Fiction Drama Mystery



    Walking the beat by the pier in San Francisco was a daunting task, especially for officers Dunne and Ruiz. Day after day and night after night, depending what shift they were on, always brought homeless vagrants to the pier. They would sleep on benches, under trees and some of the more fortunate ones had tents. Not the poor fellow they were approaching now, this guy was sleeping on the grass wearing only a hoodie and track pants. It was a cool September evening off the water. The two cops decided to check on his well-being. “Hey mister, wake up, you can’t sleep here! Hey! Wake up.” The man in the hoodie started to grumble and move. “Come on buddy, you have to move it along”

    “Okay, I’m up, I’m up” he said annoyed.

    “Move it along please”

    “Wait, where am I? and who are you?”

    “We’re the police as you can see: do you need assistance or a doctor?”

    “No, I don’t think so, I’m not sure.”

    “Sir, is there something wrong? Can you show us some identification please?

    “Umm. I don’t seem to have any,” he realized as he checked himself.

    “Don’t have any or just don’t want to show us? What is your name? The man looked perplexed as he paused and struggled to answer the cop.

    “I… I don’t know, I can’t seem to remember.”

    “Don’t play with us now,” Ruiz said annoyed.

    “No, I’m serious I don’t remember my name, I don’t remember anything like why I’m here or why I am dressed this way. Where is here anyway?” he asked hesitantly.

    “This is Aquatic Park Pier.”

    “I’ve never heard of that, what city is this?”

The two cops looked at each other realizing this was more than just a regular homeless person situation, they were wondering if this man had been mugged and maybe hit over the head and knocked unconscious. “San Francisco is where you are, do you not recollect anything at all?” Officer Dunne asked.

    “Not a damn thing.”

    “Do you think you’ve been hit over the head?”

    “I’m not sure, maybe,” as he felt his head searching for bumps or contusions. “I don’t feel anything, and I don’t have a headache. I am starting to get a bit freaked out here.” Ruiz suggested that they take him to the station to file a report and maybe to get him checked out at the Emergency room.

    “We will call you John Doe for now until your memory returns, is that alright, John?”

    “I suppose so, since I don’t know my real name anyway.” he said.


    He sat on a bench for almost two hours in the waiting room at the precinct until 3 am before the two officers came back to talk to him. They were hoping with some time that his memory would have returned. It did not. They were instructed to take John Doe to the hospital for a checkup. John had no complaints as he wanted to know what was going on as much as the police officers did, even more so.

    At the hospital, there was not much of a wait, usually having police officers with you can expedite an emergency room visit. He was seen within 15 minutes of arrival. Upon getting checked out, the doctor relayed to John that there seemed to be no trauma at all on his person. The doctor explained that possibly there could have been some shock, or emotional mental trauma of some sort that caused the memory loss. He explained that most likely his memory would come back sooner than later. The doctor spoke with the police privately and explained that all of this could just be a ruse and maybe they should look deeper into any suspects at large. It was rare that someone would get amnesia without some kind of bump or trauma to their head. He wasn’t accusing anything, just stating facts based on experience. The doctor told the police to take him to mission services where he could stay for free and get a meal allowance while recovering. With his recommendation John would be able to stay there for a couple of weeks until someone came to claim him or filed a missing person report. Without memory or any identification this was the best John could expect for now. Officers Ruiz and Dunne Took John to the mission and got him set up with the coordinator. Dunne explained to john that most likely a missing-persons report would be filed by a loved one within hours, unless he actually was a homeless person like they first thought when they came upon him in the park. then there may be more difficulties. They said they would check in on him the next day. While they were at the precinct the police officers had his photo taken and put it in the database to search for facial recognition. The search had been running for a few hours now and still no matches had come up.


    Three days had passed since John was woken up in the park by the two policemen, yet he still had no idea who he was, his name, where he was from or why nobody had claimed him. It was quite sad to think that you were not important enough for anyone to file a missing person report. He started to wonder if he was indeed just another homeless person. However, he didn’t fit the bill. His hair was short and freshly cut, his nails were trimmed. He had to admit that the hoodie and track pants were a bit off putting, but at least they were clean that night in the park. Being a homeless person didn’t fit. Something was wrong.

    On day four at the mission shelter, officer’s Dunne and Ruiz came to see him. The database had come up empty. They explained that most likely that just meant that he never had mugshots taken before and probably had never been arrested. Which was good, that helped them to believe his story of amnesia a little more than before. They even made many calls to neighboring cities and towns. Nothing turned up. John Doe seemed to be an apparition. He was beginning to wonder if nobody claimed him after the two weeks were up at the mission, what would he do? No money, no home, no family, or friends. He didn’t even know what he did for a living before he was discovered. It would be hard to find work if you don’t know what education or skillsets you have. The future was looking grim, but he was still hopeful.


