By Patrick Welch
This is what I hate most about being Reborn, that initial look in the mirror to discover whom you are today. This reflected body in the motel bathroom mirror wasn't all that unacceptable, considering. Thinning greasy black hair, four-days worth of beard and tobacco-stained teeth, tattoos on both arms, a scar (probably from a knife) across the stomach. Plus a pronounced limp, which I discovered when I first walked to the bathroom.
This one was not as prime as my last body, but then beggars, or an immortal like I am, can't be choosers. Besides, these are the only types of bodies my kind and I usurp: bodies of people broken, abandoned and forgotten. A man or woman no one would notice or miss overmuch. Besides, even if I had a choice, possession of the rich and powerful would arouse too much curiosity, create too many questions. You don't survive centuries by calling unnecessary attention to yourself.
On the whole I was satisfied. This one was better than the one I had inhabited in turn-of-the-century Vienna, or the street harlot blossoming with gonorrhea in Victorian England. Not as healthy or as useful as the one I had just lost, however.
At least this one was a man. Not prejudiced, you understand, but readjusting to a different set of genitalia can take time, time I didn't have right now. I cleaned up the best I could, got rid of the beard, made a passable attempt at trimming my shaggy hair, donned the cleanest of three dirty shirts. I opened the nightstand next to the unmade bed and found several condoms, a handgun (for which I was grateful), an address book, a small bag of marijuana. I was relieved at that. Once I had become an opium eater, mid 18th century China. Dealing with the body’s addiction while trying to solve my own problems had been a royal pain in the ass.