Cabbie firing line / all you see


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Patrick Lynch, head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, added that the recruit who fired “responded like a professional of 30 years — he had three days.”

Thank you to everyone who enjoyed my other stories and left me such encouraging feedback. This is a new series and I plan on posting new chapters every two weeks. I hope you enjoy it. And if you do, please leave me a comment. I love to hear everyone's thoughts!

*****

I feel warmth on my skin and the chirping of birds. My head hurts like I've never felt before. My whole body aches and I want to keep my eyes closed and my body still. I never want to move again. Something is telling me I need to wake up. What is it? A feeling in the pit of my stomach. An intuition maybe?

"Lady?"

I hear the voice but I don't recognize it. It must be in my head. Then I feel a sensation. What is it? And again I feel it, almost like someone is poking me.

"Lady, come on, let's go."

My eyes try to open like two rickety old doors that have been shut for an eternity. My cheek is against something wooden and I lift my head toward the sound of the voice.

"You can't sleep here."

A figure hovers above me, an angel maybe? The bright sunlight creates a glow around the figure. It reaches down and jabs at me with a stubby finger.

"Come on. If you don't move I'm going to have to arrest you."

My eyes finally focus and I see the metallic glow of a badge on the figure's chest. It's a police officer. I look below me and see I'm on a bench. I try to lift myself up but every muscle in my body hurts. When I'm finally upright, I lean back against the bench and look up at the police officer standing in front of me.

"Rough night last night?" He asks with a grin and a shake of his head.

I rub my eyes and mumble something even I don't understand.

"What's your name ma'am?" He asks.

I think for a moment. What is my name? I struggle to grasp onto something but I can't. I can't remember my name. I look up at him with a blank stare. He huffs.

"Am I going to have to call an ambulance? Because if I do, that means paperwork. I take it you're the kind of person who doesn't want paperwork."

I shake my head and decide to lie.

"Amy. My name's Amy," I say.

He nods. "Okay, Amy. Please move along. Central Park is not your bedroom."

I look around, confused as to what he's saying. I see people walking by, some jogging, some pushing strollers. I'm in a park. Central Park. I look back at him.

"Lady, are we going to have a problem today," he scolds me. "Because I really don't want a problem today."

"No," I say, shaking my head more times than I probably should. "No problem. I'm going."

I try to stand up but my legs feel weak. When my full weight hits them, I start to wobble and the police officer reaches out to support me. I fall into his chest and look up at him.

"You sure you okay?" He asks me.

I nod. "Yes, I'm fine. I'm fine."

I step back from him and take a moment to balance myself. Once my senses come back, I turn and walk away. Well, limp away is more like it. He doesn't say anything to me as I go and I don't look back. I must've fallen asleep in Central Park last night, but I don't remember it. How did I get here? When did I get here? As I search my mind for some answers a scary truth starts to become clear.

I don't remember anything.

My name, what I did last night, where I live, who I am. I can't remember anything. I lift my right arm up to rub my forehead but am met with a piercing pain in the upper part of my arm. I can barely lift it. I reach across myself with my left arm to support the other one just as I reach the boundary of the park. I'm on the east side, on the corner of Fifth and Central Park South. The glass cubed Apple Store is gleaming across from me. I look around hoping to jog my memory for some idea as to how I got here but nothing comes up. I start to pat myself down, hoping to find something on me that can give me some clues. Unfortunately my pockets are empty. Not even a wallet. That's when I realize something strange. My clothes don't fit. They're too big. I'm wearing a blue New York Giants t-shirt that looks more like a dress on me considering how far down it goes. My jeans are also too big, despite the belt around them. When I look at the belt, I see it's not notched to the smallest hole. Why wouldn't I have pulled the belt all the way if these pants are this big on me? I undo the buckle and try to fix it, but even the farthest hole is still a little too big for me. I'll just have to pull my pants up periodically as I go. How did I get these clothes?

That's when I notice people on the street staring at me as they walk past. I must look like a mess. I can tell my hair is all over the place. That's when another realization hits me: I don't even know what I look like. I can't picture my face.

What the hell is going on?!

