Timely Persuasion - Online Edition - Chapter 16


Christine Sixteen

    I could hardly believe it.  The titles were a little bit off, but our songs remained the same.  (Ok, maybe not our songs.)  His inclusion of the acoustic Anthrax cover was hilarious.  It was a well-timed bout of musical tourette’s that put the song in my head, and then curiosity more than anything else that had me teach it to Dad in the first place.  His treatment of it was so hauntingly beautiful it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that it made the album and was one of the hit singles.  I wondered if we could have done as well with Pantera or Megadeth.

    According to the poster the concert was to be held that night at a venue called The Barnstormer.  Based on a crude drawing and map, I was able to discern that this was the “barn” built on the site formerly occupied by the athletic field behind Dad’s home.  Now that I knew where to find him, I just needed to figure out what I was going to say. 

    I was perfectly willing to lay out all of my cards this time, and expected that I would have to.  Even if I could convince Dad to break off the relationship with Nelson’s Mom, I’d be crazy to expect him to immediately allow me to set him up with another woman.  Maybe my parents had a higher love that was meant to be, and nature would take its course if I could just get them introduced.  Then again, my crash course in time travel as it relates to dating seemed to indicate that nothing was truly meant to be.

    When I say I was ready, willing, and able to lay down all of my cards, I didn’t necessarily mean all.  “I’m your son and I’m from the future,” was fine, but it didn’t feel appropriate to get into the whole “Your daughter will die, that’s why I’m here” angle of it.  Helping him to realize his musical dreams sounded altruistic enough to be believed, but I’d have to work out a whopper of a lie to justify setting him up with a woman who wasn’t Mom.

    I arrived at the club in time for some final setup and the load-in for sound check.  The three performers were to test their gear in reverse order, meaning Dad was up first.  He took the stage in a sharkskin jacket reminiscent of the one his cousin wore, tuned his guitar, and launched straight into “Ain’t Missing,” aka “Missing You.”  That had always been his favorite of the songs I taught him, and I couldn’t help but think it may be dedicated to my abrupt disappearance a year ago when he sang the line about “wondering why you left.”

    One song was all he needed to be prepared.  With the closing chord still reverberating, he handed his guitar to a roadie (who may have actually been his cousin) and wandered off stage.  I hadn’t noticed her before, but Nelson’s Mom was in the wings waiting for him.  I wasn’t missing her at all.

    She kissed him on the cheek and slinked her arm around him as they walked towards an exit just beyond stage right.  They were still together, and it set my blood boiling.  My hatred for Nelson had bled into a feud with his entire family.  I had to get his Mom away from my Dad as soon as possible.

    The door they used led outside, but by the time I reached it they were nowhere to be found.  I circled the building and came upon a Winnebago parked in a fenced in area near the back.  Entering the wall of the trailer, my vision was obscured by billows of whiteness.  At first I thought the wall was thicker than I had gauged and I was still inside it.  But the obstruction began to thin and I realized it was smoke.  Though I couldn’t smell it myself, I was pretty sure I knew what was going on.  The next thing I saw provided some insight into why they were still together.

    On the bed my Dad and Nelson’s Mom were stoned and making out.  Even though they had only been inside for less than a minute, she was topless and he was about to follow suit as she tugged at his shirt.  I tried to speak up before it progressed any further, but had trouble finding the words to express myself.

    “Ahem,” I coughed before beginning, “Let me clear my throat.  Sorry to interrupt, but we need to talk.”

    Dad opened his eyes mid-kiss and turned to face me, still groping the ample bosom before him.  Instead of seeming angry, he smiled wide and propositioned me.

    “Hey, partner.  Welcome back!  I was wondering if you’d turn up today.  Care to join us?”

    I was too shocked for words.  Before I could formulate a response, Nelson’s Mom chimed in.

    “Let’s start out with just you and me.  I can give your cousin a ride later on.”

    Stoned, Dad laughed and temporarily released his lover from his embrace.  “No babe, it’s my song writing partner.  The one who made all of this possible.”

    “The one who said he used to love me?”  She was now reaching for my father’s belt without even so much as a glance around to room to locate me.  “He can have a go too if he wants, but he never wanted to before.  Saving himself for marriage.  Does he even know what year this is?”

    Dad replied, “No, not the pianist.  The one before.”  He then gave me a funny look, and asked if I had shrunk.

    Glancing down, I realized that the floor of the trailer only came up to my knees.  Thank god for altered perception, though I knew my secret would have to be revealed soon enough.

    “I don’t remember,” she moaned back, eyes still closed.  “But keep touching me and I’ll do anything with anyone.”  Those last sultry words were followed by her thrusting her breasts back into Dad’s waiting hands.

    Scarred for life, I had to stop this now.  I reached over and pried Dad’s right hand off her boob and used his arm to push her fingers away from his belt.  Covering my father’s wet mouth with my free hand, I whispered in his ear.

     “Listen carefully.  She can’t see me, only you can.  Get her out of here so we can talk.”

    Dad jumped up off the bed with a sudden start, trying to shake me off his back.

    Nelson’s Mom was annoyed, but still proposed a compromise.  “Ménage à trois again?  We can if that’s what you really want.  But sometimes I just want you.”

    Dad looked at her and then back to me.

    “Get her dressed and out of here, then we can talk,” I repeated, passing my arm through the door for both emphasis and to frighten him a bit.

    “Whoa!” said Dad. 

    “What’s wrong?  You look as if you’ve seen a ghost.”

    “I...I have.  He’s here.”

    Nelson’s Mom was thankfully in the midst of putting her shirt back on (though it shouldn’t have taken this long, as she didn’t seem to have a bra to replace).  “You know I don’t like it when the drugs hit you this way.  I’ll get what I need somewhere else.”

    She straightened her blouse and buttoned her skirt in a silent, exaggerated manner before continuing.

    “Jeez.  You’d better get your act together before the show starts.  Sleep it off.  I’ll come back before your set.”

    Dad had moved back to the vacant space on the bed and sat down.  “But...he is here.  He’s mmph...”

    I had covered his mouth again, forcing his cooperation.

    “This is not a hallucination.  Get rid of her and I’ll explain.  Tell her she’s right, you need to sleep it off.  Sorry to be so stern, but we need to talk now.”

    Dad closed his eyes as I released my hand from the front of his face.  “Yes.  I’m sorry.  Come back later.  Much later.”

    Now fully dressed, Nelson’s Mom checked her hair in a mirror, grunted something inaudible, and left in a huff.  Dad kept his eyes closed for a few minutes, then rubbed and opened them to see if I was still there.

    “Are you dead like Jimi?” he asked.

    “No.  At least not yet.”

    I told him I was a time traveler from the future that only he could see and hear.  That I didn’t fully understand what was going on or the implications of it, but I knew he wanted to be a musician and wanted to help him fulfill that dream.

    Although skeptical, the marijuana racing around his brain made this proposition really resonate with him.  It seemed I had underestimated his ability to believe in the supernatural, though had I factored in the era and a penchant for psychedelics I should have expected this.