I don't know why I should tell you this. This therapy idea was a dumb one anyway.

You don't have to tell me, if you don't want to.

As long as I'm here, I may as well, right? I guess you wouldn't be able to help me if I didn't.

It's your call.

Thanks for the encouragement.

Any time.

Well... I don't really know where to start.

The beginning, perhaps?

All right. The beginning.

His name was David. He's about my height, blond, grey eyes. I don't suppose you know him.

I watch the news. He looks a bit like you, doesn't he?

Yeah. He looked like me. That was the problem. See, we both worked at the same place. Called Newsoft, or some yuppie crap like that. You know what I'm talking about?

Of course.

We were in the programming division, working on a prototype nanomachine controller program. The thing was gonna be able to perform surgery within a patient. Most non-invasive technology since the fucking laser. Stuff came in a pill, guy swallowed it, the doc puts him under, goes to work, and guy wakes up, fit as a fucking fiddle. Bleeding-edge techonology.

So what did David do?

I'm getting to that. See, we both got in at the same time, as programmers under the same team leader. They needed someone to design the control interface, you know? So, we went at it for awhile.

Then she showed up.


You do watch the news, don't you? Anyway, that was the start. We both liked her. A lot. And, well...

He had better people skills, to put it nicely.

You don't have to curb your tongue around me. I don't mind.

Fine. The bastard could talk the fucking stars out of the sky and persuade Mr. Fucking Hussein himself to wear a tutu and sing "Auld Lang Syne" while handing out chocolate bars to all the nice kids. That better?

Of course.

You're a sneaky bastard, you know that?

It's my job, Mr. Jacobs.

It's Dmitri.

Dmitri, then. How'd you get a name like that, anyway?

I'll tell you some other time. Anyway, the snake beat me to Marilyn by a long shot. I didn't have a chance, and I resented that. A lot.

She couldn't have been the only reason.

Hell no. There was a lot. Most of the time, I'd get mistaken for David. Rather regularly. I don't think anyone really knew who I was. Ever have that happen to you?

Not really.

It wears a guy down. David knew what was happening, too. Used it against me. Started to take credit for my code.


Keystroke recorder, at first. Real simple, real obvious. That was to hide the second one he'd hidden a lot better. Took a few days to find it. I think there was a few other schemes, but they weren't that great. After a while he got lazy, and started intercepting the code when I'd send it to the team leader.

How'd you get around that?

Didn't. Isn't any other way to manipulate info, not anymore. Paper's too expensive, what with the lack of trees and all. Even you have a recorder. When was the last time you picked up a real book?

In a museum, when I was about six or seven.

See? The bastard knew what he was doing.

What else did he do?

After he'd taken Marilyn, he started fucking with my reputation, with the cops and all that. Started to plant stuff in my terminal, my house. Got busted for kiddie porn. Managed to prove my way out of that one, but I didn't have anything to nail David to the wall with. Covered his tracks real well.

There was a lot he did. Don't know why. Never did find a motive, and the cops didn't either. That's why I'm in here.

Anything else?

Everything became a blur after while. The only clear parts became the ones where he was screwing me over. I could remember all of the times, once upon a time. They were crystal clear, all of them.

I don't think it was very healthy of me to dwell on all this. The memories kinda sat in the back of my head, sharpening their daggers, waiting for the moment when he'd be off guard and they'd jump out and cut him into pieces.

Dmitri, I need to go. We'll continue this another time-

Then I found his weakness. I'd started carrying a ceramic knife around, to avoid the metal detectors. Idiots. That was all the security they had. Sure, we all had psych tests, but that clearly didn't work, didn't it?

Dmitri, hold on a sec. I have other appointments to keep, and-

Hold on a fucking second and let me finish, all right? Like I said, I found his weakness after all. Liked to parade around with Marilyn where I could see him, just down the hall. So one day, while he was doing this, I got up, all friendly-like, and walked over to him, big smile on my face.

Fucker never saw it coming. Took him a sec to realize there was two inches of laser-sharpened pottery sticking out his back. The look on his face made my day.

Dmitri, I am going to leave, whether you continue or not. I am late for my next client, and I will finish listening to you next time, all right?

Whatever. I was done anyway. See you next time, eh?

This was a challenge put to me by futurebird. Booya!