Me, Not Me
I want to talk about the day my neighbor invented a machine that enabled him to take over my body. The machine was supposed to switch our minds into each other’s bodies, like in that movie, but instead it switched his mind into my body, suppressed my consciousness, and made him the leading man.
My neighbor’s name is Fred. He is a lonely, beer-gutted fellow with stringy, grease-coated hair, and lives—used to live—with his mother next door. Now he lives at my house, since he is me and we are each other, and has fucked my trophy wife, Karen.
For a little clarity, let’s begin at the point this whole whacky situation came into place. I was a nine-fiver, five days a week accountant, absolutely tired of my job. When I would come home after a day of work, Fred would walk outside as I closed the front door of my Saab, and hold up a joint rolled tighter than one of Karen’s fresh Botox jobs.
Anyway, we would smoke under his mother’s basement hatch and I got to talking about how miserable I was in life. He told me about a machine he invented called The Swapper and how it could place one person’s mind into another’s body and vice versa.
I jokingly mentioned that maybe we could use it to switch bodies, and I could tell that this titillated his senses by the way he shivered a bit after I said this. He told me he’d do it in a heartbeat, and that he always thought my life was pretty sweet, especially my wife. He said that he really liked her—liked to look at her. I told him to fuck off and went home.
I went home and Karen was coked out. She told me we needed a bigger house so that she could start up her cat fur sweater business. I told her I still hadn’t gotten my raise, but that didn’t stop her from persisting in the matter. When she tired out, I phoned Fred and asked him when we could perform the mind-body swap. He told me as early as the next morning.
I got over there around eight the next morning, and Fred sat me down in an orange leather gaming chair. Fred strapped something that looked like the God Helmet on my head, then sat down and did the same to himself. He pressed a yellow button on an oval remote, and sent shocks of electricity through both of us.
When I came to, I tried to speak and could not. I tried to move and could not. All of a sudden my body moved of its own volition. A voice said, “Oh my God…”
That voice was mine, but also not mine. In my head the voice sounded like Fred’s, but on the outside it sounded like mine. I screamed, but he thought-said shut up ya cuck, this is how things are now.
Several awkward weeks ensued, and this arrangement was proving to be fatal to all those concerned. Karen noticed a shift in my behavior. Fred-me was doing all of her coke and his performances in the boudoir were lackluster to say the least.
It was difficult to watch.
Perhaps the worst thing to result from this failed experiment was Fred’s mom relentlessly accusing him-me of murdering her son. Fred’s putrid corpse smelt foul—the stench climbed through the cracks of his small, basement window. No one cared to come and claim the body, so it just went on rotting. Before Fred’s bodily death became clear to his-my nostrils, I imagined he’d go on as a brainless vegetable, and his mom would be none the wiser. No dice.
My daughter, Ashley, also recognized a change in the way I acted. She saw it mostly through the lens of not being picked up from school for a straight week, and when I did actually find the time to show up, it was usually in my underwear and Fred’s too small Birkenstocks. Nothing else.
Karen had enough when I stopped going to work for a few weeks which, to her, translated to no more 8 balls of Bolivian marching powder. She took Ashley over to her mother’s place and made no mention of when, or if, she’d be back.
Anyway, I am stuck with this guy for good it seems. Fred refuses to try and switch things back to their original order, because he’s holding out hope that Karen will soon return.
All he does is eat pizza, play archaic video games, and cry after each time he masturbates. What’s really strange is that our appearance has changed in the recent days. Now when we look in the mirror, we look more like Fred and less like me. Must be the pizza and lack of exercise.
Our thoughts once clashed like competing pin balls, but now we think in cohesion. No longer are there two streams of consciousness lapping against each other, but instead one flowing river of muck. This is our life now.
Ryan Curcio is a student at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut. He studies English with a minor in Writing. He was a contributing writer for Trill! Magazine, spent the summer as an intern reporter for the New Britain Herald, and is currently the Prose Editor for The Helix Magazine. His work has appeared in undergraduate literary magazines, on 121words.com, The Wagon Magazine, and Crack the Spine. He was also a finalist for the Leslie Leeds Poetry Prize.