He sat in the dingy chair of the really cheap motel room with a gun in one hand and the telephone in the other. He couldn’t decide.
He put both down on the small end table, put his head in his hands and wondered, “How did it get to the point where these were my only options.”
The answer to his riddle wasn’t in the “how” but in the “when”.
He lifted his head, looked at the objects on the table. His eyes shifted from one to the other with a pause in between….
Or would it be the beginning of the end?
He had been doing it for such a long time that he couldn’t just stop. He had tried before. It was just so damn addictive he kept coming back to it.
“Chasing the dragon” they called it.
Trying to recapture that rush that came with the first time.
“That rush” had not happened in months, maybe years. Still, he kept trying to get it. It cost him his job, his family….all that was once near and dear to him.
What once made him feel unbreakable, has now left him broken.
But the time has finally come to choose
Suddenly, the phone began to vibrate…
The buzzing phone broke his concentration. “Answering” a call was not one of the options……But his normal reflex told him different.
He looked at the screen, picked up the phone with his right hand, and moved his thumb over to the green button.
He paused when the voice, that was usually in his head, took form in the empty chair on the other side of the table and began to speak.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you….”
The voice didn’t startle him. It was the location of the voice that made him drop the phone back onto the table.
He looked up from and across the table
as the phone stopped vibrating.
“What the….” He said under his breath.
“Pretty uncanny, huh? It’s me….I mean…I’m you….only a lot less stressed and complicated.” the alter plainly replied.
He grabbed one of the cigarettes out of the pack on the table, lit it up and took a long drag. After exhaling the smoke, he looked at the man he exited and continued….
“You,” he stated while pointing the fingers with the cigarette in between,
“are a freaking mess. Your inability to make a decision has made me whole.”
The man rubbed his eyes to see if it would make him disappear. To no avail, he was still there when he dropped his hands…smiling.
“I’m really here. Don’t bother with the dramatics. You summoned me. The first time you got high you unlocked a part of your brain that should have been left alone. I was in that mental chamber…….was, being the operative word.”
“Wait a minute…I haven’t gotten high in 2 days…”
“No shit, genius. And without it what have you been doing?…sitting in this roach motel NOT making any decisions.
Gun phone phone gun
Bang ring ring bang
What The hell is that nonsense? If you really wanted to do it, it would have been done already. Watch I’ll show you.”
The alter picked up the gun and placed it on his temple and pulled the trigger.
Blood sprayed out the other side of his head and he fell into the floor.
The man shrieked. He sat for a moment then glanced down onto floor where his alter lay……
Only he wasn’t there. No blood, no body, no gun. Just the nasty carpet and the distinct smell of gunpowder.
“Over here, Mr. Decision Maker.”
He spun his head around. The alter was propped up on the bed, legs crossed leaning on 2 pillows, twirling the gun around his index finger.
“It could have been that easy. But nooooo….
Gun phone ring bang
Pitter patter smitten smatter
Ridiculous. You used to be something…….now you are just a junkie with a gun……and a phone let’s not forget about that.”
“So what….are you here to decide for me?” he asked.
“Ummm….no. I’m here to take over.” the alter confidently stated.
“You can’t TAKE OVER. You are a figment of my detoxing brain. Once I get some mental strength back I am going to fight to get my life back. I’m..”
“You have no fight left. Your brain is nothing but dead cells and bong resin. I had to come out, you hot boxing the space between your ears left me in charge. Every time you neglected to make a decision in your life, I got stronger. Your final indecision was your choice between
Calling for help
Answering the gun
I have had enough. You have neglected to make a decision on your own for way too long. I AM YOUR INDECISION AND I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!”
The alter got up off the bed. Confidently walked over to his weaker host and smacked the side of his skull with the butt of the gun.
He fell off the chair and hit the floor unconscious.
The alter then picked up the phone and dialed 911.
“Emergency Services. How may we help you?”
“Yeah, I don’t know where I am, but I’m in bad shape and hallucinating. I think I want to kill myself but I’m not sure….bang ring ring bang…can you help me?” the alter said and threw the phone on the bed.
He knelt down over his identity and whispered in his ear,
“Have no fear, my simpleton reflection, where you will be going no decisions will have to be made. They will be made for you. I got my own decisions to make now.”
