[LNHY/ACRA] The Daily Super Short-Short Story #53 [no longer long]
saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au
Tue Nov 2 18:49:52 PST 2004
The Daily Super Short-Short Story #53
A Devil Came Down to Georgia 35
Last time: The three protagonists holed up at TJ's place.
TJ woke a short while before dawn. Despite his attempts to remain
calm, he had felt nervous all evening and hadn't been able to get much
sleep. He discovered Martin already awake and standing at the window,
moodily watching the street below.
Martin heard him and turned. TJ saw that he had an unhappy look on
his face. "Tim, I'm think I need to apologise to you."
TJ froze. He hadn't told Martin his real name -- but then, Martin
hadn't used it. It was close enough, however. He must have been poking
around... but where?
Martin saw his surprise and discomfort. "You're going to be ticked
off at me," he said. He paused for several seconds. "I went looking
around in your memories last night. I shouldn't have done that. I'm
sorry. I'm also sorry about your family putting you in the camps. That
was wrong of them."
Martin was surprised but incredibly relieved when TJ didn't fly
off the handle the way he had last night. He just looked kind of
disappointed. Quite calmly TJ asked, "And what makes you think my
memories are reliable?"
"Huh?" went Martin. He hadn't been expecting that one.
TJ sighed and massaged the bridge of his nose. "You didn't feel
that you could trust my version of events, so you went looking in my
head to see what I really believed, and because I was almost certainly
going to be wrong you could then feel all smug and righteous that I'd
gotten the punishment that was coming to me." He said this without any
rancour, and frankly that scared Martin more than if TJ had started
screaming at him. There was something dead about the man, and Martin
had a pretty good idea what it was. "But," continued TJ, "it's been well
known from several decades of abuse from false suppressed memory syndrome
that human memories are really unreliable, even for things that happened
only five minutes ago. What I'm wondering is why you were prepared to
admit that I was right simply because that's what I remember. I could
be having myself on, after all."
Martin stared at him. "I really don't think I want to be the type
of person who has to be right at any cost," he countered with heartfelt
intensity. "I've seen too many of those..."
"Which is hardly a direct answer," TJ said distractedly. He looked
uncomfortable, and rather than keeping eye contact (direct and rather
disturbing eye contact, now that Martin thought about it) like he had
yesterday, he let his gaze wander over the room. He noticed Delroy still
on the mattress on the floor and said, "You'd better stop pretending to
be asleep. You'll want to hear this, and we may as well get it over
Delroy stirred. "Uhm..." he said with a touch of embarrassment as
he got up.
"People who are really asleep tend to shift about to keep
comfortable," TJ said neutrally. It occurred to Martin that while it was
possible that he was explaining, it was also likely that he was simply
saying something to fill up an embarrassing gap in the conversation.
"Do you want to narrate this, or will I?" TJ asked, looking at Martin.
"Are you sure you want to talk about it?" Martin asked dubiously.
"It's pretty painful stuff..."
"I'm beyond feeling pain from any of this anymore," TJ replied,
lying to himself as well as to the others.
Tomorrow: No, stuff it. After two days of long episodes, I have no doubt
that Jamas'll go completely berko if I put out another post of more than
100 lines, and he'll start laying into me with the virtual shoji mallet
again. *Tomorrow* we'll have TJ's Secret Origin.
The Daily Super Short-Short Story series created by Arthur Spitzer, and
used with belated permission.
All main characters created by Saxon Brenton are Ask First Before Use
for the duration of this storyline, then they'll probably go to Usable
Saxon Brenton University of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au
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