(Author’s note: Well, I did it. I got the full-time job. This means a little more security, and means a little more stability for my writing schedule. I am hoping to be back up to speed fully. Also, my health has taken a turn for the better, so I am celebrating. Enjoy today’s fictioneers.)
(Author’s statement: My apologies. Last week’s miss of the Friday Fictioneers was due to having back to back medical treatments and getting home VERY late. So I will try to make up for it this week. Anyhow, here’s today’s fictioneers:)
(Author’s note: Still in a splint. Things acting up, but I’ll be fine. 84 calendar days until I end my working career in Korea. As for today’s fictioneers, I originally was going to go with “Stuck In A Closet With Vanna White”, but I felt like something…more. Enjoy today’s fictioneers! )
“So this is where you ended up, eh?”
“Yeah. Who would have thought that I would be the heir to the Sultanate.”
Mark O’Connor and Rahim Zaharia walked down the desert path within the walled town.
“10 years ago, we were pulling pranks on Melinda Clouse. And now you’re the Sultan of Watoomba.”
“8 years after becoming, I’m still not used to it. There are so many different things I have to do. Sometimes, I need an oasis from this desert.”
“Ever thought about coming back to the USA?”
Rahim shook his head.
“The people need me here. I am their oasis in this unforgiving desert.”
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.
“You mean ‘Yadda Yadda Yamada’? She was the Seinfeld fangirl in high school.”
“Yeah, she’s on my facebook. She posted something that made me think of things.”
Douglas “Duke” Chambers and Jeremiah “Jeeves” Wetherby were the best of friends, and as they sat on the porch of Jeremiah’s newly acquired house, they talked about the old days. Both went to the same high school, went different paths in life, but met back up after their tours were done. They sat looking at the sunset going down over the California high desert.
“What did she say?”
“She put up a post talking about ladies who pray for their future husbands.”
Duke snorted at the mention of future spouses.
“That sounds incredibly silly. Why would someone want to pray for their future husband? I mean, are we supposed to sit around and pray for our future wives or something?”
“That’s the thing, Duke. I didn’t really think about it at first, but it kept hitting me in the head as I thought about it more.”
“How did it hit you?”
“Not exactly sure how, but it just made sense. If a woman is praying for her future husband, then it would be rightful in thinking that there are women who are waiting for me.”
“Women? Waiting for you?” Duke said, with a chuckle roaring across the porch.
“I wouldn’t believe it either. But for us guys, it seems to make sense, too. If there are guys like us who are praying for our future wives, then that would mean that those guys are also waiting for those women.”
“And how are you so sure, Jeeves? How are you so sure there’s a woman out there for you?”
“I guess it’s all on faith. Some nights, as I’m staring out into twilight, I wish for her to be with me that night. Who, is the question I keep wondering though.”
“You’ve really thought this out, haven’t you?”
“It just makes sense, that’s all. I can tell you that there are lonely women saying a prayer on the western skyline right now, probably praying that they find you.”
Duke thought about it for a second.
“The question is, Jer, who would want me?”
“Trust me, there are women who want you. They just haven’t been given the Gibbs slap of realization yet.”
Parents, teachers, administrators, and students were mystified.
The newspapers didn’t know what to say, at first.
Many of the witnesses could not believe what they saw.
For those who witnessed Charlene Herrera keel over in 6th period Chemistry class, they were in a daze. Some even trying to block out the memory of what seemed to happen.
Sherry Makinami was a witness to what happened. What people didn’t know, and what she was unsure of, was that she may have been the one who caused it.
She read the headline in the morning paper: STROKE TAKES LIFE OF LAKE GROVE SCHOOLGIRL
She remembered everything, and what was happening that day.
A junior at Lake Grove High School, Sherry was not exactly the pick of the litter. She was mostly average. Average height, average weight, and didn’t really stand out. She did her work at school, socialized a little bit, but didn’t stand out in anything. She was not the type of person to be outspoken, as she rarely raised her hand in class. She kept to herself many times.
This made her a bit of a target for some in her grade, including Charlene. 6th period chemistry class, the last class of the day, was always the worst for Sherry. No matter where she sat, there was some form of adversity. She had to adapt to survive, but chemistry was an unadaptable situation.
