What happens when you mix pot, a mad scientist with a highschool grudge bent on revenge, and time travel? Read it and find out!....did I mention the hot love scene?...I
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The Jointed Time
by Gracindo Jason Pereira
John Andrews, his winter jacket still zipped shut, thin face paler than usual from a lack of daylight and nerves, opens one of the multi doors to the mall. The amplified noise almost turns him back. He hates busy malls; the crowds and children screaming, giggling, laughing, people rushing about, looking, staring. He brushes passed people, some almost running into him as he weaves in, out, and through, stepping quickly, almost tripping. He would not be there if not for the great electronic rebate deal at the local Future Shack.... It is early morning and people are streaming in to buy up what they can, on this, 'the mother of all boxing days' said the billboards exclaiming in huge font, the Christmas music still being piped through the unseen speakers somewhere above. John fights off a feeling to look back and see if anyone is following, he continues forward and up the crowded escalator. Looking up, he notices the high ceiling above and the glare of neon lights beaming down, hurting his eyes, giving him a pulsating headache. Stepping off the escalator, he makes his way forward still weaving back and forth, then turns into the Future Shack, through the turnstiles. Inside, more people wander past the aisles. John is a bit disoriented but soon knows where to go. His feet carry him forward...
He pushes through more people and makes his way to one of the glass display cases inside Future Shack and, to his luck, a store attendant walks past. He grabs at the attendant's arm.
"I'd like to have some pager watches please, the ones that are on special this week only"
The unkempt attendant sorted through the keys on his key-chain and unlocks the sliding glass door. He looks as if he has not slept for days.
"How many do you need sir?" asked the attendant trying to talk over the din of all the milling people walking passed.
"All of them please", answered John now unzipping his jacket.
"All 10 in the display case?"
"Yes, and whatever you have in stock as well" he said confidently.
The attendant pressed with a plastic pen on his portable hand held PDA, "We have another 24 in stock, are you sure you want all of them?" he glances questioningly at John Andrews.
"Yes, I'll take all of them." he paused, " Is that a problem?"
The attendant examined John's face for a moment noticing a bead of sweat roll down his cheek, then came closer making John feel even more uncomfortable.
"No, not a problem", he said and gestures towards the front counter, "I'll place them all in a zip bag and leave them at the cash" He pauses a moment, "You have your coupon codes?"
John nods, then the attendant smiles before walking off, and then John makes his way to the front counter.
It took all of 10 minutes in line before he reached the cashier, made eye contact, and then pointed to the bag of pager watches behind the counter. She rings up the items and John, reaching into his jacket pocket for the crumpled printout of Internet coupon codes, flattening them out on the counter. The cashier takes them. She examines them carefully.
"Sorry sir," she said chewing her gum, "I don't think you can use both of these coupon codes on this purchase" She handed the paper back to him but he places it on the counter again.
"I believe these printable Internet coupons are both valid. Here is a printout of your coupon policy" he said placing another piece of paper on the counter, "and it says there that I am allowed to combine this Instant boxing day Cash back coupon on any purchase of one hundred dollars or more, and we are also allowed to combine the 50% off coupon on the total of any purchase electronic items. It is a mistake, I know, but it is the store's mistake and the policy also states that if the store makes a mistake, it must honour it no matter what." He said factually.
People in the line behind him mumbled and grumbled disapproval but John stayed his ground defiantly, thanks partly to the anti-anxiety medications in his system, "Call your manager" he commanded, and the cashier calls out into the phone overhead speakers which made him yet even more nervous.
The sweaty stout manager rushed over through the crowd, "Yes, what seems to be the problem?" he asked eyeing John and then the cashier who had handed him the policy printout and coupons.
The manager examines the papers quickly, "This is a mistake," he mumbled, "But," he paused briefly looking at the long line-up behind John, "we will honour it sir."
The cashier stopped her chewing, "But that means he gets them for free?"
"Just ring it up and take the coupons Mildred, the customer is right, and we will honour it"
"And don't forget to give me the receipt," John added, "all the items are under guarantee"
She obliged and added, "Thank you for shopping at Future Shack. Please come again", chewing her gum with a snide look on her face.
Clutching his bag of free pager watches, he walked back through the crowed with a wide grin on his face, making his way to his car. This, he thought, will fetch a nice profit on the online auctions!
"John!" called out a voice from somewhere inside the shopping mall parking lot as John opened the door to his car. He looked around startled...and a somewhat noticeable face approached him with an outstretched hand.
"John, it is you, how long has it been" asked the person, and John struggled to put a name to the face before him for a moment...
"Michael?" John asked squinting his eyes to make sure he was seeing what he was seeing, "Michael Rosler!" He shakes the person's hand, "How in the hell are you Mike!, Its been years since I've seen you. What a surprise!"
They both stood for a few moments examining each other then...
"Strange meeting you here John" Said Michael
"How's that Mike?" replied John, "I've been coming here to this mall for years!"
"No kidding, so have I! So I guess it was a matter of time before we would run into each other!" Michael said laughing.
"Small world," replied John.
"Yup. Small world" repeated Michael.
John felt awkward and stammered, "you need a lift Mike?"
Michael smiled "Sure wouldn't mind a lift at all John, if that's ok with you?"
"Step in Mike, I'll drive you wherever you want to go to."
"How about a coffee shop or maybe your place to catch up on things, it's been awhile since I've seen you back in highschool"
"Sounds good," said John, he hesitated for a moment, "How's about my place?"
Mike stepped into the car, " Let's go to your place then, but stop off to get some beer like old times ok?"
"You got it." said John stepping into the car and then moving out from the parking lot...
After some small talk during the drive and picking up a case of beer from a local depanneur, they end up at John's small 3 1/2 and apartment, many unfinished paintings lay about the untidy apartment as well as a mound of dirty dishes left in the little kitchen sink.
They talked and talked, catching up on things, and getting a feeling of the way things used to be back in the old days. They drank a few beers and smoked filterless cigarettes while listening to loud music and Michael asked if John had some pot. He shook his head laughing and Michael suggested they smoke some pot like old times.
"Where we gonna get some pot?" asked John a bit drunk.
"How about Kevin from the old days?" Michael asked, "you still in touch with him?"
