The Guy Who Knew It All

by Fernando H. F. Sacchetto – jan. 2006

“Hey baby, did ya know I’m omniscient?”

This was of course a rhetorical question. Of course he knew that she didn’t know it, being omniscient.

“You’re what?”

He also knew that she didn’t know what that word even meant, and decided to use it anyway. Thought it’d cause a better impression.

“Omniscient. Means I know everything.”

“Ooookay… that’s a new one.” She giggled. “Then tell me, smart guy, what am I thinking right now?”

That one was easy. “You’re thinking I’m crazy.”

“Well DUH! That’s obvious!”

“Well ask me something harder then!”

“Ooookay…” She giggled again, partly because the alcohol was getting to her head. This, he not only knew, but was also counting on. “What color panties am I wearing right now?”

“Red.” The answer came right as she finished the question; after all, this was the second thing he made sure he knew about her.

“Lucky guess.” He smiled. “Well then, I’ll give ya something really hard,” to which he thought, I could say the same indeed.

She paused for a moment, trying to keep her own thoughts from tripping over. “Okay… what was the name of my first doll?”

He smiled. He was shooting for a cheap second base, but getting a question like that would easily net him third base or more. “Samantha. From that one book with the dog and the farm.”

She nearly fell from her stool. “Wow… that’s freaky.” She paused for even longer, struggling to grasp a thought and then trying to remember what she wanted to do with it. “You… you’re stalking me! Who ya been talking to?!”

Now he was the one who was fumbling to pick up his thoughts. He didn’t see that one coming, which he really ought to – not only because of the whole omniscience thing, but also because it was really obvious. It seemed that alcohol was doing a number on him too. “No baby… I’m serious… I… wait, ask me something only you know. Nobody else. Then I can’t know it!”

She looked at him with a mixture of bewilderment and disgust that only someone not quite in her best state of mind could achieve. “Then tell me… what was the name of the very first boy I had a crush on as a kid? No-one ever got to know that.”

He paused, and looked her deeply in the eyes, more for dramatic effect than to look for the answer. “Michael. Not the blond Michael, the red-haired one. Michael Loxbury.”

She stared at him, wide-mouthed, for a solid ten seconds (actually 9.6324, he determined, just out of curiosity). “Then it’s real… you… you really know everything…”

He grinned heartily. That stuff never got old for him. “Yes, actually… it’s a kind of a gift I’ve got… you see, when I was a kid…”

“You knew everything that I was gonna say!” Her tone of voice was slightly disturbing (and would be more than slightly so if he was sober), and he was really annoyed that he was caught off-guard twice in such a short timespan.

“Well uh, not really everything, you see…”

“YOU WERE PLAYING ME ALL ALONG!” Now her tone of voice was unarguably disturbing. “YOU KNEW EVERYTHING ABOUT ME AND WERE USING THAT TO GET ME TO LIKE YOU!”

This whole thing was really starting to irritate him. “Well it’s not like I was playing you along, it’s just that…”

“YOU WERE MESSING WITH MY CHILDHOOD SECRETS JUST TO GET INTO MY PANTS!!!” She threw whatever little was left of her martini on him and stumbled off angrily.

“Well that’s new,” he thought out loud, “how come I didn’t see that coming? I was supposed to… y’know… s’posed to…”

“Dude, not even God can figure out women,” said the guy next to him, not realizing that the omniscient man was supposed to be talking to himself.

“What’s that? Uh… hi.”

“So, how did you know all that stuff?”

“I’m tellin’ you! I’m omniscient!”

“Yeah right. Then how come you didn’t know what was gonna happen?”

“Well that’s what I was asking myself, if you’ll excuse me!” He then asked himself that very question, and got the same answer as always: I’m horrible at finding out what people are going to do.

“I’m horrible at finding out what people are going to do,” he repeated. “Otherwise, I know pretty much everything.”

“That’s bullshit.” The other guy turned away, disappointed that he was not going to find the key to women’s childhood secrets and to the consequent poonani.

“No really, I… uh… 297-45-3316.”

“What?”

“You heard it. 297-45-3316.”

“Shh man! Quiet!” The other guy looked nervously around. Obviously, no-one else heard that, or would care even if they did. “I don’t know where you got my SSN, but that don’t prove a thing!”

The omniscient guy sighed. “Look. You don’t wanna believe me, and you ain’t got boobs, so I see no point in proving anything.”

Both of them turned back toward the counter, satisfied with that flawless logic. And, logically, less than twenty seconds later, the omniscient guy turned to his fellow and said: “37 peanuts.”

“What?”

“In the peanut bag you were meaning to order. There’s gonna be 37 peanuts in it.”

