Let me start by saying that I wasn't always a good guy... and well, nor am I entirely one today. But then again, who am I to judge.
Without further ado, no annoying long introduction until I get to the point, no “once upon a time,” without stretching a phrase to its limit until something gets explained, well, hold your breath, ta-daaaaa (see what I did there?!): I CAN STOP TIME! Like, literally! I can freaking stop the time from moving up or down or sideways or any direction you might think it takes.
That's my thing, my so-called superpower. Only that for me, growing up, nothing was "super" about it. It was just normal living. I honestly thought that everyone was capable of doing something similar. How should I have known what "super" meant when I didn't even know what "normal" was.
First time I noticed it, I must have been 3 or 4. It was my birthday. My mom brought out this amazing cake with some scattered candles spreading a pale light around. I was a sugar-addicted kid and the sight of all that cake, just for me, made me drool. Then my mom slipped. The cake flew in the air. I gasped. And there it was - the whole tongue-exciting sugary confection stopped mid-air. There could have been a few seconds, not more than five until I exhaled and the cake resumed its doom. I didn’t think much of it. For all I knew, every cake would have reacted in the same way, faced with an inevitable outcome.
Now and then similar glitches popped-up. A cat about to scratch me stopping just before its claws slashed a painful mark on my leg, a stumble that froze everything around me except my falling fate, a favorite toy decapitated by a revengeful brother, everything that might have spurred out some strong emotions was freezing up in a time hiccup.
I don't know if I should tell you now, but I guess you'll find out eventually (not like me who figured it out the wrong way – but I’ll get to that later). There’s a catch to my powers. The time stops only as much as I can hold my breath and these freaking powers get, let’s say, “rebooted” every 5 minutes or so. In plebeians’ terms, I can’t, for the love of God, stop the time two breaths in a row. Yeah, I know, a bummer! Don’t ask me why, that part I haven’t figured it out myself.
My mom told me that my heart stopped at birth, and the doctors struggled to bring me back to this world for a while. So there you go, keep that as an explanation if it pleases your need for reasons why.
For a while, I used to be a mere spectator to the time stops, waiting for everything to continue its movement. They kind of freaked me out. I remember asking my mom when I was 5 or 6 why things were stopping, but I guess she took it as one of those “magical” child interpretations of stuff around them. I was incapable of explaining to her that something was off, and she was incapable of understanding that something was amiss.
Even now, looking at photos from those times - me, my mom and my brother - makes me wonder how the heck I moved through life without her noticing something. And my father... My father was out of the picture. Like, literally. He wasn’t a very photogenic guy, so most of the times he was the one behind the camera. Then he died.
It was at his funeral that I became aware of my ability to move around a frozen time frame. I must have cried or something, and I took a deep breath while wanting to get closer to my mom when everything stopped. And then I took a single step. Or two. Probably two. When everything resumed, I freaked out an aunt who saw me disappear. But, in hindsight, after she made the cross sign for a gazillion times, she must have thought that her eyes were playing tricks on her, due to the pain of losing her brother – my dad. But, again, I repeat, I had no clue that whatever was happening to me was in any way different than what others were experiencing.
As a kid, I inherited my father's "good looks" - it got better over the years though - so, somehow, I ended up being a preferred target for bullies. Well, at least I'm blaming it on that. At first, every first punch was frozen a few seconds in the air, before they landed on my face or stomach. Then after the realization that I can actually move around, I started avoiding them. The first ones only. Usually, every bullies' miss triggered their anger, and inevitably, the outcome of every fight was more brutal than the one before. For that reason alone (plus heck knows what else) I hated school and dreaded walking into my tormentors’ playgrounds.
It took me a few good years of beatings and frozen moments in time, plus a few other attempts to explain to others that something was off (that included some not-so-pleasant visits to a shrink) until I realized I was special (well, in my interpretation of those days - a freak).
I don't know when exactly I figured out that emotions were a good trigger for the time stops, but somehow I did. YAY, me! So, the only logical thing was to get me into situations were things were escalating - bullies, cops, fights with my brother, you name it. Some kids saw my skills of avoiding punches as “ninja skills,” so bit by bit the bullies started avoiding me. And, guess what?! – with a bit of fast forward – I ended up bullying the bullies a while after. Again, YAY, me!