I feel panic start to bubble up inside me. What is happening? I try to think of where to go but nothing comes to mind. There must be a place I live, an apartment, a house, somewhere. Before my heart literally jumps out of my chest, I close my eyes and take three deep breaths. Then, I open my eyes and decide to figure this out.

First, I need to figure out who I am. Without a wallet or a cell phone, that seems near impossible. So how can I jog my memory? I must have amnesia or something. Is that a thing or does it only happen in movies? It must be if I can't remember anything. Maybe I hit my head? Is that how it happens?

A doctor!

Yes, I should find a doctor. I need to get help, but how am I going to do that? I have no ID, no insurance card, no money. I have nothing! No matter where I go they'll kick me out the minute I say I don't have insurance. And I don't have a phone to even look up where I could go without insurance.

I look around and see the police officer coming up the pathway behind me. Luckily some woman jogging on the path caught his attention and he turned around to check her out, so he doesn't notice me. I start walking down Central Park South towards the west side. I'm still a little wobbly on my feet, so I take it slow. I'm immediately struck with the smell of manure. I always forget about the horses along this street and the vendors trying to sell overpriced rides to unsuspecting tourists. It reeks!

People continue to stare at me as I walk past. It's probably the ridiculous clothes I'm wearing and how big they look on me. That's when I realize I really have to pee. I'm not sure why the two ideas are connected but my mind is firing in all directions. It's a long walk before I get to Columbus Circle, especially in my state, but when I do I see the Time Warner Building and remember there are bathrooms in there.

So I can remember that but not my name?!

Although maybe it's not really a memory but more a feeling. I walk through the entrance and am greeted by the soothing feeling of air conditioning. I didn't even realize how hot it was outside until being in the cold. As I look around I have a feeling like I've been here before, but I can't remember when. I'm sure I have been, it's a large shopping complex in the middle of Manhattan, but I can't picture any specific time in my head. I walk down the corridor and see a sign for the bathroom. At least I've got that! I make a line for it as the urge to pee intensifies. It doesn't seem like there's anyone in here so I don't try to hide my desperation. I push the stall door open and undo the buckle on my pants. The moment I do, they fall to the floor in a giant heap. I don't even look at the seat before I sit down. This place looks clean enough, and I start to relieve myself. I close my eyes and take a deep breath, feeling my bladder empty. When I open my eyes I glance down and almost jump at what I see.

There's a key taped to my thigh and the words "Chelsea Piers Batting Cages 47" written in dark marker.

What the hell? How did I not feel this until now? I tear the medical tape from my thigh and hold the key in my hand. It has a small round orange handle. Chelsea Piers Batting Cages. I wonder what forty-seven means and then it hits me. It must be the locker this key goes to. So I left myself something. Why would I do that? A sinking feeling hits the pit of my stomach as I try desperately to remember writing this on my thigh, but nothing comes to mind. Maybe I wasn't the one who wrote it? It's possible. But even so, I should have a memory of whoever it was writing it on me. I have nothing. Everything before today is a complete blank.

I grab a wad of toilet paper and wipe myself off and then pull my pants back up. When I open the stall door, I'm immediately greeted by my own reflection. I stare at myself in the mirror for what seems like an eternity. How can I have no memory of my own face? It's like I've never seen this face before. I lean in and my nose almost touches the glass, I'm staring so intently. Suddenly the door opens and a woman walks in. She's wearing a short white dress with long blonde hair. Her long legs are flawless and she moves with ease in the elegant heels clicking on the hard floor. She's everything I'm not right now. Perfect, powerful, confident. She looks me up and down and smirks, her distain for my haggard appearance an affront to her. She brushes past me with her head held high and goes into a stall, closing the door behind her.

I look back in the mirror and can't help but wish I was her right now. It seems like she doesn't have a problem in the world. A person who is in control of her life as opposed to life being in control of her. I wish I was her.

That's when I feel a weird churning in the pit of my stomach. I bend over, hand on my abdomen and I feel my skin start to crawl. I can feel my bones rattle and a feeling of nausea becomes strong. I can't seem to move. My skin feels hot and my eyes close as they tear up. And then suddenly, it's gone. The whole thing happened so fast and now the feeling of nausea is completely gone. I stand back up and turn the faucet on so I can wash my face. The water fills my cupped hands and I look up to the mirror and freeze. My hands start to shake and the water I was holding trickles to the drain below.