"No, not since college man," he answered, "and that's been way too long ago."
"I'm sure he's still dealing man, why don't we try calling him?"
"Don't have his number anymore" said John exhaling smoke, "he's probably moved or gone to another town or something"
Michael took out his wallet and dropped the contents onto John's bed, then proceeded to sort through the cards and pieces of paper....
"Here it is!" he said lifting an old yellowed fragment of paper, "Let's give him a buzz" he giggled.
Michael dials the old number not expecting to here a familiar voice on the other end of the line. It was an answering machine, but it was certainly the familiar voice of Kevin Roberts, their old highschool pot dealer...
"Kevin...it's Michael...Michael Rosler. Remember me? We went to highschool together? How you been?.... Listen man, I don't know if you are still connected, but I need some stuff... Give me a call on my cell number 299-7533. I'll be waiting." He finished and hung up the phone.
"Hey its worth a try, right?" said Michael winking at John sipping his beer.
John raised his beer, "To old times man" he said and chugged it down.
"That's my boy," replied Michael, and did the same...
As quickly as he finished his beer, the cellphone chimed and he answered it, it was Kevin...
Kevin's voice spoke, "Quite a surprise to here your voice again Michael, it sure has been awhile, how you been?"
"Hey buddy!" said Michael, "how you been? Long time no hear! Still in the business? We need some green, know what I mean?"
"Yeah, yeah, I got ya. You come by where I work I set you up just like old times Michael."
"Mind if our old mutual friend John comes along? Ran into him just today at the Winston Mall..."
"Jesus, I haven't heard that name in awhile. Hell ya, you guys come on down to the Rupert Memorial Hospital east wing lab room D-200, I'm here till 3pm"
"We be there man, give us a few and we be there man!"
"I'll be waiting Mike, remember to bring cash"
"Will do Kev"
Michael hung-up, "Score baby!," he said to John, "Scoooooore!" and gave John a high-five.
After parking the car, they entered the Rupert Memorial Hospital and stepped into the elevator. Michael pressed the 2nd floor button. They exited on the 2nd floor and looked around.
"Ever been here?," said Michael, and John shrugged.
John spotted an orderly passing bye, "Know where we can find room D-200?" he asked him.
The orderly replied, "Down the hall to pavilion "D" then turn left"
"Thanks," said John and they headed down the hallway...
The tag on the door said 'Gentech Lab' D-200, and they entered... it was 2pm...
A bearded, barely recognizable figure in white overalls, approached them, "Looks like you made it guys, boy, sure has been awhile!"
"Kevin?" asked John, squinting to recognize the thin long figure before him.
Micheal shook his hand, "Looks like you sure moved up in the world Kevin!" he said.
He smiled back, "Ah heck, nothing changed, just hit the books in college and things payed off for me."
"Sure looks like you hit it well Kev," Repeated John, "You a scientist or something now?"
"Nah, I'm just an assistant, John," he replied, " I keep an eye on things, record test results. It's fun, " he continued, "I get to mix chemicals sometimes" he winked, "keeps me busy."
"Cool," said Michael, "Think you can help us out Kev, for old times sake?"
Kevin looked around to make sure no other staffers were around to listen in, "Yeah, sure, I can help you guys out. What you good for?"
"What's dime bag go for these days Kev?" asked Micheal
"A tweny spot" he said, "Each"
They both reached into their pockets and Michael pulled out some bills first, "This one's on me" he gestured to John with his hand, and handed Kevin forty dollars.
Kevin pocketed the cash, "I've been experimenting with some strains of the stuff and what I have here I think will surely please both of you beyond your wildest expectations." he said handing them two small plastic baggies from a drawer beneath one of the counters near a normal looking house plant.
John noticed the lab was littered with the same exact houseplants on every counter near every window...
"That's our Kevin", said Michael smiling, "Always trying to perfect the crop."
Kevin winked, "You know me guys, I aim to please"
"Kev, what's with all those plants man, they're everywhere?"
"Great for office environments man, they breath in what we breath out and give us oxygen in return. They are natural air purifiers man, dig it?" replied Kevin winking.
"Groovy man" Said Michael, "We dig it."
They all do the old highschool hand-shake, "Don't hesitate to call me again if you need some more."
"Will do!, " they both said in unison and walked out of the lab...
At John's sparsely furnished bachelor's apartment, with unfinished oil paintings hanging on the walls and the floor littered with printouts strewn about, they sat down and each rolled two separate joints from each other's dime bags, set the reefers alight, and both sucked in sweat scented smoke, holding their breaths as long as they could before exhaling.
"Holy shit," said John exhaling again, "This stuff is strong man! I can feel it already!"
"Yeah, " repeated Michael exhaling a stream of smoke, "This stuff is strong alright, I'm beginning to feel something too. Jesus did he spray this shit with something? Its pretty strong, my whole body is starting to feel numb."
"Dig this," continued Michael sucking in another mouthful of smoke, then exhaling again, "This old boy's been cultivating this stuff since we knew him back in highschool, so it should be some really fine weed by now, right?"
The room soon became foggy with all the smoke, and the pot made them more and more light-headed and giddy.
They laughed, smoked, and joked about the past for over an hour and half. Both reminiscing about good times and bad.... Suddenly John noticed something strange starting to happen...
"Jesus man, "Said John pale faced, his hair somewhat grayed, "I'm not feeling so damn good..."
Michael kept puffing away, "Yeah man, " he said coming close to examine John closely, "You don't look so damned good there guy. In fact your face looks pretty ashen... and your hair, " He paused a moment and placed his joint down into the ashtray, "Your hair has gotten pretty grey man, what's up with that?"
"I'm not feeling good dude...not at all. My head is spinning like heck and I feel like all my energy has drained away. This shit is sprayed with something for sure man, don't smoke anymore of it Mike, it's been stepped on."
"Funny though," Said Michael bouncing around the room in slow motion as if walking on the surface of the moon, "I'm feeling pretty damned good. And for some reason I feel like I'm full of energy too! It's like I'm young again man!" He kept walking rapidly around the room with his arms open as if imitating an airplane, "Shit I feel great!"
John sat down on the edge of the bed, "Fuck," he said "what time do you have man, my watch is running fast or something."
