Timely Persuasion - Online Edition - Chapter 14


Fourteen Rivers Fourteen Floods

Scouting and/or stalking the woman who wouldn’t be Nelson’s mother kept me occupied for the next few days.  She worked as a secretary in a local law office.  Each afternoon at exactly one o’clock she would go out to run errands for the three lawyers at the firm.  Dropping off dry cleaning, stopping at the post office, and finally picking up lunch before returning to the office.  She ran all of these errands on foot, making it that much easier for Dad to intercept her.  From there it was just a matter of having him be at the right place at the right time to work his magic.  I could stay nearby to play Cyrano if needed, though I was fairly confident that wouldn’t be necessary.  Hopefully I was right, as playing Cyrano would open a whole can of worms I wasn’t ready for.  The only risk I could see was whether or not she’d fall for an unemployed deadbeat like my Dad.

    I had been careful in my few meetings with my father to act like a normal, solid, flesh and blood person.  My true identity was my ace in the hole just in case something went awry and I needed to scare Dad into performing a task.  Other cards in my backup deck included walking through walls as a scare tactic, bribing him with gambling advice or other beneficial future knowledge, or threatening to melt his brain if he didn’t do what I requested.  I kept our meetings brief and private, fading into the background or choosing to “excuse” myself if anyone approached my father for a conversation.  I always timed things so we would meet in the early early morning or the early early night to explain why I was still wearing this lame hospital uniform.  Dad didn’t seem to mind.  He had a bit of a fascination with the loopy aspects of the logo, but I was again starting to feel like a cartoon character since I hadn’t changed outfits since God only knows when.

    From past interactions with myself I knew that the truth was dangerous to lead with, especially over thirty years earlier.  At least my younger selves had a predisposition to time travel from media saturation and the unrealized potential of modern technology.  I found it rather easy to believe and accept because I really wanted to.  The Dad I knew wouldn’t want any part of that nonsense, and thus would have a much harder time dealing with the gravity of the situation.  Since those feelings had to start somewhere, it was safe to say his younger self would feel the same way.

    Watching Dad go in for the kill was nothing short of amazing.  Disturbing given the circumstances, but still amazing.  I couldn’t hear the conversation starter as I had to be far enough away so as not to have to explain why he could see me and she could not, but it went a little something like this:  Within ten seconds of introducing himself he was carrying her parcels for her, and sixty seconds after that had her phone number.  They hadn’t even arrived at her destination yet when her belongings were back in her hands and my father was on his way back to rendezvous with me.  And this girl had a boyfriend—a boyfriend that I knew she would go on to marry.

    If it was this easy I may have changed history already.  I didn’t know enough about Nelson’s Mom to know if she always had a wandering eye like this.  But wow, go Dad!

Maybe that’s just the way it is for a trophy wife.  She doesn’t really care who she ends up with.  If someone better comes along, so be it.  That probably explained where her son learned his dating strategy.  No offense to Mr. Nelson, but after that performance my Dad could run circles around the conquests of both Mick Jagger and Wilt Chamberlain, possibly even beating their combined total.  Roll over Beethoven, and tell Don Juan the news.  I shudder to think…

    Dad and I met up later at the park behind his house.  I asked him how the introduction went, and he responded with a big old shit-eating grin painted on his face.

    “I’m supposed to call her tomorrow for a date on Saturday night.”

    “Did she even mention her boyfriend?”

    “Not a word.  Are you sure she has one?”

    “Pretty sure,” I said, knowing I couldn’t have changed her current relationship status as I hadn’t been back this far before.  “What did you say to her?”

    “None of your business.  Old family secret.”

    I know I couldn’t tell him this, but if it was a family secret, then I should be privy to the information, shouldn’t I?  “The talk” when I was a kid was as brief and awkward as I’d imagine it was for you.  This does this, that goes there, don’t be stupid, treat her with respect, don’t go around breaking young girls’ hearts, etc, etc, the end.  I understand why it isn’t appropriate to give your thirteen year old son seduction lessons, but a little helpful hint now and again wouldn’t have hurt matters, would it?

    I had to say something, so I gave it a try.  “We’ll double your fee if you let us in on your secret.  I told you we wanted to learn from the master.”

    “No way.  I’m not really in it for the bet.  It’s all about the love of the chase.  After a few rounds in the sack I get bored and move on to the next one.  But the chase never gets old, never goes the same way twice, and always has a rush of adrenaline with it.  If I ever found a girl who kept things compelling enough after the chase I might stick around, but otherwise, the hunt goes on.”

    Mom had certainly gotten that part right.

    My anticipation was difficult to contain over the next few days.  When morning arrived I planned on jumping forward forty-eight hours (to October 19 if you’re keeping track) to ask how the date went, but since I had absolutely no idea of anything important happening on that day I couldn’t blink there.  So wait I did, biding my time with some sightseeing.

    I checked in on my Mom, who wasn’t scheduled to even meet my father for another four years.  She was sixteen years old and in school during the weekdays.  Her free nights and weekends were interesting, leaving me with the impression that I needn’t have worried about her discovering my tree house action of years ago/years from now.  The majority of her nocturnal hours were spent sneaking beers and smoking pot with her hoodlum friends outside.  I found out she had a secret date on Friday night, but decided it best not to chaperone for fear of what I might discover.  Although my father having a good love life was crucial to my plan, I still didn’t really want to witness a live performance from either of my creators.

    I also started to ponder if this was a stupid move that may be endangering my own existence.  I was setting my father up with a woman that was not a part of his original dating history, and doing so before he ever met my mother.  What if he decided that this was the woman who intrigued him enough to retire from the game?  Or what if he saw a quality in her that he liked, and started to seek that in a partner?  Or if he saw something that he hated, and it happened to be a trait my mother shared?  Technically I would have succeeded in stopping my sister’s suicide, but at what cost?  Would I still exist?  Would I be able to return to the present?  Was this really worth the risk? 

    Rationalizing (or justifying), I figured I wasn’t in too much trouble just yet.  Based on my Mom’s offhanded comment and my own observations, Dad was quite a womanizer.  For all I knew Nelson’s Mom may have even been one of his conquests the first time around.  They hadn’t let on at the wedding, but that didn’t mean anything.  I wished I had a scorecard to refer to. 

    Yes, my plan was crazy.  But if I made sure to break their relationship up and to give him a push towards Mom, I was confident it could still be made to work out.  It might mean having to live in the past for a few years to make sure everything stays on course, but even that would be worth it to serve the greater good in the end if needed.

    Sunday morning finally arrived and I caught up with my father.

    “How’d the date end?”

    “Fine,” he replied, with the return of his beaming grin indicating it was likely much more than fine.

    “That’s great!”

      “Why are you so interested?  It seems to be more than just a silly little bet.”

    “I might have more of a vested interest than that, but mainly I’m just looking out for you,” I replied, which wasn’t a total lie.  “Are you seeing her again?”

    “But of course.  I kinda like her in some bizarre, forced upon way.  It won’t last though.  Awab will see to that.”


    “You’ve never heard of AWAB, Mr. LBDG?  It stands for All Women Are Bitches.”

    Dad grinned at his acronym.  I couldn’t believe that those words had just come out of his mouth.