I look exactly like the woman who just entered the stall.

My whole body is different. I'm taller, my hair is blonde just like her, my face resembling that same mousy look that smirked at me as it brushed past. I don't have her makeup on though. My face is bare and I'm still wearing the same dirty clothes that don't fit, but I'm unmistakably her. I'm frozen in place, unable to move. None of this makes sense. Then the stall door opens and she walks out, glancing over at me. Her mouth falls open and now she's frozen in place, staring dumbfounded at me.

"What the..." She manages to get out.

All I can do is stare back, unable to offer any explanation. She looks me up and down again, this time seeing herself in the rags she smirked at before.

"Who the fuck are you?!" She demands, as if I've wronged her in some way.

"I...I don't know," I manage and then stop. My voice sounds exactly like hers. Nothing like the voice that answered the police officer earlier.

The woman puts her purse on the counter and jabs her hand into it. She pulls out a phone and holds it up to me, about to take a picture. I glance at the counter where she left her purse and feel the urge to take it. I hear the shutter sound on her phone and she looks down, clicking buttons on her phone. I lean in and for a moment, she thinks I'm trying to see what she's doing. She gives me a disgusted look of contempt and turns her back, trying to hide whatever she's doing. I lean to my left slowly, hoping that the longer I take the more I'll chicken out from doing it. I can hear her saying something to me but I'm not really listening. When my hand feels the strap of her bag, it clasps around it and lifts it off the counter. I turn and start to walk out of the bathroom. I'm through the door and turn the corner before I hear her behind me.

"Hey! What the fuck!"

I run, sprinting down the corridor, bag in hand. Adrenaline starts to fuel every muscle in my body and suddenly the wobbliness is gone. I look back and see the woman chasing after me, but she can only go so fast in her heels. My sneakers may be a couple sizes too big, but they're still much easier to run in. I burst through the front doors and back onto the street. There's someone getting out of a taxi and without thinking, I bolt towards it. An elderly man is helping his wife exit the taxi and he's about to close the door right when I reach him. He can tell what I want and gives a polite smile and leaves the door for me. I hop in the taxi, close the door, and look back to the front doors of the Time Warner Building. The woman has just made it to the front doors herself.

"Chelsea Piers," I yell at the cabbie.

He gives me a nod, making eye contact through the rearview mirror and I can tell he knows something is up. He pulls away from the curb and I turn to look behind. The woman stands on the corner fuming, but she's no longer running after us. The cab turns down Broadway and I can no longer see the woman.

Why did I do that?!

I can't believe I just stole someone's purse! However, I know exactly why I did it. I'm going to need some money if I'm going to get to Chelsea Piers. It's down in the twenties and I'm on 59th Street. There's now way I'm going to walk all the way down there in shoes that are too big holding up my pants. Hopefully this locker will remind me where I live and I can go home and sleep this nightmare off. I open the purse and look through the wallet, realizing that if this woman doesn't have any cash or cards on her, I'm screwed. Of course she does. There's about a hundred and thirty dollars in cash and an arsenal of credit cards.

"Which Pier?"

I'm startled and look up, seeing the cabbie looking back at me through the rearview mirror again.

"Oh. The uh...batting cages."

He nods and looks forward again.

In the purse I see a small little black disk of blush. I open it and see the mirror, still facing down. I want to look but I'm afraid of what I'll see. I slowly lift the top up until the mirror is facing me. The face of the woman who's purse I stole is staring back at me. This is insane. How did I do that? My whole body changed into hers. It was that weird feeling. I have no idea how else to describe it because I've never felt anything like it before. I close the little black disk and throw it back in the purse, not wanting to see myself anymore. That's when the cab comes to a stop and I look up. We're here. He starts to press buttons on the meter and the screen in back with me changes to show the fare. I should pay with a card because I'm probably not going to be able to use it much longer. I'm sure the woman is already in the process of canceling her cards. I open up the wallet and take the one closest to the front. That's probably the one with the most money on it. After swiping the card I wait for a tense couple of seconds until the screen shows the charge went through. I guess she hasn't canceled them yet.

