I am not here. I have never been here. What you see when you speak to me is a figment of your imagination. Rather, it’s a fiction that I’ve chosen to create for you. You see a friendly man or a quiet man. You see a handsome man or a man with a few noticeable scars. You see an angry man or a calm man. Every time you see me, I will be different and every time you notice, I will be the same as you remember. You’ll be confused for a moment, but only a moment, as your memory shifts and warps and molds the clay of reality to fit what you are seeing.
Do I have a real face? It’s hard to say. It’s been so long that ‘real’ may have slipped away like sands on an endless desert. Was I tall or short or fat or thin or any of those markers people use to define others? It’s unclear, even to me. Truth be told, I don’t myself remember.
Or, perhaps more accurately, I don’t remember myself.
It doesn’t really matter in the end, though. I can be who you want me to be. If you want me to be. All it takes is desire and we’ll be off to the races. I can be your boyfriend or brother or boss or coworker or whoever you need me to be in the moment. I will build a life special-made just for you and put it on display to help you however you want. I will be a spectacular jewel in the crown of your life, if only you ask me.
I come, however, with a dear price.
As with all things, nothing is free. There is always a catch. Always a give-and-take. I am not different. I will give you the world you want on a silver platter for as long as it needs to be yours. In return, though, I will receive something precious from you, and it will always, always be the same thing.
It is curious to me how people will bargain and beg and plead for something different when the bill comes due. I lay the terms out in specific, agonizing detail at the beginning because I believe in playing fair. No grift. No tricks. No hidden clauses designed to trick you out. I do not take. I simply require the fulfillment of our deal. Some people run. It’s a natural impulse and I do understand. It doesn’t matter, though. As fast as you run, I will be faster. As deeply as you hide, I will find you.
I want you to know something. I believe it is important that you know it. There is no malice in my heart. No vendetta against you. It is not personal. It never has been. But we made a deal. I did my part and now you owe me yours.
It’s as simple as this: I have a collection and it needs to grow.
Here is where I''ll post random stories that aren't, as of yet, in a larger book. Call it a free ride into the mouth of madness, yo.