Short Story: “Fortunate”

 

“Day 1. My name is Frankie Miller, the time is 1:25am, the day is Sunday the 17th, the month is August, and the year is 2114 and this is the first entry of my audio journal. This audio journey is supposed to be an honest and true tracking of my future endeavors. I suppose I should tell you a little bit about myself even though there is not much to me, I’m probably just about as average as a 20 year old could be, you know the 999,999 in a million type. My father on the other hand is Eli Miller the world famous physicist who just recently lost his life long battle with cancer. Growing up I never saw much of him. He traveled so much that the only times I did see him were on Christmas and my birthday, but the times we did spent together were some of the best memories I have. High school was especially tough for me with everyone from my teachers to common jocks poking fun at how I was nowhere near as smart and charming as my father. I was surprised that any of my classmates even knew who my father was. Needless to say because of all the ridicule I received I got literally NO play from the opposite sex. I began high school with tons of confidence approaching any and every girl I was interested in; but after a few dozen failed attempts, no phones numbers, no dates, and not even as much as a 2nd glance from any girl I liked did I realize I might be a loser. It took me showing up to the senior prom dateless to seal the deal. But through all the teasing, the loneliness and possible depression I found sanctuary in music, 1990’s hip hop to be exact. All the music nowadays is a mixture of techno, and dub-step, I hate it. Back in high school me listening to classical hip-hop just added to my weirdness and gave my admirers fuel for laughter and jokes at my expense. Listening to classical hip-hop made me feel good on rainy days, I loved the level of confidence the classical rappers exhibited, they made you believe ever word they were saying, and their story telling was amazing! They had everything I wanted in life money, women, confidence and most of all respect. What I wouldn’t do to see Nas or the Notorious B.I.G. perform live at the biggest hip-hop concert of all time! The Inner City Music festival circa 1994.”

The battery on my audio journal dies.

Oh well I suppose that was enough for my first entry. I also should turn in I have to be at the reading of dad’s will in the morning.

I lie down on my twin bed and turn my TV’s volume down to mute.
It always takes me so long to fall asleep, my mind races with thoughts.

As the lights from the TV dance and flicker on the wall I begin to think about dad. I know he would never admit it but I was a failure to him.

Tears begin to fall from my eyes as I stare at the celling until I fall asleep.

The ear rattling sound of my alarm clock jolts me out of another euphoric dream that I pray for on the regular. I’m in more of a funk this morning than usual. I throw together scraps that were formerly an acceptable suit and hit the street. I just narrowly arrive at the lawyer’s office in time for the reading. As I enter the room I keep my head down but I can feel the eyes from my only remaining relative burning a hole through me as I take a seat. My cousin Brenda never was too fond of me. The lawyer clears his throat and begins to speak,

“Now that both of you have arrived we can begin. Don’t worry the will of Eli was what I like to call short and sweet.”

He inappropriately joked.

“The will states, I Eli Miller leave my entire estate including all of my property, my awards and valuables, my money and all of my research to charity. However what I leave to my dear son Frankie who I love with all my heart is something of much greater value, my time machine. I have always believed in you my son, you are a soul destined for greatness unmatched and unseen by anybody no matter what anyone says. You are different and that is what I love most about you. Your time machine is to be delivered at the time of this reading so when you leave this office and arrive at headquarters the time machine will be at your doorstep with instructions enclosed. I leave you with this, I love you my son and I have always believed in you, so why can’t you believe in yourself?”

My mind is literally blown, like my brain pulled the pin on a grenade and held it. I had no idea my father even had a time machine, I also never knew how he actually felt about me.

“That’s it! He leaves it all to charity and this idiot!” Brenda shouts angrily then storms out the office.

“Wow! I think she was expecting more.” The lawyer sarcastically joked.

I excitedly jump up and bolt out the office and catch the first taxi I see. As I sit in the backseat of the dingy cab I slowly begin to smile. For what lies at my doorstep can possibly open up a door of amazement my life has never seen. The taxi driver bursts my fantasy labeled bubble when he so elegantly shouts that we’ve arrived at headquarters. I give the gangly driver the last twenty-dollar bill in my wallet and run inside. This whole morning has awakened an adrenaline rush in me, the likes of which I’ve never seen. I don’t even notice that I am running through the hall and I’m repeatedly pressing the button for the elevator like a child who was promised candy, blinded with excitement. I finally get to my door and look down at the shoebox-sized package at my doorstep. I can’t help but feel the slight horizon of confusion. I pick up the box and enter my quarters. I tear off the brown packaging and am intrigued at what I see; a stainless steel briefcase, and what I find inside the briefcase intrigues me even more. A solid black backpack with an envelope close

pinned to the front with the word “beyond!” written on it. At a complete loss I unpin the envelope and take out the note enclosed and begin reading,

