I was kidnapped from the maternity ward of a hospital after birth. When this appalling incident happened, to avoid a scandal, the hospital authorities took the baby in the next crib whose parents were missing and gave him to my parents. I am someone else. Who I really am, I don’t know. I could have been a normal baby growing up in a normal family and turned into a normal adult but my life didn’t happen this way. Just to add a little more flavor to my life, my parents once admitted that I was conceived because of a defective condom. I learned this horrifying truth when I was a kid. Sometimes I hope the real me never finds out who he really is. Obviously, he has more skeletons to discover than I do. Yes, I started my life based on lies, cover ups and deceptions. Against all odds, I kept living trying to forget the real me altogether. For all practical purposes and for the sake of clarity, from this point on, the narrator of this text is referred as I although I don’t know who the hell he is.
I was born with two left feet. I have always wondered, “How could this simple birth defect affect my life?” But it did. The first problem was that my parents had to buy two pairs of shoes for me and discard the two brand new right shoes. They were not pleased with that but I wish all my problems in life were as simple as this little financial burden on family. Having two left feet turned my life right to left. As a result of making inappropriate left turns when the right turns were warranted or advised, I put myself at odds with friends, family members and eventually with the law. I ended up in prison a few times and spent many years behind bars.
My adolescence was in complete disarray until the revolution happened. Everything was in chaos. Up was down and down was up. Left and right switched positions and no one knew what the hell was going on. Anarchy governed the country. The pictures on currency changed, the emblem on flag altered and the laws too. New leaders emerged and revered values were all redefined. One day as I was sitting in my cell, a prison guard told me I was freed. As soon as I walked out, I was welcomed back to society with a wreath of flowers. This sudden nobility caught me off guard and I didn’t know how to react. The same guard who used to beat me bowed before me and said, ”You are a national hero now. You were born on the day of revolution.” I was instantly transformed from an anti-social element to the very symbol of liberation. The time I served in prison was declared the ultimate heroic price I’d paid for the cause of freedom.
I was a hero in a right wing political system with two left feet. I knew this unforeseen honor would not last long. Either the authorities in this government discover my left feet secret or another upheaval in the country would once again transform me from a symbol of liberation to an icon of treason just because I was born on a particular day. In both cases, I could see my head dangling from a tree. The best course of action was to flee the crime scene-my birthplace.
As eager as I was to escape this death trap of mine, I could not afford travel expenses. Then I decided to bank on my newly acquired nobility. In a private meeting with high ranking government officials, I demanded to cash out on my heroic years in prison. They offered me a lucrative position in the ministry of culture and education with a lofty salary including medical and dental. My job was to censor books of harmful and counter-revolutionary ideas. According to my job description, I would have read works of “Other thinkers” and flush out their harmful thoughts. I had to read thousands of lines just to scratch them out of text. The censorship didn’t bother me at all, the long reading hours I didn’t care for. So I refused their generous offer and demanded a reward with more liquidity. During an intense negotiation, I asked for a 10,000 frequent flyer miles for every year I was held in prison to reward my sacrifices. They counter offered a comprehensive package to include 5,000 miles for each year I was unjustly imprisoned, a passport and free in-flight meals as a fair settlement offer to compensate my patriotism and I agreed.
I hastily booked a flight to escape the country before getting in trouble with the ideals of revolution or my free ticket expired. The day of my voluntary exile arrived and I left my country in search of a better future in an unknown land. I had nothing to take with me abroad but my cherished memories, recollections I knew were all against the ideals of the new political establishment. With great anxiety, I delicately concealed some of my contraband memories in dirty socks, some in a shampoo container and others I squeezed in a bottle of French cologne. Memories were all I had to live for.
Fortunately my suitcase went through security checks at the airport with all illicit items undetected. I sighed with relief as I finally took my seat in the airplane and fastened my seatbelt. Two hours later, the plane was cruising at 36,000 feet above ground and I was taking a sweet nap when I suddenly felt a draft. The exit door that I was leaning against was rattling and I feared it may interrupt my comfort during this long flight. So I did what any other passenger would do in a similar situation. I pushed the button overhead and a flight attendant came and said, “What is it this time?”
I said, “Look! The door is shaking!”
And she sniped, “We are flying at 500 miles per hour and thousands of feet above ground. What do you expect me to do? Just don’t pay attention to it.”
I could see her point but sleeping with a hissing noise, a rattling door and sharp needles of airs to my face was impossible. “Can I change seat?” I pleaded.
“Don’t you see we have a full flight?”
“But I’m not comfortable.”
She pointed her finger at me. “We don’t care for your attitude. First I offered you a complimentary refreshment of your choice Coke, water or coffee, and you asked for cranberry juice. Then you insisted on getting a free headset to watch the movie when there is a two dollars charge for it. And now you’re complaining about a little draft.”
