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Break to Bind: Tape 5

Rymer, Jeffrey N.

A gray Sony mini-cassette is tucked inside a smoky plastic case. A hand-written gum label is affixed to the case. Subject: Rymer, Jeffrey N. Beneath the cassette case, a stack of bond paper, slightly brown with age. The top and bottom margins appear to have been trimmed, so that the pages are 8 ½ by something less than 11. The type is bold and distinct, IBM Selectric. In several places, words have been redacted with the use of an x-acto knife.

[Dr. Carol Lopez, female, hereafter ‘L’]… Please identify yourself for the record. [transcription note: L speaks with neutral American accent]

[Jeffrey Rymer, male, hereafter ‘R’]… Jeff Rymer, my uh, do you need my birth date? [transcription note: R speaks with American upper Midwest accent]

L… Sure.

R… January tenth of sixty-two.

L… Thank you, Jeff. Can you tell me when you first started to think you were different?

R… When I was fifteen. There were little hints before then. I had my suspicions, but I was sure by the time I was sixteen.

L… What made you sure?

R… I broke my leg, my right one, my collar bone, messed up my knee pretty bad in a car accident. I had a bunch of pins and screws all up my leg. The doctors said I’d limp the rest of my life. And if I was lucky they might be able to take the screws and pins out some day. But as I healed, I expelled all the metal bits and everything healed up stronger than before.

L… So are you a healer like Bill?

R… No, I can’t effect how fast I heal that much, and I can’t heal anyone else. The effect is, it uh, only affects me. I just control how I heal myself, and a few other things.

L… I looked at your x-rays earlier. You have a lot of foreign material in your body, Jeff.

R… Yeah. I’ve had

L… Are you all right? Jeff?

R… I’m fine. Sorry.

L… That’s quite all right. Would you like to take a—

R… No, I’m fine. I’m sorry. Where were we?

L… If you’re sure you want to continue. We were talking about the foreign material in your body.

R… Yeah, I had it all implanted. Bill and I cooperate to speed up the healing, make sure it all bonds to the right tissues.

L… You do this to yourself, Jeff?

R… Yes. I’ve also had a lot of bones broken, to regrow them.

L… What would be the purpose of that?

R… To increase bone density. I take a lot of supplements while I’m doing that.

L… Jeff, a healed bone is weaker than one that was never broken before, no matter how much calcium you-

R… That’s not true for me. Like I said, I can control how I heal. I have them broken in spirals. Then when they heal, the area along the break is stronger, but also a little more flexible. Strengthens the whole bone, makes it more resistant to breaks. I can control a lot of my bodily functions. How much water I retain, how fast my heart beats, how quickly I digest food. I have three what you might call organic IV bags under my skin. Between those and the water retention trick, I can go several days without food or water, though it’s not much fun. I’ve rearranged some of my musculature, too, had a thin layer of reflective titanium foil implanted in my eyes to improve my low-light vision, replaced most of the bone in my inner ears with an ultra-conductive composite that I developed. If I concentrate, I can control that. Filter out some sounds, amplify others. Over time I’ve enhanced some of my organs and glands, like my whole endocrine system, my heart and lungs. My lungs are a lot more efficient than anyone else’s. I can breathe pretty bad air for a long time. All the long bones are sheathed in carbon fiber now. I’ve regrown most of my skin around an ultra-fine Kevlar mesh-

L… All right. I understand that it was you and Dr. Sherman who first started the foundation.

R… Sure. Bill joined a little later. The doc’s first interests were on the medical side of things, so we were the ones that were hooked up with him first.

L… You were all [ ] already?

R… Yes. My father was always a [ ] and a friend of his sponsored me in. Dad wasn’t real active, though he always paid his dues.

L… What was the attraction to you?

R… Of the [ ]?

L… Yes. Why did you join?

R… I guess it would be, there were two things that appealed to me. First was that the [ ] have always been open-minded people, they look for the spiritual side of things, or the meaning of things, the structure behind the world we see. For some that means religion, or the occult, or philosophy or science. Dad was a philosophy professor. I got a degree in materials science, plus I had an interest in the occult for obvious reasons. Simon would say the [ ] are moths, attracted to any and every flame with no real discrimination. There’s some truth in that, but it’s not a bad thing, as he’d have you believe. Second, the other thing, would be that, you know, they’re not all geniuses by any means, but they’re almost all just good guys. Enjoyable to talk to. Honorable men.

L… I understand you were very badly hurt recently.

R… Yes.

L… Is this worth it to you? The danger? Do you find it unnecessary? Excessive?

R… It’s the best thing, the only thing, I could do with my life. After seeing the things I’ve seen.

L… What have you seen, Jeff?

R… I’ve seen terrible things, Carol. Terrible things.

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