A old man's crazy story about his cousin... and the numbers

It was late and everyone had left the café except an old man who sat in the shadow the leaves of the trees made against the electric light. I watched him and wondered why he sat there all alone. I observed him for a very long time as he hid in the shelter of the shadows. But my curiosity got the best of me and I went and spoke with him. He had a debonair personality but seemed to be a novice when it came to being social. As the conversation continued, he flipped a piece of paper between his fingers and I could tell that he was holding something back from me. After a long stretch of silence, I asked him why he was here all alone and he answered that he was thinking about his cousin and the numbers.

“Numbers?” I asked, confused.

An indefinable atmosphere formed around us, and I could tell he was an irresolute person, but when he finally able to equivocate the story to me, I realized that nobody else had ever heard the story and nobody after me ever would. In short, this was how the story went:

His cousin was a psychologist who worked closely with the mentally disabled. He was very intelligent and astute but was also imperious and invective. His treatments were barbaric but even though he tended to abuse his patients, he had an act for producing effective results and resuscitating his patient’s minds. But all of that changed when a new patient was transferred into his care. Her name was Anri, and nobody was sure how she got locked up in the first place, but every day she would repeat numbers and that's all she would say over and over and over again. Anri was the egregious type with a slovenly nature but could remain in a sedentary way with a torpid equanimity that could never be matched by anyone else. Every day the numbers changed, and she would sit there in her cell and repeat them until the next day. Like all of his other patients, the man’s cousin attempted to correct the girl's mind, but unfortunately Anri was different; she had an abstruse mind that could never be healed or classified as sane.

Then one day, the girl counted the numbers 12, 23, 19, 94, 11 and 45. But when the next day rolled around those same numbers continued: 12, 23, 19, 94, 11, and 45. The cousin eventually became obsessed with those numbers and there were times when he couldn't even bear to listen to them. The girl became an abomination to him but he did his best to help her. But truthfully the only reason why he even tried was just so that he could get rid of her and her stupid numbers.

12, 23, 19, 94, 11, 45

But as he tried and tried to force the girl to heal, his mind accrued into insanity. Those numbers (12, 23, 19, 94, 11, and 45) eventually drove him to a breaking point and he killed himself in the cold month of December.

I listened to the old man's crazy story and wondered why he even told me this. He must have sensed my confusion and puzzlement, because he said, “I'm afraid you don't understand. The gist of the story is when my cousin died.”

“I'm afraid I don’t follow you,” I said.

“12, 23, 19, 94, 11, 45,” the man said almost inaudibly, “sometimes I wonder whatever happened to that girl.”

I waited for him to explain himself but instead he handed me the piece of paper in his hand.

“Here,” he said, “take it. I don't need it anymore.”

And just like that, the man stood and left. I unfolded the piece of paper and read it and was shocked and bewildered by what I saw. The little note said, “My cousin died in December, the twelfth month, on the 23rd in the year 1994 at approximately 11:45 PM.”

The End

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