“Frankie my son, I hope you’re as excited as I was when I came across this treasure many moons ago. Don’t be put off by its brow raising form but inside the briefcase lives a ticket to space and time cleverly disguised as a backpack. The science behind this jewel would require a bible-sized publication of explanations that would bore rather than inform, so I won’t go into the body of knowledge of it, but the operation of the machine is exceptionally simple! Inside the side pocket is a cellphone- sized module that acts as a remote for the machine again very simple, just enter the day, month, year, and location and press the button labeled beyond while wearing the backpack and before you can re-open your eyelids from blinking you will be there! I love you my son and I leave you with these 2 rules, something you must always remember. You can travel to any point in time you wish but you CANNOT stay longer than 24 hours, it will disrupt the space-time continuum, and lastly, WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREATER RESPONSIBILITY, DO THE RIGHT THING. Beyond.”

My shaking hands slowly put down the note while another smile appears on my face. Smiles are a rare occurrence for me. Without any objection I know exactly where and when I want, NO need to go. 1994, but to be specific June 20th of 1994 for the Inner City Music Festival! I will take off in the morning for tonight I must make a simple but thorough checklist of what I need to do when I arrive. I go to my desk and grab my freshly charged audio journal and turn it on,

“This is entry number 2 same day 12:35pm and after attending the reading of my father’s will to much surprise he left me a time machine. The purpose of this entry is to make a very simple and straightforward checklist for my trip to June of 1994.

  1. Make it to June 20th, 1994 safely. (Probably the most important.)
  2. Attend the Inner City Music Festival slated for 1:00pm at the Madison square

    garden.

  3. Don’t die. (Also important.)

I will record my third entry if and when I arrive safely, over and out.”

I turn off the audio journal and lie down on my stale twin bed.

I stare at the celling and all I can do is drift off into fantasy. Time travel has been a dream of mine ever since I was a child; I wonder how long dad had this machine and how he was able to keep it a secret? This is more than a dream come true, this is a life come true! The 1990’s are all I read about; life nowadays is so watered down and basic. America is a wasteland and everyone is involved in the rat race of corporate greed. Cities are over populated and food is paste that comes in tubes and everyone wears grey ALL THE TIME! The Internet has become everything and it also has become my gateway in the 1990’s. I’m not only infatuated with 1990’s hip-hop but 1990’s culture entirely. I was online last week and was researching pizza; they

say New York and Chicago had the best. The clothes were so bright and cool looking; the sneakers were so nice and fashionable they say Air Jordan’s were very popular. I honestly don’t fit in here, the women are hard to talk too and culture is almost non- existent; but that’s all going to change now I certainly can’t stay in the 1990’s forever but the visit will last me a lifetime.

I slowly drift off into dreamland.

I wake up feeling rested, so much so that I didn’t even realize that I slept for 12 hours. I get up and make my way to the bathroom to ready myself for this mission of time travel. I’m more excited than nervous, I get dressed and grab a couple of things for the trip and throw them in the backpack. I take out the module and type in the date and location:

June 20th, 1994, 12:00pm. 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY 10001

That will give me an hour to arrive and purchase tickets. I take a deep breath and close my eyes and press the button labeled beyond.

I exhale and open my eyes and I’m soaking wet! It’s pouring down raining and I’m literally shoulder-to-shoulder with pedestrian’s speed walking and knocking me around like a ball in a pinball machine. Before I can realize that I’ve made it here safely by patting my body down checking for all my limbs when a taxi races by hitting a giant puddle splashing a tidal wave of water onto me. Great. The street sounds are almost too loud to handle. Cars honking, construction workers pummeling the earth with jackhammers, thousands of people talking on cellphones it takes a minute for my eyes and ears to adjust. After being bounced around on this very busy sidewalk I find myself right in front of Madison square garden. All I can do is look up and around just to take in the vast amount of real estate that is Time Square; the buildings are so tall they seem to stretch on into space. The people all look so different; they all have on different clothes ranging from suits and ties to colorful t-shirts and jeans. It’s almost overwhelming, so many stores, so many cars and people. There’s a man shouting from a portable bistro selling hotdogs, whatever that is. In the midst of my star struck gazing I immediately realize that I have to get a ticket for the festival. I see tons of flyers and posters for the festival stapled and taped to poles and the sides of buildings. I ask a man standing in a long line,

“Excuse me is this the line for the festival ticket’s?” “Sure is pal.” He answered with a heavy accent.

