Chapter Nine

I didn’t feel like going home but I had no where else to go and my legs were far too stiff to even think about walking home a third time. Part of me felt like I should stay with her, watch her, protect her...but from who or what I had no idea. Besides, I may not have known the who, what, where or how of the portentous matter at hand, but I did know the when. In twenty-eight days.

I settled for the cab company. On the ride home, two blocks before getting there, I saw a motorcycle on the street corner in the grass with a for sale sign on it. It hadn’t been there yesterday when I had walked home. It had to be fate. Not that I actually believed in anything as controlling and supernatural as fate, mind you, but sometimes certain beliefs are useful when they suit your own personal agenda.

I had the cabbie drop me off by the bike.

* * * * *

When I arrived at 4:20 the next day with the daily crossword puzzle tucked into my shirt so that the wind from the ride wouldn‘t blow it away, I noticed the perch I habitually waited on was already occupied.

"You’re off early," I said, as I cut the engine early and rolled my new black Honda Shadow to a stop a few feet in front of her.

"I have the day off," Katelynn said, sliding down off the wall. "Just got here myself a few minutes ago. New wheels?"

"Yeah. Cabs were getting expensive."

I had already figured out what she had in mind. She had just gotten done telling me she had the day off and had even only just arrived herself. Yet here she was with her hair tied back, wearing a cute, all-white, high neck number that came down to just below the knees. I had always thought she wore her uniform very well.

"So, did you forget you took the day off?" I asked. "Or are those the only clothes you own. You know, I heard that Einstein’s complete wardrobe was ten of the exact same suit so that he never had to waste a single thought on what he was going to wear each day."

"No," she said, mostly ignoring my Einstein comment. "I’ve thought about your story…"

"…and you need more proof," I finished for her.

"I need a second opinion. I want you to tell Dr. James. And yes," she added. "I would like more proof. I know you believe what you told me, but…"

"How am I to provide more proof?" I interrupted. Though I was pretty sure what her answer was going to be, I was still hoping I might be wrong.

"First we have to talk to Dr. James, John. Then if he agrees, if he allows it, I would like for you to meet some people."

I looked down at my gloved hands. I had bought a new pair of sleek looking black leather riding gloves from a motorcycle shop the day before, after purchasing the bike. I had also picked up a helmet and some sunglasses but had only put the latter to use so far. The helmet was more for passengers and rainy days. This was the fourth motorcycle I had owned since getting my driver's license the day I turned sixteen. It had been a dirt bike on that day. After beating that bike up for a couple years, I had taken my fair share of spills, enough to not ever want to take any more, anyway. Now, three more motorcycles and sixteen years later, I was just as over-confident a biker as I was a driver, certainly a little more focused behind the handlebars than the wheel, but my brain still allowed the operation of motorized vehicles to take a back seat to the more pressing concerns of the day. I knew who she wanted me to meet. The old folks. The ones that are dying. Preferably the ones that will be dying soon. I would shake their hands and say hello-glad-to-meet-you and then walk away. I would then confirm the dying persons age through my own mysterious sources and we would wait. We would wait for the early predictions to die. Then she would have her proof. It was the only way. I knew it had to be done. I wasn’t looking forward to it.

"Okay," I said submissively. What else could I say?

* * * * *

We had to wait until five. Katelynn had already set up the appointment, hoping in advance that I would agree, though she had not told Dr. James what the meeting was to be about. We worked on the crossword puzzle together across the street while sipping hot chocolates and waiting for five to roll around on the clock behind the counter. We didn’t speak a word of yesterday’s conversation.

* * * * *

Dr. James looked to be in his early forties, comparatively younger than most of the doctors I had seen here. He had well groomed, short, jet-black hair with eyebrows that matched and almost met in the middle above his long slender nose. His eyes appeared just as dark behind his dark, thick plastic framed glasses. He was a fit man; tall, dark and growing more handsome with age; a touch of gray beginning to highlight his short, distinguishing sideburns, the small lines of wisdom just beginning to appear where they will permanently etch themselves into his face, adding to the aura of authority and confidence that already surrounded him. He immediately captured one’s trust. His handshake felt firm and confident even through the gloves I wore. He was easy to talk to, to confide in, and appeared to be genuinely attentive and concerned as I related to him the same unbelievable story I had unfolded for Katelynn the previous afternoon. While walking back to the hospital from the Coffee Shoppe, Katelynn had mentioned how she had only met Dr. James a handful of times before yesterday, but he had been the first one she had thought of when trying to figure out who might listen to this incredible story with an open mind, to say nothing of consenting to the ensuing experiment she had in mind.

Dr. James said nothing as a heavy silence filled the room at the completion of my story. It had only taken fifteen minutes for me to tell this time. I was already getting a feel for which of the details were important and which ones weren't. He got the straight-to-the-point version, though still just as hard to believe. His facial expression remained unchanged as though I were still talking. He sat motionless behind his antiquely dark, oak desk in a black leather executive‘s chair, hands neatly folded in his lap. Katelynn and I awaited his opinion in matching red high backs at each corner across from him. Katelynn was also noticeably anxious, waiting out the silence as patiently as she could, allowing the story to settle like a lonely ripple in a still pond.

