Music to go with this story: Paleosonic
When the doorbell rang, self-embedding reporter Johnny Sole wasn’t exactly prepared to meet an almost look-a-like, staring him at with a metal smile on his strangely familiar face. The name is Donny, the visitor told in an unappealing voice, and I need your help.
They had the same nose and hairdo and pretty much mouth and ears. His chin was perhaps more American styled and his eyes, of the correct colour, Johnny found rather dull. I just hope myself I´m looking better, is what he meant.
I was wonderin’f I could stay the night, Donny, wider smiling, said with a blank fear in his eyes, no real anxiety there. He swept the mood away with a sporty grin. I’ll sleep on the couch if I have to.
I wouldn’t have anything else to offer, Johnny confessed, always honest when it wasn’t in demand. But tell me, why did you ring my doorbell from so many?
Donny, who had nothing on him but boring looking mid-price clothing and, fair enough, smart reddish leather shoes, didn’t seem in the least offended. I went for your name. Johnny and Donny, it sounds rather well. Again his smile had that metal shine.
Why not Donny and Johnny then, so everybody knows who’s who. But you’re not going to rob me, are you?
Donny didn’t quite get my wit. I have nothing on me, he declared, you may search me if you want.
That shouldn’t be necessary, I nodded. We can talk inside, if you like.
Johnny Sole carefully closed the door behind them, making sure no other uninvited guests might later join the party, and offered a drink.
Oil, Donny reacted somewhat urgently. Could I have some olive oil?
If a man who’s looking an amazing lot like you knocks the door to stay the night and you’re halfway conceding the request, it’s difficult getting uptight over drinking habits. So I disappeared into the kitchen and poured some of my finest oil in a stone cup, with two slices of brown bread on the side and a glass of wine for myself.
Back in the living room, Donny was eyeing my music collection. You seem to like David Bowí, he remarked.
The old stuff, yes. The real thing.
I was checking on his knowledge, but Donny clearly wasn‘t into the man.
He died in a plane crash, I helped out.
Donny closed his eyes, as if to hide his embarrassment, and then nodded and said hastily: o yes, in 1983, shortly before reappearing on the big stage; how stupid of me to forget.
Johnny Sole, selfembedding reporter, recognised those words immediately, of course. Watching Donny devour the content of his cup in one drag, denying the bread, he wondered whether it was purely accidental his guest looked so much like him.
Donny was changing attention to the well-stacked bookcase. I see you have very few best-sellers.
I guess I’ve always felt more attracted to eccentric ideas, Johnny offered.
It’s much more comfortable to know your thoughts are shared.
You think so?
After a stutter and a funny, metallic scraping cough, Donny evenly pronounced: since we are living in democracy, it’s difficult to deny the majority their claim to the truth, wouldn’t you say?
Johnny Sole had a lot to comment on that statement, but Donny cut him short by asking for a refill. The reporter went into the kitchen and returned with the plastic flask he kept a golden green oil in.
What’s this, Donny said, I see no label.
Straight from the farm. The very best.
I only trust established brands.
If it’s good, who cares what it’s called, Johnny said with a carefreeness he wanted the other to take offense from. You’re pretty middle of the road in your choices, aren’t you?
Donny closed his eyes and opened them again before stating with a clumsy sounding honesty: I believe it’s everybody’s democratic plight to follow the mainstream. Or show an interest, at the least.
But I am interested, Johnny Sole exclaimed. I’ll tell you, I used to be in the mainstream when it was still flowing in a different direction.
A deeply rooted taboo obstructed Donny from continuing on the line of thought; or so it was the selfembedder understood his guest’s hesitation. I want to be your friend, he burst out in a sort of panic, folding an unconvincing smile across his face. We have so much in common, you see.
I believe we have really little in common, Johnny felt inclined to react, but a very different instinct warned him he had exposed enough of himself and time had come for his guest to shine some light on his deeper motives.
So where are you going tomorrow, Donny?
Would you mind if I recharged some batteries? the visitor ignored his question. Not at all, the selfembedder nodded. To his surprise Donny suddenly held two large batteries, each the size of a torchlight, in his hand, and a charger in the other. Where did all that come from? Not from his pockets, surely.
As Donny was plugging the device, he casually mentioned: the future is to democratic thinking. Eccentricity, as you call it, is over. He giggled unpleasantly, and his metal voice had lost its innocent 1950s robot sound and was now turning into something infinitely more sophisticated and dangerous. I could be you, you know? he noted, we very much look alike. If I pretended to be you, people’d get a whole new take on their neighbour.
And what might that be good for? A rush of insult and forewarning started pumping through Johnny’s blood.
People’d think you had become a democrat at last, that you had bettered so to speak. Donny sported a stainless smile when he added: it might help you keep your place in society.
What are you getting at?
Your neighbours would certainly stop raising suspicions against you.
As if they do. But Johnny immediately accepted it might as well be true.
I’m a pretty good copier, Donny prided himself. His eyes, which had grown in clarity during their conversation - as if he’s feeding on me, Johnny thought – were coldly assessing the selfembedding reporter’s worth.
Johnny Sole felt a strong urge to physically distance himself from his guest. Look mate, it’s getting late and I need you to be out early tomorrow, he started off.
Donny gave a loud laugh. I’m not going anywhere, he assured, this is my flat now.
What d’you mean your flat?
You’ve been decided against ultimately.
It was too late to ask what that implied. With imminent danger overtaking body and mind, Johnny Sole in a last ditch effort began urging Donny towards the front door. I don’t enjoy throwing people out, but I really must ask you to leave now. It’s not that cold tonight. But the rock like resistance he met told him how immensely strong this oil drinking, recharging clone of his was, and he quickly stepped out of arm’s reach.
Shall we not start shoving each other? Donny suggested. Why don’t you go to bed and we’ll find a solution for you later.
Like kill me in my sleep?
Glad he had not dared pronounce the words, Johnny went for the bathroom and after closing the door stepped straight onto the balcony where the washing machine stood. With the support of the gas pipe he climbed down to the neighbour’s galleria, from six to five, and found the door closed. Now what?