At first I did what all of them did - got enough sleep, had four squares a day, studied maneuvers, stayed around the bars too late after training, called home. The routine tasks. Daily repetition. But in time the act of existing for others slowly grew tedious. The pretext fractured under stress, from weariness. It cracked open and slipped away, piece by piece, and was gone. Ambushed and cornered in my real skin, I called the airstrip and claimed sickness. Immediately after I hung up, the phone rang. It would be Ruth. And I didn't have my Ruth voice or my Ruth beliefs, or my Ruth anything. The phone went quiet for seven seconds and then started ringing again. At some point I would tell her the same story. I was sick. It wasn't a lie, because few things could be more sickening than losing the ability to hide inside your body, to distract with your voice, to forfeit countless layers of carefully maintained skin. It was the ultimate sickness. Nothing else in the world could be more like the truth.