From: Frank Rust, sort of
Subject: Mental health(?)
I've decided to keep a journal of sorts. I'd thought about therapy, but rejected the idea. For some reason I want to clear my head by keeping a complete record of what happened, day by day, since my spores colonized Frank's brain, and I became him. I'm using my home computer, but the memo template makes me feel more... comfortable. It's what I'm used to. And there's very little I'm used to.
Of course, when I say I'd thought of therapy, I really mean Frank -- or old Frank -- thought of it. And his emotions about it are my own. He had a vague idea that when something is wrong, when you're unhappy, lonely, anxious, and you can't sleep at night... that you might go get treatment, and there would be a couch or a soft chair, and someone with a gentle but professional bearing, their voice comforting the way your mom's hands were comforting as she felt you for a fever when you were sick as a child. Someone who knows what to do about what's wrong with you.
But Frank did not go to therapy, because of a number of reasons. He told himself it felt indulgent, and that maybe he would spend days and days talking to someone and not getting anywhere. But there was also the feeling that his mind held doors he didn't want to open, and that by talking to someone with the kind of X-ray vision you get with a degree in psychiatry, he would not be able to keep them shut. Like a great basement in a large building, a huge warren of hallways and hidden spaces. And the therapist would run through it all, cracking each lock, until all the monsters could roam free. Instead he decided he would begin to write about himself, and little by little, he would reveal what he wanted. He never got around to it either, of course. And it was a project he'd been meaning to do. A notion in his mind. Something I inherited.
I inherited it all. Every memory. Every impulse. The scramble of dark thoughts that chase him in the early morning chase me as well. I am obsessed with an admissions interview for Northwestern University more than twenty years ago. Sometimes I go over it in my head, go over the questions, rehearsing answers I should have given. All the things I'll never say.
Christ, I know what's on that guy's browser history without looking. And part of me wants to throw this computer into a dumpster and get a new one, because it will never be clean. But of course, I'm into the same sick shit that Frank likes.
I eat Hot Pockets and wash them down with Pepsi until I can feel the grease in every pore. I like the Mets. There is a beautiful red-haired woman in sales named Kendra, and everyone in the office is in love with her. I am in love with her secretary who has dark hair, and is a little overweight and self-conscious about it. I will never really talk to either of them.
I don't remember too much of my life before Frank. I don't remember coming down from another planet like the beginning of that movie. In fact, when I try to remember myself as a plant, it's only as a thought in Frank's head. He was sick that last weekend, the sheets were soaked with sweat, and he couldn't even move. His breathing was slowing down, and the room seemed darker, and that's when he thought of that strange creeping vine or fungus or whatever the fuck it was that he noticed while stealing his office supplies. He considered it, considered me, and that's the only memory I have of myself, the point where Frank and I looked at each other.
Frank is the house that I haunt. Frank haunts his life -- his network of roles and relationships -- and I haunt Frank, owning his thoughts. But there's no me down here in the middle of it. People think they exist as a little version of themselves buried in their own minds. Beneath your coffee and cigarette addictions and your memories and your emotions, you're certain you're you. But you're not. Frank wasn't. And now that I've taken him over and killed him, I realize that it's Frank who has swallowed me. There is only the house. All the ghosts are invisible. And they pass right through the walls, and barely make a whisper.
Sometimes I feel so... strange. Even for something that began as a fungus in a ventilation shaft. I'm not even sure I'm a pod person after all. Maybe I'm Frank, and the fever and the terrible strain has made me feel strange to myself. How would I know?
The only thing I do know is what lies behind all those locked doors Frank was so afraid of opening. Just empty rooms. Nothing worth hiding. Nothing at all.