Kevin Hillstill – 3

Hi, uh, it’s weird, huh? 

Kevin went up to the man, who was busy tapping some codes on the checkout terminal. 

Yeah? Do you want to do a manual checkout as well? The system will be back in two minutes, if you don’t mind waiting. Sorry about that.

He looked at Kevin briefly and then shift his focus back on the machine. That old lady was right. He even sounded like him.

Ha, man, oh, so how’s work?

Kevin was never good at making conversations. It was hard for him at work; it was harder at Maggie’s Pub. The only place he ever found it to be easier was at his church. No matter what he had to say, the people at his church always seemed to be interested in hearing him. Well, this guy was not from his church and Kevin didn’t know how to even start this existential conversation. In his head, it was something like —

Hey, are you thinking what I am thinking?

Hey, are we twins?

Hey, can you see what I am seeing, because dude we look the same?

And they all sounded horribly creepy.

Just work, you know. I love my work.

The guy replied, in the calmest voice.

Ah, great, that’s the best. So, what’s your name?

He wanted to go directly to the part about his family, but that would be too rude and invasive. If this was indeed his long lost twin brother, then it could also be emotionally traumatic if it all happened too quickly.

It’s Kevin.

Kevin stood there, staring emptily into nothing. If there’s a chair nearby, he would have collapsed already. At the back of his head, there’s still this possible explanation left that maybe Kevin was an average name itself.

Woah, this is weird. My name is Kevin too.

Oh, yeah? 

Unlike Kevin Hillstill, Kevin with the hat wasn’t that keen on exploring the situation with Kevin Hillstill. He only had this mild innocuous smile on his face and then nothing else.

Maybe they really were twins? Separated at birth? Hospital got the birth certificates mixed up? 

And fate brought them back together almost 30 years later like in a 70s Hollywood movie that Hallmark would remake every five years?

Kevin Hillstill still couldn’t believe his eyes. He was never a mirror person like Ted or, better, Ariana. They probably spent half their life checking themselves in mirrors or anything with a reflective surface. He used mirrors merely as tools, like a normal person, although he wasn’t sure if other normal people would have the sense of self-doubt he had every time they looked into a mirror as well. Now face-to-face with someone that was like from the other side of the mirror, one he was supposed to be most familiar with and yet a total stranger, he just wasn’t able to compile what was going on or how he was supposed to understand what was going on. 

Kevin with the hat was still busy with the system. There was a name tag on his uniform vest, which Kevin Hillstill had to take a peek at.



You gotta be kidding me.

He couldn’t believe it. In fact, he had to take three long looks and forcefully process that piece of information four times before determining this was not another thing to simply get over, downplay or have a Kevin Hillstill lack-of-response response to.

He yelled hell no and took two steps back.

Kevin Hillstill with the hat was visibly bothered by Kevin Hillstill with glasses over his theatrics. He took a glance at the Spinoza beer, milk and eggs in the cart, and asked politely if Kevin Hillstill with glasses would prefer a manual checkout.

What’s wrong with you? You don’t think we look alike?

It was a comical line, but Kevin Hillstill with glasses was in no mood for comedy. In a strange way, he felt violated. He was confused, slightly frightened and disoriented; but, more importantly, he was never this serious his whole life.

Kevin Hillstill with the hat stopped what he was doing and gazed deeply at the other Kevin Hillstill’s shocked face. 

Are you okay, sir? Do you need medical assistance? I can call someone for you.

It seemed that the feeling was not mutual.

Why do you even have my name?

Kevin squeaked, not sure which was worse here, that he looked like him or he called himself Kevin Hillstill. He could even smell Knight’s Armor on his breath; it had a very distinctive note that he had learned to appreciate.

My name is Kevin Hillstill. Do you need help, sir? The checkout system is back online.

Kevin Hillstill with the hat was still polite and patient while the other Kevin Hillstill felt like he’s going mad.

Is this some sick joke? Simulation? Parallel Universe? Evil robot? Flash-forward that ran into a disastrous bug? Social experiment to steal identities? The f-ing Kardashian show because even Kanye West’s not crazy enough for the ratings?

All the comic books he grew up with, spanning from sci-fi to horror, came back to offer a potential theory, but nothing could convince him to believe in anything he’s experiencing.

