How are you making your choices, who is making your choices – is that even you making those choices? Important questions, especially if your finger is on the button…
R E A L L I F E F I C T I O N b y J o n C h r i s t o p h e r
Jimmy rolled the dice around in the fingers of his right hand. He stared at his list of options in his left hand. This was a big decision and Jimmy needed help, as usual. Sometimes Jimmy would use his lucky coin, an old fifty cent piece, but this decision had too many choices – five to be exact. Well, five plus a bonus option. And that required using his dice.
Jimmy always counted on his special dice or his lucky coin to guide him. Guide him? Actually, to make most of his choices for him. Not that he was obsessive/compulsive about it. He just trusted chance more then his own decision making processes.
“Life is a giant crap shoot,” his dad had told him endlessly while growing up. It was one of his dad’s favorite phrases, that and, “Don’t gamble with another man’s dice.” Those two phrases pretty much summed up his dad’s wisdom.
Jimmy held the dice and tried to compress as much of himself as he could into the dice. Not really, but that’s what it felt like to Jimmy, like he was making the dice a part of himself, as if the dice were a part of his own consciousness. That’s why he trusted the dice to make his decisions for him. It was a strange, half-ass theory that made sense to Jimmy and that’s about it.
Somewhere along the line Jimmy had gotten it into his head that the dice was an extension of himself because it was his dice and when he rolled it his dice would give the correct answers he needed. So far the system had worked out pretty good.
Jimmy rolled the dice around in the fingers of his right hand. He stared at his list of options in his left hand – and then the scene replayed itself again.
Peter watched as his Jimmy character looped through the short cycle. He hit the pause button and stared at Jimmy, frozen in motion on the screen. Who is this character? Why is he doing this? What is the point? Peter was wondering a lot of things. Once again he found himself deep in an assignment without any idea what he was going to do. Not that it was a problem.
Of course he’d come up with an answer, some clever idea to make his bosses happy – that’s why they had hired him in the first place. But that didn’t mean he had to like this part of the job. Somewhere – no one told him where – a real person named Jimmy was living his life and it was just about to be hijacked, once Peter had come up with a new storyline that fit the Company’s agenda. There was always the Company agenda.
Peter’s job was buried deep inside the intelligence network – almost no one knew him and he knew no one. His assignments showed up at his door in plain wrapped envelopes. All the information he needed to do his job except a reason why. There was no reason why when it came to the Company. No reason was offered when he was hired some twenty years earlier, and no reason had been offered since. The Company itself was it’s own reason why.
Peter was a specialist and no one ever told him how to do his job. The envelopes told him what needed to be done and the exact completion date – how he accomplished his job was never an issue. Just make a new life for this person, make it seamless and follow the guidelines, and that’s it.
Peter was a fiction writer of sorts, except he wrote real life fiction, personality replacement fiction. He created conspiracy theories, highjacked real peoples consciousnesses into his fiction and inserted them, rewritten, back into the reality matrix. Well, he didn’t do the inserting part, that was another department’s area, but he was part of the process.
Peter invented UFO sightings, Bigfoot sightings, Bermuda Triangle anomalies and more. If there was an sub-category of the paranormal you could think of, Peter had been involved in creating false stories to dis-inform the general public. Nothing like “almost the truth” to muddy the waters – at least that’s the best guess Peter had for why he did what he did. Until now, he had pretty much avoided the whole “moral conscience” part of the job equation, but more and more it was starting to rear it’s ugly head. The question why was popping up in his mind more and more.
The fact that several of his recent fictions had been mass shootings – hijacked personalities who were set on a violent trajectory with great success – had started to eat away at his dispassionate approach to his job. Making people believe they saw the Loch Ness Monster was one thing, sending people into a public place with mass murder on their mind was another.
This latest assignment, this “Jimmy” case, was even more troubling. Whoever this Jimmy guy was, he was a problem assignment. Just glancing at the personnel file which was included in the envelope Peter had received was enough to tell him this was a top level person – someone who had their finger on one of the many nuclear launch controls. It seemed the Company planned on giving Jimmy a list of five cities to choose from to target for nuclear attack: Moscow, Tokyo, Beijing, Tehran, Pyongyang – and the bonus choice – all of the above.