Beard & Glasses
Word Count: 883
Writing: 1 hour
Editing: 17 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 17 minutes
“The air was thicker, it felt musty. In my time the air is much cleaner, we’ve taken better care of our environment.”
“Is that so?” asked the man with the glasses.
“Indeed, we’re big on protecting our planet,” the man with the beard grabbed a handful of nuts from a bowl on the therapist’s desk.
It had been a month since this patient, the man with the beard, had been admitted in St. Mary’s Home for the Emotionally Distressed. So far it’d been the most interesting month in the therapist’s life.
“Can we talk about where you’re from again?”
“Ughh, haven’t we re-hashed that enough for your liking? Every day, for the last month we sit here and you ask me about where I came from. I’ m sorry doc but it’s not fiction, I’m not going to forget a part or slip up retelling it, because it’s the truth. I don’t have another story.”
“Humor me,” said the therapist with a smile. The man with the beard sighed and grabbed another handful of the nuts.
“Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away, there lived a magical…”
“Come on,” the therapist paused, “How about if you tell me today, this will be the last time that I ask to hear it?” The patient’s eyebrows rose and he sat up, leaning forward on his seat.
“Deal,” he said offering his hand across the desk. The therapist took it, smiling,
“Deal,” The man with the beard sat back down and took a deep breath.
“Well,” he said as he exhaled. “For the thirty-first time this month, I was just out taking a walk. Me, Myself, and I, just walking outside on a beautiful spring day. The air was crisp and fresh, birds’ song carried across the wind and played a soundtrack to my happy day. I was thinking about what to get at the market later for dinner,” his eyes were closed and even through the thick beard a smile could be seen.
“It was then, something changed. Like I said, I think it was the air that gave it away. But then I started to notice colors were different, darker. Then I saw the cars, emitting all that noxious waste, we don’t drive those cars, they’ve been a thing of the past for decades now. Your planet would thank you if you’d do the same,” said the patient, opening and meeting the therapist’s eyes.
“I agree we would,” said the therapist calmly. “What happened next?” The man with the beard sighed,
“You know what happened next.”
“I want you to tell me, one more time.”
“I freaked out. Started running up to people, asking them what year it was, where were we? It was a lot to take in is all. I can feel it inside of me now tearing me apart, but the drugs they give me here make me not care,” he said.
The therapist silently scribbled some notes down on his yellow pad across the table. This man had interested him since their first meeting. The patient truly believed he was from another reality, one that was almost identical to the reality the two men currently occupied, yet completely different in many ways. Originally the therapist had thought he was a man high on LSD or some other hallucinogen, and as soon as he came down things would begin to make sense.
But after each meeting the therapist felt more and more like not only was this man not crazy, but he may be telling the truth. He’d either have to be the most elaborate liar in the history of psychology, creating entire worlds, with different presidents, cars, ways of life. An Earth based primarily on peace instead of war. The impossible achieved. Or he was telling the truth. There was always the case of the money and credit cards.
When the man with the beard had been taken into custody he was carrying two credit cards and one-hundred dollars in twenties. The police didn’t notice until later that names of the banks on the credit cards were non-existent and that the twenty dollar bills were not the Jackson’s they were used to. Instead each bill showed the face of Andrew Garfield.
“You’re doing some serious writing over there Doc, did we just have a break through?” Asked the man with the beard, snapping the therapist out of his thoughtful trance.
“Just notes,” he said and smiled, deciding he did believe the patient. It was the sparkle he had in his eyes, in all his life on Earth the therapist had never seen anything like it in a human. An alarm beeped on the desk. “Our time is up,” said the therapist, silencing the screaming electronic. The man with the beard stretched his arms dramatically.
“So soon?” He asked sarcastically as he stood up from the chair. He grabbed one last handful of nuts. “See you next week Doc, I’ll get that same tired story you ask for every time warmed up.”
“See you next week,” said the therapist. But as the man walked out the door the therapist wondered if he would see him again, or if he may simply walk back into his own reality. And the man with the glasses couldn’t deny the longing inside of him to follow.