Fischer got up from his sleep, still a bit groggy from the party last night. He looked to the person sleeping next to him. His wife looked very beautiful and peaceful in her sleep. Not intending to wake her up, he slowly crept out of bed and went out of the room. Daylight was creeping into the valley. He went to the kitchen for a drink and then went to his study to re-check his appointments for the day. He didn’t really need to, lawyers generally have a good memory. Yet this seemed to be an irony. His first appointment was with a company called ReOrganiSys who were going to somehow re-organize his brain so that all his memories be stored correctly. Technology could do anything these days and this particular technology was a rage in corporate culture now. Every company lay great stress on there being at least one team member on each project whose brain had been ReOrganised, as they liked to call it because that person could easily afford to read all the relevant documentation, dating to even decades back and then recall everything in absolutely correct order because of the way memories were being stored in his brain. Fischer’s company had chosen him for this important task as he had been with the company the longest and had a great track record in the court room. Thus, his knowledge of the cases combined with his knack to win was the perfect combination for their company, which, of course, was payig for this costly process.
As he pondered over all this information, his wife woke up and came to him with some breakfast. He had been told to eat light food so that he would be comfortable and accordingly, she had prepared a simple meal of juice and toast. He quickly gobbled it up, unnecessarily fretting over the extremely safe procedure. The company had a hundred percent safety record on their proprietary technology, better even than some bungee jumping companies! He smiled at this thought and got ready for office and, of course, the small ‘operation’ before that. When he was ready, he kissed his wife good bye, promised to take her out for dinner at some nice place that night and headed out.
The office-cum-hospital of ReOrganiSys was about an hour away from the city, which meant that it would take Fischer an additional two hours just to get back from the hospital to his office, which was in the heart of the city. Nevertheless, he parked his sedan in their parking lot and went in for the meeting. The plush interiors comforted him, reassuring that this company had been built on countless successful operations. The receptionist greeted him cheerfully and asked him to sit for a while during which she would contact the doctor. Before a few minutes had elapsed, a middle aged man introduced himself to Fisher as his doctor.
“Hello Mr. Fischer, I’m Doctor Kahn, the head-surgeon and MD of this company and I’ll be doing your operation today.”
His voice exuded confidence and experience and Fischer was instantly comforted by it.
“Now, before we continue towards the operation theater, is there anything that you want to ask or talk about?”.
Fischer’s instant impulse came up with a feeble “Is this operation safe?”
The doctor chuckled politely, “A standard question, one I get asked too many times a day. Yes, the operation is very safe. It’s not that we going to affect your brain in some physical way, only reorganize the way the electrical impulses are stored within there. Anything else?”
“Well yes, actually,” Fischer knew that there was one bit of information which he had not found from anyone or anywhere on the Internet and was very vital to his personal space, “is there any was that you could organize my memories in such a way that certain memories get more importance than others? For example, my personal memories are more important to me than my professional ones.”
“There is no way that we can do that kind of thing. However, I hope you understand what our process does. We reorganize your mind in such a way that all your memories get equal preference. You see, the mind is a maze where everything is stored but very less retrieved. The mind often reacts to external stimuli or emotions, bringing out a specific memory in response to a question or a new memory. This sort or organization of data is quite cryptic and we can never know how to truly stimulate the brain to coax out certain information out of it. But after you are done with our process, your mind will have learned to react to any sort of query with the correct information. The memories will be stored so that even by thinking about your requirement, you’ll be able to get a reaction from the mind. So much so that as soon as you think of your wife, you’ll remember the day’s grocery list and all the grocery lists you’ll ever fulfilled or forgotten!” The doctor laughed at his own joke, but Fischer joined in too, knowing that this operation was going to be monumental for his life.
They soon had the operation theater ready for him. The doctor requested him to move to the location but Fischer had just one last query. “What if a person looses his memory during or after this operation? How do you solve that? Do you store his memory somewhere so that you can restore it in case it’s needed?”
The doctor opened with a retort, “Ah! Always thinking like a lawyer, aren’t we? No, we do not copy a person’s memory on to our hard drives, that’s impossible to do! We cannot in any way, take out or put in any memory. All we can do as a safety valve is to copy a person’s Alpha patterns so as to document how that brain functions. In case it ever came to the situation that we need to restore someone’s brain, all we can do is feed those same patterns to the mind and hope that the mind can re-establish it’s memories based on the way it used to work earlier.”
Fischer felt both relieved and anxious by this answer but knew that there was no way he could delay this operation any longer. Thus, we went ahead to the operation theater and was made to lie down and was fed some anesthesia. Soon, he was floating in his dreams and when he woke up about two hours later, the operation had already been done. Surprised at their efficiency and precision, he thanked the doctor for an amazing operation. The doctor, however, was more interested in ensuring that the operation was successful.
