Fessay So Myself

You are witnessing the invention of a new literary form, the fessay. This is a fictional essay. It takes a news item, writes a column-length (750-900 words) response, but uses a fictional format. The name "fessay" is my copyright and requires permission for use.

Monday, March 21, 2005

ASHES OF THE PHOENIX by Jay D. Homnick (Fessay #3)

(NEWS ITEM: A trucker from Waterbury, Connecticut, disappeared, leaving his cash and his driver's license in his truck. He was found wandering around Miami, suffering from amnesia and complaining of legs aching from walking.)

There was something wet and slimy on my face, and a voice in my head was telling me that I had to get up. Yet I could not muster the strength. It felt as if I had no control over my body. I was desperately trying to open my eyes, to cry out, to wake up, anything, anything but this muck. My body slept on.
Then I heard voices murmuring behind me, one concerned, one disdainful. The first mentioned something about "hurt", the second derisively said "drunk". Then two men were lifting me and putting me on a cushion of some sort. I awoke in the police car.
"What's your name, buddy?", one of the cops was asking.
"I don't know," I answered in a croak that sounded like it hadn't been used as a voice in some time.
"Aw, gimme a break," the other cop muttered. But I really did not know, nor did they find any identification in my pockets at the station. It was a very scary feeling, to be obviously healthy and coherent, but totally amnesiac.
Days, weeks, went by, in the hospital and then out, eventually finding work as an office assistant, but quickly working up to positions of greater income and authority. Nine months passed by without a clue. My picture ran in the area newspapers but elicited no response.
Ironically, my best friend through this was Al Cooper, the originally surly cop, who had become very apologetic when I tested sober. We had begun meeting for lunch a couple of times a week, sharing confidences, although I had none older than nine months.
One day, Al came up with the idea of putting my picture on the TV show, Unsolved Mysteries, which would be seen nationwide. The episode aired but produced no serious leads.

Then, one night, there was a knock on the door of my apartment. I opened to see a stunningly beautiful young woman with blonde hair and blue eyes, who leaped into my arms and began kissing me passionately.
"Oh, Greg," she said, when we came up for air. "This is so clever what you did. This way, if your witch of a wife ever finds us, you'll have a perfect excuse."
"I'm sorry, my name is Jeff," I said. "Or at least that's what I've been calling myself since my amnesia. Why did you call me Greg?"
"You mean this is for real? I thought this was just a scam you were running so that you and I could be together."
"So you actually know me?" I asked.
"Of course, and you and I are very much in love. But that rotten wife of yours, who moved out on you first, is contesting the divorce and putting up roadblocks to your happiness. Our happiness."
"Then please tell me my real name," I implored.
"It's Greg Lo…," she began, then stopped short. "Wait, why should I tell you? It will just put us back in the same mess."
Nothing that I could say would budge her. Yet in every other way she was wonderful. We began to date and I fell in love, apparently for the second time to the same woman.
Another half-year passed, my job situation kept improving, but still no word about my identity from any other source. I knew that Kim, my old/new girlfriend, came from Phoenix, but nothing more. Finally, she pressed me to make a commitment.
I could have gone ahead and married her with perfect legality. My strange legal status meant that no judge could prevent me from marriage.
But my heart knows, my conscience knows. I still have a commitment to an unknown, unseen person, who by all accounts didn't put much honor into her corresponding obligation. I told myself all of these things, and then I told them to Kim.
She said that she had to leave, and I agreed with a heart full of pain. We kissed and she cried, and we kissed and I cried, and I was walking her to the top of the stairs, kissing and crying, when I lost my footing and fell down the stairs, hitting my head.

Hi, I'm Greg Lomax. I come from Phoenix, Arizona. Where the Heck am I?


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