by Brian Long
Joe was enjoying his day off from work – which, thanks to unemployment, was every day. Cracking open a beer, he plopped onto his lumpy, pea green couch which made him feel warm like a lover’s embrace. He stared at his broken television, which he had temporarily repaired by pasting a picture of a red-headed centerfold model over the screen. The theme for that issue was “Working Women” and the model was a veterinarian with an impractically short skirt who was giving a shot to an injured tortoise. Just as Joe was getting comfortable, a flash of light suddenly filled the room. When the flash faded, a young boy, who looked to be about fifteen years old, was standing in the middle of a circular burn on the carpet. He wore an all white jumpsuit and a pair of oversized green goggles. The boy lifted the goggles above his head. The boy had the same untamable curly hair and brown eyes that Joe had.
“Are you Joseph Peoples?” the boy asked.
“Y-yes,” Joe replied, “who are you?”
“Are you sure?” the boy asked with a disappointed tone.
“Yeah, who are you?”
The boy took a look around the room; he observed the discoloration of the carpet caused by Joe’s carelessness while eating. The stains were a visual timeline of everything Joe had eaten since he first purchased the rug. From the two large sausage and veal pizzas to the spilled box of wine that left a stain which slightly resembled the Dali Lama.
“That one totally looks like the Dali Lama right?” Joe asked the young man.
“Oh, this sucks!”
The boy threw the goggles onto the ground and kicked them towards the couch. Joe picked up the goggles which had landed next to him and read the label on the strap.
“Toronto Time Travel Institute?” he said.
The boy snatched the goggles away from him.
“Yes, you Neanderthal, time travel,” he said, placing the goggles back onto his head. “I’m supposed to be doing a report on our family history and THIS is what I find. I’m going to get an ‘F.’”
“You could probably get at least a ‘C’…” Joe replied, slightly hurt by this temporally misplaced adolescent.
“No, no, I couldn’t, you’re a slob,” the boy said.
“Hey… It’s my day off,” Joe said.
“Really,” the boy said, “and what exactly do you do for a living?”
“I sell hubcaps.”
“Where do you get the hubcaps?”
Joe looked down at his gut as it rose and fell with each breath.
“I steal them…”
“That’s what I thought,” said the boy as he pressed a few buttons on his oversized watch.
“Wait, are you leaving?”Joe asked.
“I dunno, I thought you would tell me some stuff about the future.”
“I’m legally not supposed to, but you know what? You seem to be such a brainless dolt I don’t think telling you anything about events to come would damage the time-stream at all. There are flying skateboards in my future and they are all reasonably priced!”
“Oh man,” Joe said, “that’s awesome!”
“And if my calculations are correct, you die the day before they are released to the public,” the boy said. He finished typing on the keyboard and the room began to fill with the white light again. “God, I really hope my great grandparents are more interesting; although since they were spawned by YOU, I’m not going to hold my breath.”
The boy disappeared in another blinding flash. Joe began to take stock of his life. He looked around his ruined apartment. He had no job, no girlfriend, and no mature adult relationships with anyone. And then it hit him. Judging from what that kid said – and after he had looked up the definition of the word “spawning,” just to make sure he understood him correctly – Joe knew, sooner or later, he was totally going to get laid.
BRIAN LONG is an amateur wordologist. His works can be found at The New Flesh and The Broadset Writing Collective.