Michael stopped for a moment huffing and puffing from all the running around, " I've got 12am on my pager watch you gave me. What does it say on yours?"
I've got 3am on mine man, these watches are out of sync cause the clock on the wall says its 1:33am." he continued, " And that's impossible man, they are atomic clock aligned,"
Michael examining John's face closely again.
"Why are you looking at me that way Mike, your giving me the creeps."
"Your face man, " Michael said, "your face just looks old as shit for some reason."
"Yeah, well, that's exactly how I feel dude, old as hell and out of juice like all my energy was sapped out of my body."
"Dude man you look like you aged a few years or something!"
"Hell do you mean dude, I'm just sick from the pot is all, I'll be ok when I've come down."
"Go look for yourself in the mirror, " Michael said, "you look old as heck"
John staggered listlessly over to the bathroom and looked into the mirror at an older version of himself, "Shit, what did he put in this weed man!" he said feeling his face with his wrinkled hands, "This is fucked up! I look like shit man!"
He laboured out of the bathroom to see Michael staring at his watch.
"For sure these watches are broken man because mine has the wrong date on it"
John looked at his own watch, "mine is 10 years ahead. What does yours show?"
"Ten years behind..."
The next morning after passing out on John's carpeted floor, they ventured out to see Kevin Roberts at his lab...
Michael stormed into the lab grabbing at Kevin, "What the hell did you give us! What kind of shit did you spray that stuff with!"
"Take it easy man!," Said Kevin, his female assistant looking startled, "Just relax and tell me what happened." He signalled his assistant to go away and she exited promptly.
"Your shit made John older man!" said Michael, "and it made me younger!" He pushed Kevin against the counter, "What's up with that Kevin, huh! You'd better be able to explain this and fast!"
"Cool it man, " said Kevin, "I could undo this, take it easy, it's a simple thing to fix! You will both be fine."
"Really?" said Michael, "well you'd better be able to fix it!" he insisted, "because my old pal John is sitting outside on the bench looking like he aged a hundred years or so and he sounds like he could keel over any minute! This joke is over man, now you fix it!"
"Take it easy!, " Kevin insisted, "Your friend is ok, the chemicals only aged him a mere 15 years."
"Just 15 years? Then why does he look like he's about to die!" Shouted Michael, "he could barely breath! It's like you turned him into an old man!"
"Experiencing highly accelerated physical aging is quite an unpleasant and jarring experience indeed," chuckled Kevin, "I'm actually very surprised he survived it. It's not unlike being in a car crash after speeding up then running into a brick wall."
"I want you to fix this! And now!" said Michael lifting his clenched fist, "or so help me!"
"Ok Michael, relax, take it easy man." Kevin said,."Just take this," he gestured to two other dime bags of pot on the counter, "Smoke this and it will reverse the aging process and also bring you back to normal."
"Aging process huh?" mumbled Michael placing down his arm, "What kind of shit are you fucking with here Kev?"
"It's just a simple genetic mutation of the cannabis plant, a change in the DNA, " explained Kevin, "It can be easily reversed with no bad side effects, trust me on this"
"Can't we just switch what we were smoking?" said Michael
"No. The active ingredients that messed with your body's aging processes breaks down after only 12 hours, leaving you with just your normal garden variety cannabis, so what I gave you is useless unless you just want a groovy high."
Michael snatched the small bags of pot off the counter, "You'd better be right about this Kevin," he said, "Or I'll personally be back to fuck you up, you get it? I don't want to be a part of this joke of yours any longer, you hear me!"
"I hear you man, don't worry, " he said smiling, "it's all going to go away, just like a bad dream, don't fret."
Michael exited the lab slamming the door behind him...
He walked outside to John who sat waiting at a bench, coughing, wheezing, his breathing laboured.
"I've got the antidote John, I'll fix this, don't worry man," he said uneasily and helped John onto his feet and back into the car.
Back at John's place, Michael sat John on the edge of his bed and pulled up a chair from the kitchen for himself. He examined the contents of Kevin's antidote dime bags each marked "J" and" M" in red marker for John and Michael.
He looked at his bag carefully and noticed some small seeds at the bottom.
"Hey John, check this out, I found some seeds in my bag, maybe we can grow us our own weed when we get you all better man."
John, laying still, his breathing slow and labored, glanced up at Michael and the side of his mouth curled, it was as much of a smile as he could muster.
He dropped some of his seeds into John's dime bag, "maybe we can go into business ourselves one day growing this stuff, you never know Johnny." said Michael laughing and placed John's dime bag into John's shirt pocket after removing some of the contents onto the palm of his hand.
He then rolled a joint from the contexts of John's dime bag he had poured out into his hand and carefully placed the joint to John's mouth. He then rolled one from his own dime bag and placed it to his own lips. John's eyes were shut, his breathing was still steady but laboured. Michael lit Johns joint and instructed him to suck in the smoke. John did so, and Michael lit his own joint and breathed the smoke in deeply. They both smoked and waited...
The effect was almost instant. John's face became younger each puff of his joint, his lungs felt less and less congested, he felt much better as each minute passed. Micheal's face aged a little and he smiled noticing that things were beginning to go back to normal. To John, everything looked in slow motion. He sucked in a few more mouthfuls of the antidote pot and then lay down on the bed feeling his body light and energetic again. He closed his eyes and everything went black...
...John opened his eyes and he was alone, in an apartment he barely recognized, though there was something familiar about it somehow. He stood up from the bed and looked around to get his bearings....he quickly figured out it was his old apartment back when he was going to highschool, fifteen years back in the past...
...Michael awoke from his trance, John was missing. He glanced at his watch and it was fifteen years into the future, his heart began to race and his breathing was somewhat laboured...
...John walked around his old apartment and had some time to think things out. The clock on the wall registered 7 am. He knew from his watch that it was a school day, and that he had another two hours before he could go to his old highschool where he used to go. He figured, if he was truly in the past, he would go back to school to catch up with his old friend, Kevin Roberts, his old pot dealer, to try and get some help from the only person who could help...
...Michael walked to the living room window of John's apartment and he was amazed to see flying cars zipping about the sky and very high buildings reaching into the clouds. It was evening and he was definitely sometime in the far future. From the reflection in the window he could see the aged image of his own face starring back at him...