    John woke up in the shelter from a dream he’d just had, a dream flooded with memories. He saw a city limit sign that read Reno Nevada. He also had brief glimpses of people, in particular a woman and two children, his own family maybe. But why had they not been searching for him? Her name was Natalie, and the kids were named Mary and Leena. He knew them but couldn’t be sure if they were his family. It would be illogical to think otherwise, everything was still a bit foggy. But why else would images of these people pop into his mind? He also wondered why the hell he was in San Francisco if he lived in Reno. This whole situation was very confusing, but he was relieved that memories were finally starting to reveal themselves like the doctor said. John figured the cops must have been right, maybe he was hit over the head, it just made little sense that he had no bumps or bruises. He’d figured that someone would need to be hit quite hard to get amnesia. John called officer Ruiz with this new information. He hoped that having the location of Reno Nevada and the first names of the woman and kids may assist Ruiz and Dunne in locating his home.

    John Doe went to see the two police officers at the precinct before their shift began. They had arranged an appointment at 9 am. Upon John’s arrival He checked in with the desk clerk and asked for the two officers. The clerk said that there was no appointment but paged the two policemen. Ruiz and Dunne walked up to John, “May we help you sir?” John thought this was a little strange the way they asked.

    “Um, hi guys, I’m here for the appointment.”

    “What appointment? Who are you?” Dunne asked questionably.

    John squirmed a bit. “Guys it’s me, John Doe from the other night, remember? You’ve been helping me to locate where I’m from, I have amnesia.”

    Ruiz and Dunne looked at one another as if to say… who is this guy? “I’m sorry sir, I’ve never seen you before in my life, and I’m good with faces.” Ruiz said factually.

    “Umm, ok, this isn’t funny anymore guys, you’re the only two people that have been helping me. John started to wonder if maybe he did take a hit on the head. Nothing was making sense anymore. The two officers saw the frightened look on his face and offered to assist him: however, they both just assumed he was a tweaker in the middle of a good high. John couldn’t offer them any information. It was pointless to tell them of his dream and memories since they had no idea who he was. He left to return to the shelter.

    Once back at the shelter, he asked the director for some petty cash to get a bus ticket to Reno, he told him that he sort of remembered that he was from there. Due to the circumstances of John’s arrival at the shelter, the director obliged to help. He was given a $50 credit to the bus station and $25 cash. John went to clean out his cot and grab a shower, he would get a free meal before he left.

    After showering, he went down to the cafeteria for the complimentary breakfast, he signed in, but his name was not on the ledger as an overnight guest. He explained that he had been staying there for a few days. John was getting upset so the director came to cool the situation. Unfortunately, the director now had no idea who john was. “We just spoke a half an hour ago, you gave me a voucher for the bus, I’ve been staying here for three days now, do you not know me?” John asked frustrated.

    “I’m sorry sir, I do not, I am not sure how you got that voucher, but I will allow you to get a free meal but then you must be on your way.” If ever someone had hit a low point in their life…this was it for John. No memory, no money, no name, and nobody remembers you. How much worse could it get?


    He paid for the greyhound bus ticket to Reno, the ride was approximately three and a half hours. He would catch some shuteye on the way. The nap was shorter than he would have liked; however, he was overjoyed upon waking because he had dreamt more about Reno, Natalie and the two kids. He saw in his dream a house.  He even had some memories of conversations with Natalie and the kids. They were his family because Leena called him daddy. John came to realize that Natalie kept calling him Simon in the dream. His name was Simon, there was no last name that was revealed, just Simon. He would find an internet café or a library and do some searching on the internet. Social media may show something. He thought it odd that he could remember how to surf the net but didn’t know who he was. The brain is a mysterious thing he thought to himself.

    John’s bus arrived at the terminal in Reno at 2 pm. This gave him enough time to find a computer somewhere to do some searching. The library was a short distance from the bus station. He got some directions and headed there. After an hour of searching, John came up with the information he needed. Some simple searching on social media gave him a profile of Natalie, she was the 16th Natalie that came up. On her profile he saw no photos of himself or mention of her marital status; however, her profile was limited. She didn’t seem to do a lot of posting. It did state her place of work though. Finally, something viable. She was the proprietor of a small coffee shop in the downtown Reno area. The shop was called Morning Buzz. He got the address and immediately left to go find the coffee shop.

    It took him 25 minutes to find Morning Buzz, Simon was now standing out front the shop. There were people out front chatting. It seemed that they were closing for the day. It was 4:30 now and the place was called Morning Buzz after all. Most people don’t have coffee later in the day. He saw one of the people was Natalie. As they locked the store he saw another woman approach with two children in tow, Mary and Leena from his dream. The woman must be the babysitter dropping them off to mom. Simon wanted to call out to them, but he was hesitant for some reason. Maybe because of all that transpired over the past week. What if he was wrong? And this was not his family. He couldn’t bare another let down. He followed as the Natalie and the kids walked down the block.


    Natalie approached her car with the kids, she felt a bit uneasy, something was off. She turned to look behind her to see a strangely dressed man standing 50 feet away staring at her. She looked closer only to realize it was Simon. “Simon!” she cried out, “Where have you been? We’ve been worried sick.”

    “Natalie, do you know me?”

