Saturday, April 18, 2015

I Was Hitler

“Six months. Six months I waited for this. Of all the people who came before. Of all the people I could’ve been…why him?” I said out loud, complaining to no one. I picked up the paper and
read over the names of my former lives again.

Joshua Wilson Donald, July 26, 2023 – alive
Marcus Anthony Fordham, January 19, 1987 – July 25, 2023
Robert Angelo D’Agostino, May 1, 1945 – January 18, 1987
Adolf Hitler, April 20, 1889 – April 30, 1945
Nikolai Kremlov, March 18, 1783 – April 19, 1889
Christopher Aiokiev, August 17, 1709 – March 17, 1783

The name just stood out to me, mockingly. I grabbed my phone out of my pocket and dialed my sister Emily. “Hey, Emily, you know the appeals process for your past lives?” Emily had worked at the Department of Health and Human Services-Former Lives Division since her sophomore year of college and knew that area like the back of her hand. “Has anyone ever successfully appealed to not have their past lives publically listed?”

“Not in the fifteen years I’ve been with the DHHS and I don’t think there has been a successful appeal since this whole former lives thing started nearly 40 years ago.”

“Why do they have to make the lives public?”

“I don’t know. That’s why I don’t want mine,” Emily said.

“Can you come over after work? Maybe you can help me put this into perspective.”

When Emily arrived, I let her in and she immediately grabbed the paper with my former lives on it and began reading. “Holy shit. Hitler? I’ve never known anyone with someone famous in their past lives. I mean, I know it’s Hitler but still,” Emily said, ecstatic about being related, even generations apart, to someone well-known.

“It’s not that one I’m worried about. I think we’ve all decided how we feel about Hitler but, here,” I handed Emily some papers that had been printed off of a website.

“Nikolai Kremlov?” she read. “What the hell? Raped and killed about 30 young children in Petropavlovsk, Russia between 1825 and 1847. The bones of the children were found after he died in 1889 buried under his house in shallow graves. At least it’s not as bad as Hitler.”

“Two murderers in a row. Do you know who else has two murderers in a row?”

Emily shook her head and shrugged.

“No one. I did a search. A lot of people have one killer in their former lives but none of them have more than one. And my life only goes back 345 years. I saw lives that went back 3,000 years none of them had two killers,” I shouted. I sat down in a chair and looked at the floor.

“I’m sorry, Josh. I don’t know what to tell you,” she came over to me and placed her hand on my shoulder. “You know you’re nothing like Hitler or Nikolai Kremlov, right?”

“I guess but still. It’s a little disarming,” I looked up at Emily and grinned a little.

“Are you hungry? Do you want to grab dinner?” she asked me.

“Yeah, I could go for some food.”

I grabbed my keys off the table and she sat the former life and Nikolai Kremlov papers on the table. As we walked out the door, she chuckled. “If you ever get really bossy, people can tell you that you are ‘literally Hitler.’”

“Thanks, that makes me feel so much better,” I rolled my eyes.

“I knew it would.” [ ]

Story inspired by this writing prompt.