Lady GaGa’s voice rained down from the ceiling … spilling out, “Born this way” in the small café off the central market in Marrakech. Two boys were hugging in a dark corner, their naked bodies partly covered by a sheer, white jalabe. Jason Montieth was taking notes for his next book called, “Identity Theft.” At the same time, Alexa Cordat entered an exclusive art gallery in central Manhattan where she was immediately surrounded by admirers. Her latest art “manifestation” was on display. The work involved buckets of cow brains and large-scale digital images of fast food. Frail models in underwear passed out Deluxe Burgers to the ravenous crowd. A wealthy collector, Ambrose Vim, was overwhelmed by Alexa’s new art. Vim was a banker who made millions reselling bad mortgages to investment banks. He also invested in art. In Syracuse, New York, Mabel Hamsley was evicted from her home. She was 72 when she began living on the street with her belongings in a shopping cart. She wrote poetry in a tattered, blue notebook about her struggles to survive. Harmon Spinoza was a politician running for congress from the great state of Texas. He devoted his life to ending big government. He was a very religious man who had fallen from grace, but he knew in his heart that all his sins would be forgiven if he made the country safe by promoting Christian Values. Antok-Ibin was an extraterrestrial who studied humans for a financial report to be used by the Galactic Consortium with an interest in new investment opportunities. Antok-Ibin saw great potential in reselling phony planetary insurance to the naïve earthlings.
Jason Montieth was certain his identity had been stolen — that was the incentive for writing his new book. He wanted to discover the person who committed the crime. His investigation led him back to the states. He sat in a downtown Starbucks in Syracuse, N.Y. drinking a diluted mocha-latte’. He was drilling down through layers of clues and searching through files on criminals he retrieved from Liz Ophallia, his friend at the PD – a woman he dated when attending Syracuse University before she joined the police force. It wasn’t common practice to give a civilian files, but Liz had the authority and Jason had helped her in the past. The more he drilled, the more complicated his quest became leading to new victims and a larger criminal conspiracy. Jason was hardly the first victim of identity theft. Connections were everywhere, branching out like a vast highway system. Thieves stole identities that were sold and stolen again and again. He recognized a few names in the reports – not certain why they were familiar. The atmosphere in the Starbucks seemed to change as Jason delved into the multitude of files. Darkness from the hallway slithered into the main room. Lights dimmed and the walls appeared covered in ornate Oriental-fabric. A teenage waiter carried a large bucket from table to table dishing out gobs of cow brains. The front window peered directly into an art gallery displaying large-format images of fast food. Jason recognized several people: an artist, wealthy collector, homeless poet, religious politician, police officer, even an extraterrestrial. After drilling for so long, the evidence was beginning to congeal. Jason saw himself staring out of the massive mountain of clues. He unearthed the identity thief, the one who stole lives and took them as his own. The thief lived inside Jason’s brain and each day he became someone else.