Finding Immortality

Important note: The following pages are preliminary. They have not been vetted/edited/edited/criticized/proof read/deleted/laughed at by anybody except the author. Please read at your own grammatical risk.

There are some basic rules to writing a book that I will now impart on you, the reader.
1) After you murder somebody, DON’T WRITE A BOOK ABOUT IT!!! It’s just common sense. Writing a tell-all book leaves a huge well documented trail for the authorities and the jury to follow. In the trial, the book will not be referred to by its title, but instead as “Exabit A.”
2) If you are foolish enough to write a book about murdering somebody, don’t give out the facts. An example of a fact not to reveal is your real name on the book cover.
3) If your book also included an accomplice that’s really good at killing people, change her facts. Skipping this simple step will upset her and you will go from author to victim.
4) And finally, no matter what—DON’T WRITE A SEQUEL!!! Even a dead person can see the logic in that.

Well, those are some really good writing rules to follow. I have come to the understanding that I have made many mistakes in my life and breaking rules one through three are by far my largest mistakes. But, perhaps I can explain myself. Against my own better advice, I did decide to write a sequel. Hopefully this book will explain the reason behind breaking rule number four.

My ordeal begins where my ordeal ended in my last book. I suddenly found myself back in my old life. I had started a job at the Portland Tribune and my new boss Lloyd Stevenson loved me. I was really good at writing stories that involved local people. I just had a knack of taking an important subject, explaining it to a person and then getting their reaction. My work day was three hours and the stories wrote themselves. It was easy money.
As you may recall, I had been forced to undergo a procedure called the harvest. This involved placing a prepared pancreas from a murdered person into my body. The result was improved abilities and my aging was severally reduced. The effect was supposed to last between 6 and 8 months. The harvest effects on my body were profound; especially my mental abilities. I could instantly recall even the littlest details of my life. My ability to do mental math was astounding and I could tell time without a watch down to the second. It was all incredible and overall, I was just better at everything.
My body was just as astounding. I had the balance of a gymnast, the eyes of a hawk and movements of a dancer. Before my harvest, I couldn’t run one block without collapsing. If you asked me to touch my toes, the best I could do was touch my knees. Now I was taking Karate and running for an hour afterwards. I was so flexible that I could touch the ground with the palms of my hands. My allergies, digestive issues and tinnitus were all gone. In addition, I required a lot less sleep.
My personality was also changing in completely unexpected ways. I began to have a deep application of classical music and art. I found myself interested in physics and astronomy. I had endless patience to listen to people and my political views switched from being extremely liberal to a balanced neutral. Everybody that knew me could see that I had really grown as a person and they liked the new James Kimble.
Another major change was my outlook in life. Before the harvest, I was content to do the minimum. I got up, went to work, got home, watched television and went to sleep. On the weekends, I got up late, watched television and went to sleep. I had no interest in anybody or anything else and the only undertaking that gave me any pleasure was writing. Now, my mind challenged me to get the maximum amount out of every single day. I wanted to learn all that I could and try everything that I could try. I wanted to be a better person and overall do more. It was an astounding change.
My life was really going great. I was completely aware that I had confidence, poise, intelligence and a plan. Yes, I had a plan. It was to knock out by book, Interviewing Immortality and get on with the rest of my life. I ended Interviewing Immortality with the boastful taunt, “It is still a choice: kill or let nature kill me. What did I decide? Well, I am not going to tell you. Cops read books, too. In 50 years, you will either read a sequel to this book or not. Life has to have some mystery to it.”
I want it known to everyone that this statement was at best a boastful fantasy. My firm reality was a resounding NO!!! I was never going to harvest! Absolutely never! I, James Kimble, actually stopped a beating man’s heart! And for what? To think better and touch my toes? Killing that man was the worst thing I had ever done. My callous actions haunted me and I had nightmares every night for weeks after the harvest. No matter how great my life was or how long I could live, taking another person’s life for my own petty personal benefit was not going to happen again. I was completely ashamed of my actions and there was no excuse for what I had done. Did I deserve to rot in jail? Absolutely! Would I confess to my crimes? Well—not so much.
