Old Short Story of Mine: Nerve Impulse
For once I feel ok.
I’m feeling in control and everything is flowing smoothly.
I’m driving down Wearing Street in a car. I think I borrowed my sister’s car but I’m not sure, which is all right. I’m rarely sure of anything.
You see, I’ve got this condition. When I was born, my brain had minor damage, primarily in the area of the glial cells. Glial cells form a basic framework for the nerves in our body, or so I’ve been told. As such, my nerves can on occasion fail to connect.
I’m not retarded or deformed or anything. The condition is a form of anterograde amnesia, which only affects short term memory. Since I’ve had it so long, it means large chunks of my life are often missing. Usually what will happen is a massive surge of information will throw my memory, resulting in blackouts that I’m often unaware of.
I haven’t had a blackout since getting on this medication prescribed by my doctor. In truth, the medicine is pretty gray-market but so far it’s been working out well for me. Aside from a hazy memory (which I was already used to) I’ve been functioning on a pretty normal level.
Before the medication, things were starting to spiral out of control. My blackouts were frequent enough to start destroying my relationships with my sister, my girlfriend, even my mother. I remember when I had a blackout a while back, sitting and eating breakfast when my girlfriend broke up with me.
Apparently I went berserk, screaming at her and threatening her with violence. At one point she said I had picked up her cat and threatened to throw it out of the window.
All I really remembered by the next morning was that we weren’t together anymore, and I sat and calmly ate Cheerios before she dropped by to pick up the last of her stuff. She was giving me a wide berth, and when I finally asked her what was wrong, she simply stared at me in a way that was almost terrified.
The second part of my condition is actually a kind of blessing. Most, not all, of my blackouts get recorded in my memory and I usually receive them in my consciousness before too long. This often catches me unaware, triggered by certain keywords or déjà vu. When she looked at me in that horrified way I remembered. I collapsed in a fit of sobbing and she left me there.
I haven’t seen her since.
The medication has done wonders for me, and I’m glad that I found my doctor. His name is Zodrow and though he can be strange at times, his treatment has done wonders for me. In truth, I’m thinking I can actually lead a normal life, keep a girlfriend, keep a job. I got fired a couple weeks ago, but with my new drug I’m finally feeling up to looking for a job.
The night is cool and untainted by smog or corruption, an unusual thing for the city but entirely welcome. Classical music plays softly on the radio, soothing me. All in all, I’m in a completely relaxed state.
Starbucks. I’m in the mood for a drink. I don’t really enjoy coffee; the sensation stays in your throat like an unpleasant memory, only absolved by copious amounts of water or something that can replace the coffee flavor with a different and more pleasant taste.
I pull into a parking place, get out of the car, and walk up to the shop. As I walk, I check to see that my medication is in my pocket. I give the small plastic bottle a cursory glance, noting the small label at the bottom informing me that it has not been tested by the FDA. I disregard this and shake out two pills, dry swallowing them.
I enter the Starbucks and see that the only other customer is a young woman sitting in a cushy armchair. She looks comfortable and confident and I’m immediately wary. I’ve had experiences with confident women, the ambitious ones who will stop at nothing to get their way. I’ve had them manipulate me with their beauty and their charm simply for their own pleasure. I give her a disdainful look and walk up to the counter.
I order a carbonated grapefruit juice, the brand name slipping off of my tongue, it’s already forgotten.
I sit across the room from the woman and slowly drink the juice, glaring at the back of her head. I suppose I have other problems, as my mood can change in a flash, just as quickly as blackouts settle upon me. Now I’m angry, angry at this woman clicking away at her expensive laptop and nonchalantly sipping
I finish my drink in a hurry, wondering why I stayed in that shop to finish it. Something about the woman is nagging me, and I wonder why it’s pissing me off this much.
I get back in the car. It’s nice. My sister has done well for herself, marrying a rich electronics tycoon who gives her anything she asks for. My sister is kind, a sweet woman who has always taken care of me, even offering to let me stay at her house until I got a job again.
I declined, of course, and I’ve been staying at my mom’s house for a while. Mom is great too, completely understanding about my condition and my inability to control it. I’m glad I’m in a form of control now. This is where I start my life over.
The car purrs into life. I figured I would just drive home, briefly considering a movie with Mom, but it’s too late. I leave the parking lot and drive along Wearing Street once again. I’m feeling better now that the woman is gone, but the classical music on the radio is getting on my nerves.
I flick the knob around, indecisively switching between genres. I finally settle on a rock station, the speakers singing about his girlfriend who left him. I like it. The lyrics are definitely something I can relate to. The song ends and the DJ comes on.
“Hey guys, that was Hinder’s “Better Than Me”, right here on the Faction Rock 99.9! You can see Hinder on tour at these loca-”
Stop. Freeze. My mind is exploding. The name.
Faction Rock 99.9. Instant déjà vu. Fuck. Now I’m remembering.
This isn’t my sister’s car.
The memories are flying back to me now. An argument with my mom. She wanted me to find a job, I kept telling her I was working on it, she kept screaming that I was worthless, over and over again. Then I stormed to my room, her nagging voice constantly in my ear, following me until I reached my bedroom, where I dug around in the sock drawer, and pulled out a Glock 9mm pistol.
She fell silent as I aimed it at her. I couldn’t kill my mom. I couldn’t.
But I did.
Stress had been building up for me. My girlfriend leaving me, my mother growing more and more disgusted with me, my sister preoccupied with her new husband, no job or money… It was all too much.
I killed my mother, ran out of the house and was nearly run over by a woman in the car I was driving now. Without thinking, I ran to the car door, yanked it open and was greeted by a bewildered look and a burst of sound from “…Faction Rock 99.9!”
I grabbed her by the hair and threw her out of the car. I kicked her in the ribs and shoved the pistol in her mouth.
I got in the car and switched from raucous rock to calming classical.
Even now as I’m realizing that this is what happened, I’m still startled to notice little bits of information corresponding with the truth. There’s a small trace of blood on my right sleeve. I lift my hand up to my mouth and sniff. Gunpowder traces on my hand. I hit a speed bump and the glove compartment falls open. The Glock 9mm pistol hits the floor.
I thought I had stumbled upon the jackpot when I had found Dr. Zodrow and his miracle medication. I thought I was getting better. But this proves me wrong.
I frantically dig for my medicine, the FDA unapproved drug that I foolishly accepted from a stranger. I scan the bottle quickly.
“Side effects may include psychosis.”
I know what I’ve got to do.
Turn myself in.
But I’m not going to do it.
I drive on. And on. And on…
I’m filling up on gas for my car. I’m going on a roadtrip to clear my head. With my mother dying, I’ve been too emotional lately, so I felt like taking off for a while. I wasn’t feeling too well, and my memory was hazy on where I was going.
You see, I’ve got this condition.
You can find the original story here: http://splinterfiction.wordpress.com/2007/06/27/nerve-impulse/
A sinking ship is filled with sailors thinking of themselves.