It's Good To Be Me

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Just having moved to Canada from Britan, James Callowel, 29 sees a boy with extreme resemblance to himself jogging in front of his house. Watch him suffer during his eventually gained madness in this short story: It's Good To Be Me.

Submitted: June 16, 2008

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 16, 2008



It's Good To Be Me

By Dean Cudmore

Dear Journal,

It has been a hard few weeks, getting adjusted to life in this new country. The cars are all backwards, and we drive on the wrong side of the road. Insurance forms are really quite a different story as well.

It’s a shame I haven’t written more lately, but I’ve been busy with work and moving, as well as all kinds of legal issues with passports and paperwork.

My new house is much larger than I would need it to be, and it’s in of the busier sections of the town. I’m not far from a local high school, a large shopping mall, and a grocery store. I can walk to get most of the things I need. I think I will start to jog every day from now on, if I can fit it in my schedule. My new job is great, I can just e-mail it into work every day when I finish. I still have to travel to work every two weeks, but it’s not far, only an hour or so of a drive. I have made more than

But the letter stopped there. I was likely going to say something about my salary or something, but something or someone rather, caught my eye. There were about eight teenage boys running along my sidewalk, all wearing uniform gym outfits. The one in the front was running with his chest high, and his arms pumping, like he really enjoyed running. He had a shaved head, and a skinny but healthy body. The one thing that really struck me was his resemblance to me. This kid could not have looked more like I did at his age. Our hair, our eyes, our body type. He trotted out of sight with his classmates, and I went back to my letter.

I have made more than

What was I even writing about? More importantly, that kid was an exact replica of me. His stride was even identical to mine; his very teeth were just as mine were. His hands were the same, they way they became thinner when it was cold. Just thinking about the way that kid existed reminded me of the early years of my childhood. The toys I played with, the way my father would pick me up when he’d get home from work, no matter how tired he was. The way my mother would ask me what I wanted for dinner, and make something different every time. It was like a joke.

Every time I thought about anything I did as a child, the kid would be in my place. I would think about the toys I had, and he would be sitting there playing with them at the very same time. He would be eating meals with my parents, and I would just be observing from a distance. It was like he had rushed into my life in moments and taken over every memory.

My day was ruined. Every time I thought about anything, my thoughts would drift back to the kid. I would try to think about almost anything and I would instantly start thinking about my childhood. I was a mess.

I decided I would have a nap to clear my mind, and wake up fully refreshed. The thing is, I slept for the rest of the afternoon, and all through the night.

I’m outside the front door of the house I grew up in. It was a rural area west of Birmingham. The house burned down when I was five, but I have many fond memories of the home. It’s the kid. He’s in my place, and I’m watching from a few feet back. He walks into the house, and picks up the toy truck my grandfather made for me when I was a small child. He begins to play with it, but I can’t really see what he’s doing. The windows on my house begin to shrink one by one, as a I try to keep watching the events. I soon find myself climbing way up to the window and hanging on, just before it vanishes, like all the others. Right as soon as the last bit of window shuts completely, I see the kid pull out a pack of matches and light the truck on fire. I can’t see what happens next.

Then I remember just what happens next. I can’t see, but it’s happened before. The truck is ablaze, and I, he, throws it on the ground. The red and green rug in the family room lights up quickly. I hear screams like echoes. This has happened before. These are the screams that have haunted me ever since I left the country. The fire spreads to the whole house and I am forced to do nothing but sit and listen to my parents’ screams. I was saved by running out the side door, but my parents were both killed trying to look for me. I had seen this all too many times.

The only thing that really changed in the dream was me. I was usually inside my own head, not observing from afar. It was why I didn’t realize what was going to happen. Somehow the kid had come into my place, and I was left outside.

I awoke early the next morning. I didn’t know where I was going, but I needed to go. I got into my car and I drove. I drove four blocks east until I saw a Tim Horton’s. I went in and got a coffee. Coffee is my one vise. It was like the legal little morning drug that was socially acceptable. Everything about it makes me want to get up in the morning. I go to bed every night, thinking about morning, and what new opportunities it brings. I’m not a coffee conaisseur by any means, just as long as it has enough of the drug.

I decided to take it out with me. I stepped out of the store, and held the door open for a kid on the way out. I was just getting in my car when I saw the same kid leaving. It was me. The running kid, he was riding his skateboard out of the parking lot and onto the road.

All of a sudden, I was overcome with emotion. The nerve of that kid, to burn my favorite truck, to exclude me from my own family, to burn down the house I grew up in. Everything wrong with my life that I caused as a child was now his fault. The fire he started killed my parents; it was no longer my fault. I was going to get him back.

I followed him out of the parking lot and onto Lakeshore. He rode his board along the side of the road instead of the sidewalk, that cocky little asshole. It didn’t take long to catch him, though. When I caught up to him, he was right in front of the Mr. Transmission. He heard me accelerating and he looked back. Our eyes met. The world froze.

My car was going well over 100, but for a few seconds, the world genuinely stopped. Our eyes met, and we connected. Our hearts beating at the same pace, our breathing unified, and the pores on our skin from our head to our toes tingled as our eyes locked into each others’, making a duality of existence like none other. We were so alike, yet so different. He was no more than a body that looked like mine, because there was nothing I could do to save him now. He was just a lifeless body, just a doppelganger, nothing more. There was no infinite connection, no way of proving that we were one. Our lifeless bodies simply resembled one another, and nothing more.

My bumper made contact, shattering his left leg first, and then demolishing his right. His rag doll of a corpse whipped around and his head smashed on my hood, cracking wide open. The car kept moving, and it pushed him right into the garage door. There was blood on the hood, there was blood on the windshield, and there was a trail of blood from the sidewalk to the door.

I take the matches out of my pocket. The truck sits in front of me. I light one up, and the truck accepts it. I hold it high, to the window. Then I drop it on the rug. I head for the door. It’s good to be me.

© Copyright 2018 DR Cudmore. All rights reserved.

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