“I wasn’t meaning to… well, fuck you.” I sure hope so, the guy who knew everything thought, while both men went back to staring attentively into their drinks.

Wait, maybe that guy was trying to get into his pants? No, not gay, just bored. Whew.

After struggling for a commendable amount of time, the other guy finally gave up and ordered his peanuts. When the bartender reached for the packet, the guy stopped him and said “Wait – not that one. Get me that one instead.” He wordlessly said “Gotcha!” to his fellow, who wordlessly said “You wish!”, while the barman wordlessly said “Whatever” and gave him the peanuts.

The other guy intently ate his peanuts, obviously counting them, and obviously trying to make it clear that he was not counting them. The omniscient man just waited, making a pitiful attempt to hide a smug smile, happy to be back in charge of things. When the sack was inevitably empty after the 37th peanut, the other guy managed to stall for a good six seconds (6.25363, his fellow was content to know) before conceding defeat. “Okay. You’re right. My name’s Mark.”

“I know.” Now he was just being a jerk. “Hank.”

“Very well… Hank. How… how do you do it?”

“You see, that’s one of the very few things that I don’t know – how it works. I just mentally ask myself any question and then, somehow, I know the answer. Anything. And it’s been right on the money every single time so far.”

“Awesome… so… you always had that?”

“Well, as I was telling Chrissy,” (her name was the third thing he discovered – the first being whether she puts out) “that started when I was a kid. Thinking back at it, took me pretty long to figure out I could do it, I was almost ten… I guess that’s just not the sort of thing you really expect…”

“Okay, okay, but… I mean… why don’t you use that? You could do, like, anything with that power!”

“Look, that’s not as easy as it sounds. I mean, using that ‘power’ to know stuff, that’s easy, but it’s a bitch to get anything out of that.”

“What?! You can, like, guess the lotto numbers, for starters!”

“Yeah of course, everyone says that, and in fact it was one of the first thing to come to mind. Of course, since I was just a kid, all I could get into was raffles and stuff. Won a few of ’em. That taught me the lesson – win too much, and people will be sure you’re doing something fishy. They thought it was rigged or something, and I had to give it all back, plus interest. That’s why I just win small prizes here and there, once in a while, just enough to get by without getting the IRS on my ass.”

“Wow, that sucks… but…”

“But I could get famous and win a Nobel and such?” Hank was starting to raise his voice. His “rant” switch was obviously flipped into the “on” position. “Yeah right. Both you and Chrissy got to believe me just because you were both drunk and bored. And tomorrow you’ll come to your senses and figure I’m just some crazy jackass.” Mark tried to articulate an excuse, say it was alright and he really believed Hank, but by now it was pretty much a monologue. “It’s always like that. Nobody believes me. That’s why it took me so long to really get to use it – my mom just thought I was crazy or trying to get attention, and my dad just thought it was cute.”

By now, Mark was starting to wish he hadn’t humored this guy. “And don’t even get me started about school. I got expelled from two, yeah, TWO schools for cheating before I learned to stay at C’s with a B thrown in once in a while for good measure. They think you can’t be smart and not be a pencil-necked four-eyed nerd, noooo, Hank has got to be getting the right answers somewhere.” Well, actually you were, Mark thought, but wisely decided to keep that thought silent.

“By the time I got to my SAT, I had gotten smart already. Sure, that was the one test I had to get right, but you can never be too safe. If I got a really good score, even in the unlikely event in that they wouldn’t kick me out for cheating, I’d become some kind of TV sideshow – ‘the kid who get a great SAT without studying’ – and I’d been there and done that, back when I was 12. Can’t hardly last a month before people coming up with a way to ‘debunk’ my ‘trickery’.” You could just pretend you were studying, y’know, keep a decent cover, Mark mentally piped up again.

“So I looked up the lowest Ivy League SAT – still way too much. Would raise too many red flags for a guy like me. But still, my parents would go wild if I got into Yale or something. So I spent pretty much all of my test time debating myself over that, and long story short, I got an Associate’s Degree at a local community college. Hey, better than nothing, right?” Mark nodded eagerly, who the hell knows what Hank was capable of.

“So I pretty much breezed through college. At least there I could get some decent grades, I mean, it’s not like someone was even looking or cared. Man, those were wild times. Thinking back on it, I could’ve spared my old man the grant cash, what with the lotto prizes and such, but who gave a fuck. Pot don’t come cheap.”

“Uh… what were you studying there again?” Mark hoped the answer would be something like “psychology” or “philosophy” or somesuch. Anything that meant Hank’s life wasn’t a total waste.

