It was not a large room, nor was it a very small room. There was nothing particular about it. There were no decorations or paintings, no windows or photographs on the four plain walls. There was no furniture except for the bench that Alex sat upon and no door except the one to his right. The door was white like the walls and it blended into them so acutely that one could miss it altogether if they weren’t looking for it. He could see no lights or lamps, yet the room was bright and clear as if the whiteness of the walls was bleeding into the atmosphere and illuminating it.
Alex Dayton did not know exactly why he was here. He imagined it was some kind of waiting room, but couldn’t remember if it was for a doctor or dentist. The room was so nondescript it could’ve easily been either. There were none of the usual amenities of a waiting room. There were no fake plastic potted plants or diagrams of eyeballs or bicuspids on the wall. There were no magazines or books and Alex wondered if there was even a bathroom nearby. Not that he had to go, he felt fine actually. There was no pain in his body or mouth, no illness coming over him. He felt just as blank as the room he was sitting in.
Maybe it wasn’t that type of place he was waiting in. Alex realized his memory was shot and he thought perhaps he was in a mental hospital of some sort. A slight spasm of panic shot up his spine as his mind began to relay the possibility that there was something mentally wrong with him. He couldn’t remember how he got here. He didn’t know where here was. He couldn’t remember if he drove here or not. And if he had driven here, where the hell did he park his battered ‘92 Honda? All these questions hammered through him and he wondered what exactly he did know.
That’s easy, he thought, I know lots of things.
It was true. Although his mind seemed devoid of the pertinent knowledge of how he arrived in the white room, it was instead filled to the brim with an extraordinary amount of other things. In his mind’s eye he could see complex equations, mathematical symbols and formulas as clear as daylight. He understood all of them with perfect clarity, despite the fact that he had barely passed geometry in high school. He knew chemical concoctions, the detailed laws of physics and matter...even though, at some point in the distant past he had had trouble remembering the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies. He knew historical facts and figures. He knew important dates and events in a complete catalogued form. He could see the inauguration of Lyndon Johnson, JFK and even Teddy Roosevelt, despite that all happening well before he was even born. He knew almost everything...Except, of course, how he came about this knowledge.
He knew at the very least that somehow all this knowledge had led him to this room…
A couple of weeks before all the knowledge and the white room, Alex Dayton was slowly wasting away to the incurable disease called gambling. Over the course of three years, two months, and six days he had gone from a lowly member of the United States Post Office, to an even lowlier, down and out drunk who had pissed his life savings away in the one and only city of sin, Las Vegas. The monotony of sorting endless amounts of mail that was never for him had finally made him crack, and instead of following in the footsteps of other disgruntled postal workers and opening fire on a crowd with a smoking, semi-automatic rifle, he had elected to fly to Vegas to drain his bank account dry. He was thirty-seven, skinny, and balding. He had no wife, no kids, no obligations to anyone, and a little over ten grand in the bank. The time had come to finally take a risk in his miserable, forsaken life.
The first couple of weeks is what did it to him. He was winning and winning big. He was terminally infected and proceeded to rampage up and down the Vegas Strip until he was rich or dead. For a short period (almost a year to be exact) he was very rich. He was taking stretched limos from Caesar's Palace to the Bellagio. He played big on the Blackjack and Craps tables at Bally's, in an expensive Armani white tuxedo with an expensive whore on each arm. He was not Alex Dayton, the lowly, disgruntled postal worker, but a certified “high roller”. There were no more lonely mornings in his cramped, filthy, suburban apartment. No more late nights with a bottle of spoiled whiskey and desperate trots to the local, sleazy strip joint. Alex Dayton was on top of the world.