The Beast, Pt. 41 (Chapter 15g)

It’s not her. It’s not. It can’t be. You’re hallucinating. You’re seeing things. You’ve acquired that brain disorder where you can’t recognize human faces. Sudden onset faceblindness. Faceblindnessitis. No, not itis. That prefix refers to inflammation. Your faceblindness isn’t inflamed.

Maybe that part of my brain is, though. Maybe I bumped my head last night, and I got a mild concussion, and now it’s turned into a mental disorder.

But why would it just kick in now? Why not last night, or this morning? Why not at the pool? You could see the woman in the bikini at the pool.

I mean, I’ve already forgotten what she looked like, but yeah, I definitely saw her.

Goddamnit, I’m going to die like I lived: obsessing over stupid shit.

The faceless creature squirms uneasily in her seat. “Hey, are you really okay? You look kind of… Kind of like you’re freaking out or something. Are you having a panic attack?”

What a perfectly polite and reasonable question. See? This isn’t really happening. It’s in your head. She probably has a face and everything. Most people do. That’s just science. The science of faces. Phrenology. That’s the science of faces, right?

“Yeah. Yeah. I don’t know. Maybe a little. I think I’m going to go see the auto-doc. Get me one of those tinctures everybody’s been talking so much about.”

I stand up and try to remember where the fitness center is. I had no intention of using it while we were here, so I certainly didn’t pay attention while we were being given our first tour of the villa (if we were, in fact, given a proper tour. I don’t really remember.) And now I can’t ask one of the guys or wander around aimlessly, or I’ll look like I don’t know the first damn thing about the fancy hotel room I’m paying an obscene amount of money to stay in.

I take a deep breath, pick a direction that I don’t remember a bedroom being in, and walk in it. Is this a problem that rich people have? Their houses are too big and full of too much stuff for an unaltered human brain to keep track of? That seems plausible. Ridiculous, but plausible.

Maybe there’s a business there. An untapped market. People hire interior decorators, after all. This would be similar but different. A curator of one’s space, one’s life. Sure, you’ve accumulated all the art and electronics you’d ever need to convince the world that you’re a modern forward-thinking individual with impeccable taste, but will it bring you happiness? Studies of questionable legitimacy claim that it won’t. But you know what will bring you happiness? Being pleased with yourself. That’s where the curation come in. All that amazing stuff you’ve accumulated over the years, the monuments to your aesthetic sensibilities and personal and professional accomplishments, will be cycled through and displayed where you can gaze on them with wonder. “Oh, that’s right! I finished that 10k in 2nd place back when I was 23! Man, I’m great! I’ve done so much with my life!” These reassurances and more can be yours, all for a low low price.

I walk into a linen closet. I don’t know why the villa would even have a linen closet, given that it’s still part of a hotel and maids come in and change the sheets every day.

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