Roy Where Are You Now?
Strange how someone you barely know, over twenty years ago, in an offhand comment in a boring theology class at a Catholic high school, can tell your whole life story. This seems impossible in many ways. That Roy could see so deeply for a guy who mostly was good at running fast and being handsome. That a single sentence, a fragment really, could end up infesting everything in my life. And that I wouldn't notice it, like the sentence was a seed, or named a seed, that took over twenty years to grow large enough where it could wrap its vines around every part of my body. Roy is real, so I hope he doesn't read this. Though perhaps he would be proud, despite me saying all he could do was run fast. That's just the thing. I barely knew him. Just one more face passing in the halls of school, another kid sitting in the rows, the guy we gave the football to in PE so he could make us win. So, Roy, if somehow you find this, I apologize and I commend you at the same time. Look at this guy, he said, shaking his head. I think he was in a bad mood. Look at this guy. Maybe he gets good grades, but look at him. Some people looked at me, or maybe not. No one really listens to anyone in an American high school. All hunched over his paper, Roy said. I was all hunched up, my entire body tense with concentration. Hypertension they call it, though I hate naming things in such a negative way. For years I called it excitement, my stomach churning, my heart beating because life was so wonderful. Really, I'm being serious. I loved everything and it all made me nervous and this was exciting. But now I pass out. I'm like a victorian heroine or something. I get headaches that make work impossible. The world flickers, and if I don't lie down, I collapse. It hadn't happened for a while, years actually. Now and then I would whisper, See Roy, you weren't right. I'm just a normal happy guy. But then I started working at MENTRA. MENTRA which, like Roy, is also real (and who I also hope won't find this page), and who funded this fiction, an ingenious publicity stunt, very aptly realizing that if they could call it a novel (who ever heard of an online novel, ha!), it would clearly not be true. I mean, who would believe that Roy could have foreseen my weakness, the one thing that would matter in the machine--remember what Benveniste said--and who would believe that a company as respected as MENTRA would invest in such a thing simply because it would make them fabulously wealthy. Who cares how many jetskis you have when you have done this to the human race? Right? (Right?)