Timely Persuasion - Online Edition - Chapter 3


Gimme Three Steps

“I’m from the future.”

    The words echoed in my head as I drove, repeating over and over and over again.  I tried to fight it and think things through, but any thought sunk before I could get my mind in enough order to theorize what it all meant.  I was having trouble keeping my eyes on the road, and in all honesty hardly remember the drive at all.  I was on autopilot, thinking about nothing and everything all at once.  I can’t even recall what album I listened to that night, and that’s rare for me.  Next thing I remember I was lost in an unfamiliar neighborhood.  My sense of direction has always been rather poor, but this was a drive I’d made countless times before.  My attention continued to drift, but I fought through the haze and eventually found my way.

    Finally in the safety of my home, I paced around the apartment in a frenzied thinker’s walk.  I felt like I was tripping, and very likely I was.  The old man had probably drugged me, leading to hallucinations and other various acts of dementia from my subconscious.  I’d never experimented with LSD before, sticking to the relative safety of marijuana and alcohol.  How bad could anything from the earth really be?

    “I’m from the future.”

    Having decided that I was most certainly on something, my thoughts went back to exploring the time travel option for the fun of it.  In my altered state I was actually starting to believe it again.  It couldn’t be, but it almost explained what had happened.

    Or did it?  Suppose I did go back in time to the night of the 270 game.  Why didn’t anyone know I was there?  I clearly knew that the old man who claimed to be from the future was there when we had our conversation.

    And not only did they not know I was there, but they could all pass right through me.  I was a ghost.  But that didn’t make sense.  The time traveling man had pinned me down and scratched me with something, and I had the battle scar to prove it.  Or at least I thought I did.

    I fell onto my bed to focus better.  If it was a drug that allowed me to travel in time, maybe it hadn’t been completely absorbed by my system yet.  That would make me ghost-like, whereas the old man was fully acclimated to the time travel serum and thus really there and able to interact.  I was getting somewhere in theory, although I had no real scientific knowledge to back it up. 

    Then there was the issue of my bowling ball, which was with me during the hallucination but gone when I returned to reality and never touched by the old man.  Maybe my thumb was bleeding?  No, no scab.  Or sweating?  Maybe my sweat gave the ball the same physical properties (or lack thereof) that I had.  Furthering that line of reasoning, the same question and answer applied to my clothing.  I wasn’t a naked time traveler like the Terminator.

    Following the same thought, I took inventory of my wardrobe to make sure it was all intact.  Pants, socks, belt, shirt, shoes, watch.  And speaking of my watch, I noticed it was about seven minutes fast.  Odd, as it typically kept good time.  And seven minutes seemed about right for the amount of time I was in that ghostly state, though that was hardly conclusive proof of time traveling.

    If any of this was even remotely true, why me?  Maybe it hadn’t happened and I was just completely insane.  Or tripping.  Yes.  Tripping.  I kept forgetting that I was tripping.

    The best way to figure out anything is to try it again.  How?  I was just thinking about that 270 game, and then I was there.  Where to now?  My mind was a blank slate, waiting for the thoughts to come. 


    Fourth of July! 


    Leap year!


    Figuring I wasn’t thinking hard enough, I got up and dug through my desk.  Eventually I found a word of the day calendar that hadn’t been changed since late January and randomly flipped to a page.  March eleventh.  The word was blink, as in “I’ll be back in a blink.”  Sounded good to me.  Let’s blink! 

    Aside from making me go cross-eyed, staring at the page didn’t do a damn thing.  I threw the calendar across the room in disgust.  Wiping my face, I realized that I had broken into a cold sweat and started talking to myself. 

    You’re just tripping on ecstasy or LSD or something similar.

    The drugs don’t work.

    Time to stop acting crazy.

    Let it run its course, everything’s gonna be all right.

    There is no time travel.

    You lost your bowling ball, but you’ll get it back.

    This is not real, this, this is not really happening. 

    You bet your life it is.  Turn up the radio, close your eyes, and just go with the flow.

    The pep talk with my inner self seemed to work.  I traipsed through volumes two and three of my CD collection in search of suitable inspiration, but none of the old favorites were doing it for me.  I eventually dug out an old mixtape and a cassette player I hadn’t used in years and retired to the couch to ride out the rest of this long, strange trip.  Midway through the second song (from an acoustic set my roommate had done on my college radio show), I managed to pass out hard.