“My New Boots”
The first bite into a juicy, fresh, chicken taco makes me glad that I went against my intuition and returned to Del Taco many times since that initial incident. Holy sh*t! A voice jumps into my head. It’s not my own; I know my own voice. But lately, others have been invading my mind. I’ve learned to distinguish various people by their call-sign… that is, the word or short phrase that indicates they are the one speaking. “Holy sh*t” is Heather, someone who I consider one of my best friends, even though we’ve only actually met once. Heather, I respond, knowing she’s trying to communicate to me directly.
David! I see the visions… but they’ve changed… now I’m in ALL of them! That wasn’t Heather. That was Jessica, the reason behind this blessing, or curse, if you will. Hearing other people’s thoughts isn’t as exciting as it sounds. Sometimes you hear things you’d rather not… other times unwanted and distracting emotions get transferred from one person to another. I don’t see the visions anymore… I don’t know if I want to, I reply to Jessica.
I think you see them, but you choose not to focus on them because they distract you, she replied. Yes, she was right about that. I stop myself from thinking out loud, because once you become telepathically connected to too many people, your thoughts are no longer your own, no matter how much to try to block the others out. There’s always someone listening in, sometimes not at a very deep level, just picking out surface thoughts and making inaccurate conclusions based on them. Yes! He’s going to do it! He’s going to kill himself! I didn’t know who thought that, but they clearly did not understand anything about me.
I must have had a thought that triggered such a response. Probably “my life is over.” And it is. I needed to reinvent myself, to finally set all these events in motions. The beautiful images that I had seen over the past month… they couldn’t just be inside my mind. There had to be some truth in them. The visions are fluid. Yes, Heather, I know… I just want to make them come true. Our thoughts, David. They’re… together? I focused on the plan at hand to avoid getting distracted by interconnecting thought patterns. When you had too many people attempting communication with one another, things got jumbled.
I had to get a taxi, to get to the airport. For right now, the goal was Houston. Houston, TX. Of all the places in the world, there was no rational reason for me to want to go to Houston. Of course, the thinking wasn’t rational. I simply wanted to escape the creepy aura that hovered over Orange County currently, and I knew Emily was in Houston, and perhaps she could help me make sense of the puzzles in my head. I couldn’t trust most people, who would use what I had to say against me or feign concern to my family in a transparent attempt to manipulate them. I wandered over to the nearby hotel, where last night, the cashier had refused to let me get a room without a picture ID Part of my plan two nights ago was leaving most forms of identification and the useless cards in my wallet in my hotel room to lead people on a wild goose chase as I left with a few choice cards for Houston.
So far, that plan had only hampered me. While Togo’s, 7-11, Carl’s Jr., and Del Taco had all been happy to take my credit card without checking for ID, the cashier at Fry’s Electronics wouldn’t let me buy anything without an ID. Luckily, yesterday afternoon, I met a kind soul. An older Hispanic-looking man saw me standing in the parking lot, shirtless, badly sunburned, and somewhat disoriented. “Here, go get yourself a coke or something,” he said, giving me $5. I was a bit nervous; I didn’t like taking money from people. But I took his charity gracefully. He also opened his trunk and gave me a nice shirt. It took me a while to button it, as my body was sore from walking from Costa Mesa to Huntington Beach and then back again, and I still wasn’t quite sure where I was. I went back to the Fry’s that refused my credit card sans ID, and got myself two bottles of Coke. Given my lack of sleep recently, a caffeinated sugary beverage wasn’t the best choice; perhaps I had taken the kind man’s suggestion too literally.
But now, here I was, at the hotel. “Could I get a cab to pick me up here?” I asked.
This cashier was more receptive to me than the one last night. “Yes, I’ll call them to pick you up.”
Unlike the wait for the Del Taco to open, waiting for the taxi made me antsy and nervous. It was definitely morning now, and people were going about their lives as if nothing was any different. I exchanged a few furtive glances with random passerby, fearing they may pick up an unusual vibe from me. I had hoped to take a bus to the airport, but after studying the transportation system, I came to a conclusion; so-cal was far behind nor-cal when it came to public transportation system. Early that morning I had hoped a bus would come by, but none did. Finally, the taxi arrived and picked me up. I told the driver I was going to John Wayne airport, and off he went. It was relaxing to sit in a car again, even for just a short trip. I kept track of the meter going up to keep me distracted from any frustrating thoughts. “Do you take credit cards?” I asked as he dropped me off at John Wayne Airport.
“Yes, we do. Just let me get your signature for it,” the cab driver replied as he proceeded to make a rubbing of my credit card on a receipt.
I was relieved that he, unlike the Fry’s cashier and the hotel clerk yesterday, accepted my card and signature without inquiring as to whether I had any form of identification. Once inside the airport, I noticed a flight to Houston left at 10:35. I walked up to the counter. “I’d like one ticket for the 10:35 flight to Houston,” I said.
“That will be $562.23,” the agent replied, and I pulled out my credit card.
“Do you have any ID?” she asked.
“No… no I don’t,” I began to look around me, hoping I would not be in trouble.
“Well… you’ll need a picture ID to get on this flight.”
“I just… really would like to go.”
“I understand that, but I can’t let you purchase a ticket without ID.”
I sigh quietly, and walk back. Before I can get even ten feet, two police officers notice me. “Is everything okay? Where are your shoes?” one of them asks.
“I left them… outside, in the street. In Costa Mesa.” I’m beginning to regret this decision, though 36 hours ago, the shoes were hurting my feet and I made the conscious decision to abandon them.
“Well, we can’t get you on a flight without ID and a pair of shoes.”
I’d just really like to get out of here and go to Houston.”
“My partner and I could drive you back to where you left your shoes and ID and get you back here.”
“My ID and some other cards are in my old hotel room… a Super 8 in Costa Mesa.”
The cop looks a little friendlier at this point, noticing that it isn’t quite as hopeless of a situation