Saturday, January 07, 2006

My Secret Life

I'm not sure what I think of this. What do you reckon? I never got any further, I think I reshaped the general idea into my NaNoWriMo.

My name is John. John Doe.

That isn’t really my name. John Doe is the name assigned to any unidentifiable corpse in the possession of the authorities. John Doe will do fine.

My real name is one you can find on every street, in every bar. As usual, as normal, as mundane as anyone.

Well, my Earth Name is.

And my story is ordinary. Well, ordinary for me. I’ve never known quite what it’s like to be anything other than what I am. I can only imagine what other people’s lives must be like. To me, this odd strain of events is simply my ordinary life. I’m aware most people’s lives aren’t like this. Maybe one in a thousand, one in ten thousand, one in a million, perhaps.

No one knows the exact figures. But we will see.

I haven’t told you my real name because I don’t want to be found. I don’t want people to know who I am, what I am.

If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me. You’d curl your lip and think bullshit and try and edge away from me on the train. If I felt like talking to you.

I don’t much feel like talking to anyone anymore, for any reason. Don’t take it personally. I just don’t. I don’t trust people. I don’t trust anyone. Or anything.

You have no reason to trust me either. Everything I could tell you could be a lie. The deathbed confessional of a man, sealed in state until I die and to be read and analysed and mocked by my children.

Some of them could say I wish I had known him better. Some of them will say Dad was a fruitloop. He spent too much time at

This is what they will say. And is no more true or untrue that this confessional. I don’t expect you to believe me. I expect you to ask me pertinent questions, some of which I won’t be able to answer, when I least expect them.

You know how to drive a car. You just can’t explain the internal combustion engine, or electricity. Unless you’re a specialist.

I am not a specialist. I am a foot soldier. A grunt. One of the many.

I am in hiding. Not just from this world ; from myself. Who I really am. Sorry, who I really was.

I’m trying to fool myself. The past is past. The past is no longer. There will be no more of these moments. No more lies. No more hiding from myself. I will be able to stand up, and say I am. One day I will not be living in fear of being exposed. One day I will not deny the facts when people ask me, who I am, what do I do?

My name is John Doe. I work a low-level office clerk job. I don’t necessarily want to be noticed. I just want to be paid. I want to go home at the end of the day to my flat, switch on the TV, fire up the Internet, eat my pre-processed food, and forget why I am here, and what I am meant to do when I get this far.

When I watch TV, I’m hiding. When I’m on the Internet, I’m hiding. When I’m not staring at the mirror, looking deep into my diluted eyes, whispering to myself My name is John and I am an undercover agent, canvassing a war I am in hiding. I am lying to myself.

We all lie to ourselves. Some lies are bigger than others. We tell ourselves that we are happy. That we are living in the best of all possible world. That we like this life.

We lie because if the truth is an ugly fact.

I like this life. It’s not bad. A life of relative material comfort and an absence of excessive labour. It’s better than what I left behind.

It’s a frequent problem. The agent goes undercover for so long he forgets who he really is. Why he’s really here.

This is my secret.

My presence is no mystery. No secret. They know who I am. Why I am here. What they know, and I do not, is how much longer I have left. All I have to do is fool them a little while longer. That I am still embedded deep inside enemy lines. That I am still undercover.

Sure, I could tell you why I am here.

I could tell you that not even my parents know who I really am, or what really happened to them one night thirty seven years and eight months ago. They’re still happily married.

Me? One starter marriage, failed, and no children. A modern outcast. But a perfect candidate.

Sure, I could tell you, but what would be the point of reading on after that?

This isn’t for you anyway. This is for me. This is my way of trying to make sense of my life. This is me trying to work out the whys and wherefores of all these things. I’m trying to make sense of my life.

I don’t know if I can make sense of it anymore. I don’t know if I’m just unable to make sense of it, or if there isn’t anything much to make sense of. I don’t know even if Einstein could make sense of this. Maybe there is no reason to find.

I would hope that I am wrong. That somewhere, somehow, I got it wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time.

And I wonder, does everyone feel like this, does everyone else feel this way? A bystander in a life, a stranger in a world, a square peg in a round hole, not quite fitting in, but faking it through, day by day, is that how everyone else feels? I don’t quite know, to be honest. Nobody does. Nobody really knows anyone else that well.

Nobody can really know me. I don’t know myself. And I don’t always want to. What I remember of my past life – that is, too much – I don’t want to remember.

I know this. I volunteered for this. I had a choice, and this was the choice I made.

Everybody makes mistakes.


At 8:06 PM, Blogger SwissToni said...

I like it. The short sentences make it really snappy, and I want to know what happens.

Does this mean I need to pull my finger out and read your Nano novel Mark?

Good stuff.


At 11:39 PM, Blogger Alecya Giovanni said...

I like it Mark. I agree with ST, I think the short sentances make it feel delightfully tense, as if John is trying to clip off his own emotion to prevent himself from letting it all out.

I like it. Very much.

At 8:42 PM, Blogger Crucifer said...

Very, very nice. As ST and Alecya have already said the short sentences works very well!

Please post more about John Doe!


At 12:58 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Well, I never got any further. I turned the concept on it's head and made it the NANOWRIMO.

I can tell you, John Doe was actually an alien spy in a human body, doing reconnaissance for an imminent alien invasion.

Though that kind of spoils it, I reckon!


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