Jake was a talkative fellow – a philosophy major who was disconcertingly unfazed by having a conversation with himself (I mean, me). But he thought it was an amazing coincidence that my first kill was also named Eric. He actually said, “I’ve never heard anything so crazy.”
When I suggested that the fact of our looking alike was stranger than our coincidental names, he said, “You’re not a philosophy major, are you?”
“You find this normal?”
I shot him a look. “Oh, is that how this is gonna go?”
“No, I’m sorry. Look, I’m just happy to have a real experience. I spend all day in classes discussing the meaning of life, but the only time I ever really feel a sense of purpose is when I meet one of us, you know? I suppose it’s somewhat solipsist, but it’s better than talking about Heidegger’s reevaluation of ontology.”
I had no idea what the fuck he was saying.
He seemed to guess as much. “Listen, you wanna have some fun?” He proposed skipping class, taking a joy ride to Mount Hood and sledding down the snow-capped top. “My girlfriend’s got some sleds. We can be back by 7:00.”
Given the fact that we’d be trying to kill each other soon, I didn’t exactly trust him. I told him so.
“Don’t worry, man. Nothing will happen until our second meeting. You know that, right?”
“Yeah, it’s just that, you know, couldn’t you tie me up somewhere and come back tomorrow?”
He bit his lower lip, which reminded me of Maggie. She does that whenever she’s pondering a question. “I never thought about that.”
“Seriously?” Are all philosophy majors like this?
He grabbed me by both shoulders and looked into my eyes. “I swear to you, on my mother’s grave, that I will not harm you.” He let go. “Until tomorrow.”
“Your mom’s dead?”
“Yeah, c’mon. We’ll talk about it in the car.”
His apartment was within walking distance and also, he pointed out, not far from where he went to high school. On the way, he warned me that his girlfriend Julie might call me Colin. “She thinks I have a twin brother who comes to town unannounced every so often.”