Strolling through a valley he stumbled across on his way to something he’d now forgotten, Dawson Filter saw a sheep. It was Tuesday, then.
“Hmm,” he said to himself, “both the singular and plural forms of that animal with all the wool are pronounced ‘sheep.'”
Generally, people know this (excluding the 5.9 billion people in the world who don’t speak English. They aren’t really the target audience of this story.); but the significance of this state of affairs now struck Dawson Filter with a new reality. If number was irrelevant in the use of the word sheep, then was not the absence of sheep still sheep?
Dawson Filter took another step. He saw another sheep.
“Was it a sheep?” he wondered. A few minutes ago he surely would have said “No, that’s my shoe,” but now he wasn’t so sure. The absence of land was sky; the absence of wet, dry. Still, sky could be called ‘not land’; and wet, ‘not dry’. It would be reasonable to assert that the absence of sheep, while called ‘sheep’, could be equally ‘not sheep’. There were three kinds of sheep, then: the ones that truly were ones, singular in their sheepness; the ones that flocked in droves; and the ones hiding in every shadow, dispersed in every breath, the ones of which no one ever spoke.
Now that that was cleared up, Dawson Filter could finally focus on figuring out where he was. By this point, it was Thursday, and where he was was in a bagel shop. There was a person next to him, to whom he decided to talk.
“Hello,” he said, “and what are your thoughts on talking?”
The man turned around. He was Hank the Embezzler, a rascal if there ever was one (There was. See source).
“Well, talking’s alright, I suppose,” he said, “but I personally prefer embezzling company property.”
“Oh,” Dawson Filter said, wishing he had hobbies as clearly defined as this man seemed to.
“Now, you’re probably wondering who you are,” said Hank, “that’s understandable. I did embezzle your memories, after all. Your name is Wayne Rubblefish. You enjoy long walks on the beach and hope.”
Hank the Embezzler handed Dawson Filter a document.
“Why are you telling this to me now?” Dawson Filter asked.
“It’s a social convention you don’t remember to tell the victim of any crime one might commit the nature of the crime and the victim’s basic personal information.”
Hank the Embezzler left the shop via the door. Dawson Filter, wondering what sort of person he was, ordered a bagel and patted himself down to find his wallet and personal information. According to a licence he found in his wallet, he was able to drive.
But lo! What new evil was this? The licence cited his name as “Dawson Q. Filter”! He threw the wallet to the ground, disgusted by its lie. He couldn’t believe he’d trusted it with his money for so many years.
Still unsure exactly what his place in society was, Dawson Filter began to search for clues that might lead him to his past. Hank the Embezzler said that he enjoyed embezzling company property. There was only one company in the world that considered its employees’ memories company property: Walter’z Breakfast and Midday Snack House.
Seeming to know quite a lot about rocket science, Dawson Filter built a spaceship and left for Saskatchewan, where the snack house stood. After orbiting around Mars several times, he found the joint, which he entered. It was midday. Because of the time difference between the restaurants, it felt like 8:05 in the evening. More importantly it felt like a time for answers.