We stepped out of the time machine, which looked like a conversion van from the 1970s, and tried, yet again, to stop the red muscle car from barreling into the back of my father-in-law’s gray Oldsmobile and crushing my 1999 self. Corrine had taken the gun this time, and we had pin pointed the exact spot where the other time machine, the muscle car, appeared. She had the pocket watch that allowed people from the future to interact with the objects and people of the time. Detective Coltrane and I stood off to the side while she positioned herself across the parking lot, near to the van. I had a momentary fear that her shot would miss and then hit the 1999 Corrine but Coltrane assured me that once the bullet left the interaction bubble, it would disappear. He didn’t see to know how to explain where it disappeared to and told me to shhh because it was almost time for the car to appear.
It was on time.
I chuckled to myself for my lame time joke. This whole scenario was starting to get ridiculous. Corrine’s shot rang out, hitting the front wheel well but otherwise not affecting the outcome. The muscle car swerved and slammed into the Olds and 1999 Henry, killing him – thankfully, instantly.
Something was odd, though.
I wandered over to the wreck, ignoring my mangled body, and looked at the tangled cars. The driver of the muscle car/time machine stumbled out, kicking empty beer bottles out of his way. He fled, his path leading him past the edge of the baseball field and toward the main road.
“Henry, come on- let’s try that again. I almost got him,” Corrine called to me.
“Why would he ruin his time machine just to kill me?” I asked as I joined them in the van.
Coltrane shrugged and started the van up. We jerked into motion and back in time.
“Can’t we go a little further back? Maybe we could move the Olds or the blanket – so that the 1999 me isn’t in the way.”
“Can’t,” Coltrane answered over his shoulder while keeping his eyes on the blur in front of him, “It’s not an exact science.”
“What?” How could time travel not be an exact science?
We landed before I had a chance to argue that point.
Corrine took up her spot again, and Coltrane hung near the van.
I walked over to the Olds and watched the 1999 version of me kiss the amorous 1999 version of Corrine, who suggested that I get a blanket out of the trunk.
“Don’t do that,” I said to him. He, of course, didn’t hear me.
A screech of tires and a gut-wrenching crunch later and 1999 Henry was once again toast.
The driver of the muscle car stumbled out again, kicking the beer bottles on the ground. The beer bottles had been on the ground already. Was that important?
He ran directly into me.
“Shit,” he said and grabbed my arm tightly and with his other hand, pressed buttons on his wrist. He pulled me off to the side.
“Henry?” Corrine and Coltrane ran over to our spot.
“Hold on,” the man said in my ear, “Just wait a second.”
Corrine and Coltrane started arguing.
The man pulled me toward the baseball field.
“What the hell?” I asked, planting my feet so he’d stop.
“Sorry,” he said and smiled at me. He had pale blond hair, cropped short, blue eyes, and a slight German accent.
“Reggie Brown.” He squeezed my arm where he had it, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Wainwright.”
“You know me?”
“Of course. You’re a legend.”
“Is that why you just killed me?”
He looked abashed. “Sorry – I was aiming for the girl but something hit my tire.”
“You were going to kill my wife?”
He gritted his teeth, making his face look sort of like a beaver, “Hard to explain with out diagrams. Come on – I’ll show you.”
He turned us and pointed with his free hand back at Corrine and Coltrane.
“See that lady arguing with Clive Coltrane?”
“She’s not your wife.”