speech capabilities in the recent crashes. My hands are deformed so I cannot write although I can manage holding a pen to scribble on paper. Everything I doodle is being carefully analyzed by scientists. I’m being treated cordially and listened to attentively. I’m being washed and fed properly every day. I must admit I like the attention I receive. On Wednesdays, a group of researchers connect wires to my body and my head and study every reaction of mine to heat, cold and various sound frequencies. One day they held a mirror to my face. I was unrecognizable. My hands and feet have shrunk and my body is swollen to four time its original size. At first I was so frightened to see myself in the mirror then I realized this very repugnant disfigurement was my allure. If they discovered I was a human being then I’d be facing all kinds of legal challenges including jail and deportation and the consequences would be disastrous.

During my stay here, I managed to learn my captor’s language but I pretend otherwise. I’ve carefully contemplated my strategy. I don’t act too dumb to be mistaken for an animal of some sort yet I don’t reveal my intelligence capabilities to the fullest extent, otherwise they may lose interest in me.

There are a host of agencies, university professors and researchers interested in me but I enjoy spending time with a voluptuous female anthropologist who visits me every week. Over time, I’ve built good rapport with her but she still doesn’t feel safe to come inside my cage. After every session we have together, she slides a piece of meat into my cell before she leaves to reward my cooperation. This lifestyle of mine has its own restrictions.

Since I cannot verbally communicate, occasionally I draw bizarre shapes on the paper to have a little fun in captivity. One day I drew an abstract middle finger just to enjoy watching the puzzled looks on the art experts. Based on what I gathered, they’re still baffled about how to proceed. If I’m declared an extra-terrestrial creature, then the top secret government agencies would take my custody and only God knows what they would do with me. If I’m a human being therefore an illegal alien then according to the law, I’d promptly be deported to where no one knows. On the way back to wherever the destination is, in the ship, they’d make me peel potatoes to pay for my travel expenses. None of these are desirable outcomes. Freedom is not an option, captivity is. As long as I exist in this state of limbo, I can play the system and survive.