Insert Chassis Albuquerque: Other Me Makes A Break For it...

16 December 2016

Other Me Makes A Break For it...

The first time I ever travelled back in time wasn't for scientific reasons, it was to a few minutes earlier - my wife and I had had an argument and, as usual, she'd managed the last word. Funny that, but with a time machine, well, all that shit could change because probably for the first goddamn time in history a man could have the last word. So fucking around with time and potentially fucking up history irrevocably with time distortion crossover felt a risk any man should take, any.
Time travel, pretty goddamn specialist, I'd picked up this particular time machine for just a few bucks from an online auction site
- it was the size of a laptop very much like the Osborne 1, the first ever laptop built for mass-market. You know it?
Anyhow, maybe I digress. It claimed to use a portal facility, much more convenient than an entire machine to have to manoeuvre about each time. There were a lot of intricate buttons and dials, too, sometimes lights flashed and LEDs dimmed intermittently to distract me - once or twice even a small time portal opened, too small to fit through of course but I could feel it, the time dilation.
My mission? Don't die.
At least, not yet, at least not before completing the actual mission.
So I powered it up, set the time coordinates and stepped through the portal it produced.
Holy shit! It's like I'm hallucinating! I can see myself, I'm working on the time machine! I'd been working on it for maybe three days already, for me time had practically stopped I'd become so obsessed by it. I'd tried contacting the vendor but my emails went unanswered and his phone was permanently engaged and in just a few minutes time my wife was going to appear to tell me I hadn't taken the garbage out again. And I'd say, well, if she knew about it why didn't she lug it out herself? Then we'd argue and she'd somehow emerge victorious, smug!
Yeah, most of my marriage seemed to consist of my wife trying to figure out ways to punish me for not doing things. One of the worst things I didn't do? Be a good, reliable husband - I was pretty lousy and, if only for time reasons, I'd describe my best attributes as very lazy .
I didn't want to alarm the other me, I'd been having some trouble with my heart, a murmur - "Leave her, she's a bitch!" my heart would murmur - so I said quietly, "Psst! Hey...!"
"Huh...?" he says, turning round and I recoil - holy Jesus! Is that really me, us?
"It's me, I'm you!" I said.
"The time machine, it works? I fucking knew it!" he said.
"But listen, we've no time, in a few minutes Strychnine's gonna come in here and start some shit up with you about the garbage!"
"Not the garbage again," other me says despondently. "Jesus! Why doesn't she just take it out herself!"
"I think it's something to do with doing all the housework, the laundry, the cooking and looking after the kids - I'm just guessing, of course, I mean I know about as much as you know. Did you know the average married couple spends only four minutes alone every day?" I told him, poking other me experimentally. "Jesus! One of us has really got to go on a diet," I said.
"Yeah, or run or just do something" he said, agreeing.
"And shave."
"Yeah, just all round make some goddamn improvements," I said.
"Yeah, get some pride."
"January! January Johnson, you down there?"my wife yelled from the kitchen and we both froze.
"I sure am!" other me yelled back at her.
"Who you talking to then?"
"Just myself!" I yelled. "Shit, we're outta time," I told other me. I looked at his face, ridiculously confident.
"Don't worry, I got this - thanks for the heads up," he said and shook my hand.
My little wife started coming down the stairs, she was Chinese, all my life I'd been reliably informed the Russians were all communists and Chinese women, submissive. What a crock of shit. But the Chinese, they eat dogs and cats, so very difficult to reason with a people or culture or any race like that.
"There's a reason people shouldn't eat cats and dogs - they make nice pets, I mean, you wouldn't eat your child, would you?" I'd say to her.
Other me shouted up to her: "I'm coming up now anyhow, I saw I forgot to take the garbage out again - you need anything from down here?"
There was an unexpected pause from my wife who'd obviously been expecting to charge down the stairs and tear us a new asshole; other me winked at me and made his way upstairs. I overheard them talking, smoothing things through - it seemed no big deal now. Other me took the garbage out under the watchful eye of Strychnine looking very suspicious; she watched him disappear down the front of the house. She looked beautiful, beautifully doubtful but there was little she could do about it.
Touched by the encounter I wanted to reach out and touch her face softly, kiss her angry little  Chinese utilitarian face. As far as I could tell other me's problems with my wife were pretty typical, they and I'd and her and him had run out of things to say to one another. And the things we did think up to say were pretty unkind and shit.
Then she said: "This nuh feel light," she actually said that to herself, very stereotypically in a Chinese accent, "This nuh feel light!" when she'd no real, discernible Chinese accent and had grown up in New England and even attended Oxford University.
Inappropriately touched by her comments, I was however still understandably pissed at her and knew right now other me had dumped the garbage on the neighbour's lawn and was hightailing his way to California, he was leaving her. I still regret the decision – I should’ve just grown a beard, shaved my head, lost some weight or hid behind a bush - anything really but that. I waited until it was all clear and then made my way up the basement stairs.