“What day was it on February 27th of 1999?”
Without even needing to think, almost as an impulse reaction, Fischer replied, “Saturday”. Surprised at his new-found mental power, Fischer answered a few more routine questions from the doctor and then played with his own memory, remembering, suddenly, every last detail of his first case, first kiss and even the reason for the tenth fight he had with his wife. Within fifteen minutes, he had been discharged by the doctor and was free to go to work. He thanked the doctor once again and headed out, playing with his mind by the time he reached office. He realized many times during that period that his mind was much sharper than it had ever been and that he could remember even the smallest of details which he did not realize that he had even noticed.
When he was about to reach the office, he stopped his mind games and decided to give his mind a rest, something recommended by the doctor to be done twice a day during the first five days of the operation. He silently drove to the center of the city where the multistory building which housed his office lay. He parked in the basement at the space where his name had been engraved by his company and got out, suddenly aware of the amazing clarity with which he could remember all the details of his drive to the office. A little amused, he entered the elevator and pressed the button to the forty sixth floor. As he exited, the sheer detail of his company’s office hit him hard, every detail etching itself on to his mind. But before he had time to absorb at this, a hundred hands clapped in unison, welcoming the company’s most loyal employee and the first ReOrganised member of the team. They had all gathered to meet him and his boss was at the front of the gathering. He cheered Fischer, shook hands with him and then called on to his coworkers.
“Today, we have amongst us, a new kind of power, a new tool given to us by science. Our very own Fischer, one of our best Lawyers in Criminal Law, has had his mind ReOrganised. Hopefully, it’ll work correctly now!” Everyone laughed. Fischer’s mind was working well alright and to test it, his boss now called on everyone to ask at least one question per person from Fischer. So, for the next half hour, Fischer was grilled by everyone in his office on some extremely silly questions. He answered all, from the day on a date twenty years ago to the names of all the Presidents, Vice Presidents and Governors there had ever been. Finally, when people got bored of the new office know-it-all, he was left alone to get some actual work done. He moved to his office, sat and rested for a while and then began work for the day. His most important task currently was a new case which was building up into a furore with the media and Fischer had been given a research team to save the ‘poor little starlet’ who had brutally murdered a well known businessman. It was clearly a case of prostitution but there was not enough precedent for such a case where a lady had been spared the noose. However, Fischer’s boss was intent on winning this case and so Fischer, one of their best, had been assigned to the task. Adding ReOrganiSys to the platter was simply the icing on the cake and his boss was confident that now Fischer could definitely pull it off. After perusing some files, Fischer called up his team to brainstorm about the case. They assembled in a conference room and began reading cases related even remotely to the situation at hand. Fischer spearheaded the data mining as he had a large list of cases already in his mind, most of which he had either read during his studies or attended during his long career. Unfortunately for his team, their lists overlapped and Fischer was quick to dismiss most of the cases they brought forth as he remembered some intricacy which made those cases different than this one. Besides, he noted in between, in most of those cases, the culprit was either male, or the best that had happened was that certain death was reduced to a life sentence, which was not exactly considered a victory according to the standards set by Fischer’s company. So, within a few hours, the team had exhausted most of the ideas they had come up with. Then they just resorted to a blind search through their archives, looking for keywords and situations which seemed to match. After what seemed to be a long hour of searching, someone hit upon a case which somehow seemed to apply to their situation. The wife of some rich business tycoon had gotten away with murder about fifteen years ago because her lawyer quoted a law more than fifty years old, calling it a crime of passion. The team agreed profusely on this verdict being the key to their case and Fischer read through it quickly. Not finding any loopholes, Fischer told his team to read the whole case and start writing their appeal so that he could quickly submit something to his boss and get his approval to move to the court. While they worked, Fischer got bored of the task and sauntered out of the office. As he was about to walk out, one of his co-workers called him and commented, “Hey, guess when this case finally got settled, December 31st of 2001, guess you can get just about anything if you’re rich enough!”
Fischer smiled, that guy was right. No one works on the last day of December unless there’s a large amount of money changing hands. With this thought in mind, he exited the building, hoping to get some fresh air before diving back into the hazy world of law. He felt tired and thus relieved when the cool wind hit him. He looked around. On one side, the large parking lot of his building stood waiting. On the other, the busy street moved on, uncaring for anyone, awaiting none. He took the street, heading out to the closest metro station. He took the next train to the downtown pier. The subway took an hour to get him to his destination, from where he walked a few minutes to arrive at the pier. he looked at the houses nearby, feeling a vague sense of belonging to the place. A red brick building caught his eye and he remembered that he lived there with his parents, who, old as they were, were waiting for him inside that house right then. But then he looked on to the park near that house, where he grew up and played as a kid. Near the edge of the park was a lone bench where he had spent some wonderful moments, long talks with his father, his first kiss, his first heartbreak. He went and sat down there, looking at the water splash at the pier and slow, lazy fishing boats float around, waiting for the sunset. Slowly, his mind was filled with thoughts and memories and he fell into a reverie, reminiscing the old days.
