EDIT: New post over at Atom pertaining to John McCain and his status as a giant transforming cartoon robot. You know the drill: If you like it, please Digg it, Stumble it, Reddi – ah, what the hell. Just do stuff to it. Whatever stuff you want. Weird stuff, even. Just let me watch. I like to watch.
All right, just so you know where we stand: This is a cop-out post. I missed the update this week, and now I’m just too swamped to get back to it. However, in the next week or two I have yet another awesome announcement that will hopefully make up for it somewhat. Perhaps you should be somewhat happy that unlike other bloggers, my missed updates are not due to feelin’ blue, writer’s block, wondering why girls don’t like me, my cat being angry with me, or some other trivial bullshit – no, they are due to the fact that I am generating bigger and better content for other projects that will still (eventually) come to you. My hands, they are full, so full of badass these days. How can one man be expected to hold it all?
So, anyway, this week I’m going to post…a short story I wrote! Hahaha! It’s like I’m daring you to stop reading this! Honestly, why are you still here? What are you, some sort of fag? Go ahead! Go ahead and stop reading, pussy. What are you, too scared you’ll miss something? You disgust me.
A Curious HappeningThere was a soft rustle and a metallic clack as my slacks slipped to the tile floor. I settled myself onto the cold porcelain surface of the seat and felt the first chilled goosebumps begin to pock my thighs. I opened my book to the thrice dog-eared page and settled in. It took a few sentences for the story to come back completely, but within a matter of mere moments I was thoroughly absorbed in the action. The Time Traveler had just encountered the first of the Morlocks, you see, and it was fast approaching my favorite part of the tale. After a time I set the book aside – pressing a fourth seam into its yellowed page – and reached for the bathroom tissues.I was thinking about another time-travelling story – the author quite escapes me at present – wherein at pivotal moments in a man’s life, a mysterious benefactor would intervene. It had finally turned out that it was the man’s future self guiding him through events he himself had already been through, and all according to a plan the protagonist had not yet made. It occurred to me that a reasonably intelligent person of a scientific disposition need only earnestly commit themselves to researching time travel, and at that point said time travel would be forced into existence instantaneously. If one were to fully commit one’s life to the pursuit of time travel, I reasoned, one could simply travel back to an earlier self with a fully functional time-shifting device and it would be as though the research process had never happened. You could do away with a whole life’s worth of experimentation in mere seconds, simply by giving your past self that completed device. And all it truly requires is dedicating yourself properly.
I caught myself drifting off into a flight of fancy, one hand still poised above the roll of toiletry paper, when I heard a peculiar noise from the bath area. The bath stood directly across from where I sat, its lime green curtain pinned closed by the miniature suction cups lining its sides. I listened and watched; long moments passed but then I did hear it again. There was a small pop, and then a distinct shuffle. The curtain stirred briefly, and then shot open – a flurry of pops sounding at once as the cups released. There before me stood the most curious being. He had eyes of glass and was softly steaming all about his body. From head to toe ran buckles and swathes of metallic cloth in various dim hues – earthy grays and the greens of moss. The figure wore enormous boots of blackened metal that thickened and widened towards the soles, resembling nothing more than the hooves of an elephant. His face (for I now saw that it was assuredly masculine in build and physique) was a mass of blackened rubber save for the two large, rounded, reflective glass discs in place of the eyes. I became suddenly quite aware that I was naked from the waist down and seated rather inappropriately to receive company of any sort.“I say!” I said, “what are you doing here? Who are you? This is my house, sir!”
The thing reached upwards and with one clean jerk pulled the rubber mask from its head. It was quite human. The man was older than I by some many years, but seemed strong and virile still. His face was wracked with crags and canyons, seamed like old leather from uncounted years of what could only be hard, unyielding work. He stepped from my bath, his stumps resounding solidly through the thin ceramics of the floor, so that I felt each one in the very bones of my legs. He settled back upon the edge of the tub, seated himself on its rim, and regarded me thoughtfully.
“I know what you were thinking, just now,” he told me.
“I was thinking you are in my house, and that you are an intruder, sir!” I answered.
“No, you were thinking about The Time Machine,” at this he gestured towards my now forgotten book, “and about the rest of your life’s pursuits.”
