“Bartender, do you know that gentleman that just left?”
He put the bankroll in his pocket and sat brooding. A knot of uneasiness formed in the pit of his stomach. “We’ll be seeing each other soon.” Of all the odd situations he had managed to find himself in this was by far the most peculiar.
He left the bar and made his way back to his hotel room. He took his clothes off and lay down on the bed and locked his fingers behind his head. He kept seeing the man’s eyes in front of his face as though he were somehow in the room.
After awhile he got up and took a shower and then put on a robe and walked out to the balcony to watch the goings-on in the street. A group of children played stickball on the sidewalk as mopeds, cars and vendor’s carts formed and ever changing pattern of movement in the dusty cobblestone street below.
Scavenger birds let out raucous cries and pecked at each other over possible bits of sustenance on the ancient tiled roofs below his hotel. He took it all in without seeing as his mind worried the afternoon’s event like a dog with a fresh bone.
At last he sighed and walked back inside. Just a random oddball with too much time and too much money who got his kicks messing with the heads of visitors he decided. No matter, he had come away from it $50,000 richer and there was nothing wrong with that.
So that was how it had all began. Three days later he had died for the first time. There had been no warning that first time other than the cryptic “we’ll be seeing each other soon.” He had hailed a cab to take him back to his room after a night out on the town only to have the driver pull into a dark alley and park. When he had asked what was going on the driver had turned and plunged a large knife into his heart with a maniacal laugh. The last thing his mind had registered as he died was the face of the gentleman from the bar.
Then he had woken up. He could remember clearly what had happened, and at first he thought he must have had a nightmare. His surroundings were at once familiar and new to him, and there hadn’t been a scratch on him. He knew his away around the house he was in, he knew what he did for a living and what his phone number was and every other thing there was to know.
Still, he knew for certain that he had lived another life in another place and that he had died one night in a cab at the hands of a man he had lost a game of liar’s dice to. He knew it with absolute certainty.
He had gone about his routine in a dazed state for days wondering how it was that could be in such a state. He could remember every detail of his previous life, and yet the life he found himself in was equally familiar. He wondered if he was slipping into schizophrenia and should see a psychiatrist, but it occurred to him that schizophrenics weren’t aware of their condition.
In time he came to accept that there was no reasonable explanation for what was happening and decided that it would be best to simply get on with his life.