The Assassination of a Dangerous Delusion

I let her in. I unlocked every door, every window, every cabinet. I was completely open and unguarded, like first time someone had been inside me. She moved in me with such subtle steps as to almost make me believe that I was alone inside my mind. Then I hear the beeps of all the fine machinery around me and I’m brought back to the reality of being strapped into a gurney while a woman typed furiously at a keyboard.

“Who was Jessie, Bernard?”

“Jessie was a bully I had when I was in elementary.”

“Why do you want him erased from your mind?”

“Isn’t this something you could have asked me before you put a gun to my head?”

“This gun sir, cost you $10,000 and the best way to make sure I don’t shoot your dear Mama is to be actively thinking about Jessie.”

“Well first off, Jessie is not exactly real.”

“Then what is he?”

“A defensive measure. The real Jessie lives in Omaha and has a wife and two kids. He’s a nice guy, but I needed an asshole to protect me. So I took the kid I knew in the fourth grade and I gave him puberty and bigger stronger fists. Then, I let him walk around my head.”

“And why would you do that?”

“I’m a courier. I transport secrets covertly across the country: blueprints, songs, sometimes just a sentence. They hire me because faxes can be intercepted, email accounts can be hacked and anything physical can be stolen. I can just get on a plane and go from point a to point b. They can’t steal my thoughts, not now.”

“Why can’t they steal from you?”

“Because I have Jessie. If someone tries to torture the information out of me, Jessie distracts me and makes it clear that he’ll hurt me more than the torturers. If someone actually has the gall to try take my thoughts, Jessie finds them. There’s no nook or cranny where Jessie doesn’t go and he’s really good at pointing out people who don’t belong. He’s always been good at that.”

“Okay, so if Jessie’s so useful why are you getting rid of him?”

I stop for a moment.

“It’s suddenly occurring to me that you have gleamed more information from me than anyone else in the last decade.”

She stared into the scanner looking for the little abnormality that represented Jessie.

“What can I say, I’m a curious person.”

“A curious person who stands to make a great deal of profit off the information in my mind.”

“This is all covered under doctor patient confidentiality.”

“The money my thoughts could make you could buy you a nice law firm to avail yourself of. Then with the change you could buy a jumbo jet.”

“True, but then I’d have to clear my appointments and pass up all those juicy million dollar operations I have in the next month. I know the people who try to take from you. I empty the people who try to take from you. By the way, you might think about that operation in your future.”

“So what kind of secrets do they have?”

“The kind I won’t talk about. Why do you want to get rid of Jessie?”

“I like the secrets, they make me feel special. What I don’t like is having an asshole in my head. I’m retired now and I neither need nor want Jessie in my head anymore. He’s starting to effect me too, I’m getting more angry and I don’t want to be angry.”

“That did it, I’ve painted him. Now all I have to do is take him to ground.”

“How does it work?”

“The scanner follows him down his path and erases his footprints, then we do a more invasive scan and erase all mention of him from your mind.”

“Including the guy who lives in Omaha?”

“Is that a problem?”

“No, not really.”

I turned to look at Dr. Patricia Kent. I could just see her out of my peripheral vision. I tried to crane my neck but that didn’t work. It seemed like her body started in her long fingertips. The machine she was typing on was more a part of her than anything on her actual body. Her fingers led from the machine to her arms. Her arms were thin utilitarian things that disappeared into a light green sweater. She emerged from the sweater at her prominent chin, which was below her long and honest smile. Her frilly wild red hair framed her whole face. On her forehead was a red dot.

I closed my eyes and tried not to hear the pop. She had been painted and then destroyed. As I opened my eyes, I saw Fred leaving. That big black beluga worked for Mr. Daniels. Mr. Daniels had apparently decided that a doctor was too much of a risk. What he had forgotten was that this was a clear breach of contract. I could now talk about his gay son on cable news and he couldn’t legally do a damn thing. Of course, what I was going to do wasn’t legal in the slightest. Jessie was still inside me and I now had a new use for him.