Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Part 7: The side effects of time travel

This is the part of my story I had intended to be the conclusion. Not just an ending – no, that would never satisfy a mind like mine – but a real first-rate, proper conclusion, with lessons learned, themes brought together. The whole nine yards, as they say.

But now that I have arrived here, I find that it is merely the end. There were no lessons learned. No grander themes. Some people died, others broke up, and most kept on doing things exactly as they’d been doing them before.

So little has been learned that I have what I will call a creeping suspicion that I have been brought here – to the future, to 2017 – probably with a promise that I would be returned to my own time once the coast was clear. Yet here I am. Abandoned. Stranded in the future.

Oh, it’s not much a theory, I admit, which is why I have not mentioned it before. Certainly not to Mad Slaughter when she came knocking at my back door with another oleander flower in her hair.

I had not seen her in two years.

“You never call me,” she said.

“I did not want to seem too eager or stalky,” I said.

“Your beard’s gone grey,” she said.

“It’s a well-documented side effect of time travel,” I said without elaboration.

The reason for her visit – or its inspiration, I will say, if visits can be said to be inspired – was this:  While flipping through old photographs at her father’s, she had stumbled upon a picture deemed relevant to me and, unknown to her, relevant to this story as well.

“You told me once that you had known Stonie,” she said. The photograph she brought me was of a young girl, somewhere between the ages of, well, four and eleven, for I am no good with this sort of thing. It wasn’t a baby or a woman.

The girl in the photograph wore a one piece bathing suit and held up her arms as though showing off muscles. To comedic effect, it is supposed. A moment’s reflection revealed the girl to be not only a younger Mad Slaughter, but the girl by Jamie’s pool in 2003, to boot.

They were one and the same, you see!

In the background of this picture – it had been taken at a curious upward angle – was a balcony and on this balcony were three blurry figures. To one side sat Stonie, looking, as best as I could make out, young and beautiful and still very much alive. It was obviously me on the other side, I could see that, but why on earth did I appear so shiny?

Was I always as shiny as this?

Regardless, in the photograph, in between Stonie’s youth and my gleaming, and looking directly into the camera, was Jamie. She appeared… satisfied. She appeared as though, at that moment, there was nowhere else in the whole world where she would rather be.

The end.
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“Part 1: A true crime story” is HERE.
“Part 2: A boy who killed some people” is HERE.
“Part 3: The other voice” is HERE.
“Part 4: Stonie’s bottle” is HERE.
“Part 5: Murder in Montrose” is HERE.
“Part 6: The time I thought Jamie was dead” is HERE. 

32 comments:

  1. It was your astral ghost? The essential goodness in you? Bad film? Poor exposure?

    I'll go with astral ghost.

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    1. I'll go with that, too. It's a way better theory than mine, which was that I just look lousy in pictures.

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  2. This was very much a true crime story. No righteous fanfare, no gleaning of wisdom, no clear ending. Just some events smack-dab in the middle of people's lives. And those who were lucky, they just keep on living the only way they know how.

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    1. I am glad I left out the chase scene.

      Now I get to write something different.

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  3. That is an ending that leaves you an opening into a whole nuther story. A trip back in time to remember the circumstances of that gathering and how you got there and why oh why oh why were you so shiny. Another affect of time travel..or just too much sun tan lotion?

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    1. Unfortunately, I am so un-self-aware that when I see a picture of myself, I often have to ask people, "Do I really look like that?

      The image I have of myself in my head isn't nearly so shiny.

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  4. Hey, why are you using the British spelling of "grey" instead of the American spelling of "gray"? Are you secretly a Brit? Or perhaps Canadian? Fess up, Harry.

    I don't know WHY I'm suspicious. It's not like you have a history of impersonation or anything.

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    1. I think I need to wait on that one, just in case British people turn out to have the next great civil rights movement in America, in which case I'd definitely want to write as a Brit.

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  5. First off, congrats on finishing this. I know what an undertaking this was.

    Second, since you asked my opinion (I'm sure you did), my theory is that you are not a time traveler, but instead a poor man's Dorian Grey. You never age, but as you commit more passive aggressive acts in the world, you get shinier in that picture. A few more smart ass comments, and you'll look like little more than a bad J.J. Abrams lens flare.

    And yes, I spelled that Dorian Grey. We Americans do have a sense of honour when it comes to the queen's English.

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    1. I always enjoy reading the humour you add to my bloug.

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  6. My beard is gray or grey. I wonder if it came from my own time travels? What else could it be?

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    1. Probably. I mean, was it grey in the past, before you came here, to the future?

      If it wasn't, then the time travel is definitely what did it.

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  7. Your time traveling idea sort of reminds me of Burroughs' assertion that "he had died from an OD of time"...

    -Doug in Oakland

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    1. It took him long enough, though. His ability to survive with bad habits always gave me a false sense of how many bad habits and bad ideas one man can survive.

      He must have just had some really good genes.

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  8. This changes things I guess. Or maybe outlooks at least.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Fourteen years go by, you start looking at old facts with different eyes, I think.

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  9. There are many explanations of why a human looks shiny, most involving the application of gels or face paint. Pity the story had to end with another mystery instead of recalling what sort of polishing and varnishing activities were going on.

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    1. It leaves all sorts of room for an exciting sequel. Twice the action! A bigger body count! Even shiner people!

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  10. “It’s a well-documented side effect of time travel,” I said without elaboration."

    LOVE this! I'm gonna NEED to use it somewhere, somehow.

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    1. Thanks, Donna. I thought it made it sound as though I'd gained seen some excitement in my time, even if I haven't seen all that much...

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  11. Occasionally, when meeting people, I like to say things like- "I have travelled through time, from the year 1979, to give you this message...'you have beautiful eyes'".

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    1. Nice. Does that work? Because I'm willing to try the line out if it works.

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  12. Thanks for finishing the story Harry! I like grey beards! LOL!

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    1. THanks, Stacy. I think I'm going to try another one sometime, even if it does chase half of my page views away.

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    2. Just be true to you!! That's all that matters!

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    3. That sounds like good advice!

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  13. Maybe I've watched too much time travel stories but there are moments when I wonder if someone from the future has screwed up the timeline. As for a story with no proper conclusion, I have unfortunately that is just life.

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    1. It was so much easier to write a beginning and an end to my stories when I was writing fiction.

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  14. Grey hair (in case the British) is also a sign of getting mutant powers. So, you should check to see if you can hear other people's thoughts, or if huge claws slide from between your knuckles... which might also be a sign of being a Canadian wolverine, hence the spelling of grey. Really.

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    1. Most of me is American (or Texan, depending on how rebellious Texans are feeling that day). My super power is that I am an American with a British beard.

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  15. Pictures - a moment in time. Old pictures are appealing. It doesn't bother me how I looked in them. Just that I was in them. Digital pictures hopefully will still have the same effect in the future as long as the hard drives don't crash.
    As long as the people involved are around to tell it, I think the story doesn't end at all.

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    1. I agree that it is amazing to look at old pictures and to some extent enter that world - a world which is now gone.

      Digital pictures don't turn orange, though, which is half the fun of old pictures.

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