An Absent Mind
by Eric Rill
A riveting new novel from Eric Rill, author of Pinnacle of Deceit and The Innocent Traitor, is about a race against time. The ticking time bomb is Saul Reimer’s sanity. His Alzheimer’s is going to be the catalyst that will either bring his family together or tear it apart.
Saul: My Last Place on Earth
It’s all unraveling.
Last night, I found myself somewhere on Monkland Avenue. I had no idea how I got there. I looked in a store window and saw my reflection. It took me a bit to figure it all out—like that the person in the window was a man, and that the man was me.
I didn’t know what to do. I glanced down at the bracelet on my wrist and everything— well, not everything, but the gist of it all came back to me. I am Saul Reimer, formerly a healthy, intelligent man, married to the same woman for many years, and the father of two children he loves more than anything in the world.
The key word is formerly, as I am sure you’ve already figured out. Because today—and I have no idea what day it is, other than it is really cold and I wish I had a jacket on—I am nothing, not a real man, that’s for sure. I mean, how can you be a real man when you don’t even know where you are half the time, and when you do know, more often than not, you can’t grasp the concept of your surroundings?
I felt in my pocket for my wallet, but it wasn’t there. All I had was my bank card. I spotted an ATM machine at the corner. But when I got there, I couldn’t figure out how to work it. A woman walked up from behind. I gestured for her to go in front of me. She smiled and said she was in no rush. I looked at the machine, with all the words flashing across the screen. My hands were getting slimy, and beads of that wet stuff covered my forehead. Why couldn’t she just go first?
Then suddenly, it all made sense. I followed the directions, but it took me a few tries to get the card into the machine with the strip the right way. I looked behind me again. The woman was fidgeting with her purse strap. Then the machine asked me for a personal identification number. The good news is, I knew I had one. The bad news is, I had no idea what it was. My brain is like a shortwave radio, mostly static that occasionally finds the station, but even then the sound isn’t always clear.
In a way, it will be a blessing when my mind is totally gone, when I am a vegetable, slouched in a wheelchair. Like many Alzheimer’s patients on Montreal’s West Side, I’ll probably make a pit stop at Manoir Laurier. Then, when Manoir Laurier can’t cope with me, or we can’t afford it anymore, they’ll ship me off to Belfrage Hospital, my final stop on this beloved earth. I’ll be there, incontinent, drooling, and incoherent—that is, if I can even manage to get a word through my blistered lips. And when it’s all over—when my heart finally gives out, or I contract pneumonia, and my family says, “Let Saul go; he deserves some peace”—when that happens, they’ll take me down to the autopsy room, cut my skull open, and find the tangles and plaques on my brain. Then they will be able to say with 100 percent certainty that Saul Reimer had Alzheimer’s.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Eric Rill was born in Montreal and graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts, and from UCLA with an MBA. He held several executive positions in the hospitality industry, including president of a global hotel group. His hobbies include trekking, scuba diving, and collecting antique carpets. Eric has two sons and divides his time between his residence in Panama and international travel. You can reach him at his website at: www.ericrill.com