The Mirror Man
INT. HALL OF ADMINISTRATIONS - LATER
Darius stands supplicantly before the Inspector General, who is ominously poised at his podium.
NARRATOR: Meet Doctor Darius Middlefax... a Record Keeper of extraordinary diligence and determination. Meet someone who actually seems to love his work. But what Doctor Middlefax doesn’t realize yet is that he still has quite a lot to learn about his real subject matter—that rather perplexing collection of creatures called the human race. And whether he wants to or not, even he is about to face the most human dilemma of all ... in A Strange World.
Behind the Inspector General are twelve massive television screens, projecting a dozen huge digital faces: The OverLords stare down at Darius with grim, somber expressions. The Inspector General clears his throat.
INSPECTOR GENERAL: Do you know why you were summoned here, Mister Muddlefix?
Darius shrugs innocently.
DARIUS: No, sir ... not really. And ... the name is Middlefax ... not Muddlefix.
The Inspector General coldly eyes Darius.
INSPECTOR GENERAL: Yes, well ... we will see about that.
Two giant sentries step out of the darkness and flank Darius, who timidly looks up at them.
DARIUS: Who ... are ... they?
The Inspector General then beams forth a most disarming smile.
INSPECTOR GENERAL: Oh, there’s no need to be alarmed, my good man. They’re your bodyguards.
Apparently satisfied, Darius relaxes.
INSPECTOR GENERAL (CONT’D): Now then ... Muttlefish. What, may I ask, is your function here on Electra?
Darius tries to act naturally.
DARIUS: What, exactly, do you mean, sir?
The Inspector General frowns.
INSPECTOR GENERAL: Your purpose ... your reason for being.
OVERLORD ONE: Do you, or do you not, have a purpose in life, Doctor Middlefax?
Darius smiles, somewhat relieved.
DARIUS: Oh, yes, of course, of course. I’m a Record Keeper. I work in The Perpetual Hall of Eternal Records—Room One-Oh-One.
Story Continues Below
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Story Continues From Above
The Inspector General nods.
INSPECTOR GENERAL: I see. Are you sure? You seem very sure of yourself, don't you?
Puzzled, Darius shrugs again.
DARIUS: Of course I'm sure, sir.
The Inspector General smiles his disarming smile again.
INSPECTOR GENERAL: Really. So tell me then; exactly how long have you been at your present occupation?
DARIUS: Oh, well, that’s easy enough, sir. I’ve worked in the Hall of Records for, let’s see ... for twenty-three years now.
Inspector General tilts his head curiously.
INSPECTOR GENERAL: Really ... are you sure?
Darius begins to turn pale.
DARIUS: No, wait, thirty-seven years, that’s right. I’ve worked there for thirty-seven years. No, wait, I’m sorry, it’s been twenty, uh ... no, no. I’m so sorry, Inspector General. I don’t know what’s come over me. I’m afraid I can’t remember how long I’ve been at my present job.
The Inspector General gazes benevolently at the flustered Darius.
INSPECTOR GENERAL: And would you like me to tell you why you can’t remember?
Darius squints his eyes, trying to decide.
The Inspector General continues slowly.
INSPECTOR GENERAL: You can’t remember because your memory was ... deleted.
Darius is stunned.
DARIUS: What? No, that can’t be. That just not possible. I don’t believe it.
The Inspector General shrugs his huge shoulders.
INSPECTOR GENERAL: Of course, I understand. Then maybe I can help you refresh your memory.
The pair of giant sentries each take hold of one of Darius’ arms, grasping him securely in their powerful hands. The Inspector General takes several steps forward, holding up a huge hypodermic needle, full of green fluorescent liquid. Darius gasps.
DARIUS: What are you going to do with that?
The Inspector General smiles.
INSPECTOR GENERAL: Don’t be alarmed, Doctor. It’s just your own residual memory ... contained in this marvelous fluid.
OVERLORD TWO: Yes ... liquid memory.
OVERLORD THREE: What was taken from you is now simply being returned to you, Doctor Middlefax, that’s all. It’s perfectly harmless ... really.
The Inspector General moves the needle closer and closer toward Darius’ forehead.
DARIUS: No, please. What have I done to deserve this? Did I commit some sort of crime? I have no recollection of having done anything to deserve this kind of treatment. I demand to know what I have done?
The needle is thrust into Darius’ skull.
INSPECTOR GENERAL: And so you will have your answer, my friend.