...John made his way into the halls of his old highschool and past many old faces he recognized on his way to his locker. Some waved to him and nodded, others sneered or flashed angry looks his way. He kept walking to where his locker was. A tanned, very attractive girl with short cropped blond hair wearing a dark mock-leather mini-skirt and tight fleece sweater, stood propped up with her back against his locker door. He realized it was Nina Sanders...
He wasn't sure what to say at first but then, "Hey Nina!," he said approaching somewhat reluctantly. She took John into her arms and proceeded to french-kiss him. John was taken by surprise but went along with it...
"Nice to see you again Nina," he said pulling away.
"Hey what's with being so early this morning?" she asked licking her thin glossed lips.
"I've just...been looking forward... to seeing you again Nina...couldn't stop thinking about you last night in fact...it's so nice to see you again." he said somewhat mechanically.
"You sound a bit strange," she eyed John carefully, "have you been toking all night? You shouldn't do it so much John, it's not good for you."
"Nina, I really need to speak to Kevin Roberts, have you seen him?"
"He's going to be along any minute now, so you better go. He won't be happy to see you with me since he suspects something is going on with us John. I've tried talking to him to dissuade him from talking to you about his suspicions, but he insisted and I'm beginning to get a little scared John, he's not been himself lately and I'm not sure what he'll do when he sees you."
"Don't worry Nina, I know what to say to him. We just need to talk urgently."
A young Kevin Roberts walked down the hall towards them. Seeing Kevin, Nina walked off quickly leaving John behind.
Kevin approached John with an angry expression on his face, "Funny to see you here John, I've just been meaning to talk to you about a pressing matter."
John placed a hand on his shoulder, "I know," he said, "I've been making some mistakes, we definitely need to talk and I know you know about me and Nina so let's get that out of the way right now."
"How did you know" Kevin said surprised, "She told you didn't she?"
"Jesus man, " John said looking down at the floor, "I know more than you think I know Kevin, and I wish I could change things for the better."
"Maybe you can change things for the better," Kevin said sliding Johns hand off his shoulder, "Maybe you could make things a lot better if you just took your hands off my girl John."
John looked into Kevin's eyes, "I can make things a lot better for you Kevin, if you just promise to help me out this one time. I really need your help." he said, "I'm in some deep trouble Kevin. Please help me out."
"You could have all the pot you want, just keep your hands off Nina man, I love her."
"I understand Kevin, Nina is all yours, hands down, but I need you to help me out badly."
"Name your price." said Kevin.
"I need you to bring me back to my present, can you do that?"
"What the hell did you just say?"
"I'm from the future Kevin. And your future self just sent me to this past. Can you please send me back to my present?" said John.
"How is this possible," asked Kevin.
On their way to Kevin's place, John explained everything he could about how he got there. Kevin listened intently...
At John's place he said, "We'll have to go see my dad John. If there is anyone that can help, he can..."
They entered the Genetic Lab where Kevin's father worked...
John and Kevin entered Ted Robert's laboratory.
Ted Roberts laboured over his computer..
"Dad." Kevin said to get his father's attention.
Ted turned around to greet them.
"Dad, this is my friend John Andrews." said Kevin, "He needs our help."
Kevin's dad eyed him intensely, "How can we help you John?"
"This will be very hard for you to comprehend," said John," but I am a traveller from the future and have landed in this time by way of genetically altered cannabis created by your son in the future." he said," Can you help me get back to my time?"
"That is nonsense," said Ted laughing, "there is no such thing that can make you travel through time. That is impossible"
John reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out his dime bag, " here is all the proof you need Mister Roberts," he said handing it to Kevin's dad.
Ted Roberts took the dime bag from John's hand and opened it, "Go out into the hallway and take a seat while I analyse this," he said. And they both exited the lab.
They sat on the bench outside the lab, "I know about you and Nina" Kevin said.
"I'm really sorry about that Kevin, it just kind of happened between us. I'm afraid she doesn't love you."
"I love her John," he said, "You have to understand that. She is my whole world besides dealing pot. I know we've been friends since childhood, but I draw the line when it comes to Nina. If you take her away from me I will never forget it. Do you understand?"
"Yes," replied John, "I believe you Kevin. I really do."
Suddenly John's pager watch chimed, he look at it and it was Michael paging a message. The text message read: I'm sometime in the future. Have aged somewhat. Am not doing well. Please help.
John looked away from the pager watch and rested his head to his hands, rubbing the temples.
"What's wrong with your watch?" asked Kevin.
"This is called a pager watch, you won't be seeing this for another 10 years or so. I received a message from our mutual friend Michael Rosler and he seems to be in a bad state in some future time. I hope we can help him, and soon"
Just then Ted Roberts walked out of the lab.
"Mister Andrews," he said," I did some preliminary testing and probing of your plant and find it astonishing." He drew out his hand, "It is a pleasure to meet someone who has actually travelled through time. I will try to help you in whatever way I can."
John shook his hand. "I'm relieved to know you believe me Mr. Roberts. The way I see it, you and Kevin are the only people who can help me at the moment."
"Thank you Dad," said Kevin," I appreciate you helping out."
John stood up from the bench, "Please find a way for me to get back to my time." he said," I need to get back and fix something very important."
"We are further analysing the genes of your time pot specifically the atypical THC compound different from normal pot. We will hopefully have something to be able to bring you back home. Meanwhile don't wonder off too far." said Ted.
"He'll be at my place," said Kevin, "call me as soon as you figure something out"
They both left the lab and drove in Kevin's Beetle to his apartment, going through a fast food drive-through to pick up some hamburgers.
As they drove, Kevin looked over at John, "You know It's gonna cost you," He said looking back at the road ahead.
"You mean the burgers?" asked John
"You know what I mean."
John was hungry. He chewed and swallowed, then took a long sip of his drink, "She doesn't love me Kevin."
"That's good," Kevin mumbled under his breath.
"She doesn't love you either," he said taking another bite of the hamburger.
"How can I make her love me?"
