Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Predetermined Men

Farringdon woke up one day, years after suffering a blow to the head that had caused amnesia, and suddenly realized that he had no memory at all. He knew who he was, at least in the sense that he knew his name, but everything else had become a blank. He had regained his memory for a time, but this was different from the amnesia. It wasn't that his memories were gone, it was as if they had never existed.

Later that same day, he had a knock on his door. Unsettled enough already, and rarely accustomed to guests, he almost didn't answer. He would have been happier if he hadn't. But he did, and the man on the other side of the threshold introduced himself as a representative of the Bollards, a group of individuals he called the Predetermined Men, those who officially and technically had no histories. The man didn't go into many more details, pointedly leaving his name as much a mystery as his intentions, at least in the beginning.

Farringdon, left with a business card stamped with the organization's name and nothing else, wouldn't have thought any more of it if the man hadn't returned at the exact same time a week later, and reiterated everything, which wasn't much, of what he'd said before. After the third week, Farringdon had had enough. He demanded more. He demanded to know what the man actually wanted, since as far as he could tell, Farringdon hadn't heard anything of a request, something he was expected to do, now that he was aware of the Predetermined Men. He tried to argue that whatever was happening to him, wasn't related to the man's adventures at all, whatever they were.

The man ignored him. After the fifth visit, Farringdon hired a private investigator to tail him, but quickly read the report detailing how the man had eluded the investigator within minutes, and Farringdon knew he hadn't hired some hack. He called the local police, but they didn't know what he was talking about, and unless he clearlyt indicated "no solicitors" on his door or could provide an accurate description of the man, he was out of luck with them, too. And that was the strangest thing. No matter how regularly the man appeared, Farringdon could never remember any details about him, only that story of his.

This went on for several years. For years, Farringdon suffered these visits, just as he suffered from this relapse of his amnesia, or whatever it was. He depended fully on the state to sustain him. At least that much was taken care of. But whoever the Predetermined Men were, the Bollards, that man, he had no answers. he began to think it was all a joke, something he may even have been a part of, from the time before he lost his memory, the second time. He began making meticulous notes. He wished he'd started earlier.

The visits persisted, until late into his twilight years, the man deviated from his script for the first time. He said it was the last time he would ever come. Farringdon wanted to ask for more, but knew, the only thing he seemed to truly know anymore, that it would be futile. He in fact died the very next day.

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