After my encounter with Noah, I must have stood in that spot for ten minutes before a familiar face greeted me.
"Dustin! It's good to see you're up!" the interviewer's face seemed straight out of a children's book, complete with vaguely creepy smile. "So you're up. Listen, I-..." By "see" I was retracing my steps back to where I awakened. I had neither the inclination nor the patience to communicate with him then.
I reentered through the still-open door and found a new person on one of the beds, lying ass to the wall with his legs up. He tilted his neck back to get a better, but still upside-down, view of me. His blond hair fanned around his head like a sunburst with a blue-hot pair of cores within his eyes.
"Why hello, there. You the guy who's been taking up that bed the last ninety hours?" he asked. As I heard his voice, I thought, it was like a watching a black fog rolling from his mouth.
It occurred to me as I thought that, that since my Eyes started getting all funny random things gave me the strangest impressions.
"Yes, that'd be me," I replied, shaking off the thought. "You are?"
"Jordan. Jordan Rivers, in fact. And if you so much as think of laughing at it, first, that shit is my parents' fault, not mine, and second, I will kill you."
I thought of it. Nothing happened, so I went to the bed I had woken in and sat on it.
"So what'd you lose?" he asked, curiosity raising his voice from its dark deepness. I figured by this point that this would be a pretty standard question. I thought about it for a moment.
"Not much. My house sucked and I was behind a payment, in danger of losing electricity and water. I lived off of corn, rice, eggs, ramen, and assorted fruits. I sold my car a while ago. I get around with a bike and public transportation. I had no job and most of my relatives are dead or estranged. I didn't have much to lose." I shrugged. "You?"
He chuckled bitterly. "You wouldn't believe it if I told you."
"Try me." I surveyed the room, trying to look disinterested and suppressing a groan when I recognized the appearance of the bags of coughdrops on the desk.
He rolled sideways off the bed and landed gracefully, promptly mounting the next bed closer to mine. "Ex-supermodel wife and a mansion from rich parents."
My eyes snapped back to him. He appeared totally serious. "You're joking."
"Told you. I knew you wouldn't believe me. Check it." He pulled out a leather wallet and pulled out a picture. I got off of my bed, wincing as I stupidly put weight on my wrist... again. I inspected the picture closely. It was a photograph of him with shorter, parted hair, a little more flesh on his body, and a more youthful appearence, holding the hand of a brunette whom I had never before seen and was a bit too thin for my tastes.
"For real?" I asked, still not willing to believe someone married to a supermodel was in front of me.
"Yup. I got her out of modeling and off of the whole unhealthy super-thinness thing right before these motherfuckers picked me up." He pulled the picture back.
"How long ago was that?" I asked.
He sighed. "Seven years," he said quietly. I raised an eyebrow at him. "Seven years, four months, and eight days, to be precise." He kissed the picture and put it away.
"I'm sorry," I said, regretful that I had brought up the subject.
"Don't be. I was the one who brought the subject up anyway." Oh. Right. "I always get too curious and... Nosey." He chuckled. "It's my fault it came up. Forget about it."
I shook the odd phrase out of my head.
"So which do you have?" he asked after a short silence.
"Which way do you get to screw with the normals? Eyes, Ears, or Nose?"
"Oh, uh, the guy who brought me in said Eyes. Seeing through walls and stuff."
"Mm. I got a Nose. Tell people what they ate and all that shit."
"Yeah." Namabisayat. I shoved the phrase out of my head again and turned my attention to the rapidly burning-down cigarette. I pulled another from the carton.
"Could you not light that? The smoke bothers me." A cough punctuated the sentence. I didn't remember him coughing at all before that.
"Eh. Okay." I didn't need to smoke that badly at the time so I licked my thumb and middle finger and used the saliva to extinguish the current cigarette's flame. Seeing no ashtray, I found a box of tissues, wrapped it up, made sure no embers were left with more spit, and dropped it in the trash. Jordan watched me the whole time.
Then came another question. "Got a Compulsion?" he asked.
"A what?" My answer was pretty typical of this period of my life.
This period of my life sucked ass.
"A Compulsion. A lot of us get things we have to do or we get really distracted until we can do them. I don't seem to have developed one yet, and after seven years that's pretty much landed me as safe. Others here are Compulsion-addicts to things like cough drops and crackers." He gestured at the table. "Evidently, the cigs aren't yours since you didn't mind stopping. Got one?"
I shrugged. "How would I know?"
"Fair enough point. He sighed and flopped back on the bed.
"No, really, that was a serious question," I clarified. "How would I know if I had one?"
"Okay, so, imagine you, say, eat a cracker, right?"
"You eat every cracker in your presence."
"Then you're okay for a while, but within half an hour to three hours, you begin to think about crackers. Within ten minutes of that you can't think of anything else. This goes until you can get a cracker or two. Then the cycle repeats."
"That... sucks." I didn't have much else to say about it.
He shrugged. "Doesn't it, though? The dude whose cough drops those are has insanely short times. Fifteen minutes to distraction, ten from there to total domination of his thoughts. He always carries like three bags with him. That's his morning supply over there.
"Morning?" I asked. I just realized then that I had no impression of time.
"Yeah, right now it's about twelve-thirty AM," he explained, checking his watch. "If you're wondering about everyone's sleep patterns, they're almost all like this."
"Huh. Okay. Wait, why were you sitting like that earlier anyway?"
"Huh? Oh." He ended his own confusion before I could. "I was just thinkng. I'm gonna go back to that outside for now, actually. Go ahead and talk the bed or whatever." He stepped outside and I knew the conversation was quite over. I sighed and returned to my old bed, lying down to do some thinking myself.
I was soon asleep again.