I woke up in the park at dawn, unsure of who I was or how I got here. That is always an unsettling way to awaken. Unsure of everything, even your own place in the world. As the light brightened around me, I found I had been asleep on a bench in a reasonably private area. Good. So there was a decent chance I had not been seen. This chance would be what I needed to change my place, change me outlook, and with luck, change my destiny.
I still wasn’t sure who I was, or why I was sleeping in the park.
First step was to change benches, so I got up and strolled away casually, checking to see that I left nothing interesting behind.
Then I settled down at a table in the shade of a tree and went through my pockets, finding at first the usual junk one finds in pockets: keys, loose change, a pen knife, comb, and wallet.
Then I noticed that my jacket had several hidden pockets in the back lining.
That was interesting.
Most of them held passports. All of the passports had the same photo, and similar (but importantly not identical) names. The guy in the photo in the first four looked familiar. As did the girl in the fifth. All five matched the photo (but again, not the name) on the driver’s license in the only wallet I seemed to be carrying.
The wallet produced some cash which would easy be converted into breakfast in a bit, and several credit cards bearing the same name as the license.
I was pretty sure I wasn’t actually female, but the girl in that one passport looked too much like all the rest of the IDs to be a coincidence. She was wearing a dress and makeup for the photo, but I knew that having presented that ID, it wouldn’t take much more than body language to sell it as my own photo.
Each passport had at least one credit card paperclipped inside bearing a matching name, and a couple of them had slim stacks of high-denomination bills as well.
So I was well equipped for a quick getaway and change of identity.
If only I knew what from.
My shirt pocket provided a folded sheet of paper. The note inside was in my handwriting, and said only “George, remember that you chose to drink the tea of your own free will. Now go home.”
I guess I was currently calling myself “George”. That matched the name on the driver’s license, which had an address that was probably on a block or two away. So until proved otherwise, that sounds like “home”.
After a few minutes walk, I confirmed my recovering memory that home was a pleasant bungalow just a block away. Before boldly walking in the door, I took a moment to size up the neighborhood. The house seemed like it fit. The yards were neat, the few cars not safely tucked away in garages were recent models and clearly well maintained. There wasn’t one in my driveway, but my garage was shut. Even so, my car could also easily have been at the park, and would be a problem for another day.
As I walked towards my front door, I realized that there was some sort of notice nailed to the door, and yellow tape stretched across the porch.
Just when that image was coming clear, the bomb went off, and my beloved little bungalow turned into an expanding cloud of smoke, flame, dust, and debris.
Perhaps I wasn’t destined to be George any more.