"Make her?" he asked chuckling, "Are you serious. You can't make her love you man, you have to earn it dude"
"Excuse me man but your sounding like one of these old guys who thinks they know everything"
"I do know it all, " he laughed, "maybe not all, but don't forget, I'm 15 years older than you, I'm stuck in a teenager's body" He paused a moment, "feels pretty good I might add. Anyway I've got a lot more experience in life than you Kevin and I have the added advantage of foresight. I know what you did wrong with Nina. I'm from the future remember?"
"So how do I fix it John. How do I earn her love?"
"You have to change Kevin."
"For one thing, you have this obsession problem and you expect people to conform to you and not the other way around. In fact it is a bit of both."
The pager chimed. It was Michael again...
...Michael laboured to see the tiny lit keys on his pager watch. His lungs heavy, he struggled to breath. "Please Help" he typed again, "I don't know how much longer I can hold on. Need help or they will get me."
He lay on his side in a garbage dumb inside a huge cardboard box trying to keep warm among the refuse surrounding him. The last of the scraps of bread and soda pop he had bought from pan-handling almost gone, he was desperate to get an answer back from John assuming the watch pagers could work through time and space. He could only hope and wait.
His pager chimed and a message read in lit letters: 'Got your messages. I am 15 years in the past and in contact with earlier Kevin. Trying my best to find a way to get us back. Will write back soon. Stay safe. John."
It was the break he'd been waiting for the past few days. Tired, Michael closed his eyes and went to sleep...
...Kevin Roberts, ruler of all earth and its inhabitants, gazed out the window of one of his many palaces, his dreadlocks blown back by the strong breeze flowing through the window. "I want you to keep trying to find this Michael Rosler wherever he is, and bring him to me. If this time traveller is real, I will force him to tell me the secrets to time travel and I will rule as many worlds as I wish!"
Hundreds of thousands of extra robots marched out to reinforce the continued search for Michael Rosler and any other illegal aliens in this world...
They searched all roads and alleys they had access to, but neglected to search the places where the dispossessed sought refuge; below the streets in the sewers and other places where normal people did not venture, as their programming did not allow for normal human intuition, to search the nooks and crannies; places where the homeless lay hidden, unseen. They did not "exist" according to the general law at hand. They could only identify all homeless peoples out in plain view, but did not bother to search the many refuse bins that lay about the alleys, one of which an aged Michael Rosler lay inside of sleeping. He lay there faintly hearing the police patrol cars hoovering above, shining there search lights, scanning back and forth. Day turned into night. And soon he could walk out among the others, in the darkness, unnoticed.
After some rest, and making sure that the daylight was gone, he opened the lid of the garbage dumpster quietly, popping out his head to look around and make sure it was clear, then he pushed up the metal lid and climbed out.
He limped down the alleyway dirty and making it look like he was drunk; staggering about near the walls to blend in. Each time a patrol car hoovered above, he slipped unnoticed into a doorway shelter, then back out again slumbering down towards the lit street, where he would beg once more in order to gain some small amount of currency to survive, as he had done for the past few days, just barely getting by on scraps of food and whatever he could find to drink. Word was out that a time traveller hid about the shadows but he would do his best to prevent being caught, lest he be tortured by Kevin Robert's secret police for whatever limited knowledge he possessed regarding time travel.
As he walked through sparsely lit streets, being careful not too be noticed, he could not help but feel a strange magnetic pull from somewhere off not too far, as well as the feeling that he was being followed. He quickened his pace...
...Back at Kevin Robert's palace where he sat and smoked hashish from an Egyptian
Hookah, he motioned for both his science and military advisors to approach. Indian music mixed with rap played in the background.
"President Roberts, " his science advisor started," We have news that there is a double Michael Roberts wandering about the inner city drawn somehow towards his other self by some unseen force. After analysing the potential outcome of this meeting, I strongly advice we keep them apart as we have theorized that one of them may be made up of actual matter and if they are to meet....then great destruction may occur."
President Roberts look over at his military advisor.
"Supreme leader," said his military advisor, "I believe the opposition groups are now resorting to making super human clones, sending them out in special covert missions in an attempt to assassinate you Mr. President."
President Roberts blew large smoke rings from the Hookah pipe, " Yes, it would not be the first attempt to get rid of me as we well know," they all chuckled, "We will be sure to prevent this one as well, " he said to both of them and motioned for the military advisor to leave, "Bring the alien and his carbon copy back to me alive. And just to be on the safe side, keep them in separate cells as well." he then gestured for him to leave.
"As you wish Mr. President, " he said, and the science advisor turned to leave the chamber.
In a dark alley, Michael ran and ducked into a deep doorway.
"There he is, " came the metallic voices from the pursuing robots, and a few marched in with glowing light-sticks.
Michael only had moments to spare before he would be caught. He carefully keyed in a long message into his watch pager to John: "They have come for me. I will be caught in moments now. You must know this. I was part of Kevin's joke to give you a bad trip. I was addicted to his pot and indebted to him and he asked me to find you and give you some bad pot so you would have a bad trip and all old debts paid. I'm so sorry John. He promised me that all that would happen was that you would have had a bad trip and that would be the end of it. I did not realize that he was insane. It's all because he blamed you for his breakup with Nina Sanders back in highschool. They have me surrounded now. I'm sorry John. Good bye..."
...At Kevin's place on the couch, John had woken up from a much needed sleep by the watch pager chiming insistently. He sat up rubbed his eyes, then read the message Michael had sent him. It all made sense to him now and confirmed his suspicions about Kevin. He was worried now and wondered if this was Michael's last message and whether or not he was still alive. He fingered the keys on the watch pager: "Are you still ok? Respond. Are you still ok?"
There was no response...
John thought, someone once said that time heals all wounds, but sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes time doesn't help and sometimes screws things even further. Sometimes time alone won't do it and you have to get your hand in, light the fire, heat the iron, and cauterize the wound.
Kevin walks in, "I need to leave you alone for a few days, maybe a week, " he said, " I need to go check up on my crop, you know what I mean. There is plenty of food and beer in the fridge, make your self at home."
"You do what you have to do Kev, " I'll be right here when you get back.
After Kevin left, the next morning, there was a knock at the door. John opened it to see Nina Sanders standing there in one of her usual short skirts and glossed lips, her hair jelled making it look wet and curly.
"I knew you would be here John, " she said pushing her way in, "I waited until Kevin was sure to be out tending his crops so I could see you."