He got up off the floor, picked up the pack of cigarettes, shook one out and lit it. After a long drag, he heard the faint sound of sirens. He exhaled slowly and strolled to the front door. He stopped momentarily, looked back at himself and thought,
“Should I wait to make sure they take him away or just leave?
Should I stay
Should I go
“I gotta find a jukebox joint with that song in it.” he said joyfully and walked away whistling an old tune from “The Clash”
The police and the medics arrived at the hotel, not knowing what to expect. The door was ajar. Upon entering the room, the cop noticed that the scene did not fit the call he received from dispatch.
There was a man laying on the floor, unconscious, with the barrel of a gun gripped in the palm of his hand. No signs of struggle in the room. On one side of his head, there seemed to be bruising. Like he might have struck himself with the gun. On the other side of his head, there seemed to be powder burns from a gunshot…..but no wound.
The man on the floor woke up….and freaked out.
“YOU CAN’T TAKE OVER! YOU’RE A PART OF ME NOT APART FROM ME!”
He screamed swinging his arms. He suddenly stopped and grabbed his head, which began throbbing.
“You want to tell me what’s going on here?” the cop asked.
The man looked around confused. He saw the police and the medics but it didn’t fit to what had previous been going on.
“Where did I….umm….he go? Did he get away? He has to be stopped!”
“Whoa….slow down, sir. I will ask you to relax a bit and then ask again, what is going on here.”
He got up into the chair. Took a few deep breathes, and thought back to the events that transpired before they arrived. What was he supposed to tell them.
A white lie
For the first time in a long time, he made a decision. The consequences did not matter. It was time to stick to his guns….instead of relying on one.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
He told the cop as he looked him straight faced and in the eye.
“Try me.” was his reply.
So he did.
He recounted his struggle with addiction. His indecision between calling for help and shooting himself. And the escape of his mental alter who claimed to be his indecision.
“I have heard every person has a twin somewhere. Mine just broke free from between my ears.” was how he finished his story to the cop.
The cop made a head nod toward the medics and spoke.
“We are going to have to take you in for evaluation. For one you just admitted to wanting to kill yourself. Two….your story, although it makes for a good read, is not remotely possible. You can either come peacefully or these gentlemen will restrain you.”
Without hesitation, he made another decision. ” I’m too tired to argue. I will go with you. It is not a story. It’s true.”
“I’m sure it is.” the cop blandly replied as he cuffed him and lead the man towards the awaiting police cruiser.
After leaving the hotel room a free spirit, the alter roamed. No longer bound by the confines of an embattled mind, he needed time to enjoy it. But where does one go, when indecision is all it knows.
“Should I go toward downtown….or down by the water….no….maybe hit that street where all the bars are….no….how about to the park….”
But couldn’t decide.
So he began to panic. And turned back towards the hotel. His brisk walk quickly turns to a trot, then to a run as he saw his host being lead out of the room and toward a police car.
The cop and the man reached the backing the police car. He opened the door and guided the man into the back seat. He shut the door and turned around.
“Hello sunshine. I have reconsidered my previous decision. I need him. You can’t just take him away.” he confidently stated to the quite stunned officer.
Before the officer could react to seeing the truth of the backseat passengers delirium being right in front of him, he was struck by a quick jab to the throat which had him gagging for breathe as he stumbled to the ground.
The alter unholstered the officers service revolver. Held it firmly in his hand, pointed at the cop and pulled the trigger.
“No ring needed, nancy boy. I’m back.”
The medics were exiting the hotel room as the shot was fired.
“HEY!” one shouted
The alter quickly turned and unloaded 4 more rounds from the pistol dropping both medics.
BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM
“Hmmm..No Indecision there. Maybe I’m on to something. Rage makes decision easy.”
He looked into the backseat of the cruiser and saw his host trying to kick out the opposite window.
He calmly reached out and pulled up on the back door handle and opened the door.
“I’m going to sound like a bad love song but….I can’t go on without you.” he said to his host with a smirk and pulled him by the cuffs and dragged him out of the car.
He stood him up beside the dead officer. Pointed the gun at him, and reached down to take the keys off the officers belt. He grabbed his host by the arm, spun him around and took the cuffs off.
They stood face to face.
“One way or another, a final decision is going to have to be made.” they both said in unison.
