Friday, January 14, 2011

117 Minutes

Are we are better off not knowing what lies in the future? The question lurked in my mind, haunted me even as we tested the device on Chauncey, our chronorat. We placed him on the pad, fired up the grid, then, with a faint crackle like sizzling bacon, he vanished into our future. After an absence of exactly 117 minutes, the unalterable temporal displacement limit, Chauncey reappeared on the pad.

A week following that initial test, celebratory cheers erupted in the lab as the prior week's Chauncey popped in. Soon Chauncey's jumps became routine, though it sometimes seemed wrong that occasionally it meant there were two of him.

That was three years, Chauncey's official retirement, and several of my own 117-minute jumps, ago.

This morning I dropped off my six-year-old son at school.

Now, in the darkened streets of Detroit, sixty years from this morning, I hurry to meet my great-grandson.

The house is dark, but the address matches. I knock, wait. Knock again.

The door opens. An angry young man with gold eyeshadow and dyed skin growls, “Yo, turkleroid, wrong building ya got.”

“Jensen Reeves?”

“Yeah. Too bad,” he says. He pulls his pistol and fires.

©2010 James K Bowers / 200 words

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