Flip, flip, flip. Another, another, another. He idly paged through the book, face after face, like Tinder or Grindr, but not really, because Tinder and Grindr were like this. Oh books, how you’ve been the constant champion by which all media was measured. Where does the book go? Would he only find them in second hand stores 10 years from now like his parents LPs, only to be resurrected by mustachioed nostalgia for analog? Will they be dug up in 20 or 50 years after the world falls into anarchy and there is no one around to open that document stored on your proprietary storage device? How will we know Margaret’s last wishes, written in that note pad program on her now defunct operating system? How will we-
“Are you actually looking at these?”
Hans looked up. The officer on the other side of the desk looked bored. Well no shit, he was bored too.
“Of course.” he lied.
As he started actually paying attention again, his eyes scanning the pictures, probably snapshots of immortalizing people at their worst. Weirdo, weirdo, weirdo. Hans considered that maybe he should make a website for people that have their mugshots on public display, where they could upload another photo when they have their shit together, like
These would allow people that second chance that seems so hard to come by when your not-so-tasteful side boob goes global.
How many pages had gone by without him paying attention… two? Three? Let’s see, three pictures in a row, four rows on a page, probably thirty to forty five. This was ridiculous, he though, so he decided to share it with a public employee.
“Why don’t you have a computer for this stuff? I mean there is a computer right there on the desk.” He then motioned with his head, just so everyone knew exactly which computer on the desk he meant.
Hans was bad with names. He squinted at the name badge… Officer… it was hard to make out, Smyth? No one had that name anymore. Jenkins? Wow he was way off.
“Yeah, you just worry about you. Listen, can I step out and get a cup of coffee and trust you to actually look through that mug book?” Jenkins picked up his coffee mug. Clear County Sheriff it said. Did that mean he wasn’t an officer? Should he call him deputy? May he was the sheriff. A Sheriff? An Sheriff?
“Oh, coffee?” Hans chimed, hopeful, “what kind is it?”
“The hot kind.”
“Oh.” Hans made a grimace.
“You wanna cup?”
“…no.” Hans replied. He didn’t.
Maybe if he could remember anything about the face of the guy that had hit him on the head and taken is stylish Ona “The Brixton®” messenger bag this wouldn’t be a complete waste of time. GOD HE LOVED THAT BAG. Not that it contained anything useful, but it had been sweet. That perfect manufactured look that said, “This was hand forged by hairy men with leather aprons with re-purposed materials, then passed down over generations of hard won, socially responsible and eco-friendly usage.” Hans was sure this would tell women that he was a writer, or perhaps a photographer for a NPO and that they would then ask about his travels, muses and have sex with him. He’d been experimenting with strategic camera shaped bulges to place in the bag, as he’d spent too much on the bag and could no longer afford the camera. A travel sized Pringles can was working well in bathroom mirror testing.
What page was this? Page 27 of… 100?? Ugh. Hans decided that maybe he could slip in a couple flips of two pages at a time so he could move to the next book. He thought perhaps he could make a mug book app, where people could flip through mug shots on the phone. He’d call it Offendr.
“Something funny Mr. Leifson?” Officer Sheriff set down his coffee on the metal desk where Hans was sitting. He resumed the paperwork he’d started when Hans had arrived.
“I just came up with a funny app.” Hans had a crooked smile; at least one side of it was smug, “for mug shots. Books.” he added, “A mug book app.” Hans could see that Officer Sheriff was not an early adopter type for technology by his complete lack of response and let it go.
Scanning… scanning… scanning… it was a feast of dereliction that was for sure. Killer, murderer, deranged, drug dealer, drug taker. He wondered if they knew each other. Flip. His eyes scan from the first image to the second and he stopped. Frozen in his seat, he studied the face in the image and tried to make sense of it by saying, “Huh.” as he scanned the face. Its nose, eyes, the mole under its eye.
“Find something?” Officer Sheriff looked up from his paper work; he seemed excited to have a possibility that he could stop what he was doing and peered at the book in front of Hans, who promptly slammed it shut.
“Uh, no, sorry my mistake.” Hans lied, “I thought it was my dog’s… previous owner?”
Officer Sheriff stared for a moment before Hans continued, “May I have that cup of coffee now? Sorry.” Hans succeeded at not smiling normally and regardless of the fact that Hans was a terrible liar, Officer Sheriff got up with a sigh and left the room. Once Hans was satisfied he was alone, he returned to the mug book in front of him. He looked closely, his finger traced the outline of the shoulder, head and shoulder again.
It was him. I mean me! It’s me! Or at least it look like me. But no, look at that mole, what are the chances?
Having a great idea, Hans pulled out his phone, taps the camera and flips it for selfie mode, just in case he was having a Changing Places or Freaky Friday body swap moment and he was currently inhabiting his mom or cousin or something. This was quickly ruled out. The image however, was him. And he was him.
Hans slipped the picture out of its sleeve and closed the book.