Seen But Not Noticed

Contributor: Jude Conlee

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Most of the things he doesn’t understand are the kind of things that you can comprehend right off. Like his surroundings. There’s no way to argue against heat, for example, but he doesn’t comprehend that so much. I mean, he burned his own hand off once because he couldn’t tell the difference between heat and coldness. I don’t enjoy being him, really. Because I am him, you know. Well, you wouldn’t have known it if I didn’t tell you, but who cares, anyway. I don’t. He doesn’t. You do, but I don’t care about you. Like my hand. I didn’t care about that, either.
Do I not care, or do I just not comprehend? You know, like the thing with the hand. Or cars. I just don’t comprehend the movements of cars sometimes. Most times I cross the street, I nearly get run over. They yell at me and say, “Are you trying to kill yourself? Didn’t you see me coming?” Yeah, I saw you coming, but I didn’t notice.
Once, I got hit, you know. Well, you didn’t know that before, either, but now you do. And the lady who hit me, I don’t remember, she gave me some angry, idiot rant about how reckless he was and how he should have looked, for God’s sake, and how it’s people like him who create a public menace just by existing. But then she realized that she needed to get him to a hospital, because you don’t just hit someone and rant about it. So they took me to the hospital, and the doctor said I had some kind of brain damage, and I said it doesn’t matter, I can deal with it. I scared him. I liked scaring him.
I haven’t told you the story with the heat yet, though. So it was some time after that car incident, so he’d already had brain damage. So you’d think that it was the brain damage that made it happen, so he couldn’t feel his hand burning off, but no, he’d had trouble with that kind of thing before. Not with his hand getting burned off, though. Not that. Not yet.
But so he was at his sister’s house, where she lives with an evil husband and two dogs, one of them’s nice and likes licking people’s hands, and one of them’s smelly and apathetic. Now, you’re probably wondering if the husband’s really evil. He is. He’s evil to half the people he meets, and he’s nice to the other half. He’s nice to women. Some of them. His wife.
But I was at the house, and he wanted me to help him with the fireplace, because he wanted me to help him start a fire there. So he put a few logs in but he also puts crumpled-up newspapers in there, too, because it helps the fire catch better. And once it all caught fire, he wanted me to put in the newspapers.
So the evil husband left for a moment to get something, and the one who was left behind started putting newspapers in there himself, right, and they caught fire and all. And so he said, is fire hot or cold, I don’t remember. I’ll find out.
So he left his hand there a while, and it caught fire. Yes. And after it was burned enough, he said, “Alright, it’s hot, okay.” And he left the room to put water on his hand, because he wanted the fire out, of course. And his sister saw it and she screamed because he’d burned his hand so much, and the evil husband started ranting at him. And they took him to the hospital. More hospitals.
Well, they told me they had to amputate my hand, and that didn’t bother me so much. I mean, you can get by without a hand. Okay. What made me angry was that it was the evil husband’s fault. He tried to burn my hand off by sending me to deal with the fireplace. Hideous fireplace. Never liked heat, anyway. He wanted my hand gone. To spite me. And I tried very hard to thwart him, but he did spite me. He did.
So now I’m minus one hand and I’ve got a bunch of people “marveling” over the fact that I see things but don’t notice them. I can’t tell the difference between heat and coldness. And I always have trouble with cars. Had trouble with one, once. Had trouble with a fireplace. And a hand. And an evil brother-in-law who wants to spite me. Who did spite me. All because I don’t understand things. It wouldn’t have happened to you, because your brain works. Mine can’t. Like I said, most of the things I don’t understand are the things you’d comprehend right off.

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Jude Conlee resides in the West Coast of the U.S. (which is possibly irrelevant) and writes poems, SF, psychological fiction, and other things in a similar vein (which is possibly not irrelevant). Other than the writing, Conlee drinks tea, enjoys psychedelic art, writes songs while playing piano, and speaks in the third person.
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