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Bruce H. Hinrichs

The Invisible Man

Spencer was invisible. As far back as he could remember, he had always been invisible, at least part of the time. He first became aware of it in childhood, but he noticed it had gotten worse as he got older. Now Spencer found that he was invisible nearly all the time.

Spencer lived in a big city. When he walked down the street, although there were dozens of people nearby, not one of them could see him. No one looked at him at all!Spencer found it quite amazing. No one ever greeted him, though hundreds of people passed by him daily. They all stared into space or right through him. Also, when Spencer entered an elevator, no matter how many others were there, they all stared persistently at the numbers above the door. No one saw Spencer. No one spoke to him or reacted to him. When inside a building, the same was true. He was invisible. He could walk the halls amongst other people and not one person would look at him or acknowledge his presence. If Spencer attempted to enter a room,quite often there would be people standing and chatting in his way, congregating right in the doorway. When Spencer arrived, they did not move, they did not look at him, they did not acknowledge his presence;they simply stood unmoving and continued chatting without a glance at him. Spencer was invisible.

Spencer also noticed that when he was talking to others they usually could not hear him. When he spoke, others looked away, fiddled with their clothes or fingers, or started conversations with others; they did not respond whatsoever to what Spencer said. Apparently Spencer was not only invisible, Spencer also was inaudible. Spencer talked, but no one seemed to hear him. He could ask questions, tell jokes, or relate funny events, but nearly every time, the people around him did not respond, did not make eye contact, did not see or hear him. In fact, they often began talking to others while Spencer had not yet finished a comment. Spencer was invisible and inaudible.

One day Spencer stopped using deodorant. Since he was invisible and inaudible, he reasoned that perhaps he also was inolfactible. And, yes, it was true, no one seemed to notice. No one told Spencer that he smelled bad. No one at all. Spencer moved invisibly, inaudibly, and inolfactibly amongst others. No one noticed him. The Invisible Man.

Spencer was aware that, just like Claude Rains who plyed the Invisible Man chracter in the movies, he did in fact leave footprints. When walking in the snow or on the beach, for example, Spencer loked behind and saw his prints. Unlie the case with Claude Rains, however, no one else semed to notice Spencer’s footprints. To other people, Spencer seemed not to exist. Spencer movd in his milieu without being acknwledged, recognzed, approached, or addressed by anyone. It was as if he didn’t exist. Well, excpt for the footpints. Oh, and a miror reflection that Sencer culd see. Others did nt seem to be awre of te reflecion, however.

Spencer oftn wondered wat was hapening to him. Ws he like the Incedible Shriking Mn who hd encounted a strnge mist tat cased hm to graually vanish? Had Spener ben engulfed by sme strage mst? He culn’t rmeber it. Altough, there was netim as a chldwhene ws cauht in th rain ad got vry wet. Cod it hav ben acid rin hat causd hi to gadu-aly beoe ivsibe? Spcer oten mulld oer hs fae, but hdn’t the faitest ida wht case hi to be iviible or wt hecoud do abot it.

S ecrsomge, iu ionnt. ion d ; he ey. T on frgoien. Wth , rt, hun t n. S, t r y wa g is eiveo o li e inny.asorschm. S , a s t y o S n , tI M . I e s h d.y h e d i e.


Bruce H. Hinrichs is a professor, artist, and author of both nonfiction and fiction in Minneapolis.


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