Another harvest gift was the foresight to better see the consequences of my actions. The person’s life that I had taken was of ill repute and I could not change the fact that he was dead. I made the decision to take advantage of this situation and not confess to my crime. My reasoning was that I would be making the world a better place in my writings and helping others. I understand that this logic is at best selfish, but this was how I justified not turning myself in.
The rest of my plan was simple, enjoy the harvest effects, use them, apricate them and then allow their effects to subside. I would return to simple life of the small-time author. I am a boring guy and that’s perfectly fine. Not having the amazing harvest abilities is also fine. Trust me, I can live without touching my toes and so can everybody else. I would never murder again and I firmly decided to be a good person. I made this choice because that is how I was raised and that is how everybody should behave. If anybody asked, Interviewing Immortality was a publicity stunt and nothing more.
With the meager Portland Tribune salary, I was able to get a loan for a four-unit apartment complex. It was crazy that the bank would give a nobody like me a loan, but I had an ace up my sleeve. My mind was working overtime. I completed all the forms to perfection, made an excellent report of the project finances, had excellent references, and spoke to the loan officer with extreme confidence.
The apartment complex I purchased was a dump. There had been a fire it one of the kitchens, most of the outlets didn’t work, and all the faucets shot out brown water. I had an unofficial agreement with my roommates, Dan and Craig, that they got a really good deal on their rent in exchange for helping with my apartments. For me it was a great source of cheap labor. We spent every available moment fixing the place up and of course all of our work probably not to the proper building codes. This was not to say that we did inferior work, it was just that we did not get our work inspected. The result was that the place looked great. I did some creative marketing with the Portland Tribune advertising department and quickly had four paying tenants.
There is an unusual aspect of loaning money wherein, the further you are in debt, the more banks want to lend you. This is completely counterintuitive, but I made every payment on time, I fixed my apartment up [adding value to the property] and I immediately had four paying tenants. The bank was impressed. A month later, I got a three-unit apartment and then a 5-unit. It was surprising how easy the bank made it.
While my harvest gift was still present, I began writing Interviewing Immortality. My first task was to type in my hand-written notes into my computer. If you recall, my hand had been injured in a fall when Grace captured me and I had to take all my notes with that injured hand. Even without an injured hand, my handwriting was deplorable. With an injured hand, my handwriting was absurd incoherent abbreviated “chicken scratch” gibberish. My efforts to translate took a long time and I did a lot of guessing to unravel my cryptic labyrinth of misspelled anguish.
When I was done with my data conversion, I had a complete mess. It was an awful nonsense account of what Grace had told me with some added incoherent thoughts. It took about a week to come up with the best format for what became known as for Interviewing Immortality. Incidentally, the original title was A Graceful Interview. Get the pun?
I sent a sample chapters to my publisher, Bethany and she liked it. There was a lot of back and forth with their legal department and we even considered categorizing Interviewing Immortality as fiction. In the end, the story became a truthful amalgam of Grace’s life and my life. Bethany was not too happy with this compromise and she suggested that I focus on Grace’s history along with some of my insight’s. I was stubborn and decided to go with a format that centered around my life with an account of Grace’s complex life. I felt that the reader would benefit from my brief exposure to such an amazing person and see the huge impact on my life.
While all of this was going on, I came clean on my Facebook page. I told all of my online friends that I hadn’t actually written my book Grime: The Big Hate and only written half of my second book Grime: Just Cause. To put it mildly, my Facebook fans were upset. There were some real angry posts and I was told that I would never again be welcome in the writer’s community. As a person aspiring to be a world-renowned author, it was a hard pill to swallow.
I chose not to respond to the majority of the angry comments. When I did write a response, it was simply, “Guilty as charged.” After that initial admission, I never asked for forgiveness or made excuses. For the first two weeks, nobody respected this honest approach, but then a strange thing happened. The public forgot. I had my 5 minutes of shame and then I was back on top. New people read the Grime books and wanted a connection to me. Others then began writing comments like, “Ya, whatever. It was a good read, no matter who wrote it.” A few others even wrote comments like, “James works at Best Buy and did what he had to do. What are you expecting from a guy like that?” Or “James purchased the original work and modified it. His only mistake was not crediting the original author. Get off his back!” I couldn’t believe what was happening. I would’ve never written comments like that. The reality was that this is how my book fans thought.

Copyright © 2021 Bill Conrad