I looked up at the grimy man behind the bar. My hand was holding a pistol, shakily pointed at him. Quickly, my mind raced back as far as I could remember. No one had ever asked me that before. No one had ever cared enough who I was.
Worse yet, no one had even told me the answer to that question.
Then it hit me, I didn't know who I was.
"I," I stammered, "I don't know."
All 23 years of my life, no one had ever directly addressed me. No one had ever used my name in conversation. I had no identity. I guess I'm really no one.
"I guess I'm really no one."
The man just stared at me.
"So, as I said earlier," pointing the gun at him with a bit more confidence, "give me the damn money!"
He put the money in a bag. He handed it to me. I took it.
In the car, later, Janet drove the car. I asked her, "Who am I?"
"Who are any of us, really?" She asked philosophically. "Are we but emotions? Are we matter?"
"Are we not men? We are DEVO!" interjected Charlie from the back seat.
"Chaz, shut it." Janet said. "You see," she directed at me, "None of us really matter to those who couldn't care less about us. If the world hates us, why should we bother to make ourselves known?" She laughed to herself.
"What?" I asked.
"It's just that I think you're better off than Chaz and me. At least people can find out about us. It's you that they know nothing about. How could you be so lucky?"
Earlier in life, I was in school. I knew all the answers, but was never called upon. I got angry one day, and made a scene.
"We'll have a talk after class, young man." I was told.
Later that day, in the classroom still, my teacher sat in the room alone. I had cut the meeting.
The next day, she acted as if nothing had happened. Now I knew why.
Back in the car, Charlie lit up a cigar he had swiped from a tobacco shop. "Yeah, man, you're, like, totally untouchable."
Is it worth it, to have no identity?
"But, I am nobody."
"Yes you are, you are you, though you really have no identity, you're still someone to us." Janet said, smiling at me through the cigar smoke.
I was glad Charlie stopped smoking marijuana. It sometimes interfered with Janet's driving, and we'd almost end up getting killed.
Thank to the cigar smoke, we'd just loose 10-20 years off of our lives.
Or maybe 60, depending on what lane a truck is driving in. Janet screams and tries to swerve. Charlie hollers, accidentally inhaling the cigar smoke. He starts coughing. The truck driver is too intoxicated to notice. The vehicles collide, the bodies fly.
The next thing I know, I am surrounded by bright light. I see Janet. I see Charlie. I see the driver. I see a man in a black cloak. He slowly approaches. Looking down upon us, he takes a book out from his cloak, opens it, and reads from it.
He beckons to Janet, to Charlie, to the driver. They stand from their spots on the ground, and walk towards him. They start to walk away.
I stand. "Hey!" I shout. "What about me?"
"You're not in my book." he simply replied, and walked away.
I woke up in a hospital bed. "Good morning, sir." said a friendly nurse.
"Good morning." I choked.
A doctor walked in. "Oh good, he's awake." He looked at me, "Good morning sir, could you tell us who you are?"
"I don't know." I said.
"Amnesia?" asked the nurse.
The doctor asked me more questions, things to test my memory of past events.
"No, he remembers too much else. It could be a special case, however."
"We've been calling you J. Doe, sir." she told me, "I guess until you find out your real name, that'll stick." She smiled coyly.
Jump to now. I'm sitting in my living room in my cozy house. Life has been well.
I turned from my robbing ways, I learned my lesson. I heard a rapping upon my door.
I opened the door. A man clad in black, carrying a thick book looks at me.
"J. Doe," he said, poetically, "It's time to go."
"All right." I told him as I followed, "How have Janet and Charlie been?"