More fun and games with Louis Brandon. Apologies about the inconsistent font format. I’m now using Libre Office for the revisions as Google Docs proved to be laggy and frustrating… (MC)
© 2021, Michael William Clark. All rights reserved.
Did you miss part of the story? Find it here!
At lunch Louis did nothing. He didn’t eat. Sitting behind his desk, he felt old and miserable. Possibly dead in a few points. He got an idea. He’d travel to the future. Just a few points, or perhaps to tomorrow. He wanted to find out if he was still alive.
His time technique was refined in his bedroom, late at night, but there was no reason why he couldn’t travel in his office during the day. The main thing was to be alone without distractions.
He raised his arms and clasped his hands as if praying. It made it easier to focus his thoughts and access the portal. Resting his chin on his thumbs, he covered his nose with his fingertips.
Eeenie meenie miny moe… catch a tiger by the toe… The nursery rhyme popped into his mind as he began to slip.
It was different in the daytime. More traffic in the portal. Cloudy, confusing, unclear. He thought he might abort the jump. The remote possibility of splitting his atoms into a million separate pieces didn’t appeal to him. And it wasn’t working. Too much data in the vortex. The office hardly disappeared. He needed more practice. Or maybe fear. It was easy to escape Marduk and Uruk when he had to. That was do or die. Adrenaline must have helped. He’d find out. He tried again.
Eeenie meenie miny moe… Again the nursery rhyme. Louis focused and concentrated, trying to get past all the flotsam and jetsam of the daytime. So many people and their countless thoughts… vibrations… energies… environments… all clogging up the timeline.
Before long he’d pulled it off. His office came back into view, but it was the next day. The ceiling lights were dimmed and there was a strange quiet in the building. His vid-display was still on. The upper right corner showed May 21, he’d left on the 20th.*1
Louis looked at the news, confirming his worst fears.
ROM CURATOR SLAIN
Louis Brandon, Curator of the Royal Ontario Museum was masered to death yesterday at point-blank range while unveiling a new stegosaurus to the public. Unofficial reports say Brandon may have been involved in an international credit laundering ring. For further details, see News77.
Geez, I thought I was more important than that, Louis thought when seeing that his story was on the 77th page of the news.
History doesn’t lie, he reflected. It can’t be changed. Or can it?
Louis sat for a while in his office on the 21st of May. He was dead but there he was. Would someone see him if they came in? How would that work?
He wondered how he could avoid his own death, which paradoxically had already happened. If I’m still alive to read this news, he thought, I must be in some sort of secondary time pocket. Otherwise, how could I see my own demise? Do I go back to the 20th or just stay here, one day ahead? What would people do if they saw another me, virtually the same as the Louis just wiped out by maser fire?
There is no way in the known universe for maser-blasted atoms to be reorganized to their original configuration. Masers are nasty weapons, reversing the spin of electrons so targets literally fly apart.
Louis didn’t want to see the exact place where he had been killed. Feeling a touch panicky, he thought fast. What if Priscilla comes into my office? Would that affect the time matrix and my chance of survival? He didn’t want to find out. Time travel was like a game of multidimensional chess. And he was just learning the movement of pawns.
Full of uncertainty, he decided to follow his instinct and do what he felt was right.
I’ll return to yesterday, Louis thought. Same time, same place. I’ll meet Miss Superstring and do the ribbon cutting. He remembered Charles Dickens. The shapes of things to come are merely shapes. If Ebenezer Scrooge turned things around for the better by seeing a possible future, so can I. Tiny Tim became a healthy young man and Scrooge became a beloved figure in old London. Louis hoped his glimpse ahead would work like it did with Scrooge, even if A Christmas Carol was just fiction. The future came to warn Scrooge. Scrooge listened. So will I.
Louis disappeared and reappeared in his office. It was May 20th again. This trip was smoother. He emerged roughly at the 5-point, 12 p.m. by the old clock.*2
1 The Julian calendar is still in operation, although conversations about replacing it with a metric calendar are gaining momentum.