“Tell me again about the dime. How is this relevant?”
Charlie was tired. This was the end of a long day; his head hurt. He swatted at a buzzing fly.
“The dime is just part of it, doc. Don’t you get it? Who’s on the dime is just the start.”
The man across from him nodded. “Okay. But who is on the dime?”
Charlie sighed. He reached into his breast pocket, pulled out a dime, and tossed it across the table. The doctor looked at the dime over the rim of his glasses for a moment, then reached over to inspect it.
“Look at the dime.” Charlie demanded. “Who’s on it?”
“Greek god. Mercury? Gotta be valuable. They haven’t minted these in a long time.”
“The date?” Charlie demanded. “What’s the date?”
The doctor flipped the coin around. His face blanched.
“Gotta be a joke. A trick. You bought it as a gag.”
Charlie sighed again.
“Yeah. That’s what they all said. All day long. Except I didn’t. I had a bunch of other coins, even some bills. But they all disappeared hours ago. I hid this. Just in case.”
He snatched it back from the doctor.
“Okay, so what if it is real? You’re saying what? That you aren’t from our world?”
“I don’t know. I guess. Look, I’m just a cab driver, okay. I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout this kind of stuff. I get up this morning, my wife’s hair is black, not red. I have my coffee and eggs, but my wife thinks I’m crazy when I ask for cheese and honey on my toast. Says I mean butter. I always have cheese and honey. Thirty years, and suddenly she doesn’t know what I eat?”
The doctor shifts in his seat.
“When did you suspect something was – umm different?”
“I was headed to work. I only live a block from where I park my cab. But the streets were all laid out wrong. And the names were wrong. There was this Roosevelt Street. Who the hell ever heard of a Roosevelt?”
“Wait. You don’t know who Roosevelt was?”
Charlie shook his head, rubbed his temples with his index finger and thumb, and sighed deeply.
“That’s what I been trying to tell everyone! Where I came from there ain’t no Roosevelt. It’s different! The same, yeah, in some ways, but different!”
The doctor slid his chair back. He stood and fastened the button of his suit jacket.
“Look, Mr. Simms. Relax here a few minutes. Let me go converse with Detective Anderson. Let’s not dwell too much on this dime, for now. Okay?”
“It ain’t just the dime!”
“I know. I know. Why don’t you let me hold onto it. As evidence. Alright?”
Charlie flipped the coin back over to the doctor.
“Fine. Whatever. I’m too tired to fight anymore.”
“Just give me a few minutes, okay?” The doctor slipped the dime into his pocket and knocked on the Interrogation Room door. When it opened he stepped through.
“So what do you think, doc?” Detective Anderson asked. The doctor slid his glasses along the bridge of his nose.
“The poor man is obviously delusional. He needs treatment.”
He fondled the dime in his pocket, flipping it between his fingers.
“He has to be delusional.”
“How do you mean?”
“A world, like ours, but different? Yet the same? I mean, really, how would you even explain that? No, he’s obviously over stressed. Needs therapy, quiet surroundings”
“I guess. You’re the expert.”
Charlie Simms stroked the hair on his chin and waited.