If It Just Wasn’t So Damn Sad


{SPOILER ALERT – Go here to read the story before this story. You can thank me later by telling all of your friends}

In the aftermath of action movies, you know what they never show you? Assimilating back into “real life” and picking up some sort of normalcy. You know why they don’t show you that? It is boring as hell.

What happened after the party on Endor in Return of the Jedi? Or the day after Indiana Jones finds the artifact and gets the damsel? They go into another adventure because anything else would spiral them into perpetual boredom.

And that is where I am; stuck in a tailspin after looking for a spot to land. My current vortex is located up the West Coast, pretty close to nothing resembling Lincoln Center where I am from. This little burg is called Temple Falls with roughly a quarter of the population I’m used to which has its pros and cons.

Pro, it’s scenic with lots of trees. The air smells like is always rain in it. No one is trying to scoop me up to join a government agency to use my powers of time travel, teleportation and telekinesis. So those are all good things.

The cons are basically everything else. The people here are a friendly combination of weird and polite I’m not used to. There’s nothing to do besides work because I am no longer allowed to go to school. Dismantling your former principal atom by atom, even though he was trying to kill you, has its drawbacks. I also am forbidden, yes forbidden, to engage in any activity which could get me noticed. All of the things the government agency wants from me (i.e. the fun things), yup, can’t do them.

So, I’m like a classic muscle car, all gassed up and ready for the road. Just happens my keys have been taken away. It’s a damn shame, that’s what that is.

One huge plus, my girlfriend, Mo, is living with me. No, not in the same room. We are living with an old friend of my parents, Eva, along with her young daughter, Scarlett. She has agreed to give us shelter as long as we need. I was told no funny business by both my Dad and Eva. The term “funny business” seems to have a loose definition in my vocabulary. Either way, I am respectful to Eva and starting to love little Scarlett. Mo tries not to be jealous, but that soon to be 4-year old is wrapping me around her finger on a daily basis.

Mo and I are home schooled in order to have the basic high school degree. In the future, we are hoping there is enough time to let the dust settle from Lincoln Center and we can attend college a year later.

For now, I have a part time job as a barista for a local coffee shop. Mo landed a far superior job in a movie theater, which plays, of all things, classic movies from the pre-2000 era. I mean, how did I not get that job?! Oh yeah, Mo said it was in my wheelhouse too much and it was necessary to work somewhere outside our comfort zones. She slipped the manager a little mind note to get the position and make certain I was never hired.

Regardless, I get to come in on my off days and watch movies for free. At my position at the Golden Bean, yes that’s the name they chose, I have a musky aroma after every shift. What’s sad is I used to like coffee and now, I have a fond distaste.

Oh, did I mention I have a bully? I know what you’re thinking, how?! Well, as it turns out, the store owner’s son was walking in as I was walking out of the shop during my interview. The door hit the phone out of his hand and as I went to pick it up and hand it back to him, he says, “Jesus, watch where you’re stomping around, doofus.”

“What was that, good sir?” I somewhat remember saying.

“I said pay attention! What are you, deaf?”

“My apologies,” I think I stated. Okay, maybe I was not quite as cordial. Because somewhere amongst handing the guy his phone back, it somehow landed in the middle of traffic. Weird, right?

Well, however slight of hand my magic teleportation was, this guy, Eric, assumes I simply launched it behind me. As crude of an insult that was, it was for the better. I didn’t need the attention. As he twists a knot in the front of my shirt to draw me in for a large fist to my face, his dad, my new boss, comes out and tells him to stop making trouble, especially with his new employee.

Signed, sealed and delivered. This guy now had all of the time in the world to harass me. And if it wasn’t for the lack of jobs and the inability of my girlfriend to help me land something better, I would not be getting terrorized by Eric on a weekly basis.

Part of me really wants to see the level of fear his shorts would exhibit if he knew the things I was capable of doing to him. Perhaps, I take him on a quick teleportation to the stratosphere and leave him to experience a free fall? Maybe transport him across town minus his hands and feet? These are the lunatic thoughts I have to keep me calm and complacent when Eric comes by with his friends in order to range havoc on my blissful existence.

