You flip down the visor and stare at the rectangular mirror at someone.  But it ain’t you.  This face has sad eyes and the box score of the losing end of life’s struggles. You click the GPS of memory.  It seems stuck in reloading.


You look over at the Driver to see again maybe your face.  You think: question to the Driver, jump, get a weapon (the gun?).


You casually ask, “What time is it?” and the Driver points to the digital rectangle on the dashboard.  It’s 11:32 and dark, but that means nothing to you now.  You turn on the radio.  Find “Heatwave” by Martha and the Vandellas, and you are surprised and pleased to remember this old song.


You consider telling the Driver about your revelation, and laugh at the ridiculous thought.  The Driver asks what’s so funny.


“If I told you, you’d be taking me to Bellevue.  You know, I don’t remember anything—like how I got this head bump.  But why do I remember your face?”


“Because they left you with the last day before your surgery; they wanted baseline.”


“Why not my own face?”


“When was the last time you looked in the mirror?  You don’t remember decrypting ISIS and Al Qaeda codes?”




“You still speak Arabic?


“What are you talking about?


“Sorry, Terry, but they’ve erased your brain.  That’s why you got that bump.”


“So where are you taking me?”


“I didn’t have a choice.”


You say, “Between the bowl and the mouth falls the soup.”


Then reach under the seat and find wrappers, plastic cup, and a bottle.


“Strange time to clean your car,” says the Driver.  This reminds you of your Grandmother, her Arabic words come out of your mouth: “Leave evil, it will leave you.”


In one left-handed swing you smash the bottle into the Driver’s forehead, who jams the breaks. Your right opens the door of the slowing, but still moving car.  You jump.  The Driver has stopped up ahead.


this installment was written by michael paul