In a matter of few minutes, the plane door was shaking violently but no other passenger was alarmed. How could I possibly sleep like that? I wondered. I had a legitimate concern about a faulty door. Was I not entitled to a hassle-free flight? As much as I was annoyed by the rude stewardess, I kept quiet to avoid further complications. She had already threatened me. “One more peep out of you and I report you to captain as a potential security risk and you’ll be in a lot of trouble when we land Mister.” I could not jeopardize my future for such insignificant travel discomfort. So I ignored the nuisance draft, closed my eyes to see beautiful dreams.
After a few minutes, the door ripped out of the plane and I was sucked out into the sky. Aha, I said to myself, now I’m going to file a formal complaint against the airline and demand an apology for their poor customer service and a full ticket refund. As I was tumbling in sky, I realized I’d left my passport and travel documents in the overheard compartment and every one of my memories was going to a wrong destination. I didn’t have much time to grief as I crashed into the ground, yet I was so glad getting rid of that unpleasant flight and its rude stewardess.
When I hit the ground at such accelerated velocity, the enormous force of impact wedged me deep inside the earth. I don’t know how far I sank, but I was surely trapped in a tight and uncomfortable spot. The jet lag, the free fall and the crash caused me a little headache but this was not the time to be wimpy. I had to be tough, get out of the hole immediately and start my new life. The good news was that I could see the light of day from where I was buried. It took me a long time and lots of hard work to crawl my way out of that hole and resurface.
When I came out, I was completely dazed. Everything around me was so different from where I came from. I was now in a foreign land with no money, no identity and no memory of the past. As I was wandering in crowded streets in my ragged clothes, mussed hair and untidy appearance contemplating my next course of action, I was hit by a vehicle. Once again, I found myself vaulting in the air before I collapse on the hood of a speeding car. A few frightened pedestrians came to help me off the ground asking questions I didn’t understand. I was completely disoriented and uttering words more incomprehensible to myself than to others.
In a matter of minutes, I found myself surrounded by a police car, an ambulance, a special sanatorium vehicle and a black unmarked car filled with security agents. All these authorities stormed toward me tackled me down to the ground. Since we could not communicate in any way, they were all confused of how to proceed. The first order of business for them was to figure out who I was or what I was before they could determine what to do with me and where to take me. I was the center point of an intense altercation. Two paramedics grabbed my hand and dragged me to the ambulance while a huge police officer seized one of my left feet and pulled me to his cruiser. My other left foot was clutched in the hands of secret service agents and my free hand was being forcefully put into a straight jacket by the mental hospital employees. As I was fighting for my life with my jaws and claws to escape these maniacs, I was zapped by a taser gun.
The next time I opened my eyes, I was in a cage. Since then, I’ve been analyzed by experts of various fields to determine who or what I am. I have lost my speech capabilities in the recent crashes. My hands are deformed so I cannot write although I can manage holding a pen to scribble on paper. Everything I doodle is being carefully analyzed by scientists. I’m being treated cordially and listened to attentively. I’m being washed and fed properly every day. I must admit I like the attention I receive. On Wednesdays, they connect wires to my body and my head and study every reaction of mine to heat, cold and various sound frequencies. One day they held a mirror to my face. I was unrecognizable. My hands and feet have shrunk and my body is swollen to four time its original size. At first I was scared to see myself in the mirror then I realized this very repugnant disfigurement was my allure. If they found out I was a human being then I’d be facing all kinds of legal issues including jail and deportation. The consequences were disastrous.
During my stay here, I managed to learn their language but I pretend otherwise. I’ve carefully contemplated my strategy. I don’t act too dumb to be mistaken for an animal of a sort yet I don’t reveal my intelligence to the fullest extent, otherwise they lose interest in me.
There are a host of agencies, university professors and researchers interested in me but I enjoy spending time with a voluptuous female anthropologist who visits me every week the most. Over time, I’ve built a good rapport with her but she still doesn’t feel safe to come inside my cage. After every session we have together, she puts a piece of meat on my plate before she leaves to reward my cooperation. This lifestyle of mine has its own restrictions.
Since I cannot verbally communicate, I sometimes draw bizarre shapes on the paper to spice up my stay in the cage. One day I drew an abstract middle finger just to watch the puzzled looks of the art experts. Based on what I gathered from different authorities, they are still baffled on how to proceed. If I’m declared an extra-terrestrial creature, then the top secret government agencies would take my custody and only God knows what they would do with me. If I’m a human and an illegal alien then according to the law, I would promptly be deported, to where they still don’t know. On the way back in the ship, they’d make me peel potatoes to pay for my travel expenses. None of these outcomes are attractive. Freedom is not an option, captivity is. As long as I exist in this state of limbo, I can fall through cracks, play the system, and live.