George was suddenly very fed up with feeling confused, tired, in pain, and most of all crazy. And that is a very uncomfortable mix of things to feel. He had to figure out what was up with the strange duplicates of himself. He was just about to open his mouth to speak, when one of the other Georges—across the room, broke the silence loudly.
“I’ve had enough of this,” he said. “Who are all you copies? Am I dreaming you?”
“That’s exactly what I was about to ask,” said another George. “I just wanted to make it clear that I don’t appreciate you duplicating me, so if you are real, you’d better make up for it by doing whatever I say, and quit talking in my head.”
“But I’m the original George,” said George, feeling more confused than he had a moment ago.
“No, I am!” exclaimed two of the Georges at once.
“But I was running across the desert when I tripped, and skinned my elbow, and when I stood up, there you all were,” explained the George across from George, with puzzlement in his tired voice.
“No, no, no!” said George, feeling his stomach sink and he realized that there was no way he could prove that he was the real George, and no way to actually know if he was. ”This is all wrong.”
“Yes, it is,” said a seventh George, stumbling into the dark room from a hallway that was just as dark.
“Where have you been?” asked a George.
“And what happened to you?”
“And what is that whirring noise?” George added.
“I don’t really know the answers to any of your questions,” said the George who had just entered. He slumped down again a wall and looked incredibly glum. “Someone—I never saw who—brought me from this room a little while back and dumped me onto this whirring metal machine thing that sent painful shocks into my body. And then there were voices shouting at me saying, ‘Give it too us! Give it to us now!’ I didn’t know what they wanted, but I figured I should resist, because that’s what you are supposed to do when you are being tortured, right? They eventually gave up, I guess, so here I am again. Anybody know what they might want?” the exhausted George looked at the other Georges, barely visible in the darkness, with an expression on his face that could be described in no other way than as hopeless.
There were shakings of heads all around, and some of them muttered, “no, no idea.”
George wondered passingly if they might be looking for the dial that was a small cool lump in his pocket.
“They must have the wrong guy,” said the George who had spoken first.
“Or the wrong guys, however you prefer to look at it,” said another.
“I hope this nightmare is over soon,” said a George in the corner, who hadn’t spoken before. He let out a small groan and wiggled a little against his invisible bonds.
“That’s what I’m hoping,” agreed another George.
And then, suddenly, it was. Or at least it seemed like it was. The darkness was gone, and so was the feeling of bonds and the cold hard room. They were thrust unceremoniously into a brightly lit living room in a ritzy apartment building, and found themselves sitting—some of them falling backwards—on a polished wooden floor, surrounded by white leather sofas.
“There’s still seven of me,” exclaimed one of the Georges, clearly disappointed.
Before the others could do more than just grunt in agreement, or annoyance as they sat up, a door to the living room opened and a woman in a fluffy white bathrobe and bleached blonde hair curled tightly around pink curlers. She took one (very quick) look at the seven dirty, sweaty, stinky Georges and let out a scream that could rival an angry seagull.
She then began jabbering at them furiously in a foreign language. George thought it might be French, but he wasn’t sure because she was talking so fast. She sounded for all the world like a chipmunk on caffeine.
The Georges scrambled to their feet, blinking, and looking about in utter confusion.
“Where are we?” one asked.
“Sorry, sorry,” said another, trying to pacify the frantic woman.
She kept pointing from one George to another and waving her hands around. Then, as suddenly as she had come in, she left the room through the same door.
Two of the Georges went over to the window and looked out. Lots of flat roofs with laundry hanging on long lines and satellite dishes catching the sun, met their eyes. In the near distance was the edge of the city and the beginning of the desert.
“Looks like we may still be in Morocco,” said one of them slowly.
“But how did we get here?” asked George, indicating the fancy apartment.
“I dunno, but I think maybe we should get out of here, as I think we’ll get in trouble with that woman if we stick around too long.”
“Yeah, we’ve probably already outworn our welcome.”
I agree. This time the voice was in George’s head.
“Who said that?” one of the Georges nearly shouted.
Me. Came the thought again, and the George who had been sitting in the corner of the dark room waved his hand a little. Just experimenting. Seems we can hear eachother’s thoughts.
“But none of you exist!” said George angrily.
The experimenting George pinched himself. “Ow.” I think I do exist, actually. “Maybe it’s you who doesn’t exist.”
“Arguing is not going to get us anywhere,” interrupted one of the Georges.
“Probably not, but we can still do it anyways.”
They were still arguing about who was real ten minutes later when an annoyed looking man in a red police uniform entered the room.