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Psychic Comas
by Steve Trites


  No warning for this sucker. I’ll be walking to work in the morning trying to get enough caffeine in my system to deal with screaming kids again and all of a sudden BAM! my nose bounces off the pavement and I wake up with my genitals resting in a pool of hot coffee.

Man, it just happened again. I was minding my own business, casually surfing porn in my apartment, when I blacked out. I was out for at least an hour before I woke up with my face resting on the keyboard. What exactly happened during that hour, I'm not too sure, just like I have no idea what caused me to black out in the first place – all of the conspiratorial doctors I've talked to tell me that my claims are physically impossible to realize and that this is no condition, it can't exist. We on the outside of the medical community refer to these episodes as psychic comas.

I don't know where this skill came from but somehow, over time, my brain has developed the ability to look in on past and future events of other people's lives like they were happening to me in realtime. Yeah, I know what you are thinking. It sounds like a real blessing, right? Well, there are a couple of problems.

For one, before I get to see these things I have to be completely unconscious. Trust me, losing all control of your body at random times is the farthest thing from a blessing, it leaves you in seriously compromising situations. I guess it's a lot like being narcoleptic but knowing you're never going to get to the relaxing sleep part. It's got to be way worse than epilepsy too. At least epileptics have some warning – they feel an aura, sit down, chew on a spoon and in the time it takes to toast a piece of gramma's brown bread they're back at work. Not me boy. No warning for this sucker. I'll be walking to work in the morning trying to get enough caffeine in my system to deal with screaming kids again and all of a sudden BAM! my nose bounces off the pavement and I wake up with my genitals resting in a pool of hot coffee. Bet you wish your days started like that!

Secondly, most people live really boring lives. I get to stand on crowded subways enough myself so I don't get off on watching other people do it in my visions too. "Oh, I'm looking in on next week? Great, I'm still just standing on an effing subway."

And it just happened again. The visions probably would have gone on for hours but, lucky for me, I was drooling on my keyboard and the searing pain of electrical shocks hitting my face pulled me out of it. As for what these images mean, I have no idea. I stopped thinking about them all together after I watched a sex change operation and later saw the same adam's apple on a girl who was marrying one of my buddies. Now I just pass them on in case they're useful. So, here are the least mundane memories I have of my latest complementary rental from the universe's dvd room, take them for what they're worth to you…

I was standing with a small group of people on a sidestreet in Seomyeon as the sun was rising. Apparently the body that I was watching from was quite full of alcohol because the legs below me didn't want to walk straight and I'm pretty sure that I heard the BluesBien's statue of Elvis tell me he loved me. My stomach was aching for some late-night grub so I was happy when the group I was with started stumbling towards the pleasant looking women who were serving food at the street-side stands. As we criss-crossed towards nourishment, a shop owner with his arms full of newspapers came out of my blind spot and made an aggressive move towards his stand. Lucky for him, he was sober and stayed on his feet. Unlucky for me, I wasn't and didn't. As I picked myself up off the pavement I caught a glimpse of his newspapers: August 10th, 2003. Not bad, I'd only traveled two weeks back in time.

I caught up with the friends of the body I was inhabiting who were discussing which ajumma's food looked more appetizing. They chose the fourth stand in line and we all started filling up on kimbop and miscellaneous squewered meats. A very satisfying late night meal to coat our stomachs before passing out. The conversation was flowing as smoothly as Kass until an annoying, high-pitched voice broke in.

I looked behind me to find the source and caught the evil eyes of ajumma #3. She saw me looking at her and didn't hesitate to show off her metallic fangs as she unleashed what sounded like a profanity-laced tirade. Next came the internationally recognized "get the hell out of here!" hand gesture. Uninspired by her tactics, we casually held our ground. After a minute or two came the less common but equally recognized "I'm not kidding, piss off!" water throw, followed by the "leave right now, you bastards!" double hand push to the small of the back. I'm only guessing, something may have been lost in the translation, but I think she needed our business and wasn't happy that we chose her friend's cooking.

The verbal altercation that ensued didn't last long. Really, any time that 6 drunken foreigners with extremely limited Korean skills argue with one agitated woman who may or may not have had her daily fill of soju, no one is going to get very far. Angry "YEAH!!!!"s were echoing off of the street's serrated, metal garage doors and into the morning sky at the moment that I blacked out and left this body behind.