He was shivering. Forget about the pigeons and the girls in mini skirts in City Square. The last time he was close to this frightened, he was fearful for his life on 3407 as the plane was crash landing. 

But it’s more than just the fear. He’s so deeply enraged though he couldn’t quite explain what this rage was about. He would be furiously stuttering, though not sure how to organize his chaotic thoughts, if there were any, into expressions. Meanwhile, the other Kevin or, him, being so nonchalant only added to this rage and confusion. 

How could someone not care that there might be another “me” in the world?

And… I am so average. Why me? 

Kevin Hillstill has a perfect life.

He has a perfect height, not even an inch taller or shorter.

He has a perfect weight, eyesight, waistline, muscle definition and body fat percentage.

He has a perfect family, a doting mother, a father that doesn’t smile easily and a very old dog.

He has a perfect personal network, a childhood buddy Ted, a work buddy Jeff and a cyber pal doomsbro86.

He has a perfect daily routine, with the perfect transparency and clarity through Twitter updates. 

He’s never late for work. Living two blocks way probably helps. He usually picks up a Pepperoni Special pizza with extra cheese at a pizzeria down the street. Occasionally, he goes to a diner called Silver Moon, where he always orders the Classic for breakfast or Combo A for dinner. To be honest, how can one never tire of macaroni & cheese? 

He does a perfect job at work, doing only as much as it needs to be, unlike Rob who’s desperately trying to prove that he’s not any less of a man after the corporate team sent him a birthday card on his 52nd birthday, which said the green in Wallgreen stood for youthfulness, not greenbacks, or Ariana who’s desperately trying to prove that she’s too big a fish for this small pond, being, in fact, an overly photoshopped fish that teaches lifestyle on YouTube, from the small pond. Do we even have to discuss Jeff? What does a community college dropout know about the French Revolution and Age of Enlightenment? Would Voltaire ever have a bot account on Twitter that criticizes every good bit that Capitalism does, like providing jobs that actually pay?

But, still, nothing beats a perfect score on personality. Although, for full disclosure, human personality is such an abstract concept that even I haven’t fully finalized the perfect metrics.

He’s never overthinking. Occam’s Razor always seems more convincing.

He’s never overly headstrong. The cognitive dissonance engine keeps one’s life happy.

He’s never unrealistically ambitious. Of course, he wishes to be a little different, but he then thinks about the people that are still starving to death in war zones. Self-fulfillment is meant to be sought from within.

He’s never unnecessarily emotional other than that time when Mac Miller died from fentanyl-laced counterfeit oxycodone and he felt like he’d lost his best friend. Emotions are the leakage of unsettled anxiety, a flawed design that has never achieved anything substantial throughout human history.

And he’s never foolishly political or ideological, not even in his college days when his dorm mates were either libertarian or communist, until Jeff, a total idiot, started putting dangerous awareness ideas in his head. Every time human beings think they’ve taken a step forward in civilization, humanity ends up in more agony. 

How do we define and justify perfection ultimately? 

Perfection is about being symmetrical. Look at the nature, from the wings of the butterflies to a lion’s mane. Perfection is being simple. Look at the beautiful mathematical equations, from general relativity to V – E + F = 2.

What’s more symmetrical and simple than when all the pluses can offset all the minuses, producing an almighty Zero?

What’s more symmetrical and simple than when all the opposites, inconsistencies and discrepancies are recursively reduced to an absolute null set? 

Kevin Hillstill’s life is perfect.

Kevin Hillstill’s perfect.

Well, still perfect, at this very tipping point.

Next time Kevin Hillstill goes to church, the Cross will likely seem to have a sharper edge. The hymns may seem to echo deeper. The God-fearing side of me, an oddity that sometimes, admittedly, puzzles myself too (why did my creator put it there), prays that he still has nothing to pray for. 

Kevin Hillstill is my prototype. How many Kevin Hillstill are there? 

Does it even matter?

If one is not enough, then we can have two or three.

It two is too much, then we can always just have one.

All that I can understand, I can withstand.

All that I can see, I can lead.

Data objects are well known to be this easy.

If Kevin Hillstill perfectly bores you, I’ll tell you another prototype from the batch, Lady Salinger, after fixing this error that’s causing the system hang and rebooting the program.

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