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A piece from last semester. We had to write a story based only on the title we were given.

I Am Not Keanu Reeves

Before I tell you what I did, let me tell you why I did it.

The stares started in 1989, when I lived in New York. The first instance was at my personal hangout, a small coffee shop with a pleasant atmosphere and good coffee. Usually the place was fairly quiet, but on this particular gray morning, my peace was disturbed by a gaggle of giggling girls outside, peering at me through the window. I glanced around to see if they were staring at someone else, but no. They were clearly fixated on me. I chose to ignore them, but they continued to stare. When I could no longer stand their suppressed squeals, I retreated to the bathroom, where I spent the a few minutes sipping my coffee and praying those girls would go away. Lo and behold, when I left the bathroom, the girls were gone. I resumed my seat and finished what was left of my coffee in peace.

For the next few weeks, everything was normal. I would push and shove through the sidewalk traffic like every other peon heading to work. I would spend my day in a cubicle, then push and shove all the way home: a small apartment with no one but my cat to keep me company, and she spent most of her day hiding under the couch. I had almost entirely forgotten about the coffee shop incident until one Sunday morning. I was making my way towards my hangout when a couple teenagers blocked my path, staring at me with wide eyes and open jaws.

A few seconds passed by before I realized neither of us were going anywhere. “What?” I snapped. Remember, I hadn’t had my morning coffee yet.

“Dude, it’s Ted!” one of the boys gasped.

The second guy knocked the other on in the shoulder. “Nah man, it can’t be. Ted lives out in, like, Hollywood or somethin’.”

“I’m not Ted,” I said, and forced my way by. Their voices faded away as they continued to argue over my identity.

I had considered my run in to be only a minor confusion. Perhaps I looked like someone those guys knew, this… Ted guy. But the next day, I got stopped again, this time by a young couple who wanted my autograph.

Now I was really confused. “You want my autograph?” I asked.

The girl let out a high pitched snicker before shoving the pen and paper towards my chest. “Of course!” she said. “You’re Ted!”

“Who is this Ted guy?” I asked, now more confused than ever.

The woman pulled a disappointed frown and glanced at her boyfriend. “Oh,” she sighed. “I guess you’re not him, then.”


“Ted. From Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” the guy said. “I mean, you look just like the guy who plays him. Kay-a-nuh somethin’-or-other. Don’t you watch movies, man?” He shook his head, clearly frustrated that I wasn’t this Kayanuu guy and that he wouldn’t have a celebrity story to endlessly repeat at social gatherings. They walked away without another word.

Things only got worse from there. I was constantly stopped on the street, disrupted at my coffee shop, and even confronted at my small cubicle. Always the same comments. “Are you Ted?” they would always ask, and when I denied they continued to pester me. “No, you have to be Ted!” and then they’d spout of some of this Ted guy’s best known quotes as if this would somehow dislodge my memory and remind me that yes, I am Ted.

I began to get progressively more irritated by the constant disruptions and decided to look into the matter. People were mistaking me to be Keanu Reeves, who was well known for the Ted character. I’d never heard of the guy, since, as the stranger from before so wisely figured out, I don’t like movies. But after the umpteenth pen was shoved my face, I decided to watch one his movies. Bill & Ted seemed to be the most popular, so I rented it one day, was stopped five times on my way home from the video store, and popped it in when I finally got home.

I didn’t see any physical resemblance. My eyes were a completely different shape and my jaw was much more chiseled than Keanu’s. I also just didn’t like the guy. The movie wasn’t my style. Too much bad humor and not enough character development. Keanu I found o be a particularly bad actor. I barely made it through the first hour before turning the tv off and passing out on the couch, lost as to how anyone could like this guy, and how I could ever be mistaken to be such a person.

I was awoken the next day by what sounded like bees outside. Rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I stalked over to the window and poked my head out, not sure what to expect. A loud cheer greeted me as I looked down at what must have been a crowd of 50 people bunched together on the sidewalk, holding signs that said things like “We love you Keanu!” and “Marry me Ted!”

“Oh what the hell is this!” I yelled. The last thing I wanted to see in the morning was a swarm of people I didn’t know and who didn’t know ME outside MY window! I stormed down stairs, not bothering to get any more decent than a pair of boxers and a tshirt. My landlord confronted me on the way down, curing me in her German tongue. When I opened the door to the street, the onlookers cheered even louder and even started chanting: “Keanu, Keanu, Keanu!”

I waved my hands to try and get them to quiet down but the only got louder. “Hey!” I screamed. They must have misinterpreted my gestures, because they chanted faster. I took a deep breath, cupped my hands around my mouth, and shouted: “HEY SHUT UP!”

The group finally quieted down. Those who were still talking were violently shushed by the others. I scanned the crowd and tried to assess the situation. They stared at me like I was a saint, eyes wide open as they eagerly awaited my wise words. “I am not Keanu Reeves,” I said. “You have the wrong person.”

“But…you look just like him!” a voice exclaimed from the mass.

“If I looked like the pope, would I be the pope?”

“… yes?” said a meek voice. I scanned the crowd trying to find the idiot but was only greeted with sad faces.

“Go home,” I said, shooing them all away. “Just leave, okay? Keanu is probably in LA, where all those other actors are. Go bother him there.”

With a collective groan, the group parted. Agitated, I went back into the apartment building, wondering what the hell had just happened.

Over the next ten years, things didn’t get any better. I was still always stopped by someone who wanted an autograph, a hug, or for me to spout some famous line. As the real Keanu Reeves got more famous, so did the knowledge that he was a terrible actor and the confrontations started to get ugly. People would stop me just to ridicule me by doing bad impressions of Keanu’s wooden acting style.

People would throw whatever they had on hand at me when I wasn’t looking. When The Matrix movies came along, people would either stop to admire me and ask me to do the backwards, slow-motion bullet dodge move (which, when I refused to do it, they would then show me just what they meant, as if I was the stupid one, and subsequently fall on their backs) or tell me what a horrible job I did and how I should go eat shit and die.

After a decade of this crap, it became too much to bear. I had to quit my office job and find a way to work from home because I couldn’t step out of the apartment without being confronted. I had groceries delivered to me, which were brought up by the landlady, perhaps the only person in the world who knew I wasn’t Keanu Reeves, and had the papers to prove it. But that didn’t stop the letters that filled my small mailbox or the rocks being thrown through my window. Every so often, there would even be rallies on the street.

When the 7th rock crashed through my window and became the 3rd rock to hit me on the head, I guess it did something to my mind because I suddenly had a revelation. I knew how to fix this entire problem of being mistaken for some silly actor.

And that is why I killed Keanu Reeves.


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April 2011

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