For most of the day, she was being harassed by Charlene and her entourage. The real events, where it all came to a head, started with a missed question, and an experiment.
The chemistry teacher, Mr. Palachuk, was finishing his lesson before they were to do their lab work.
“Alright, class. As a quick review, who can tell me why the alkali metals are reactive as they continue down the chart?”
Sherry was about to raise her hand, when she felt a solid piece of something hit the back of her head and proceed to plop to the ground. She felt behind her head, and looked at it. She saw what was a remnant of a spitball that was in her hair. Sherry turned around, sighed, and looked back at the teacher.
Someone gave the answer to the question, and he let everyone move to their workstations. The directions were clear, to experiment with alkali earth metals and see what happened.
Sherry moved to her workstation and looked at the metals in front of her. She started to do a little bit of work, when she was bumped from the side. Water spilled across her hands, and she looked over at the rotund form of Charlene’s bottom.
“Oops! I didn’t even see you there!” she said with a sickly and sweet smile, “You should have said something if you saw me coming.”
Sherry just looked at her, and shook her head. She picked up a piece of magnesium ribbon with her tongs, and put one of the ends in the bunsen burner. It glowed brightly, as the white flames slowly traveled down the strip. She was studying it intently, when she spotted someone about to crash into her side.
Charlene moved backwards again, this time pushing Sherry over. She fell with her to the floor. People started laughing and joking.
“Charlene, what are you doing?! That’s on fire!”
“And she finally speaks, only to yell at me,” she said, looking down at Sherry. Sherry got up and put sand on the magnesium strip, while Charlene and her entourage in class laughed.
Sherry looked at her intensely. She felt the anger in her chest beat heavily, threatening to betray the calm exterior by which she stared at her.
I wish she would just go away.
The thought spread across her sub-consciousness, peeking itself into the conscious for just a moment. She turned and looked down at the magnesium, covered in sand. She kept looking down, but pointed her eyes straight in Charlene’s direction.
I want her to leave me alone, she cried out in her mind, I want her to leave everyone alone!
Suddenly, without warning, Charlene winced. A small pain started in the center of her head. She put one of her hands to her head and tried to feel where it was, as it wasn’t a normal headache. As the seconds ticked by, the pain grew.
She doesn’t know pain, she doesn’t know anything, Sherry thought, spitting the words out in her mind.
The pain in Charlene’s head grew. For her, it was like a migraine that just went supernova. She clutched her head and gritted her teeth.
“Char, what’s going on?” one of her friends asked.
“I don’t know. My head is just….owwwwwww.” she cried out, the pain ratcheting up a notch.
Sherry continued with her gaze, not moving an inch and not doing anything. She didn’t seem like she was doing anything except sulking.
Charlene started to scream, as the pain in her head grew to a point. Her brain felt like it wanted to rip her skull open and run away. The pressure grew to be incredible. Blood leaked from her nose, and started to drip onto the floor.
For a split second, the screaming stopped. For Charlene, the last feeling she had was of a pop and a pressure release in her brain.
Her body crumpled like a weighted tent, splaying her on the ground, her head hitting the floor with a sickening *crack*.
Sherry looked over at her lifeless form, and did the only thing she could do.
She screamed, then fainted.
The next day, as she looked at the paper and read the headline, she looked at her family at the table. They were all silent as they ate breakfast.
Her mom put down her butter knife, and looked at her daughter.
“Sherry, I think we need to talk,” she said, plainly.
Sherry looked back at her mom, and tears started to fall down her face.
“Mom? Did I do this?”
Her mom got up from her chair, walked over to her, and put her arms around her daughter.
“That’s why we need to talk. I think I know what happened, and it’s something that you’ve inherited. It looks like we’re gonna have to have ‘The Talk’.”
Sherry breathed a heavy breath, and she started sobbing into her mom’s shoulder uncontrollably.
High school could be a cruel mistress sometimes. For many students, it was the epitome of social alienation and subjection to the whims of those who had the influence.
Kristy Parsons was one of these with influence, and even she fell victim to the whims of others.
It was a cool February afternoon, just after sixth period creative writing class. Kristy met her boyfriend in the hallway close to her classroom. 10 minutes between classes was enough time for her to get some “chest time” with her honey, where she would sidle up to him, lay her head against his chest, and release her stress. She saw him in his usual spot, and she quickly walked over.
