“There is an ounce of fact for every pound of science fiction.” – Chainsaw
December 22nd 2017, 9:45 p.m. EST. A familiar scenario, one that’s played out time and time again, perhaps since time began? Or at least since white collar workers decided they needed yet another privileged activity, to separate themselves from their blue collared counterparts. An annual office Christmas party is winding down. Of the remaining guests are those who’ve volunteered to help clean up and those who are going to need a ride home. The fact that Henry was remaining among the remnant of revelers remained a riddle. His unexpected presence had been forgotten in the festivities.
But they took note of him as he attempted to slip out unnoticed, with the expected generic fanfare—“Going so soon!” “Drive safe!” “Have a Merry Christmas!” Of course somebody always has to chime in that little psychologically spun play on time. Whether it’s a friend, family member, co-worker or maybe even the bag boy at the local grocery, somebody has got to say it, (in this case it was Rob from accounting)—“We’ll see ya next year!” At this Henry paused, with a quirked brow and a slight smile he sighed- “No… no you won’t.” With this he closed the door behind him and was gone; leaving his associates to ponder. “What do you suppose he meant by that?” “You don’t suppose he’s going to…” “I don’t know, but it wouldn’t surprise me, old Hanks had a pretty rough year!” That was an understatement.
Henry had caught his wife and her lover at last year’s New Year’s Eve party. He wasn’t the last to know but the affair had gone on long enough that he wasn’t the first. This led to a quick and ugly divorce and Henry spiraling into a deep depression. It wasn’t the estrangement of his spouse; their relationship had been faltering for some time. Rather it was the limited visitation with his 5 year old son, whom he adored, that brought him to his knees. The spiraling ripple effect had affected his life as well as work and had nearly cost him his job on several occasions. But could it cost him far more tonight?
It was Janet, who in response grabbed her own things to leave, that stood in Henry’s defense. “He would never do… that. He would never leave his little boy.” She would know, of them she knew him best. Rumors circulated about them, but in truth they were… just friends? Of course that’s all they were. Oh, there were feelings she knew they secretly shared, but she firmly believed in the sanctity of marriage and would do nothing to tarnish that sacred institution. But… that was in the past now, right? So could there could be something more? If she didn’t hurry, she might not get the chance to find out.
She had never been invited into the apartment he’d been forced to take up residence in following the divorce. It wasn’t that he hadn’t thought of it in the beginning, but now it was rather…crowded. There was little or no floor space. Most of this crowded and covered with countless volumes on quantum physics, stacks of sci-fi novels and DVDs all based solely or loosely on one particular subject-time travel. The walls were covered with scribbled notes and diagrams. Every surface held scores of wiring and numerous electronic devices.
In the master bedroom was the coup de grâce; the collective result of all his researched labors over the past 6 months. And tonight he would put all theories to the test. After troubling over a solution to his direly depressing situation, he had come to one profound conclusion and solution, he would travel back in time to that fateful night, murder his cheating spouse and her lover, dump their bodies in the time stream and claim they had run off together… of course he may have to kill his past self but would that kill him or just start another timeline…details…details. He’d figure it out when he got there; but first…to get there.
Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed. Flux capacitor…fluxing. Copper time discus spinning. Reality warper engaged. Time circuits set to December 31st 2016, 11:45 p.m. EST. Now to step into the booth, dial up the past, erase his present and fix the future. There is a loud hum. A brilliantly blinding flash of light followed by a small explosion and then…
December 31st 2018 11:59:50 p.m. EST. 10, 9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1…HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Henry takes Janet into his arms and she returns his loving embrace with a warm kiss. Much like the one she used a week ago to resuscitate him when she found him lying in his apartment unconscious, amidst a mess of smoldering electronics.
The future is uncertain and no matter our plight or woes, we cannot change the past in hopes to make it better. What we can do is make the present the best we can and hope for tomorrow.
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