Monday, June 28, 2010

Short short story

On The Bus

By William Grewe-Mullins

I ran into myself on the bus today. One minute he wasn't there, the next he was. He didn't introduce
himself, as I immediately recognized me, and of course he remembered that. I turn out a bit
chubbier, and wrinklier with a lot more white hair, but still a lot of red, and still in a ponytail. He
had a mechanical hand.

"Still wearing the ponytail." I said.

"Shut up." I replied.

This is going to get confusing, so I'm going to refer to old me as he or him, even though it's actually
me.

"We only have about 5 minutes," old me said, "So let me do most of the talking. I came here
because I knew you'd be here, because of the bus schedule. An easy target, as it were. First off,
have that lump on your collarbone looked at."

As soon as I promised him that I would, in the space between seconds, his mechanical hand turned
into a regular fleshy hand.

"Wasn't it cool to have a mechanical hand?" I asked old me.

"Who had a mechanical hand?" he replied.

"Well, if you didn't come here to fix your hand, what did you come here for?" I said.

"I don't know what you're talking about. I came here to tell you that in about twenty-five years, we
develop time travel, and that although it is fun and sometimes pretty cool, it's also pretty much
worthless. Before you ask, I could give you the lottery number that I have for next week's lottery,
but by the time I get back to my time, the number I brought you won't be the number that's in the
historical record, the same one that I copied to give to you. My coming back here has changed
everything just a little. Many have tried that, none have succeeded. Perhaps I did come to fix my
hand, but now that you will keep me from losing it, I never lost it. That actually makes sense." he
rambled.

"Yes, that actually does make sense." I replied.

"Shut up." He said. "Historians are going to waste about five years going back into history, seeing
what actually happened at controversial points, but each time they go back to, say, JFK's
assassination, where everybody goes, they don't see the other travelers there, and every time the
scene is a little different. It's like this, Oswald is the shooter in all the scenarios we've explored, but
in some, and only in some, there is a second shooter, sometimes a third, and in one, as many as
eight, on the overpass, behind the fence on the grassy knoll, whatever, but also, the other shooters
never make the shot. Miss every time. Our theory is that there is a very narrow range of possible
outcomes, and that history always bends back towards the timeline of the original traveler's reality.
When you go there, carry an umbrella. That's the rule. You won't see anybody else with an
umbrella, although you will show up on the Zapruder film. Don't turn to the camera. Just don't. And
by the way, you can't kill Hitler, because without Hitler, no German scientists developing
electronics, without electronics, no time travel. So many have tried and failed that it's banned,
except for documentaries about how it doesn't work. The one called "Stop Trying To Kill Hitler, It
Doesn't Work" is a good one. And you can't go back to before Homo sapiens evolved. We still
don't know why, so no dinosaur hunts, although seeing the pyramids brand new is pretty awesome.
Any questions?"

"How's Patty?" I asked.

"She's fine, surrounded by dogs as usual, more dogs than you can imagine. Seriously. I think that
may be actually why I came. Don't stop playing the lottery, and only when it's over a hundred
million jackpot. Just don't. You're going to need a lot of dog food."

By the time I could say anything else, in the space between seconds, I was gone.

23 comments:

brucedene said...

You will be very efficient and succinct. Which is weird, 'cause I just got some Chinese over the weekend, and that's what my fortune said.

OR DID IT?

葉婷 said...

成熟,就是有能力適應生活中的模糊。.................................................................

陳湖 said...

Hello~Nice meet you~~............................................................

吳婷婷 said...

路過--你好嗎..很棒的BLOG...................................................................

JasonBirk佳琪 said...

人生的「三部曲」應該是無愧的昨天,充實的今天,與充滿希望的明天。..................................................

fightingchance said...

Hey, if you see me on the bus the next time you time travel, will you please tell me to stay away from motorcycles? I'm pretty stupid, so you may have to tell me more than once.
Gotta go -- we rented "Stop Trying To Kill Hitler It Doesn't Work" on Netflix, and I want to get it in the mail tomorrow...;-)

郁雯郁雯 said...

很棒很期待新的內容..................................................................

玉婷良DGFHFJ瑋黃吳 said...

Never hesitate to hold out your hand; never hesitate to accept the outstretched hand of another..................................................................

承蘋承蘋 said...

一棵樹除非在春天開了花,否則難望在秋天結果。..................................................

淑慧 said...

知識可以傳授,智慧卻不行。每個人必須成為他自己。. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

RicoLisi0802志竹 said...

時間就是塑造生命的材料。

艾周任 said...

Learning makes a good man better and ill man worse.............................................................

劉林育雅嘉韋 said...

鞋匠能作好鞋子,因為他只做鞋,不做別的。..................................................

孟湖聿軒 said...

Pen and ink is wits plough...................................................................

凱v胡倫 said...

男女互悅,未必廝守終生,相愛就是美的。.................................................................

佳陳容 said...

要保持更新呦,加油!!!期待你的新文章!!!............................................................

冠陳儒 said...

來塊巧克力吧~~心情會好哦~~...............................................................

翊翊翊翊張瑜翊翊翊 said...

如果成為一支火柴,也要點亮一個短暫的宇宙;如果是一隻烏鴉,也要叫疼閉塞的耳膜。............................. ...................................

Riana McKeith said...

Oh I like this short story a lot - pefectly quirky, perfectly weird, and perflectly likeable! Well done (not that the opinion of a stranger ever means much, but if it makes you feel better imagine I'm a famous publicist that will make you rich)

Under Design said...

Awesome. Love this story. I'm working on a similar storyline on my own, and this is great inspiration!

I've reposted it on my own blog I like it so much!

http://underdesign.wordpress.com/2010/08/27/on-the-bus-repost-short-story-by-william-grewe-mullins/

James said...

I like this story a whole bunch. Do you have any more?

FilmJulie said...

My name is Julie and I am in love with this short story. I am a filmmaker in Denver, Colorado and would like to talk to you about using your story as a script for a short film.

Paul said...

"You're going to need a lot of dog food." That's the key to the story.

I got this fortune recently from a local (Minneapolis) Chinese/Malaysian restaurant: "You would prosper in the field of wacky inventions."