Next, my mind's eyes opened up on a bed in a pitch-black room. All that I could make out were the red numbers on the clock that read: 4:32 am. My nose picked up the foul stench of free flowing sewer water; I was definitely still in Korea. My body was covered from forehead to shins in dripping liquid that, after considering the room's humidity level, I assumed was entirely sweat. I could hear rain violently drenching the outside world while mosquitoes dive-bombed the inside, so rainy season seemed like a safe bet. After working my way along the wall and finding a light switch I got a look at my surroundings: a small bedroom with a single bed, a dresser, and a carpet made of dirty clothes, empty Marlboro packs and philosophy books. Pretty standard foreigner's room.

Pretty standard except for the platoon of at least 50 well-fed mosquitoes covering the walls next to the bed. They were lined up like fighter planes on an aircraft carrier, the fattest ones sleeping off a successful breech of enemy territory and the skinnier ones awaiting orders for their next flight. I touched the liquid running down my forehead and knew I wasn't going to see a handful of sweat. That was pure human DNA fueling their engines and it was time for revenge.

The last things that I remember before blacking out again were screaming like I was Braveheart himself and hearing the very satisfying sound of mosquito bodies being crushed under the weight of Homer's The Odyssey.

The next thing that I saw was the face of a 12-year-old boy. I was in the middle of trading him 1000 won for a deep-fried chicken leg. Normally, I stand 5'10" so it struck me as strange that I was completely upright but still had my neck fully extended just to look him square in the chest. I thanked him in a perfect Korean accent and turned to walk away. My legs moved too slowly and felt like rubbery, overcooked hotdogs. My back ached and my arms were hairless, wrinkled, but well tanned. In the shop window across the street I could see the problem... I was in the body of a mid-70s Korean man.

I started walking towards the main street, gumming the chicken as I went. It was a hot summer day, the chicken was tasting fine and for once no one was staring at me or screaming "hello" in my face. Across the street and into a park I found a shady place to sit down. I finished the chicken, smoked a cigarette and for twenty minutes saw the world through white colored cataracts. The breeze filled my combover with a fresh desire to sleep and my digestive system seconded the motion. This being old thing was great! I was completely relaxed and happy when I first felt something very unnatural happening to my 70-year-old pipes. I hoped it would pass, but very soon I recognized the severity of the situation – a Back Alley Fried Chicken fueled volcano was brewing in my bowels. I was about to be in serious trouble. The way I saw it I had three problems. I was in the body of the slowest moving human on the planet, I had no idea where in the city I was, and no chance of convincing my roommate to let me into our bathroom even if I could find our apartment.

I started aimlessly in every direction looking for any solution. I considered squatting under the palm tree to my left, but there were too many people around and things hadn't gotten nearly that dire, yet. There was a small restaurant to the right of the park so I waddled on rubbery, hot dog legs towards it, gripping my sphincter tighter with each step. I found the bathroom and what I thought was sure relief. It felt good to know that this would soon be over. As soon as the bathroom door swung open, I pushed past the man trying to exit, walked inside and saw a dirty porcelain hole in the ground and one shredded piece of toilet paper gripping to the dying role. Ahhhhhhhh!!!! There was no way I was going to walk out of this place with liquid ass-lava all over myself. I had to hold it. This mirage was costing me, dearly. I had relaxed thinking that I had made it and now the pain was worse than ever. I got out of there at what felt like half a kilometer an hour and looked for another option.

Three painful toilet-paperless stores later, with my rectum now puckered like the lips you use to kiss your mother, I could walk no more. The palm tree was my last hope. Atleast it was someone else's dignity in my hands. Nobody else could tell who was doing the thinking for this guy, who, for all I knew, could live in this neighborhood. I was sure that as soon as I squatted down some kids would come running along, recognize their grandpa and instantly lose all respect for him. But, that was a chance I was going to have to take and soon.

Unless... I squinted through my cataracts and couldn't believe what I was seeing. I was standing next to a toilet store with a fully functional combination toilet/beday on display, a stream of water showering the store's front window. I knew it wasn't going to be glamorous but the fried chicken was leaving me no choice.

My plan was to get up onto the toilet, wait out this eminent eruption and then defend myself against the store clerks by accusing them of disrespecting their elder for even questioning my actions. I hobbled in through the door and was hardly able to contain the devil chicken. My belt was undone by the time I got to the spraying toilet. I could hear the protests of the clerks who saw what I was upto but this was no time for a debate. I played deaf and ignorant. I centered myself over the bowl and as my creaky knees started to bend... I blacked out again. That poor old guy must have had some serious explaining to do when he took over the operations of that body.

All right, enough of this reminiscing. Man, my face is killing me and I'm afraid to look in the mirror. I'm pretty sure my cheek looks like a Tetris board. If any of this benefits your life, then great. If not, well, you're beginning to know how I feel.

 

June 29, 2004