It’s just another setting for a superhero movie that never goes anywhere past the initial background story. My shift started an hour ago with another three hours remaining. The slowest increment of time rests somewhere between 3 – 7pm, I swear.

The chime of the door opening makes me stand upright to greet the customer with a large and friendly smile.

“Thanks, for stopping in,” I begin to greet as I realize it’s only Eric, “to the Golden Bean.” I finish with less enthusiasm than a fat kid in gym class. If giving someone the finger, or ‘my formal answer™’ as I call it, was deserving of any person, it would be him.

Alas, I keep my thoughts and appendages to myself. He smiles at me while I imagine him chuckling like a hyena from the doorway, a sign that he has ideas (possibly two) rattling into each other in that big old barrel of a head, which his thick neck supports.

What I wouldn’t give for the freedom to use an ability right now. Even if it was to simply leave this place. As harmless as Eric’s attempts were, they certainly were annoying the piss out of me. I was already contemplating how I was going to quit and tell Eva I had to start looking for another job when the chime sounded again.

Somewhere behind the wall of Eric and his three contact sport playing friends, a small little bullet of a kid around my age pushed through. Shoulders and hips went ajar as they all wondered what possible magic caused them to move beyond their brute will.

“Hey!” Eric shouted at the smaller person in front of him. He was nearly a foot shorter than I was and had strands of thick-looking hair peeking out in patches beneath a stocking cap. The small strings to his red-hooded sweatshirt whipped back and forth as he locked his gaze on me and proceeded to engage like a heat seeking missile.

“I’m talking to you, runt!” Eric attempted again.

“Shh,” the kid hissed over his shoulder.

Already I liked him, because Eric hated him, it was evident by the way he was representing a thermometer getting ready to boil its mercury out of the vial. As the kid continued his path straight toward me, Eric started a heavy paced walk to turn the kid around and give him an update on who the top of the food chain was.

I was simultaneously scared for the guy and somehow wanting to know how this was going to turn out. I have grown a strange addiction to dark humor these past months.

“Listen here you little sack of – ”

“Shh!!” The guy said louder and somehow with a ton of conviction. Because not only did Eric stop, he feinted or fell over or decided to take an immediate power nap on the floor of the Golden Bean.

The other tagalongs accompanying Eric decided to stand up for their fallen comrade as they made their way to the little man with his back turned to them. A small shuffle of boots and sneakers quickly made their way from the door to where Eric had keeled over as the newly appointed leader spoke up.

“Hey! Who the hell do you think you are?” He asked, and truly, what a dumbass question. Rhetorical or not, this guy was somehow a few points down the IQ scale from a celery stick.

The kid in front of me sighed loudly out of annoyance and turned just before the lug fully cocked back his hand to hit him. “SHH!!!!”

The sound echoed throughout the establishment and amplified into the base of my eardrums. When he was done, a slight ringing subsided in my head and the sound of a crashing set of mugs came through the doorway behind me in the pantry area. When the guy turned around, all of Eric’s sidekicks lay in a heap around him. Also, the other patrons in the shop lay hunched over their lattes and cappuccinos and I’m guessing my co-worker, Ally was also on the floor surrounded by broken cups.

“Oh, good, so you must be Carter,” he says nonchalantly.

It was pretty much like a drug addict watching someone get high right in front of them. My adrenaline was moving and I was excited and happy and all kinds of curious. For the first time in months, there was a little fizzle in the core of my being and I thought I might involuntarily leap.

He looked around the place, taking in the ambience he left in his wake. “So, can I get a drink?”

“Sure, tall or short?” I asked without missing another second.

“Was that a height joke?”

“Did you take it as a height joke?”

“I don’t know yet, that’s why I asked,” he mentions with a slight smirk in his speech.

“Looks like we’ll never find out if it’s the chicken or the egg then,” I sum up, dryly. “Who are you?” I want to give the impression I am calmly accepting the carnage of bodies around me before I ask any more questions or more patrons stroll in.

“Sorry, my name is Junction.”

