Memory is a Fragile Thing

This is part one in a series. It's a departure for me, since I've never written an espionage thriller before.

The mirror, attached to the wall, was smudged and bronzing, old, like a reliquary of the Mad Hatter’s. It was there I first saw my face. It was there where I found the wash basin and a couple Tylenol, and I was thankful for both. I swallowed the pills without water, washed my face, and sat back down on the cot. I was growing accustomed to this white-walled prison with it’s fancy door as if saying welcome to your purgatory but there’s no sense in whining about it.

My face looked oddly familiar; I’d seen it before, a thousand times before. It was the same face that made me laugh and cry, though my face did neither of those now. I crossed my legs on the cot, closed my eyes, and breathed deeply.


“Good morning, Rafe.”



“Doing fine. Adjusting.”


The clipboard with the date scrabble across the top in block letters passed hands. “The next one is scheduled for-?”

“Five weeks.”

“And we’re sure he’ll be ready by then?”

“We’re sure.”


I raise my hands and wave to the polite people taking my picture. I stop, make a serious face, laugh it off, and pull close the woman attached to my arm. They ask me a few simple questions, and in this moment I don’t have to be anyone else.

The awards ceremony is quaint, unapologetic, and wholly self-serving. I am embarrassed to be here.


“Good morning, Rafe.”


“We are ready to implement the next?”

“He has shown us his worth.”

“He was fairly impressive as that celebrity.”

“He was, and my mother before that.”

“And the clerk at the general store.”

“He’s ready for Russia.”

“It’ll be cold.”

“To him, it’s home already.”


I am pulled from my room once again to be taken into surgery. Perhaps this time, I will remember.

-JR Simmang


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