Quite a lot of time passed before he realized that it was getting late. Another thing which Fischer realized was that there was a stranger standing very close to him, talking on the phone. What seemed strangest was that she seemed to be looking directly at Fischer as she spoke. “Yes, I’ve found him. Was sitting near his old house. No I don’t know what he’s doing here. Of course I’m angry, but relieved to find him. He’s never done anything like this, even his car was left at the office. I wonder why… ” Her voice trailed off as she realized that Fischer was looking at her. She smiled and walked over to him and sat down next to him. Middle aged, rich yet humble, a BMW key and a costly looking phone in her hand, Fischer profiled her as soon as she placed herself next to him. But she seemed cute and he had no intention of driving her away, even though he felt the urge to be alone. She spoke softly, “Dear, what are you doing here?” A strange way to introduced oneself, thought Fischer. He was not sure why this rich lady was talking to him in the first place or what her story was. From what he had overheard her talk into the phone, it seemed like she was looking for her husband and may have found him, but not the situation he was in. Maybe her talking to him was a way of getting back at her husband. Whatever it may be, Fischer felt a strange connection to her and felt like talking. “I come here often, makes my head clear. The water, ” he pointed towards the boats and the sea, “keeps me calm.” “Well that’s wonderful, I never knew that! But don’t you think it’s getting a bit late and it’s time to come home?” Saying this, she kept her hand on his, trying to pull him towards herself. Suddenly, Fischer felt something strange about this setting and pulled his hand back. The lady flinched, unsure of how to react to his actions. She slowly spoke again, hoping to say something which would sooth him, “But honey, it’s quite late and I want you with me.” “Listen lady, I don’t know what you’re thinking but I’m not interested in coming with you. I have a house right here which is where I am going now.” Saying this, Fischer got up. The lady’s face suddenly changed, from confused to contorted. It seemed that she was silently weeping and this made Fischer stop. He kept his hand on her shoulder, trying to comfort her, unsure of what to say. She looked up at him with expectant eyes, but did not like what she saw. “Do you not love me any more? Is that why you are here, are you planning on leaving?”
Her question hit him like a jolt. For a second Fischer could not make head or tail of what was going on. But he knew that the lady was mistaken, perhaps deluded with emotions. “Listen lady, I don’t know what your story is, but you’ve mistaken me for someone else and frankly, I’ve never even seen you!” The woman stood up suddenly, a new found anger writ all over her face. “What the heck do you even mean? You mean you don’t recognize my face? You mean you have never even met me? You mean to say that you don’t remember you own wife, the person whom you’ve woken up next to since the past twelve years?!” She sounded exasperated and that confused Fischer. He did not know how to react. He looked at her face but did not recognize her even a bit. He had truly never seen this woman and he knew that for a fact! He spoke slowly now, hoping to drive the point home. “Listen lady, I really don’t know what you are talking about because, frankly, I’ve never been married ever! I really don’t know who you are but I’d appreciate if you left me alone. I’ve had a long day at the office and I just want to relax and spend New years eve with my parents at my home. So please, leave now.”
The woman looked at him, perplexed. He seemed to be pretty confident of what he was saying but she knew otherwise. “Fischer, honey, your parents are dead, they passed away five years ago in that very house.”
Anger boiled over Fischer’s face. How could this woman be speaking such rubbish about his family? Who was she anyways? But he was disturbed and not interested in this conversation any more, so he broke off from her and tried to walk away. But the lady followed and grabbed him from his jacket. This was the last straw, “that’s it lady, you’ve come far enough. Let’s get a few things clear, I don’t know who you are. I have never met you, my parents are alive and well and I am going to see them now and celebrate New Years with them, so if you’ll leave me now and not disturb me any more, I’ll not call the cops. Understood?”
Suddenly, almost as though it was a train, the facts hit her and she left Fisher’s jacket, looking at him, but thinking hard. She had looked at his appointment diary when they had told her that he was missing. She knew where he had been in the morning, she knew what he had done. But they had said that it was completely harmless. Unsure if her worst fear had taken shape, she asked him one last question, “What date is it today?”
Fischer replied, “December 31st of the year 2001, of course!”