I can’t resist, “Like Conjunction Junction?” Yes, classic! I would give myself a high-five if it didn’t look like I was clapping.

“No, just Junction.”

He’s ruining my fun here. “No, I meant like the song.” I was about to explain, but I am sure most people my age didn’t get raised by a mother with a love for all classical things. “Never mind, so, what brings you in today? Looking for an application? Just a quick future tip, don’t kill the customers.” As I look down at the four large teenagers behind him.

“Yup, you’re definitely Carter. David told me you were super sarcastic.”

“David?! How is he? I haven’t heard from him in a couple of weeks. Is he okay?” My calm demeanor must have ran out the backdoor, because this frightened little being is left in his place wondering if my friend, and albeit my grandson of all things, is alright.

The squinting look on his face like he just ate bad fruit makes me think otherwise. “Define okay.”

I don’t think anyone has really asked that question in a way that made me have to think of a definition. “Not dead. All limbs accounted for?”

“Oh, yeah. He’s okay then.” And with that, he proceeded to shed the squirm in his face and start looking up at the menu behind me.

“Wait, why did I have to define okay? And what did you do to these people? Am I going to have to start a body disposal shop now?”

“Relax, they’re asleep. They’ll wake up in like ten minutes, refreshed and ready for the world again.” Junction never takes his eyes off the menu as he reaches into his back pocket to fish out a billfold.

“How?” I can’t tell what he is, but he must be a version like Mo in some way, an Eventual.

“You know the small dent between your nose and your upper lip? Well when you were a baby in your mother’s womb I put my finger up there and told you a secret and went, shh.”

Lord. “Okay, dude. I hope you are prepared to reference your movie quotes, because you can’t pass those off as originals with me.”

He actually looked at me with shock and surprise as if I had never seen The Prophecy with Christopher Walken. A classic 90’s movie about angels and demons, I mean, who hasn’t seen that?

“Um, sorry,” he apologized with a little shame. I’m sure I ruined one of the coolest things he says when first meeting people. “I don’t know, it was just a thing I learned to do when I was twelve. I was getting ready to start at Pemberton Academy as a transfer from Jefferson City when the school blew up or imploded or whatever they said. David found me out and offered his help.”

“So, making people go to sleep. That’s all you have?” I wasn’t saying it to seem like it wasn’t a pretty cool gift, but the hurtful look in his eyes made me think to rephrase the question. “I mean, has David worked with you to make sure that’s the only one. I thought I only had one, and later I developed a way to find out more that I could do.”

A calming relief settled over Junction and he seemed to lighten up. “David has a lot of kids he’s trying to juggle right now. A lot of them have some serious behavioral issues and he’s working with them more than anyone else.”

“Junction, can I call you Junk?” I’m testing the waters, mainly because his name sounds ridiculous to me. Not that Junk is leaps and bounds better.

“Yeah, man,” he said with a smile, “that’s fine.”

“Great. Now, can you tell me what the hell is happening with David?”

“He won’t wake up,” Junk mentions while looking at the menu once again.

“Like he’s sleepy with mono or like he’s in a coma?” I ask motioning with my arms for him to give me more.

“Well, we think that the Pirates put some sort of spell on him and now we can’t get him to wake up. Ooo, can I get a short, peppermint mocha?”

Just so we’re all up to speed: my name is Carter James Price. People back in Lincoln Center knew me as Carter DeTamble. I can travel in time, teleport to anywhere I can think of and I’m almost 18-years old. My 38-year old grandson, David, who traveled back here in time himself, has apparently been put under a spell by Pirates of all things. My mind-reading, telekinetic girlfriend and I will most likely have to go back to the place we’re being hunted from in order to save our grandson. Oh and some high school sophomore named Junk, who lulls people to sleep, is standing here trying to buy a $10 coffee with a coupon for a free ice cream and $3.

It would be hilarious if it just wasn’t so damn sad.

If you have made it this far and wonder what in the hell is going on? This is a sequel to The Time Traveler’s Grandchild. Go check on that one before you get really confused, as if you aren’t already…

I hope to get any suggestions or comments from you! Thanks for reading!

Later today I will post out another Chapter, so come on back!


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