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#2382- Friday, February 3, 2006 - Editor: Jerry Katz  

Exclusive to The Highlights...  

In today's issue is an original short story by Kriben Pillay. Kriben's website is here:   There is other good original material that has been submitted to the Highlights which will appear in upcoming issues. Thanks to everyone for contributing. Well written short stories with a nondual appreciation factor are particularly unusual and rare, so thanks to Kriben for sending this.  


    Imagining John Lennon

A Short Story  

‘So, you’re not John Lennon?’ she asks.

            ‘No,’ I reply, ‘I only appear to be. I admit it’s a good likeness, but it’s just a show, and…’ And I pause, trying to see if I can be as accurate as I possibly can.


            ‘And I have no clue about how it happened. How I came to be John Lennon, I mean. But I’m not. I never was.’

            My thoughts characterise her as earnest and well-meaning, with clothes to show herself off as voluptuous. Beyond that, there is just silence. I am not even waiting for her next remark, or curious about the possible direction and consequences of this interview. I just sit.

            It is an interview, I’m aware, to figure me out. Ever since I announced to family and friends that I’m not John Lennon, it’s been something like this. Questions. Many, many questions. And I understand their difficulty, even their fear, so I try to answer as best I can.

            Yes, I know I have the John Lennon face and haircut, and the John Lennon glasses, but surely they must have suspected when I have only a picture of Yoko in my wallet? No actual Yoko anywhere. I have always asked them about that. But they evaded or seemed nonplussed by that question, and similar insistent questions when my sense of not being John Lennon started to surface. It’s like they needed me to be John Lennon, rather than being unequivocally convinced that I was. So, somehow, they would convince me of my John Lennon ness, and I, not quite certain myself, would run the whole thing again. After all, I was John Lennon, so why not?

            But she knows all this. When they brought me here they described my periodic confusions, but this time I thought I had them cornered. I had proof. But that only made matters worse. Their response was almost instant, and angry. Very angry. I had to be set right; I had to be disabused of this notion that I wasn’t who I have always been. It was important for me, they said. But their eyes told another truth, like her eyes before me now.

            ‘I’m told that you have some kind of evidence that you’re not, and never were, John Lennon. Conclusive proof.’

            ‘Yes,’ I reply. And from my shirt pocket I take out the carefully folded printout of an article. I pass it to her, and she reads aloud.

            ‘In the late afternoon of 8 December 1980, in New York City, Mark David Chapman met Lennon as he left his home in the Dakota building for a recording session and got his copy of Double Fantasy autographed. This goodwill gesture of Lennon signing an album for a presumed fan was caught by a photographer present, and would be published on the front page of the New York Daily News later that week. Chapman remained in the vicinity of the Dakota building for most of the day as a fireworks demonstration in nearby Central Park distracted the doorman and passers-by.

Later that evening, Lennon and Ono returned to their apartment from recording Ono's single "Walking on Thin Ice" for their next album. At 10.50pm, their limousine pulled up to the entrance of the Dakota. Ono got out of the car first, followed by Lennon. As Ono went in, Lennon glanced at Chapman, then proceeded on through the entrance to the building.

As Lennon walked past him, Chapman calmly called out "Mr. Lennon?" As Lennon turned, Chapman crouched into what witnesses called a "combat" stance and fired five hollow point bullets. One bullet missed, but four bullets entered Lennon's back and shoulder. One of the four bullets fatally pierced his aorta.’

            If there was ever an example of controlled terror, it’s what I see now. It’s not so much in what she says as in how the whole body contracts, and how little nervous mannerisms appear, like the slight tapping of the right forefinger on the desk. Like a school teacher about to chew your head off for a very bad piece of work. With her it also expresses as her certainty of knowledge, knowledge which she no doubt is going to use to disprove my case.

            ‘And this came from where?’ she asks. I detect a slight disdain in her voice.

            ‘Wikipedia,’ I reply.

            ‘Ah, Wikipedia,’ she says, almost triumphant. ‘Wikipedia, that fount of unconfirmed information on the internet. This makes matters so much clearer.’

            ‘Unconfirmed?’ I ask.

            ‘Yes, information from dubious sources made plausible at times by the indiscriminate mixture of fact and fiction.’ She speaks these words with effortless authority and academic certainty.

            ‘So, John Lennon is not dead?’

            ‘But how can you be certain?’ I ask.

            And she looks at me with what must surely be eyes of relief posing as something else. Perhaps eyes that want to make me feel safe and secure.

            ‘Because you’re John Lennon. You’ve never been anyone but John Lennon. Everyone knows that. You know that.’

            ‘And Yoko?’ I ask. ‘Where is she? And where is my…’ But she interrupts me before I can continue, as if to control this delusion once and for all.

            ‘We all know who you are. You know who you are. This avoidance of what’s so obvious is what we have to address. But, out of curiosity, if you’re not John Lennon, who are you?’

            ‘I don’t know, and the truth is, it doesn’t matter. Not in the least. Not in the least.’ As I say this, a flash of something dark crosses her face. But quickly the habit of control is there, erasing all traces of any disturbance.

            ‘But that’s the point, it does matter! You can’t really live not knowing who you are, or denying what you’ve always been. After all, you’re John Lennon. We’ll find ways to bring you back to yourself. There’s nothing to worry about.’

            ‘You’re right, there’s nothing to worry about,’ I say quietly.

            She smiles benignly at me when I say these words, but she doesn’t question whether we mean the same thing.

            She arranges her posture in a way that tells me that our time is over. As she does, I catch her name badge set against the breast pocket of her white coat.

            ‘You’re Dr…,’ I am about to say.

            ‘Spears,’ she replies. ‘Britney Spears.’
Kriben Pillay
2 February 2006

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