I dreamed that everyone in the world was named Nick.
There were Big Nicks and Little Nicks and Saint Nicks and Bulldog Nick Mocha the prize fighter, and Nick “Three Finger” Capelli who ran numbers out of a San Diego warehouse, and Nick Osgood who sold stamps behind the counter in a New Jersey post office, and I dreamed that my name was Nick Douchette, which is French for Duke, so I took that name for myself when I woke up. Sometimes dreams are a sign of things, like Jesus had dreams before he fed everyone loaves and fishes.
Everyone called me Cronic for so long, I can’t hardly remember what my real name used to be. So I change my name whenever I get bored with it, move on to the next one and invent a whole new different person. In Richmond, I was Scott Cameron; in Paterson, New York I was Charlie Lotz. North Virginia I was Danny Winston for almost six months. After I killed Charlie, I became Charlie Warner, and I liked that one most. But I’m thinkin’ my real name might be Nick Douchette. Sometimes people dream the truth about who they are. Cronic’s just a name I use when I can’t think of anything else to call myself.
I like the morning. For the first time in six or nine days, the bed was empty except for my traveling bag. There were a few early morning semi’s driving by, and someone left a pile of crushed beer cans beside the Coke machine. They fell over when I opened the door. I coulda been anywhere in the world, miles of highway stretching out like muscular arms in either direction, east and west, past and future, and I felt like my home was on the road. There’s nothin’ like a hot shower first thing, before the world wakes up and goes back to sleep in its endless cycle of day ‘pon day.
Excerpt from Cronic – Coming 5/1/15