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One Strange Conversation
I live in Boston, Massachusetts; I have for almost a year now. Personally I’d say my life is good. I live alone, and that’s just the way I like it. My job is not exactly perfect, but then again whose is. I work in an office on the fifth floor of the Jeffersonian Institute of Research and Development. What I do is take the numbers from whatever project we are working on, whenever we are working on it, and make them make sense. If that means shaving a few bucks off here and there, so be it. I’m not exactly a bad person, but doing bad things once in awhile doesn’t faze me too badly, and the extra bucks don’t hurt.
I was walking home from work one day. It was a nice August day, and I live only a block away. When a man came up to me and said, “Excuse me Michael, you dropped your iPod.”
Well I knew something was up. I don’t own an iPod. However I decided to talk to the man anyway. “I’m sorry sir, but you must be wrong. There is no way that is mine.”
“Oh, well, I insist you take it anyway, I have no use for the thing.”
“If you insist, I suppose I could try and figure out who it belongs to.”
“That would be nice, have a nice day young man.” He said as he turned around and walked off.
“You too.” I called after him.
Once he turned the corner, I turned and began walking back to my apartment, thinking to myself, “what a strange conversation.” By the time I had reached my apartment it was almost eight in the evening which meant that I was most likely going to be late for the showing of the new movie playing at the cinema. That was ok, I had a new iPod to see what all it had on it. After all, the best way to figure out what kind of person owns it would be to find out what is on it. The first thing I checked was the music, there was none. Next, I checked the videos, there was one. At first I thought it was kind of odd for someone to have an at least four gigabyte iPod to have only one video, but that feeling was soon overcome by my incredible urge to watch the video. So I sat down, put the headphones in and pressed play.
The next morning when I woke up I found a small envelope on my desk. Inside was a letter and a check. The letter read: Dear Michael, We would like to thank you for your services. And to show our gratitude we have given you a gift. Along with this letter is a check for a small sum of money we think will compensate nicely for the time you have spent away from your home life. P.S Have a nice day. I looked at the check and realized it was for one hundred thousand dollars. Whoever sent this check did not have money on their list of things to worry about if this was a small sum. And whatever services they were, I’m not dead and I just got a hundred thousand dollars. It can’t be too bad.
The next few months went the same as ever until one day in February when a man came up to me on my way to work and said, “Excuse me Michael, you dropped your iPod.”
I knew something was up. I don’t own an iPod, but I thought to myself wouldn’t it be nice if I did? So I turned to the man and said, “Thank you sir I don’t know what I would do without it.”
“Not a problem young man, happy to help. Have a nice day.”
“You too.” I said as I walked away. When I got to work I put the iPod on my desk and started to work my magic. By the time lunch came around I was extremely curious as to what was on the iPod. So I started looking through it. To my surprise there weren’t any songs and only one video, but my lunch break was over so it would have to wait until later.
The rest of the day went by without anything significant happening. When I was headed home the same man that had given me the iPod stopped me and said, “How are you today?”
I replied with, “Fine thanks for asking.”
“Are you ready?”
“Oh, you haven’t watched it yet.”
“No, I haven’t and you are scaring me. Goodbye.”
“No, don’t leave I can’t let you go until I know you watched it.”
“What it are you talking about?”
“The movie on the iPod. It’s an important message just for you Michael.”
“Who are you and what are you talking about?”
“I’m a friend of yours and I have to make sure you get the message. I was supposed to wait until you were going home, but I didn’t want to wait that long so I gave it to you early.”
“Ok, do you need me to watch it now? Or can it wait?”
“Now!” he nearly screamed.
“Ok if you insist.”
So I pulled out the iPod and went to the movie and pressed play. Then someone honked their horn as they went by and startled me out of my trance like viewing of the video. Suddenly my head started throbbing and I began to feel really dizzy. The man whose name was suddenly in my head as James braced me before I fell and began cursing to the traffic. Then all at once I started remembering different things that had happened. It was so weird. All the things I was remembering had happened in the fall. I’ve never been To Boston in the fall. That last thought really threw me for a loop. As far as I can remember remembering I have lived here for almost two years without a single vacation, but now these new memories. Every last memory begins with James handing me an iPod.
“James,” I said, “what’s going on? What are these memories?” I then told him about the memories.
“This is not good. Well Michael, everything you are remembering is part of what we tried so hard to make you forget. You are part of an organization that is working on inducing amnesia. You were one of our first test subjects. You were willing and you even signed a waiver. Once we figured out how to induce it we realized it would only be short term, but in case you did start remembering things we continued to pay you and protect you. It was all going so smoothly but you being sick yesterday threw off the six month schedule of replaying the inducement message. Today I tried to give it to you early to make up for it, but it is supposed to be done at night so I had to see if you had done it yet. Now that the car interrupted it your memories will return and you will have a choice. Will you choose to return to forgetting or will you remember?”
At that moment I knew more than I thought good to know. An organization has the ability to make people forget things, and I’m not going to forget that I know that without their help. However, I would like to remember my life without interruptions. “I choose to remember.”
James took the iPod from my hands and said, “Very well. I’ll see you around Michael.” And walked away. It felt pretty good to know that I just took control of my life back from someone else. And I’ll remember that this fall when I take my yearly vacation. Only this time I really will remember it.