“A Reflexive Lake”
By Marc Lowe
He writes: Do I have any ideas for a new story today?
He has just finished reading a short tale about two “mes,” and has also recently watched a film about doppelgangers and broken mirrors, yet the theme of the double to him seems a bit repetitive for a new story: worn-out, outdated. Why, in fact, should any person have a double anyway? What purpose would this double serve? Would the double, as in Poe’s “William Wilson,” act as a foil? Or would he exist solely to drive the “original” mad? Perhaps even to suicide? How should one react upon meeting one’s double? Shy? angry? afraid? speechless? Would it be rude to assert that one was the “real” whoever? What if one’s double were in fact older than oneself by a day, a month, a year?!?
Perhaps there’s a story somewhere in here, perhaps not, he tells himself. The question is whether or not it’s one worth pursuing. There are so many stories in the world, but not all of them are in fact worth telling. He looks up from his red notebook, in which he has been writing, and there, sitting across from him at the dimly-lit café, is another him. You’re so derivative, the second him says. Don’t you know that everyone has written doppelganger stories already, from Dostoevsky to Nabokov to Saramago…? Yours will just be one more drop of water in an already flooded, reflective lake.
The writer frowns, looks back at his notebook, and wonders whether or not he ought to keep writing. He decides to keep the pen moving for now, even if his story is derivative, unoriginal, even if it reminds him of another story he himself wrote at another café in Hiroshima many years ago with an equally clever title. When he looks up from his notebook again the double is gone. Perhaps it was no more than an illusion, a projection emanating from his unsettled brain. Or perhaps there really were two “hes” sitting in this café across from one another just moments ago. Stranger things have happened.
He closes his notebook and gets up to leave the café, when before him appears a thin young man, who looks around eight or so years his junior, with dark hair and glasses, a book entitled Repetition tucked under his arm, along with a red notebook that looks rather like his own…
 Originally an untitled notebook entry, written on 7/15/2012, the author’s daughter’s first birthday.
 After Paul Auster (see: The New York Trilogy, etc.).
 “Sui Generis,” though in that story the doubles were Japanese Scubrats employees.
 French title: La Reprise (2001) by Alain Robbe-Grillet.