“All of Us Are Dying,” George Clayton Johnson, 1961 – A drifter who is able to assume the appearance of people from other people’s pasts makes his way through life by playing upon their desire for closure. Some want to settle scores, but most want to repay debts, socialize, or end the relationship with goodbye sex. At the conclusion, he’s brutally beaten by someone who’s sworn to kill “him.” He struggles to tell his attacker his real identity, but he can’t remember his name.
Comments: Read in SF Author’s Choice 4.
The story was made into the Twilight Zone episode “The Four of Us Are Dying.” “After the first half-dozen stories had been written, part of the hustle was getting an agent. Through those years I found several who would let me use their names, though few cared to sign a contract with me. One of these men, Jay Richards – at the time head of the television department of the Famous Artists Agency, long since absorbed by I.F.A. (International Famous Agency), and since embedded in I.C.M. (International Creative Management), which represents me now in television and movies – agreed to read something. I showed Jay ‘All of Us Are Dying.’ After reading it, he crossed out the title with a ballpoint pen and wrote in ‘Rubberface!’ Then he sent it to Rod Serling, who had a new series that season called The Twilight Zone.” — George Clayton Johnson, writing in the August 1981 issue of The Twilight Zone Magazine (Wikipedia)
Author: Wikipedia: “George Clayton Johnson (born July 10, 1929 in Cheyenne, Wyoming) is an American science fiction writer most famous for co-writing the novel Logan’s Run with William F. Nolan (basis for the 1976 film). He is also known for his work in television, writing screenplays for such noted series as The Twilight Zone, such as ‘Nothing in the Dark’, ‘Kick the Can’, ‘A Game of Pool’ and ‘A Penny for Your Thoughts’, and Star Trek, the first aired episode of the series, ‘The Man Trap’. He also wrote the story on which the 1960 and 2001 films Ocean’s Eleven were based.” The SF Site’s review of his anthology, All of Us Are Dying and Other Stories.