Victim of Existence

No, I am not troubled that you brought it up. Everyday I think about John. Everyday I endure the soft torture of his voice in my mind. How could I forget? I think it’s good to revisit unpleasant memories. Painful, but good nonetheless. Please, sit. I’ll tell you the complete story.

I was waiting for an elevator when the man I later came to know as John appeared. He stood across from me, also waiting for the elevator. We exchanged nods and I gazed, fixating on nothing. I always hated strangers. I hated talking with them, but never new quite how to handle the silence. The door opened and we both stepped to the side as the current passengers left. Once it was empty I started to step into the elevator, but hesitated to see if the stranger was also trying to enter. When I looked I saw him standing, patiently waiting for me to continue. “Sorry,” I said, feeling stupid. After what felt like an eternity I finally reached the inside of the elevator.The stranger followed and we were once again standing directly across from one another. We just stood, saying nothing. I was made very uncomfortable by his presence, but I endured it happily. I assumed that I would reach my floor and I would leave and I would never see him again. I did reach my floor, eventually. And I did leave, but his presence never left me. To my dismay the elevator came to a halt. I became tense, more so than before. I had experienced a stalled elevator before, that wasn’t the problem. The problem was him. He wouldn’t go away. Somehow he did it. Somehow he stopped the elevator himself. At least that’s what I wanted to believe at the time. It is more likely a lucky break on his part. I looked up at him, accusingly. He smiled a pretentious little smirk. The audacity! I turned away.“We might be here a while,” the stranger said. I thought it was obvious that we could be there for a while. Actually, I had already spent much more time there than I ever intended. He had spoken, and that was bad. Now I would have to respond in order to end the tension. In turn, he would speak. Once again, I would have to relieve the tension by responding. It’s a viscous cycle that makes avoiding conversation impossible.“Yeah, looks that way,” I said. But I didn’t allow any change in my tone of voice. Anything that implied enthusiasm on my part was avoided. I didn’t know how long I would be there, or how long he would talk. Nonetheless, I didn’t plan on encouraging the man.“Hi. My name is John,” He said in his smooth business-yet-sorta-casual voice as he stretched his arm out for a handshake. I was not seduced by his charming ruse. He was a businessman. A businessman is a politician with a real job. He had mastered this pseudo-personality many years ago. I know because I am the same. However, I stopped the act at when I left the office. This man didn’t know when to quit. Most likely he had convinced himself to think that he really was that nice. He probably thought that he really didn’t notice the stain on my tie or the slightly sloppy condition of my hair. But he did. He noticed it, at least subconsciously. And in the part of his brain that noticed, he was disgusted by me. Unwarranted hate, I don’t mind. The denial of his true personality was what created my negative reaction to him.“Hi John,” I said as I shook his hand. I purposefully neglected to mention my name.“You don’t like me very much,” he said, very blatantly. I was thrown off a bit by this. I didn’t like him, and I let him know it through my actions. But it was to let him to know that I wanted him to back off. I wasn’t expecting that.“You don’t respond. You are to busy analyzing me, right? Please, don’t deny it. I know you. I feel sorry for you. You have spent the last few minutes looking me over. You have decided that you are better than me. But what else is to be expected from such an arrogant species?” said John. I was, to put it mildly, bewildered. This wasn’t normal. I just stood and stared at the man. Intent on hearing what he had to say next. I had hopes of figuring out just what this guy was talking about.“You are confused, yes? You wonder how I knew your thoughts so well. You wonder why I referred to the human race as something foreign. And most of all you are wondering just who the hell I am,” He continued.That was me, alright.“Please. Calm down, you’re beginning to sweat. I find that quiet meditation does wonders for me when I’m fearing for my life.”“I don’t fear for my life,” I told him in a to-the-point fashion that seems stupid in retrospect.“Oh? Well, sometimes fear is a good thing. It keeps you alert, on the look-out for danger. Humans have becomeunsuspecting prey again and again because they believe that the system works. They believe that because thelaw says something is wrong, people won’t do it. That’s why you will fall victim tonight, Mr. Kauffman.I had not told him my name, but that seemed in light of the news I had just heard. I was speechless. My heartraced and sweat rolled down my forehead.“I like you. You haven’t cried or jumped up in defense. Fear not, for your death will be short-lived.”I assumed that he was referring to heaven, or reincarnation. But that thought would be shattered in the following moments. As I looked at John, I saw changes taking place. His body grew paler, and seemed to glow slightly in the soft light of the elevator. I think some physical changes might of taken place, but my memory is blurry as to whether that actually happened or I imagined it later. In either case, I was encompassed with black. Maybe it was his clothing, maybe something more. I don’t know. But I felt two sharp pains in my neck and I wake up in this place. Wherever “this place” is. None of the people working here have ever disclosed any information to me. At first, I thought it was a hospital, but now I’ve been here far to long for that. A military research facility? Possibly.In either case, I have lost any hope of leaving anytime soon. Everyday I lead the same horrible existence. Just once I would like to eat a regular meal instead on the interveneous liquid I get here. It’s a blood substitute, most likely, but I no longer see the point of speculation. My only sanctuary would be death. But alas, even that has been taken away from me. I sit here with you 300 years and 23 suicide attempts after my meeting with John. And to be honest, I have almost completely lost the ability to feel sorrow. Immortality, a blessing to the free and a curse to the confined.