I exit the cab and make my way inside. The place has a little bit of a familiar feeling to it, just like the Time Warner Building did. I know I've been here before. Well of course I have. I put something in a locker here. But I feel like the memory is on the tip of my brain. As I walk down the hallway, I try to focus on it but nothing specific is coming up. I walk past the front desk, trying to look like I know where I'm going. I can hear the batting cages in the distance, so I know I'm on the right track. A group of guys who look to be in their twenties is walking past me and I catch the glance of one of them. He nods at me and I give a curt smile.

"What's your name?" He asks as he walks past.

I ignore him and keep walking. I can hear his friends start to laugh behind me. Fucking assholes. I should've just said I don't know . It would be the truth. Then I see the batting cages ahead of me and the lockers right in front of them. My heart starts to beat faster. I hope this is finally it. When I reach the lockers, I start to look for number forty-seven. It doesn't take very long. I quickly plunge the key into the lock and turn it, then swing the door open. There are two things inside; a folded piece of paper and an envelope. I take both out and scan the locker again to make sure I'm not missing anything, hoping maybe I didn't tape an apartment key to the ceiling or something. The fact that there aren't any keys in here doesn't make me feel good. I walk over to a bench and sit down. I start with the envelope. It's thick, and when I open it I find a thick wad of cash. I fan through it and see they are mostly large denominations. There must be a couple thousand dollars in here. My senses go on alert and I look around to make sure no one saw me. I quickly put the envelope in the purse. Then I open the folded piece of paper. It's a letter.

Hello,

You probably won't remember but you're the one who wrote this. This is you, except it's not anymore, which I'm sure you've already discovered. I won't tell you much except that you've been given a new beginning. The old you (me) was in a bad place. Life has a way of really kicking you in the teeth and if there's one thing I've discovered about life, it has no remorse. That's when I found an answer. They decided to help me (or should I say you). You see even though we're the same person technically, we're not. As you already know, you can't remember anything before you woke up and you never will. And as I hope you've discovered already, you have a certain ability. A way to become someone new whenever you want. I hope this new gift will help you find happiness. It's all I ever wanted. Please don't concern yourself with me and who you were before. Your name, your age, your gender, your background, all of it doesn't matter. There is nothing you left behind. Please just look forward. You can be anyone you want. Literally! This is my gift to you. Please use it well. I've left you with cash to start over. It's everything I had and then some. Let's just say, there are a few credit card companies you maxed out your accounts with cash advances that would love to find me. When you get settled, contact a man named Barry Heller. I wrote his phone number at the bottom of the page. He doesn't know me but I know him and he can get you identification with your new identity on it. Multiple ones if you choose to do that. There's not much else I can tell you other than be happy. This is a new beginning. And if things aren't working out, start again. Be anyone.

With love,

You

I sit, staring at the letter for an eternity. I try to wrap my mind around it but my head just starts to hurt. I'm never going to find out who I am. Why would I do this to myself? My breathing picks up and I start to have a panic attack. I'm screwed. Then my eyes fall on one line in the letter.

They decided to help me.

Who is they ? Who am I? What the fuck?! A part of me was so sure I was going to find a way home, wherever that was. Now I realize this is the end. There's nothing for me going forward because I made sure there wouldn't be. This letter and the envelope of cash is all I have. Where do I go? I have nowhere to go. I don't have a home. Tears start to swell up in my eyes and I try to hold them back but it's useless. Drops start to fall down my face.

But then something changes. A kind of light opens up inside me. I start to think about what the letter said. I can be anyone. I can be anything. Though the glass is half empty and I have no identity or history or place in the world, the glass is also half full in that I have nothing tying me down. I have no responsibilities. And if I do, I can just leave. I also have no age. Can I lie forever? As I get older, can't I just change myself into someone younger? I have no idea how it works, so it's possible I can do that.

She is calling for the provincial and federal governments to implement consistent mental health treatment, and to act on the findings outlined by youth in O'Soup's report. 


Cabbie Firing Line / All You SeeCabbie Firing Line / All You See

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