Out Of The Blue
by Miles Rost
I wanted to see history, and I got more than I bargained for.
One of the biggest problems with schools in this day in age is that you can’t actually see history happen. That’s what happens when you’re being educated on a space station somewhere between Jupiter and Uranus. You can see some things happen, but they’re so miniscule that if you blink, you miss it.
It’s 2115, and I’m sitting in another boring history class. We talk about the 21st century and the 20th century, with theories about how and why everything went wrong. We hear about how our grandparents from Russia, the then United States of America, China, a united Korea, and India, all got together to start colonizing other planets. That was 2020. And in almost 95 years, we’ve been able to expand all the way out here. However, Earth went all wrong. It went sideways, and descended into madness just after people started moving to the Moon.
They never tell you when in history, the precise moment when everything went wrong for the world. They never tell you about the moment when something pinged, and the start of the fall occurred.
That’s why I decided to do something about it. Brilliant little me decided to create the first watch to warp the space-time continuum, to go back and observe periods of time. I don’t know what people are taught, but time isn’t as ball-shaped or timey wimey as people think.
It was October 9th, 2115 when I made the first jump. I programmed it into an important period of time in the 21st century. However, to quote an ancestral singer named Phil Collins, “something happened on the way to Heaven.” It took me farther than I cared to go, and it took me to a scene that I never wanted to see or go to.
I materialized at Park Pier 40, in New York City. It was a beautiful sight, a clear day that I can very much remember. I looked at my watch to see where I ended up.
8:45AM, Tuesday, September 11th, 2001.
I looked up at the sky, to the south, and I heard the great engines of what my teachers called an airplane. Before my eyes, within a minute, I saw the plane slam into a building.
I remember seeing this in news-snippets that they’d show us in class, but I really didn’t understand the impact until I could see it for myself. What I saw shocked me to the core, as seeing it in person is much more sense-based. I stood there for an hour, watching the second plane fly into the other tower, and both of them collapsing.
I suspected, however, that there was more to the story than a terrorist attack. That the reason for Earth’s complete breakdown of civilization was not held in the three buildings and 4 planes that were used to kill thousands of people and start a major factional divide between spheres of influence.
I was about to program my way back home, when I noticed a weird light on my watch. I looked, and before I could press anything, the whole entire landscape that I saw warped around me and twisted into a sort of vertigous mess of colors. I blacked out, as my mind just couldn’t process all the stuff going through it. I woke up sitting in a park, in a very green city, looking at people milling around. It wasn’t New York, I could tell you that much.
I walked around for a few minutes, to get my bearings and see if I could find a newspaper or something with a date on it. As luck would have it, I found what they called a newspaper kiosk at the corner of the park. I walked up and looked at the main newspaper. I apparently landed in Seattle, Washington, on November 25th, 1991. The paper, something once referred to as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, had for a sideline “Seattle’s Nirvana breaks top 10.”
I mused to myself that a musical band or event would like not be what ends up breaking the Earth 40 years in the future. Still, I looked at the people. Unlike 2001, the people in 1991 were a little jumpy but not really like the 2001 folks. They seemed to have a lot more hope in their eyes, though it seemed like there was a little fade. So, I spent the next 4 hours watching people and enjoying real Earth foods. Coffee was something I liked, but to actually have it brewed right there was a feat of awesomeness that I don’t think I could ever believe.
After the four hours were up, I was walking around when I heard a beep from my watch. I looked down and it was glowing red again. Uh-oh, I guess that coffee was going to come up after all. Again, a major vertigous spin occurred and I felt like a cat inside a washing machine. Until I landed, face first, onto a concrete sidewalk.
I looked up and I noticed that everything was clean. Really clean. The cars were very weird looking, they actually had a boxy definition and were very distinctive. I looked around, and recognized a landmark from where I was standing. I recognized the bright white of the Coit Tower in the distance, realizing that I was in San Francisco.
I looked around the area, and saw a newspaper that was rolled up in front of a storefront. It looked to be around 9AM or so, on a bright day, and so I decided to take a peek. The date landed me on April 17, 1946.
Nothing happened at ALL on this date. I scrambled around the area, looking for some indication that something big was going to happen. I passed a bookstore along the way down the street, but something inside told me to stop. It told me to stop and go back. I went back to take a look at the bookstore I had passed, as my gut was saying “You wanna know? Here ya go.” I looked all throughout the entire window display that was up and I saw a book, seemingly innocent and just sitting there. A small card underneath said “The latest for the home, to take care of the family.”
After I saw the title of the book, everything suddenly clicked. The start of the decline of Earth’s civilization didn’t start with a terrorist attack, or a musical interlude. It started with 4 words and 1 name:
It was called “Baby and Child Care”. The author was Dr. Benjamin Spock.
I looked at my watch, after it made a slightly different sound. This time, it glowed green. I knew that my adventure would come to an end, and the answers that I found were going to be unbelievable. However, I happen to think that I will finally be able to get an A on my history paper, and make some people question everything they know.
I just pray that I don’t get stuck somewhere on the way back.