John tried to conceal his attraction to Nina, "What do you want Nina, Kevin went out for more pot and should be back soon, if that's what you want."
"He'll be out for at least a few days longer, " She said, "Since he has to tend to his crops and all. I've been up to his country place quite a few times and he showed me what he needs to do. I've helped him out a few times also. It takes a lot of his attention and time to do what he needs to do. Anyway, he drove by my place before leaving and asked me to go along another time but I refused this time saying that I couldn't miss anymore school or I'd get into trouble again. I just wanted to make sure I could have you all to myself and that you're ok John. Do you know the cops are out looking for you, and your parents are worried sick.." She paused a moment to further lower the zipper on her shirt revealing more cleavage.
John knew where this was leading too, he walked into the kitchen to make some coffee and Nina followed.
"Coffee?," He asked.
"Yes please," she said moving toward him and pinning him against the kitchen counter, "Coffee will be just fine after sex," she finished and french kissed him.
She quickly took off her panties and sat up on the counter with her legs spread. She pulled him towards her and undid his pants. They proceeded to have sex on the counter and she placed one arm behind her for balance.
He thrust in and out while frenching her and she spoke softly, "You seem different John, more experienced or something...have you been cheating on me?"
"No," he murmured under his breath, " I just know what I'm doing"
"Do you like it this way?" she asked breathing heavily.
"Yes, " he said getting closer to reaching climax, "Yes!"
She pushed him in deeper and deeper, and John came with a somewhat painful look on his face. "Ahhh!" he cried out, "Ahhh!"
"Yes....keep going!" She exclaimed.
After a few minutes, she became calm, "I'm all yours John, you can take me anytime you like, you know that."
He slipped her panties back on and helped her to her feet.
"I love you John we are destined for each other." she said brushing her fingers through his hair, "and once I drop Kevin, things will work out for us."
He gazed into her eyes for a few moments then said, "This was nice Nina. Really Nice. But I want you to patch things up with Kevin and make it seem as if we never met."
"Impossible!" She protested, "I don't love him John!"
"And you don't love me either," said John.
"That's not true John, " Nina protested, "and you know it" Tears welled up in her eyes and streamed down her cheeks. She zipped up her miniskirt and pushed him aside.
"What does it matter Nina? You'll just move on to the next person once you lose interest and you'll break my heart just like you will Kevin's as well as others in your future no doubt. You'll move on, we all move on, and that's life."
"Don't say such nonsense, we are meant to be together!"
"Trust me, I know more than you think." said John, "Things don't turn out the way we imagine or hope it to be most of the time."
"The future is what we make it John, I honestly believe it."
John looked her in the eyes coldly, "Nina, Kevin really loves you, you must listen to me, please stay with him."
Nina slapped her hand hard against the side of John's face. He moved back and looked away.
"You and Kevin think you are smarter than me and that I'm just a stupid simple girl who sleeps around, doesn't know what she wants, and tries to get her way with guys don't you? Well I'm not so dumb and I know what I want, and someday I'll prove it to you." She stormed out of the kitchen. "I'm breaking up with Kevin and nothing you can say will change that!" she cried and slammed the front door loudly behind her.
"Shit," he said, "Kevin isn't going to be very happy with this."
John tried again to reach Michael on his pager watch but had no luck...
...Michael Rosler was chained to a wall, his face bludgeoned from the beatings.
"Who sent you here?" asked President Kevin, his face stoic.
"You did... sometime in the past." Michael replied.
"You talk nonsense," he said and motioning for another beating and Michael screamed out in pain.
"It's true, it's true, you invented this time pot and it sent my friend to the past and me to the future."
"Why would I do that?" asked President Kevin
"I don't know man, it's all just messed up! This wasn't part of the plan." replied Michael
"The plan to assassinate me!"
"No! I swear! I wasn't hear to kill you! Honestly!" he shut his eyes tight in anticipation of another beating.
President Kevin gestured with his arm, and the robots stopped flogging him.
"If you are not telling the truth," said President Kevin, "We will kill you eventually."
"Should we imprison him again Mr President?" interrupted his Military advisor.
"Before you do that, "said President Kevin, "I need to ask him a very important question" he looked at Michael, "why is your double trying to reach you?" He asked.
Michael turned his bludgeoned face toward President Kevin, "I know nothing about this," He said, "really", he spat out some blood, "I'm being honest."
"Go ahead and imprison him," said the President, "But keep him close, I may need to interrogate him some more."
"Yes Mr. President," replied his Military advisor, and gestured to the robots, "take him away to one of the isolation chambers."
President Kevin Roberts approached one of his guardian robots, "I want you to go out and capture his double and take him to another isolation chamber in the same room but some distance away so they can not touch. At no time should they be allowed to touch each other. Then let them talk and record all that they say, I want to hear of whatever they speak of this time pot!"
"Yes Master!" said a metallic voice, "Thy will be done!" and a group of robots marched out to capture Michael Rosler's double.
...Kevin opened the door to his apartment when the phone rang. John sat on the couch sipping a beer and watching old tv shows that he had watched in the future as re-runs.
It was Kevin's father on the other end, "I want you to bring your friend John back to the lab, we may have found a way to bring him back to his time."
John saw the urgent look on Kevin's face, "we have to go to the lab," said Kevin, "right now."
John followed Kevin out to Kevin's car and got in, "Nina came by to have a chat?" They proceeded to drive out to Kevin's dad's lab.
"Yes, as a matter of fact she came over for eh...coffee and we talked briefly."
"How did it go?"
John gazed out the car window, "Good. It went well."
"I'm glad." said Kevin, "I love that girl. I really mean that, and don't know what I would do without her."
Kevin's dad met them in the parking lot, "I'm very excited to report that we may have isolated the dormant gene that allowed you to travel through time, and we think we have successfully reactivated it." said Ted.
"Fantastic!" exclaimed John, "Does it mean you can bring me back to my time?"
"We have yet to see if it can," said Ted, "We were able to activate it but noticed that there was an unstable random element added to the gene string making it erratic and very difficult to branch the time line forward. It was rather difficult but we managed to disable the random element, lest you be thrown out of sync with our time line, lost in space so to speak, if you decided to travel through time again this way. Anyhow, we think we have made it stable and safe to use. If you wish to use it. It is still a very risky business."
