Copyright © 2014 Chris Schnaufer
Falling into the future wasn’t as I had imagined it. Like everyone else I had been time traveling one day, hour, minute, second at a time. Marching through time’s metronomic beat with all of my fellow travelers. Wasting hours, days, minutes with abandon, even as I packed every moment I could with tasks, thoughts, necessities, desires; only caving in to the most irresistible urge of all – sleep.
I clearly remember that moment as I was wearing my favorite grey designer suit (that was worth thousands), juggling my schedule (worth millions) with my people surrounding me (worth hundreds of thousands). It was then that I, literally, fell through time. I wish I could say I had invented The Time Machine, but there was no Machine. I wish I could say that there was a blinding flash of light, but there was no light, There was no searing pain, no heat, no cold, no pain, no change at all that I could detect as I went from then to now. Except height. I did notice the change in height.
I noticed it because I had suddenly fallen about half a meter and landed on my hands and knees.
Crying out in surprise, I fell with sunglasses askew, knuckles scraped, knee scraped, and suit scuffed. My phone popped out of my ear as my head hit the ground. Stunned I lay there for a moment waiting for my people to express their concern and offer their help, and, most of all: give me the opportunity to explode at that complete idiot that caused my accident by digging a hole I could fall into.
Instead I heard muffled laughter and felt hands helping me up, brushing me off, and giving me my glasses and phone. Putting on my glasses I looked around. I had hit my head harder than I thought. Everything appeared to be swirling, moving. The city looked unfamiliar, and I couldn’t understand what my rescuers were saying. Putting my hand to my head I said “I think I need to sit for a minute.”
There was some more discussion while I stumbled towards my building. Then someone said “Sure thing, uh, dude” and helped me sit on a bench under a tree that I didn’t remember existing. Looking up at my rescuers swirling along with the city I found I could understand them, even though their accents were strange.
“Where are my people?”, I asked.
“We don’t know your people dude”, replied the same voice as before. The voice belonged to a man on my left.
“I think ‘Sir’ is what you’re supposed to say”, a woman on my right said.
“Look at how he is dressed”, she continued.
“Yah, weird”, came the reply from another woman.
“Look, ‘Sir’ is fine. Can we go inside?”, I asked.
“Yah, Sir”, came the reply.
As we went inside, out of the sun, I learned their names. Nick was the guy who had talked to me first. Susan and Sue were the two women. Finally Jethro and Aurthur were the other two men. They were all having a grand time – doing their good deed I guess.
I felt my head clearing a little as we walked into the building. Entering into the building I noticed my eyes weren’t adjusting so I took off my sunglasses. The pitch black stopped me in my tracks. Nothing. I saw nothing. Everything was dark. Frozen in place, I stood there waiting for my vision to change. I could feel and hear the people moving around me.
“Hey dude, what is up?”, Nick asked.
“I can’t see”, I said.
“Serious?”, he said. “Can you see my hand?”
“Nope”, I replied. “Can I sit down? Maybe some rest will bring it back.”
“Sure, Sir”, said Sue as they helped me sit down.
“You need to move to the left a little, Sir”, said Jethro in his deep voice.
“And don’t lie down!”, he exclaimed as I tried to do just that.
Sitting me up, one of them moved me slightly to the left.
“There”, said Susan, “you are all set.”
“You need to be quieter too, uh, Jethro”, she continued stressing his name. “This is a private space, as you should know.”
“Where the hell are my people?”, I muttered. “Can one of you get a doctor? My sight isn’t coming back”, I said aloud after a minute.
“Yah, Sir”, said the Jethro. “We will be back quickly.”
“Tell me who your people are and I will contact them for you, Sir”, said Sue.
“They are Mike, tall guy, can’t miss him, and Everett, Chen, and Shir.”
There was a pause. Then Susan said, “Still playing I see.”
Sue said, “I think I’ll be a Mike next time. I like the sound of that. ‘Mike’. Strong name with a vow-wel at the end to make it female. ‘Mike’ it is for the next time”, she concluded.
I had no idea what they were talking about. “Uh, I don’t think…” I began to say.
At that time the men returned. “Dude, doctor is on their, their way”, Nick said, ending the sentence with more confidence than he started with.
A loud exclamation from Susan causing the group to talk rapidly amongst themselves in a way I couldn’t make out. Talking their own language again. When they stopped talking I asked “What happened?” There wasn’t a reply. “Hello?”, I said, “Say something.” Still no reply. Apparently I had been abandoned by my people for the second time in less than one hour. This was truly turning out to be a lousy day.
I sat back in my spot and waited.
Not being one who is able to wait for long I stuck my phone back in my ear and turned it on. I was reassured to hear Donna’s voice welcoming me back. I have actually met the Donna whose voice was on my phone. She was a nice woman in her early 50’s who served me tea and cookies when I visited her. It was always reassuring to hear her voice.
I muttered “Contact Chen” to my phone. Donna’s voice took a second to get back to me: “Unable to find service”, she said. “Contact Chen”, I repeated. “Unable to find service”, Donna said smoothly in my ear. I tried again. “Unable to find service”, Donna repeated. “Please move into a service area or have our phone repaired”, she added. Disgusted with my now broken phone, I took it out and put it into my pocket.
Just then a man’s voice spoke next to me. It appeared to be in the same language as my recent, so called friends, used. “What happened to English?”, I muttered ignoring the man.
I jumped at the sudden prod on my arm and exclaimed, “Hey! Watch yourself there.”
“Yes, you are the one then. Won’t break out no matter what. Very good. Please keep your voice down and explain what is wrong with your vision?”, the man asked.
He apparently was the doctor.
“I can’t see”, I said beginning to feel uneasy. I received another pause.
What was going on with all the waiting? It was making me nervous.
“Is that all you have for me?”, asked the doctor.
“What more do you need?”, I angrily replied.
“Very well”, doctor the sighed. “We will do this the hard way.”
I held still so the doctor could so his thing.
“Well?”, I asked a few moments later after nothing happened.
“What did you say your name is?”, the doctor asked in a strange voice.
“Sty Stevensons”, I said. “I own this building.”
“Moment, please”, came the reply.
“Contact my office”, I called after him, “they can tell you who I am.”
“Sure thing,” came the reply.
Feeling like I was getting somewhere, I sat back and relaxed.
Well, I couldn’t exactly relax since it’s not in my nature. Even when blind and sitting down.
Still wondering where my people were, I reviewed my first meeting of the day in my head. Calculating that I was going to be late for that meeting and for the rest of my day, I instinctively pressed the watch dial on my left inside wrist. Only seven minutes had passed.
Stunned, I let go of the watch and went back into the darkness again. As I sat there trying to figure out what in the world was going on, feet ran towards me, chair restraints pinned me down, and something poked me in the arm. I blacked out after that.