    “What? Yes, what are you talking about?”

    The girls cried out from the back seat. “Daddy!”

    They all came running to embrace him. “Simon, you were supposed to be back yesterday from the business trip to San Francisco, you never called or texted. We were so scared. I called the police, but they said they couldn’t do anything until after 24 hours.”

    “I, I’m sorry. Something happened and I had amnesia. I didn’t know anything, not even my name.”

    “Oh my God, honey, are you serious?”

    ‘Yes, even now only some of my memory has returned, I am still very confused.” After a brief explanation of everything from the past four days, they got in the car and headed for home. Ten minutes later Natalie parked in the driveway of the same house that Simon remembered from his dream. She told him to spend some time in the yard with the kids while she called the police to tell them that her husband had returned and to explain what he told her. Minutes passed and Natalie came outside and called the girls over. Very carefully Natalie pulled the two kids behind her back, “What have I told you girls about talking to strangers? Who is that man?”

    “Mommy, that’s daddy!” Natalie looked at Mary confusingly.

    Simon saw the look on Natalie’s face, “What’s wrong hon? What did the police say?”

    “The police are on their way, I don’t know who you are, or what you want but you need to leave.” She said sternly.

    “Mommy,” Mary said.


    “Who is that man?”

   “I don’t know, but go inside, I’ve called the police.”

    Simon heard the exchange, all the color dropped from his face, one minute earlier he was with his wife and kids, now they had no idea who he was. Kids can’t fake that kind of thing. They genuinely had no clue. “Mister, you had better leave now why you still can, this is a nice neighbourhood, and they don’t take kindly to creepers around here. He looked around as though he was lost.

    “Natalie are you serious, you don’t know me?”

    “No, I don’t and I’m a little freaked out that you know my name.” He heard sirens from a distance, he didn’t know what to do. Stay and tell the police his story, who would believe him? It was a little crazy after all. He took a last look at his wife and fled.

    Simon ran, he just ran for what seemed like an hour, as he ran, he wondered why all this was happening to him. He stopped when he came upon a restaurant with a big window. He studied his reflection. He cried as he put his hand on the window hunched over in disbelief at his misfortune. A woman that was inside eating saw the poor man and felt sorry for him. She went outside to see if she could assist him. “Sir, are you okay?” She asked hesitantly. He looked at her.

    “I don’t know.” He said in a panicked voice.

    “You don’t know what?”


    “What do you mean?”

    “I don’t know how I got here.”

    “Well, what is your name?” He looked up in the reflection of his weary face.

    “That’s just it, I don’t know my name, where I am, or how I got here. I don’t even recognize my face.

The end.

October 29, 2021 02:03

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Jon Casper
10:45 Nov 02, 2021

Wow, what a nightmare. When Natalie came back out and didn't recognize him, it was a real gut-punch. And then his own kid. I enjoyed the story. It was suspenseful and full of intrigue. I could see this being a Twilight Zone episode. I noticed a handful of minor formatting issues, in case you're interested: Officers Ruiz and Dunne [took] John to the mission -- no capital T there. Dunne explained to [John] that most likely -- need capital J there. “Umm, ok, this isn’t funny anymore guys, you’re the only two people that have been helping me...


Chris Winters
11:46 Nov 02, 2021

Thanks Jon. One week doesn’t always give enough time to do all the necessary edits. We need fresh eyes. I am unable to edit now that it has been submitted.


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Matt Hunks
04:06 Nov 01, 2021

Well done! Would definitely like to read more about what happens with Simon.


Chris Winters
14:01 Nov 02, 2021

Thanks Matt.


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Cheryll Winters
22:53 Oct 31, 2021

I felt so sorry for ‘Simon’. It almost had a Groundhog Day feel, but without the happy ending. I really enjoyed this story and would definitely like to read more from this author. Especially a continuation of what happened next to ‘Simon’. I am going to follow him.


Chris Winters
03:14 Nov 01, 2021

Thank you. Much appreciated.


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Natalia Isa
22:14 Oct 31, 2021

Nicely written, Chris. The story has a good flow, interesting to read.


Chris Winters
03:15 Nov 01, 2021

Thanks Natalia.


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05:57 Nov 05, 2021

Nice story.


Chris Winters
19:48 Nov 05, 2021

Thank you Faith.


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Rudy Uribe
16:05 Nov 04, 2021

I just saw your story was shortlisted. Congrats.


Chris Winters
19:34 Nov 04, 2021

Thank you,


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Rudy Uribe
04:43 Nov 03, 2021

You held my interest the entire time. I was hoping for a resolution, but I guess the mystery continues.


Chris Winters
12:24 Nov 03, 2021

Haha. Sorry I left ya hanging Rudy.


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Cathy Watson
20:49 Nov 02, 2021

I really enjoyed this read. I love suspense stories! Well written as it kept me engaged with curiosity and suspense on how this would end. Loved the twists in it, certainly unforeseen!


Chris Winters
21:32 Nov 02, 2021

I’m glad you enjoyed it Cathy.


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