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Episode 5: “The Beginning And The End"

Juan’s sleep was a tortuous battle, a nightmarish fantasy. His mind was filled with thoughts of the happiness he and Virginia would share, but at the moment of ecstasy, she would disappear, the scene becoming black.

His mood-desperate.  His heart-pounding.  His lips-screaming, “Virginia.”

He awoke just then, bathed in sweat and as in the dream, Virginia was gone. Grasping reality, he didn’t panic, but smiled, hugged his pillow and felt more comfortable than he had in years.  The joy was intoxicating, and as Juan began to drift off to sleep once again, he was yanked from his fantasies by a pounding at the door.

Sitting up, Juan cautiously wondered at the motivation of whomever it was that seemed to be impersonating an angry grizzly outside of his door. As he saw the aftermath of the tempest of love, he thought of a good reason. His belongings lay strewn across the floor, and the wine bottle which started it all was still lying by the fire.

“Juan, open this door!” interrupted Juan’s recollections of pleasure, “I must speak with you.”

Scuttering to the door, Juan realized it was Mayor Page. Too busy thinking of what to say to the man, Juan opened the door before knowing what to say. Fortune answered his prayers, to his tremendous surprise, by the news which Mayor Page had brought.

“Juan, mine fine fellow, I fear the worst has happened. The informer has ceased functioning, I haven’t been notified of a drop for more than ten days and I fear something has gone terribly wrong.”

Hearing the news hit Juan rather like a splash of cold water in the morning. The true outside world had become so much of a mirage that the confrontation of its existence blew his mind.

“You’ve been in Miller for quite some time Juan, but you must remember, I need your help.”

Flooding thoughts bewildering his mind, Juan remembered segments of powerful icons. Disneyland, art in The Louvre, men in stuffed suits wielding power and pieces of his previous life. He remembered it all though in a flood too large to organize. He did realize, however, that he had been hoodwinked.

“Come back to my office, you are the only one who has experience with things electrical and maybe you could fix the informer.  Here are your clothes, put them on and—”

Mayor Page spied the carnage.

“And, let's go back to my office.”

Stunned by sleep and bewilderment, Juan’s jaw dropping open, he attempted to bring the last twenty-four hours back together. The Voice, the love, the awakening.

“What to do, what to do,” Juan’s mind queried, chasing the faint hope of The Voice responding in kind, but to no avail.

“Juan, snap out of it,” Mayor Page grumbled, “We need to talk, grab yourself some breakfast and meet me at town hall in an hour. Pull yourself together, you act as if you hear voices.”

With a statement to blow a mind, Mayor Page blew out the door. Juan was again alone to contemplate the speed at which monumental events transpire. He only hoped to create a fitting end to an eternal day.

Consumed by his own thoughts and the instructions which Mayor Page had given, Juan soon found himself dutifully walking to Enid Hill’s restaurant on Bealle Street. Mrs. Hill’s place was Juan’s usual breakfast eatery, yet he felt a strange mood take hold as Miller appeared over the treeline.

As he entered town and spied Hill’s, Juan felt the half ashamed eyes of many of the locals upon his shoulders. For the first time, he saw them as the innocent fools they were, knowing not of the cars, planes, mini-skirts and computers in the real world.

Or maybe he never saw them from this new perspective. He realized he was not Juan Sebastian, amnesiac, but John Columbus, from Phoenix. He volunteered to come to Miller, or at least he thought he had. Throughout his walk he began to remember as much about his life as the average person. Except, he couldn’t really remember all of the details of how he had gotten here. He remembered talking to a man from the National Security Agency when he was found researching this place, then waking on the banks of the river.

He soberly began to realize how deeply he had fallen into the farce of this town. Did his ego and mind trick him as he rationalized this deception? He became scared the Voice was another symptom. He could feel pity, or something resembling it, and confessed he had become tied into this fantasy called Miller. But did he ever really remember?

True, he had realized he wanted to leave; but because of the reasons the lie had built in, not because he no longer wanted to live the lie. He always knew he would make it, but that he would find a frontier town, or village.

Yet, life in Miller had only seemed hazily present, as though a daydream.

He was slowly putting it all back together. He had come here willingly. But how? He definitely had to get out of town.

“Well come on in Juan, you’ll catch your death out there,” Mrs. Hill interrupted, the inevitable cause for a return to town life.  “Mayor Page stopped by — your breakfast is waiting.”

Those in Hill’s looked at Juan as those outside had, with a half cocked head and a smile.  Mrs. Hill quickly presented a hot breakfast with a cup of java to Juan, breaking his isolation.

“Juan, pardon my asking, but the whole town has been abuzz since you and Virginia bowed out from the party for Mr. Quimby. That Quimby, he spent more time recording in his log than he did celebrating the party. My goodness, it was a scandal. Everyone seemed upset, as though you both were sinning. Everyone except Mayor Page. But it’s not as if he approved but that he seemed to know something that we didn’t, like you would be judged by a higher power. Namely himself, more than likely.”

Juan was grateful Mrs. Hill was a tremendous linguist. Her ramblings eased his fears, and he concluded that Hill’s was his favorite eatery because of the gossip he could pick up. His food and coffee was soothing and gone in a flash.

“Juan are you listening to me?  Why are you heading over to the Mayor’s office so early.  I heard he roused you out of bed in the early morning. Does he have it in for you Juan?  What’s going on, you haven’t said a word since you came in here!”

“It’s nothing,” Juan lied, “We had an appointment, made weeks ago to go over some thoughts about reprinting the town history every once in awhile. As far as the events last evening, I am sure we will also discuss that business. Will you let me slide with that answer Mrs. Hill?”

“Slide? Well what on Earth do you mean, slide? Now, Mayor Page said to hurry you on down to him after you had eaten. So shoo- you! Off you go! Honestly, sometimes you act as though you were from another world!”

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