The Invisible Man

Here’s something you might not know about me: I possess the ability to become invisible. Turn on an invisible switch and poof—you can’t see me. But I’m there with you while you’re standing there and talking with your friend, or husband or wife. Maybe you’re whispering because what you’re talking about is private, and you don’t want anyone else to hear. A divorce? A friend you know is cheating on their spouse? A death in the family? Someone you know addicted to drugs or alcohol?

Or maybe it’s something else. Maybe you’re at a bar and chatting up a lovely young lady or eligible, handsome man. The conversation is going well and you hope to keep it that way. She’s staring up at you with those big blue eyes and making all the right gestures. He’s holding his beer with his arm crooked at a ninety degree angle, grinning down at you. It’s a fun conversation and filled with surprises. You turn your head and see this writerly type drinking by his lonesome and watching the two of you conversing, and it is slightly unnerving, so you look away. When you turn around to see if he’s still staring, you notice that he’s gone. But he’s not gone. You just can’t see him. You can’t see me. So you resume your flirty conversation with the girl or guy, the one who might be “The One”. You say some funny things that makes her laugh. You stare up into his handsome face and talk about all the crazy things you did back in college. Or all people you have in common. Love is in the air.

Maybe you’re sitting at a coffee table with a friend, and this friend is consoling you about a family member who is dying. You look over and see a man typing into his iPad, and so you lower your voice so he can’t hear about all your crazy family dynamics: the quirky sister in Seattle who refuses to visit the dying family member; the financial strain; the crazy brother who has been cut out of the will; the dying family members’s shocking secret that they’d been keeping from everyone. When you look over, the man typing into his iPad is gone. This relieves you, and so you speak a little louder.

Maybe you and you’re friend are at the Red Sox game and sitting high up in the bleachers, and the two of you have drunk many beers and are discussing politics and religion, and various other hot button topics. Your friend is a great person but has some interesting views that you’d rather not have other people hear. You glance behind you and see this writerly type sitting alone and jotting something in his notebook. Is he keeping the box score or listening to you’re conversation? You try and change the subject, but you’re friend brings up another hot topic and starts going off. Slightly embarrassed, you look behind you, only to see that the writerly type is gone. Poof! Did he leave to get a beer? Or was he taken aback by your friends’s strong opinions, and moved to another seat?

A year later and you’re engaged to someone else, and you’re reading a book written by Joseph Souza, and you read the exact same conversation—word for word—that you had with that girl or guy you went out on a date with at that outdoor bar in Boston, and you wonder how that happened. Could that strange man have jotted down your conversation?

Your loved one has died and you’re reading a novel by a writer named Joseph Souza, and you read about the conversation you had back at the coffee shop. About the brother—your brother—who had been cut out of the will. The quirky sister in Seattle—your sister—who refused to visit the dying family member. The shocking secret the dying character had kept from everyone—your dying family member. But how? Had your friend told this novelist, Joseph Souza, all this conversation? But as you’re studying his photo, you recognize Joseph Souza as the same man sitting next to you that day.

In the middle of the novel you’re reading, penned by Joseph Souza, the two characters are sitting at the Red Sox game and having a spirited conversation after many high-priced ballpark beers. The Sox are playing the same team you saw that day. And it’s the same hot day in August you met your friend. Devers hit a home run in the sixth, exactly what happened that game, because you remember watching the arc of the ball. And then you read the dialogue and it’s almost verbatim the crazy conversation you had with your free-spirited friend. Wow! Had that guy behind you been writing down your conversation the entire time? Had that guy been Joseph Souza, the writer?

So from now on you’re careful about your conversations. You go to a bar and look for any writerly types hanging around. Check inside the coffee shop to see if the same man is sitting there. Glance around at the crowd and see if that pesky writer named Joseph Souza is lurking nearby.

Only you’ll never know that he has the power to make himself invisible. Why? Because he’s a writer. Because he’s the Invisible Man. Because he’s Joseph Souza.

About joesouza

I am a writer of crime novels
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5 Responses to The Invisible Man

  1. matthewcost says:

    Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, featured in Love in a Time of Hate, might have possessed special powers. But she also ran a host of hair stylists for the wealthy upper class women and a brothel for the wealthy men. Two places people like to talk as is you are invisible.

  2. kaitcarson says:

    Ain’t it the truth, Joe!

  3. dickcass says:

    Excellent, Joe! Made me smile . .

  4. John Clark says:

    Dead on. I mine conversations all the time.

  5. They just don’t know how dangerous we are, do they?


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