Then finally, "The human brain is a miraculous organ and we know so little about it."

Both Katelynn and I were holding our breath and hanging on to his every word.

"We only know how to use a very small portion of it," he continued. "Who knows what the rest is capable of. One thing we do know is that the brain can do some amazing types of processing and calculating all on its own. The brain stores and remembers everything we have ever experienced. We don’t always know where to retrieve it from, but it is in there. The brain can do calculations as fast and as accurately as any computer, keep time as precisely as any clock and dates as well as any calendar. It can reason, make adjustments, and most importantly, it learns. But we, as an ever evolving species, still have no idea what 90% of that miraculous organ is even capable of."

Dr. James’ gaze left the far wall and turned towards me for the first time since I had begun my story.

"The brain is the central office, the head quarters. It regulates and monitors every inch of our body from head to toe, inside and out. It tells us when something gets hurt, when we are hungry, when we need to go to the bathroom, when we are sick. It also works on healing and repairing. It creates its own armies of antibodies to fight off attacking viruses. It seals its own wounds, generates new cells, sheds old skin. If one knew how, I am sure one could even stop his own heart by using his own brain to do it. Maybe in a few thousand more years we will evolve and survive as a society long enough to someday discover the full capacity of our own brain. Maybe by then, as a society, we will be ready."

He was looking back and forth between Katelynn and I now as he spoke. He spoke slowly and deliberately, pronouncing each word clearly, making eye contact, softly yet firmly commanding our attention.

"I have a theory, John," he said, turning his full attention back to me, "but it is just a theory. I don’t have any idea how the actual information is entering your mind. You may have jarred awake some part of the brain that the rest of us have not learned to use yet. Maybe a mild form of ESP. Unlike most of my colleagues and those of the scientific fields, my own personal belief in unproven phenomenon like ESP, UFO’s and such, is simply if 99.9% of all the millions of reports of these phenomena are made up or false, that still leaves .1% that must be true. And if one is real, then the phenomenon is real. I try to keep an open mind on just about everything because of that fact alone.

"So let’s first accept the fact that you are retrieving the information and it is what you think it is because I certainly believe that you believe it to be true and as I just said, anything is possible. So then the question is, how could the numbers exist at all."

"Yeah!" I chimed in exuberantly. I had asked myself that exact question a million times over. "I’ve been wondering the same thing. That would be like telling the future and I have a serious problem believing that is possible."

"I have my doubts as to whether or not the future can be seen too, John. But it could possibly be predicted. Even Nastradamus claimed that his future ’visions’ were merely predictions and that man could change the gruesome outcomes of these ‘visions,’ but that he himself did not have the faith in mankind to alter what he had seen, or if you prefer, predicted.

"Now the brain, once again, is monitoring every organ in your body. It is perfectly aware of the condition of every blood vessel, which pores are blocked, how well the lungs are working, how hard the heart is pumping, the liver, intestines, all the moving parts. The brain, it only stands to reason then, could make calculations with the information we have input into it through the years, such as the definition and calibration of time, our chosen habitual diets and exercise and the chemicals we are adding to our bodies in whatever fashion, coupled with the input it is retrieving itself, the body’s over all condition and health. The result of this calculation would then be a prediction of how long each of these organs is going to last or when they are going to stop working or, if you will, when you are going to die. So it could be possible, if we knew how to do it and/or where to retrieve it from within the brain, that each of us could accurately predict the day we, ourselves, are going to die and probably even why. These numbers may also be susceptible to constant change as things in our life change and our habits or diets change, so would the calculation's result. Also with this knowledge ahead of time, that would allow people like me to fix things before they go bad and end up extending the average life span of the human race by who knows how much. But then again, I have to wonder if we are ready for something like that as a society?

"So my theory, John, is that this calculation may exist in all of us and the accident, the rod through your brain, somehow opened a doorway allowing your brain to retrieve just that information from other people’s brains through their eyes. Possibly a form of partial ESP or even something we haven’t named yet scientifically. We may never know, but it brings us down to one final question, one I feel we should try to figure out the answer to"

"What is that?" Katelynn and I both blurted out at the same time.

"By whatever means the brain is producing these numbers or predictions you believe you are retrieving, John, for our purposes, doesn’t really matter yet. The only thing that matters right now is, for Katelynn’s sake, plain and simply, ’Is this phenomenon of yours for real or not?’"

* * * * *

Chapter Ten


Front Desk

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The Master Plan

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Nineteen
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty-One
Chapter Twenty-Two
Chapter Twenty-Three
Chapter Tweny-Four
Chapter Twenty-Five
Chapter Twenty-Six
Chapter Twenty-Seven
Chapter Twenty-Eight
Chapter Twenty-Nine
Chapter Thirty
Chapter Thirty-One
Chapter Thirty-Two
Chapter Thirty-Three
Chapter Thirty-Four
Chapter Thirty-Five
Chapter Thirty-Six
Chapter Thirty-Seven
Chapter Thirty-Eight
Chapter Thirty-Nine