"I must go back," replied John, "It is the only way to make things right again." he stated..
"As you wish, but the newly altered seeds must be grown into plants again, so it will take time before you can time travel yet again."
"I can grow it in half the time with a super growth hormone I've been experimenting with," said Kevin to his dad, "and I have just the right facilities and equipment to do this."
"I'm impressed Son, I had no idea you were even remotely interested in genetics let alone science," said Ted handing his son the genetically altered cannabis seeds, "it's in your hands now, good luck."
Ted dropped the seeds into a small plastic baggy, "There's a lot about me you don't know of dad," He said, "every since the divorce you've just been too busy and disappeared into your lab. Maybe if you'd spent some time with your only son you'd actually get to know him," he finished coldly, turning around to walk away. John followed him back to his car. He dropped John back at his apartment and drove off to his greenhouse some distance away from the city hidden someplace off in the country brush.
John did not see Kevin for a few days and began to worry. Maybe he had run off with the time pot seeds? But suddenly there was the sound of a key at the door and Kevin walked in with a strange looking blue plant.
"Here you go John, it's ready for use."
John eyed the blue plant for a moment then asked "is this pot?"
"Yes," replied Kevin
"How come it looks like a normal houseplant, except it's blue?"
"My dad physically altered all my cannabis plants to look like your normal everyday house plant, in case the cops get wind of my plantation, and the blue food die was my idea to help me distinguish the time pot from my other plants. We don't want my regular customers disappearing on me now do we!," he chuckled, obviously a bit stoned, "And so here it is as a blue plant that looks like a normal house plant. Ingenious isn't it?" he said proudly. "To speed things up quite a bit, I had to force the growth of the seeds into seedlings by immersing them in my super-growth hormone solution, fast-dry them in an oven carefully, grind them into a very fine pulp and, following my dad's instructions, mixed the powder with a saline solution and forced it through a paper coffee filter. I then introduce the new genetic material by injecting it into one of my mature, fully grown plants, and then finally injected the blue dye. And there we have it!" he giggled, eyes somewhat bloodshot.
"This will work? You sure you know what you're doing?" asked John.
"Absolutely" he said, "I have full confidence in my dad's work, he is one of the best geneticists I know" he said factually. "I have to say John, that Although my dad himself 'experimented' with pot in his youth, he was never very proud of me dealing dope, as you know, that is until he saw that I showed an interest beyond botany and into the field of genetics. I now plan to follow in my dad's footsteps, go to university, and study genetics. I'm glad he is finally proud of me. Thank you for reviving our relationship, I appreciate that John. Ever since my parent's break-up, things have not gone too well and this has now brought us closer. Things are finally coming together for me."
"Well," said John, "I'm happy things are finally working out for you and your dad Kevin. I just hope this time pot will actually work and bring me back to my time. There is only one way to find out then. Let's dry us some of the leaves and I'll smoke it."
"I'm way ahead of you John," Kevin said opening up a plastic baggy, "here is some already dry and ready to smoking,"
Kevin handed John the plastic baggy and some wrapping paper. "The genetic alteration, according to our calculations, will bring you precisely fifteen years into the future, give or take a few days."
John began to roll a joint. He was visibly nervous and his hands shook a bit as he rolled. "What about Michael?" he asked, "Since he smoked the same cannabis does that mean he can find a way to get back by smoking an altered form of this plant if I can somehow get some to him?"
"That's where we are stomped John. Since he smoked some cannabis with an unstable, very erratic time sequence, that means he most probably ended up not in our direct future, but an alternate future. And my dad thinks that if he landed in an alternate future which happens to have a double of himself in it, that he may be in an negative alternate universe and therefore be in a very dangerous position."
"What do you mean by dangerous?"
"In theory, when matter and anti-matter meet, they destroy each other. That is to say if the Michael, who is made of matter, as we are, from our time, were to touch the copy of his negative anti-matter self, then it could lead to unimaginable catastrophe: total annihilation of his two selves as well as perhaps the planet he is on, and maybe even the total destruction of that universe he now resides in."
"This doesn't sound too good for Michael."
"I'm afraid not John." Kevin agreed.
"Well, I still have to try to save him some way,"
"I understand, but the odds are stacked against him right at this moment unfortunately"
"I still have to try though."
John placed the joint to his lips and rested his back against the kitchen counter, "This is it man, wish me luck" he said, and Kevin lit a match and fired up John's joint.
John sucked in the smoke as deeply as he could, one drag after another. And suddenly the lights went out...Lights flashed before his eyes. He seemed to be swimming across a vast ocean of blood red sea...then blackness again...
...John awoke on a bed of moist sod in front of the hospital lab entrance. He took a few moments to get her bearings, then stood up and began to walk across he lawn to the lab entrance. He stopped at the doorway for a moment to dust himself off, then he entered into the hallway and into pushed passed the lab doors.
Kevin turned to greet John.
"Chance meeting you hear again John, what a surprise.", He went back to look down into his microscope. "You look a little blue. Feeling under the weather?"
"I understand why you sent me back into the past Kevin, it all makes sense now, but I need you to help me save Michael before its too late, he is in real trouble and needs our help and you're going to help us!"
"Help you, really?" said Kevin, adjusting his microscope, "Well, first, please go and try to explain why I sent you back in time?"
"You held a grudge since highschool all these years because Nina cheated on you, and it happened to be with me" He said, "I tried to make it right, I gave it a shot."
"And you fucked it up!, " Said Kevin turning to look at John, his eye sockets brown from a lack of sleep and eyes glazed indicating that he was high, " You simple little fool. I gave you one chance to make it all right, it was a simple task, and yet you fucked it up. Why should I have expected anything less from you, maybe it is I that is really the fool!"
"You forgot one thing Kevin. No matter how you saw the past, Nina Sanders was not in love with you and therefore moved on to the next person and then the next person, going about her life like anyone else would do. She did not want you in her life whether she cheated on you or not. You were, like I was, just another boyfriend she thought she loved for a brief time before moving on. That's life, and neither you nor I could have changed this outcome."