He didn’t respond when she approached him. She knew that something was up.
“Well, hello there, Greg,” she purred, “Are you ready for some energy?”
“Not today, Kristy,” he said, flatly, “I’m breaking things off. You’re nice, but I just don’t want to be with you anymore.”
She was about to say something, but her throat could only give a small shocking “eep”.
Her day proceeded to get worse, and as she was walking down the stairs towards the exit, she heard the whispers of the others.
I hear her boyfriend dumped her for Gina Langston. No way, it wasn’t Gina Langston. She’s still going out with Mark Blank. It’s clearly Shannon, the head cheerleader.
Poor Kristy, she’ll have no one to take her to the dance tonight.
She quickly ran to her locker, grabbed her stuff, and proceeded to skip seventh period. She arrived home shortly after leaving school, and proceeded to her room to cry. She was not happy with things, and the night was not going to go well either. She was required to be at the dance that night, as she was the head of the design committee and the person for which all music selections went through.
Until an hour before the dance was to start, she cried. Her mom came to comfort her, to give her what she needed to get through the night.
“He wasn’t worth your time, Kristy. I have a feeling that you’ll find someone sooner than you think.”
Great, Mom, Kristi groaned to herself, Old Spinster me is going to emerge soon. I doubt it’ll happen.
She proceeded to get ready for the dance, wearing a beautiful peach-colored satin dress and dazzling up herself as best as she could. She was not looking forward to what was going to happen there at the dance, but she decided to do her best anyways. She could always be sad tomorrow.
She went to the dance, and entered the back entrance of the school. It was customary for those checking the designs and others to be in the back, so she was able to go in without much trouble. After informing the deejay about what he was supposed to play and what he wasn’t, she walked over to the main gym doors. She rapped on the doors twice, and proceeded over to a reserved table, where she sat. And continued sitting even after the first 30 minutes of the dance.
She looked at the people out on the floor, having fun and dancing. Tears slowly fell from her eyes, seeing the fun that she was supposed to be having with her now ex-boyfriend, and she started feeling a bit cold.
She looked behind her, and saw a young man that she never would have thought would even give her the time of day. She figured Brian Treadwell, the captain of the ice hockey team and the assistant editor-in-chief of the newspaper, would be pursuing one of the hockey girls.
Kristi seemed to do nothing as Brian’s warm hands transferred heat into her fingers, giving her new life.
“You, beside the dance floor, what are you crying for? Let’s live it up! What do you say?”
Kristi looked up at Brian. She looked deep into his blue-gray eyes and saw his heart. She knew he wasn’t joking.
“Which song should we dance to?”
“How about the one that’s about to come up?”
Kristi looked at him funny.
“How do you know what song is coming up”
Brian smiled, and snapped his open fingers.
“I know the deejay. He’s a friend of mine. And I told him to put it on when we go to the floor. Which should be now, as this song is ending.”
Brian squeezed her hand lightly and gave her a lift up onto her feet. She looked at him, and put her arm around his back. They walked out to the dance floor, and the deejay started to speak.
“Hey there, kids! Glad to have all of you on the floor. This one is a special request from a guy who thinks that there’s a wonderful girl that deserves better than what she had. Brian, buddy, this one is for you! Let’s live it up!”
With the last word, the song started up.
That night, Brian gave Kristy the night of her life. After having a good time at the dance and the after party, he dropped her off at home. By this time, she was grinning and forgetting all about her ex-boyfriend. This continues to the following Monday morning, when he drove to her house and picked her up for school. As they drove to school, Kristi opened her heart to ask a question.
“Brian, why did you come to me? You are the ice hockey captain, you could have anyone.”
Brian looked at her, and looked back at the road with a smile.
“I’ve been interested in getting to know you for a good while. You were on my screen since we both met up at freshman orientation. You just were busy with that other guy, and when you were down, I wanted to be the one to help pick you back up.”
“Besides, Ive seen your work. You’re worth your weight in gold. You’re pretty, you’re outgoing, and there should never be a reason for you to cry unless it’s a darn good one.”
She blushed even more furiously at that.
“I’ve had my eye on you for a good while, and I just felt like I needed to take charge and help you move on from this heartbreak. And quickly.”
She turned and looked at him, as they slowed down at a stoplight.