“How…” I began to inquire, but he waved a disdainful hand to silence me.
“Figure it out, friend,” he smiled wanly and began to recite, as if from a manuscript “If one were to suddenly decide that a man of reasonable intelligence and of scientific-”
“Disposition,” I continued “were to dedicate…himself…to….But good lord, man! You don’t mean to say…?” I was aghast. Could it really be so?
“I do mean to say. I do at that. I am quite literally and in a good many ways…you. Or at least, I am what you decided to be, and then were, but fortunately not what you will ultimately become,” he said.
He reached into a small compartment bolted to the waist of his elaborate, armored suit and removed a slim cardboard packet. This he opened, extruded a thick and blunt cigarette from, and then closed. He twisted the butt of the thing and it lit itself with no further assistance. At this I was convinced. There was something of the device – so small a thing! A self lighting cigarette so casual and complete in its workings that it could only come from years of prototypes, research and refinement.
“You’re saying that not only are you my future self, but that you’ve come back to give me the means of time travel you’ve devised?” I was in such an excitement that I had all but forgotten my compromising position.
“Ha!” The man laughed, but with very little humor. He expelled a thick cloud of noxious smoke towards me. Its perfume was foreign, redolent with chemicals that I could not identify. I coughed and reeled.
“Not by half, friend! You see, after a lifetime’s worth of research, I’ve learned a few things about the nature of time travel. I’ve learned, first and foremost, that each timeline is wholly separate from the other. By which I mean that the future you are going to live through will not bring you to me. Nor is my past yours, beyond a point. We share, up until this moment, an identical history. But this moment, because I have travelled here, is our divergence point. You will go on to whatever your future holds, and I will, after a time, return to mine, and never the twain shall meet. You see, I cannot change my own past. Nothing I do here will affect the future I hail from, because it is, in essence, a different world. It shares all of the similarities to your own world of this time period, but by virtue of my visit here, it has become severed. I could murder you as you sit, and then return to my own time and not a wink should be different. Secondly, and perhaps most pertinent to your question which was, I believe, whether or not I had brought you a time travel device…”
“You’ve already told me you have not, sir…” I began to get an uncomfortable feeling from this man. He did not seem at all courteous.
“I could not!” He exclaimed, “There is no machine, you see. It is a cloud of agitated gasses that exist only within a vacuum (thus the strange suit I wear,) and would dissipate the second I exposed them to air. I could explain the process by which these gasses are manufactured, of course, but why? What do I gain? I lost a lifetime to earn this knowledge, only to find I can do nothing to change it. A bitter joke, indeed.”
“But then…why? Why have you come here if not to help your younger self?” I was dumbfounded, too much had happened too fast, and now nothing should come of it?
“Because the decision you’ve just made – to dedicate your life to time travel – is the very same decision I made on that very same toilet. And it was a waste. It was an utter waste of a life. I am an old man now, and none the better for it. I hate you, you see. Quite a lot. You have just made a decision to ruin my life, and I have come to exact some small amount of retribution for it.” He snapped his cigarette in two, then stood up abruptly and leaned over towards me.
I was too amazed to react as he punched me solidly in the nose, the lights of my eyes firing rainbow bursts in the blackness. I felt blood trickle across my lips and tears begin to roll down my cheeks.
“You, sir,” he told me quite formally “are an ass.” He stood erect, straightening a bit stiffly, then began to strap the rubber apparatus back onto his face.
“You see,” He told me, his voice muffled by the mask “every day I come into the laboratory, and the first thing I do to begin my morning on the right foot, is set the machine for this very time. I travel back here daily, have some variation of this very conversation, and then punch you square in the nose for what you’ve done to me. I used to kill you, actually. But I am old, and it takes far more effort than you may initially think. Regardless, each of these trips becomes a different world – a different you – and there are as many worlds as there are trips through time. Truly, I merely find that belting your smug little face is the only surefire way to start a good, productive work day. Speaking of, I should really be returning to my work now,” and at that he stomped back into the bath and swung shut the curtain.
There was a distant rustle – the sound of him departing, I imagine – and I was once again alone in the chill of the vacant bathroom: My pants still ’round my ankles, my old book resting on the counter, blood dripping from my face and falling into the waters below me.