"It saddened me deeply you know John. Not just the fact that she chose to cheat on me with you, but she just couldn't see how much I loved her and how things would have worked out well if she had just taken the time, opened her heart and stayed with me a little longer. She should have given me a chance to see beyond just the highschool dope dealer to the genius I was destined to be. If only she was here now to see the power at my control, she would be very impressed. It is a real pity" Opening a drawer by the counter he stood near, he pulled up a gun and pointed it at John, "And it is a pity for you too John, for these will be the last nervous breaths that you take."
John leaped at Kevin and slammed him onto the edge of the counter knocking off the microscope and other lab equipment. John tripped Kevin and they fell together to the floor. The gun went off and then John stood with the gun in his hand and a blood stain on his shirt. Before he could think John reacted instantly and made towards the window. He unlocked the window and jumped out, landing on the grass. There was no one about he could see. He then walked away as quickly as he could, trying not to attract any attention to himself. He walked some distance then his watch chimed and it was Michael. The message read, "I'm being held captive and so is my double in the cell next to mine. It is a hellish place here John. Can you do anything to help?"
He stopped for a moment and thought, then realizing he had no other option since Kevin was doomed. He keyed in: "It is imperative that you shake hands with your double. Trust me on this, everything will be set right then." he finished and continued walking on sadly.
...Michael was not sure what to make of John's last instructions on his pager watch but trusted him and thought he should do exactly what he was told. He glanced across at the mirror image of himself in the cell across from his and then painfully stood up and stumbled across his jail cell to the locked door of he cell. He could see the jailer slumped over the desk a few yards away taking a nap.
"Hey! Hey! Wake up!" he yelled to him, and the jailer jumped back in his chair startled.
"What you want?" he yelled back.
"I need to go man, I need to pee, open up!"
The jailer slowly made his way to the cell then opened it, and just as the key latch clicked, Michael pushed the door open with as much force as he could muster, slamming it hard against the jailers head, knocking him out.
He walked quickly to the next cell where his double sat starting back at him. Michael could hear some guards approaching fast from down the hall and thought that they must have heard the commotion with him yelling to the guard and then the crash of the cell door and were now coming to investigate. He reached his arm into the cell and called out to the mirror image of himself.
"I don't have time to explain!" he said, "quickly, I need you to grab my hand!"
His carbon copy stood up and approached, he could feel the magnetic pull getting stronger every step he took closer.
"What is going on? Who are you?" asked his copy.
"You must trust me and take my hand before the guards reach us! Please!"
And just before the guards reached them, he did so, and their two hands clasped.
Somewhere in a distant, far off, negative alternate universe, matter and anti-matter collided, annihilating each other instantly, along with a planet as well as the whole galaxy it resided in. It was a spectacular light show deep out someplace in space, but very few sentient beings in nearby galaxies noticed this catastrophic event, that ultimately saved a little planet called Earth sometime in the present...
...At John's apartment, in the semi-darkness, he sat at his piano synthesizer playing a classic tune over and over again, his face tinted blue from the past-Kevin's attempts to colour his time pot with blue dye to distinguish the normal cannabis from the time pot. Unknown to Kevin at the time, it had an adverse effect on the natural pigmentation of John's skin turning it a bluish tint, quite noticeable in broad daylight or bright fluorescent light. Therefore, John rarely ventured outside his apartment and only came out at night where few would notice, to buy the few essentials he needed to survive. It was a sad existence, not unlike the one he knew too well before all this happened.
Some days went by then suddenly there was a knock at his door, startling him. John answered it. To his astonishment Nina Sanders stood at the entrance of the doorway smiling, her stunning good looks a bit faded but it was, no doubt, the girl he had had a crush on way back in his highschool days.
"Do you remember me John?" she asked.
"Yes of course Nina, please, come in."
Nina entered and walked around his small apartment. She stopped to open his window shades then turned around to face him.
"The blue dye was my idea John."
John stood not knowing what to say.
"Kevin always asked my opinion on things and I gave him my advice. Don't worry, the dye will wear out as time goes by and you will look normal again."
"Why did you come." he asked.
"Kevin told me everything, about how his future self tricked you into travelling back through time and everything, and I figured out why he did that."
"I have to confess Nina, I didn't think you smart enough to be able to understand all this," he said looking away into the shadows.
"Both you, Kevin, and Michael thought you were so smart, and you were, don't get me wrong, but you all messed each others lives up even when you were all given a chance to fix them." she paused, "what a shame, really"
"I'm sorry it turned out this way," he said, "for all of us"
"I knew the potential Kevin had, had he followed in his father's footsteps and used his knowledge to develop the crop. And he did, just as I expected. It was a tricky thing, planning it all at the outset and not really knowing if it would have ended up as I expected it to. Who do you think encouraged him to play with the makeup of his cherished cannabis plants? I did. I had no idea how far he would go with it. I just expected him to make plenty of money selling a much more potent version of his pot, which I had a hand in developing."
"Surprised?... I have to give you credit John," she continued, " you definitely had an influence on him getting back together with his dad and helped spark his interest in genetics as I wished he would, and this I couldn't foresee since you came back from the future and confused things for me just a bit. Who do you think pushed him to develop the time pot once I knew where he was leading with it? Yes, I broke up with him, but that only made him want to win me back somehow by impressing me with his 'genius' and further pushed him to develop the time pot, as I expected. It seems I was too much of a distraction for him as his girlfriend" she giggled, "Did you know his wish was to be able to control time and ultimately rule the universe with me by his side? He was completely mad let me tell you!"
John sat down on a nearby chair to stop his dizzy spell, trying to absorb all of what Nina was saying..
"And we were all played...." he realized.
"Yes you were, and not you, nor anyone else, including that 'genius' Kevin suspected anything," she said smiling, the sunlight shining against the side of her face as she approached closer to John.
"But why?" he asked confused,
"I wanted to possess the time pot of course," she said, "and, I wanted you John, all for myself." she finished and kissed him gently on the cheek, then whispered into his ear, "The future is what we want it to be."
John closed his eyes...
If for some reason you feel compelled to reach out to this messed up author and tell him how nuts he is for writing this story <img class='smiley' style='width:20px;height:20px;' src='../../images/smiley/wink.svg' alt='Wink'> just email him directly at: email@example.com
Thank you for taking the time to actually read this,
Gracindo Jason Pereira