It felt good knowing I was in the right place. I took out my audio journal to add a third entry when the man in front of me chimes in,

“Hey that look cool what is that?’

“Umm, my audio journal.” I said in an uncertain tone.
“Wow really can I see?”
“Umm sure.” I said regretfully.
I hand him my audio journal and like a bolt of lightning he runs off with it full speed.

“HEY STOP THAT MAN, THIEF!” I yell out.

The people in line act as if they didn’t hear or see a thing. Wow. I’m in 1994 for 30 minutes and I get soaking wet and robbed. I feel so stupid, well at least I’m at the festival the only reason I came here. The line seems to be moving by inches but I eventually reach the window it almost makes the hour long wait all worth it. I start to request a ticket when he puts a sign in the window that says sold out. My heart stops. The man behind the window shrugs his shoulders and starts to leave the booth when I catch him,

“WAIT! Sir you mean to tell me there are absolutely no seats left?” I said franticly

“Sorry pal, you should’ve came earlier.” He said smugly

The people behind me let out their cries of disappointment and anguish and begin to branch off and leave. Still in shock and disbelief I lean against the wall and sit on the ground with my head in my hands. All of a sudden I hear a girls voice drenched in a lovely New York accent,

“Sucks right?”

I pick my head up only to see a beautiful petite girl wearing a baseball cap turned sideways on top of lovely curls in an airbrushed shirt with shorts and sneakers. a first aid sight for my sore eyes. I nervously respond.

“Huh?”

“The tickets are sold out, doesn’t that suck?” she said.

I get up off the ground and dust my self off.

“I know right, I’ve been waiting in this line for an hour only to get to the front and come up empty handed.” I said in a frustrated tone.

She laughed.

“So what’s your name?” “Frankie, and yours?”

“Brandi.” She said with the biggest smile. “Your not from around here are you?”

“Uh no I really only came to New York to see the festival but that didn’t exactly work out did it?” I joked.

“It didn’t exactly work out for either of us but while you’re in town how about we get a bite to eat and I’ll show you some of New York before you have to go?”

“Uh, sure do you know any good places?” I said while still in disbelief that this beautiful enchantress is even talking to me much less asking me out, I completely forgot about the festival. Ironic.

“I know this great pizza place, do you like pizza? She asked.

“I love it.” I said with a smile.

We walk and we talk but to me it feels more like an outer body experience, like I’m in a movie theatre front row just marveling at Brandi and myself walking, talking, eating pizza, holding hands, laughing, and visiting various landmarks. As I continue to look at the cinema screen of our journey of love at first sight, I look happy, I am happy. I’m smiling and so is she. What are the odds? I travel back in time to 1994 and on this exact day I miss out on the concert I planned on attending only to meet my possible soul mate. This is more than just a coincidence; the angels are clearly at work here, I thank their employer. As the sunsets on this unforgettable encounter my outer body experience ends and reality resumes.

“Do you believe in love at first sight?” I so confidently ask her.
“I do now.” She says in that accent I love so much.
“Come spend the night with me Frankie.” She says in an irresistible way. My heart starts beating faster and my palms get sweaty but I respond, “Sounds good to me.” I say in a suave way of words.

We get off the bus and enter her apartment and as I lay with her my smile turns into a depressed frown. She’s in love with me and I undoubtedly love her. My father made it more than clear that I cannot stay and I could never tell her that I’m from the future she would look at me like a lunatic. This is indeed a dilemma. She falls

asleep but I stay up obsessing over this situation. The light of dawn breaking directs it light into her window and she wakes up,

“Top of the morning to you beautiful.” My good morning greeting to my new love. “Good morning to you too handsome, did you just wake up too?”

“Yeah I did.” For a girl who only knew me for about 24 hours she seemed to really know me, she sensed something was heavy on my mind,

“Honey is there something on your mind?” she asked with a genuine look of concern. I took a breath,

“I could go for a glass of water if that’s ok?”

“Is that all? You know I got you love.” She said in the accent that I’ve fallen in love with.

As she makes her way to the kitchen I get up and grab my backpack time machine and walk over to her bedroom window and open it. I definitely heed my father’s warnings but I believe that with true love all things are possible. I zip the backpack up and without any hesitation I toss it out the window falling 25 stories and close it shut just as Brandi walks back in with a glass of ice-cold water and hands it to me,

“You know you never told me where you were from.” She said with a smirk. “The future.” I said jokingly.
She smiles.

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