“Business, of course. I mean, duh. That’s where the money is, especially for someone with inside info, right?” Even not being omniscient, Mark knew what the next word would be. “WRONG! For one, management don’t give a shit to what you have to say if you’re new. And probably not if you’re experienced either. Anyway… well, that inside info is pretty hard to use too. I thought it was suspicious to guess the right answers at school, try guessing the stock market! Long story short, I got fired from FIVE fucking companies, they fired me before their names could get dirty with anything. Those ungrateful bastards! I mean, EVERYONE cheats in business! Hell I KNOW that, I mean, I know know that! I can even give you a figure! 78% of all companies knowingly cheat for their own good! There you go! And they fire me just because I’m netting them TOO much? Bah! ‘Going too far’ my ass! Like the IRS would ever know!”

By this point, Mark was nervously looking at his watch, hoping against hope that it was entirely too late and that he really had to go. “So, long story short, I managed to secure a nice middle management gig with a company whose boss had a little tryst with his little daughter. That way I know I’m not gonna be fired or anything, as long as I keep my low profile.” By this point, Mark was really sure that he had to leave as soon as possible.

“And you think I could at least use that shitty fucking ‘superpower’ to figure out women, right? Like hell! Oh sure, I can get them alright, just figure where they’re gonna be, what kinda wine they like, that sort of stuff, and bingo. Seen ‘Sliver’? Like that. But then, once I got them, in no time they’re running away like I’ve got the plague. Cherry there” (Chrissy, you asshole, thought Mark) “was pretty quick, well, at least that was painless. Didn’t get my hopes up and all. But my wives… I’ve been married four times, ya know. Last one left last month. Well, they just don’t make any fucking sense.” Mark knew the guy for barely 15 minutes and he couldn’t blame them.

“I mean, I KNOW what they want! I KNOW what they need! I fucking figure out all of that, hand them all that stuff in a silver platter, and the bitches keep complaining that they’re unhappy! Didn’t that bitch Sheila want a mink coat? She got that. Romantic dinner every fucking fortnight? She’s always wishing for that, I know, and she got that. Fucking trip to the Greek Isles?! I take that cow there, we go to every last sand-filled shithole in that place, the full monty, and she’s pissed all the time. From the face she had when we got back, I might as well have sent her to a Siberian gulag. And then she gives me the boot, after getting fucking everything she wants.”

Mark then decided it was finally time to take a hint from Sheila. “Look Hank, I gotta go, y’know… my mother, she’s not alright…”

“Your fucking whore of a mother died 15 years, 3 months and 12 days ago! I know you don’t have to fucking go anywhere, because your cock-sucking wife kicked you out of your home and you had nothing better to do than spend the whole night here! And you fucking knew that I knew that! Why be an asshole and lie to me?”

Mark suddenly stood up and slammed his hand on the counter. “Okay, fuckface, that’s it. You think you know it all, but you don’t know shit.” Hank chuckled. “Yeah, you heard that right. Too bad that you gotta ask a question to get your answer, because you’re too stupid to ask any question worth a damn. How about ‘why is my wife unhappy’? Did you ever bother with that?” Hank realized that he didn’t, but he was too pissed off to ask himself that at this point, and besides, he wasn’t about to admit that Mark was right. What the hell did he know anyway? He wasn’t the omniscient one, for sure. “The problem with you, Hank, is that you’re a self-serving bastard. That’s why everybody hates you – because you’re a dick. Now eat shit and die.”

With that, Mark stormed off angrily. He went to the bar to wind down and forget his problems, the last thing he needed was some jerk to piss him off. Unfortunately, the robber who accosted him had no idea of his disposition, and rather rudely tried to wrest away his wallet. In the ensuing fight, the robber’s gun (which Mark had no way to know about, not being omniscient) went off and killed him. After going through his stuff, the robber threw his victim in a nearby ditch, since he didn’t know that he wouldn’t get caught anyway even if the body was found. And neither of them could know that this ditch was soon covered by a landslide, as a result of the storm that neither of them knew was coming (but that the weatherman accurately predicted), and as a result, Mark’s body was never found. His wife, Gina, never got to know about any of the events that transpired that fateful evening, and so, with Mark’s complete and utter disappearance, she assumed that he decided to just leave and start a new life elsewhere, so she decided it was finally time to move on.

Hank, of course, knew all of that, having taken the time to wonder exactly what would be Mark’s fate. In fact, he knew all of that before Mark even reached the door, which is why the man that he left behind had a wide grin, rather than the stunned look that Mark was hoping for. With that knowledge, Hank went out to meet Gina, and – knowing the right question to ask, thanks Mark – they lived happily ever after.

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