fiction

The Time Traveler, Part 5

Wherein Brown advocates for zoos and circuses and eats a lot of pizza.

[Last time:Brown checked into a hotel room, where he explored 2017 via satellite television and witnessed the discovery of his hidden time capsule.)

Skunks still exist in this future. One of the stinky little pests sprayed outside of my motel room last night. The odor was so strong that it kept me awake all night, although with this manhunt I probably would have been awake anyway.

The pests thrive in 2017: squirrels, rats, mosquitoes, cockroaches, skunks, deer, jackrabbits. It’s the animals that we treasure in 1957 that risk extinction, the zoo and circus animals that we love: elephants, rhinos, tigers, lions, hippopotami. I saw on the giant television that even the lowly bumblebee is at risk–a future without honey!

Let this be a warning to the great minds of our time. We must create ever more powerful pesticides to rid the world of the bothersome insects, and more effective poisons to extinguish the nuisance animals. We must also trap the desirable animals in greater numbers and preserve them in zoos and circuses. The future depends upon us.

And speaking of trapped animals, I have been pinned into this motel room ever since my time capsule was discovered three days ago. I’ve survived on a diet of soda pop and pizza pie, the only foodstuffs I can get delivered to my room.

The discovery has given the news channels something to report besides the president. They border on obsessed with my little capsule, or more specifically with its missing contents, which is to say, me. Eyewitnesses to my arrival have been coming out of the woodwork. No matter how unbelievable their stories, the news programs run them. Here’s an eyewitness account that aired last night. My shorthand is a bit rusty, so you may find one or true transcription errors:

Eyewitness: Me and him, we was in line at the drive-thru when these weird ass lights showed up out of nowhere. It was like the whole sky lit up like something real bright and then this giant ass ship appeared and dropped like these little pods and shit. Most of them took off into the sky, but then that one landed right over there somewheres.

Reporter: Then what happened?

Eyewitness: I don’t know. It was our turn at the drive-thru then so we didn’t see, but I know it was Mexicans.

Eyewitness #2: Or terrorists.

Eyewitness: Or terrorists.

And here’s an “expert” guest who appeared on one of the news programs:

Guest: This is clearly a psy-op campaign propagated by the shadow government to undermine the president. Obama and Killary have been running a human trafficking ring out of that specific Jo-Ann Fabrics for years. Those pods are built by Plemco, who got the contract through contributions to the Clintons’ foundation. What they do is kidnap little girls from public restrooms, then set them adrift in those Plemco pods in the Pacific, where they are picked up by Ardamon’s yacht.

Host: You’re referring to Stanley Ardamon, the liberal billionaire.

Guest: Yes, but I call him the liberal pervert, at risk of repeating myself (laughs).

Host: So what is the point of all of this?

Guest: I don’t understand the question.

Host: The pods, the kidnappings. What are the Obamas and the Clintons up to?

Guest: Sex parties! Weird sex parties on Ardamon’s yacht with underaged sex slaves! Wake up, sheeple! This is what the Obama-Clinton shadow government is doing with your tax dollars!

Host: But didn’t you say just a moment ago that this was a plot to undermine the president?

Guest: What are you, a Democrat?

The human imagination at work, what a marvelous thing. Without it we wouldn’t have the silicon transistor, and without that Dr. Wainwright wouldn’t have imagined the capsule that thrust me 60 years into the future. Imagination won The Big One and invented mayonnaise, too, but it’s also what allowed Senator Joe McCarthy to sucker so many into believing his fever dreams. It’s what led little girls to be burned as witches, a race of people to be enslaved, and an entire country to blame the Jews for their problems. Imagination is at once man’s greatest asset and his greatest liability.

I stared at the giant television, watching “experts” and “eyewitnesses” imagine any number of things about both the capsule and me. Some saw aliens, others saw North Koreans. Most saw Mexicans or Arabs. Whomever Obama and Clinton are, they were at the center of many conspiracies involving “the shadow government” and “false flags.”

None of these people were even close to the truth, which was simple: A scientific breakthrough now 60 years old landed in a 2017 parking lot, its occupant bearing no sinister intent. Pure science for no reason but discovery. Our team had pulled off the greatest feat since the atom was first split, and now I was a fugitive holed up in a motel room, drinking soda pop and eating pizza pie, accused of everything from terrorism to sex slavery.

My stomach ached from the terrible food and my nostrils burned from the skunk odor. My eyes burned, too, but I couldn’t tear myself away from the giant television. Each story was more fantastic and unbelievable than the last, and then this eyewitness account emerged:

Reporter: Adam, I’m at Reliable Gun and Pawn, where owner Gregory Ashton claims to have actually talked to the Pod Man. Mr. Ashton, tell us what happened.

Ashton: Well, Tuesday right around lunchtime I was back in my office eating a Hot Pocket when I saw on the security camera an individual enter through the front door.

Reporter: And what did he look like?

Ashton: Caucasian, about 5 foot 9, maybe 150 pounds. I’m guessing 30-35 years old.

Reporter: Any distinguishing features?

Ashton: Yes, his head was shaved completely bald and we wore a silver suit.

Reporter: A silver suit? Like a business suit?

Ashton: No, with a cape, like the James Bond villain with the cat. Goldfinger? No, that’s not right.

Reporter: He was wearing a silver suit with a cape?

Ashton: Yes, and he spoke like somebody out of one of those old science fiction movies, calling money “credits” and things like that that just seemed…I don’t know, out of place.

Reporter: What sorts of things?

Ashton: Well, he was surprised that a black man owned a business, and he didn’t know what a Hot Pocket was. He didn’t seem to have anything but the clothes on his back and the stickpin that he sold me.

Reporter: May we see it?

Ashton: Sure. (At this point, the pawnbroker held my stickpin up to the cameras.)

Reporter: Is there anything….otherworldly about this pin?

Ashton: No, it’s just diamond and gold. Nice rock, though. Biggest I’ve ever seen. I have it priced well below its market value.

Reporter: Who do you think the Pod Man is, Mr. Ashton?

Ashton: Well, I don’t want to sound like one of those nuts, but if I didn’t know it wasn’t possible I’d say he was a time traveler. I guess I’ll just say that I think that this is one of those YouTube pranks that kind of went a little crazy.

Ashton! The big Negro was the first to correctly identify me. Fortunately, his lack of imagination kept my secret safe a little while longer.

And me, too, or so I thought for a fleeting moment, and then began the insistent knocking upon my motel room door.

Categories: fiction

4 replies »

  1. Your hidden obsession with Jo-Ann Fabrics never fails to slay me. And now I am worried about Brown! Maybe just room cleaning service? I will have to wait out the week, I know. (stronger pesticides and pest killers yeeeeah! And then they invented RoundUp Weed killer, and all was good and right with the world…..right?)

    Liked by 1 person

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