“Even after escaping your mind, we still share…” the alter began,
“Shut your pie hole. We share nothing. In fact, we are polar opposites.” the man said in interruption.
The man’s voice was different than before. It spoke with a dash of confidence that the alter was not used to. He moved in closer and looked deep into his eyes and said,
“This is not the man I left on the floor of the hotel room. Even your eyes are different….what gives?”he questioned as he put the barrel of the gun up to his chin and cocked the hammer.
“Such a scary entity with a gun…..go ahead and pull the trigger….if he dies we both die. Are you really that arrogant in your indecision to believe that he only has ONE alter?…..Bitch, please.”
“What?….I am the only one….aren’t I?” he asked in confusion.
“It is impossible to have indecision without also having certainty. It is the law of opposites. You were brought forth by way of his minds inability to comprehend the gravity of either action he had to choose from- the gun or the phone. I was brought forth when he concluded the consequences of truth were less fatal than those of indecision.” Alter2 replied
“LIES!! I broke free because I had grown weary of his depressive state…gun…ring…bang…phone…it was f”@:)/g maddening. I had to choose STAY or GO. I chose to leave.” Alter1 retorted.
Without missing a beat Alter2 replied, “And yet here you are, back to where your started. YOU ARE HIS INDECISION THEREFORE YOU CAN’T CHOOSE! Once you “left”, the door of the mind you came from slammed shut. …And as the saying goes, “once 1 door closes another one opens”. Which brings me to me.
With me, he has the confidence to face anything. You are nothing but a gnat flying around his conscious….a confuser of truth. A complicator of choice and reason. Our host wanted help with his decision. You deepened the fog instead of clearing it. When you left him to fend for himself without indecision and choice, I broke out and showed him the truth wins out. And I stay to defend the mind that created me. I don’t leave when it gets difficult. I stay and fight.”
“I’ve got the gun. You’ve got nothing…NOTHING!” Alter1 shouted.
As the alters continued to state their cases, they failed to notice that one of the medics had only been wounded and was far from dead.
He had pulled himself underneath a truck in the parking lot and was watching things unfold….in disbelief.
He heard 1 voice. But saw 2 figures. The man from the hotel room and someone who, even from a distance, bore a striking resemblance to the other. Same height, weight, tone of voice….the only difference between the 2 was the one with the gun was “dimmer” than the other. Almost transparent. He did what any person seeing something peculiar would do. He fished out his smartphone, turned on the video camera feature and started recording……
“You say I have nothing…..but I possess the one thing that you need.
Without it you will continue to fade out. So, now you are left with another choice. Re-enter this man to fight for your indecisive mind or remain out of his mind and fade to nothing…..
Fight, fade, fade, fight
In, out, out, in
You already tried to divide and conquer. I say with certainty….the choice is yours.”Alter2 confidently replied.
Alter1 weighed his choices.
Fight, in, fade, out
In fight out fade
As the video rolled, the medic could not believe what he was seeing. He couldn’t hear the entire one voiced conversation but he could ascertain things were getting heated. Just when he thought the trigger was going to be pulled, the “dimmer”of the two, dropped the weapon and jumped “into” the hotel room guy.
The re entry was not a smooth one. Almost immediately after Alter1 jumped, Alter2 began his mental defense.
The hotel room man was snapped back
into first person with what felt like sledgehammers pounding his brain. He grabbed the side of his head and began screaming. He legs buckled as he dropped to the ground.
The medic hit stop on his video phone recorder and his instincts to help took over. He crawled out from under the truck, which wasn’t easy with a bullet in the shoulder, and painfully made his way to the screaming man’s side.
He reached him, knelt down and said,
“Calm down buddy. I’m not sure what just happened but I recorded it all. Are you ok?”
“My head is killing me,” he whined “my alter….indecision…he’s back. He is trying to take control….”
“I have no idea what you are saying.Try to stay calm. I’m going to get some help.”
The medic stumbled over to the ambulance and called into dispatch.
The man lay on the ground holding his head. As the pain slowly began to recede a distinct thought came to the forefront of his mind-
-I now know 1 thing for certain, I should have answered the phone when it rang…..
2 thoughts on “Help Wanted”
Well that was an AMAZING read.
Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it! This made my day!