The realization that time stops, as long as I keep my breath in, was another story. It was when I exhaled in a women bathroom and got caught red-faced under a stall that it occurred to me the extent of my control.
You know the feeling when you realize you have power over everybody else? Of course, you don’t! You’re not me. But let me tell you, it feels amazing, like playing God with the whole humanity. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I have in me the traits to become an evil genius, but I do enjoy playing with the line that people often hide behind – common sense.
I was telling you about the shrink... He got into my mother's head the idea that I’m suicidal, with tendencies to control or do harm to others, on my way to certain death. I got fists of medicine shoved down my throat, and for a while, I was as numb as a cucumber forgotten on a counter. He managed to make from me a vegetable that he saw as the perfect candidate to fulfill his dreams. He used to crave recognition from his peers, so the best way to do that was to invent a new system of diagnosis. Who was the ideal guinea pig? You guessed it! My brother! - Kidding. Of course, it was me. The whole mumbo-jumbo was based on tests on eye movement, the reaction to a stress ball thrown at me, and short and painful needle inserts in the back of my head.
Luckily, my mom got tired to feed me pills (or she just didn’t want to pay for them anymore). But that freaking shrink carved a deep mark in my childhood. I dreaded going to see him every Monday. But, with all the stress and fear of him, a good thing came out. Every time I was seeing him, my emotions spiked, and time froze. It was around the last ten visits that I also realized that I could move more around the stops, so I started moving things around his cabinet. First a chair, then flipping a painting, drawing a monster - what I thought it was a cute kitten - on his desk, dripping blood samples on his chair, opening all his cabinets, or getting a pen stuck up his nose.
Conclusion? He thought the place was haunted (or believed I was the devil), and soon after he turned extremely religious and lost his license because he started treating other patients only with holy water.
With the bullies, it started on a quieter note. First I was taunting them until fists started flying in the air, then once the stops occurred, I was planting a wedgy on them that was making everyone cringe shortly after.
Oh! I forgot another element of surprise to my abilities: whatever I was touching joined me in my time bubble, with a small twist - as long as they were inanimate objects. Humans, animals, insects, got stuck in the stops no matter what I was doing. I could strip someone naked for all I cared, and they wouldn't have moved a muscle (which I did with two of the bullies - well, I dropped only their pants). Then I started adding a touch of cruelty to my revenge. For one kid, I put red dye in his ears- imagine the freak-out moment he had when time resumed. He was immediately sent to the hospital with tests over tests getting him to fear for his life worse than a prisoner on his last walk.
For others, I pulled the chairs under them, I opened their flies, wrote nasty messages pretending to be from their friends, you name it. I loved it, and I was laughing all by myself, at night, planning mischief and using the drop of adrenaline, which was spurring the stops, to my advantage. I loved it to the point of living only for those moments. The school became less important in itself, but rather the lab in which I could experiment. And experiment I did.
Now, I’m certain that you’ve read at least once the title. Who the heck would read a book without checking the title first, or a synopsis? But there’s no synopsis here. I’m not in the mood to write one, so if you want to find out more about me, suffer like I do writing these freaking lines.
And yes, I’m stuck. I froze up the whole majestic-useless-good-for-nothing world. It got caught up in one of those bubbles that seem carved in some type of precious metal that nothing can cut through. I’m stuck, and after doing whatever I thought might work, I got bored. Oh, I also passed the level of talking to myself, all those stages of grief. Been there, done that and have the stamps to prove it! I just got bored, so I decided to write to whoever gives a damn, whenever the eternity would stop being eternal. I’ll put down on paper what I think might get me to figure out clues from my life I must have missed. Clues about me and my freaking, awesome superpowers – that you don’t have! :)
Where was I? Oh...true, I can read what I already wrote. It’s not like you could remind me anyway.
My childhood and teenage years were a huge period of discovery or how my mom used to call it – rebellion. “Somehow,” I managed to pass all my classes, though nobody actually could remember what I knew or how well I did on tests. Truth be told, I might have used some time stops to change some grades here and there, enough to get me to pass unnoticed.
I figured it out. Why should I learn? To get a job? Then what? Bust my ass spending a lifetime locked in some cubicle when I could just as easily take whatever I wanted, without any consequence.
Morality, you say? To hell with it! Yeah, according to your terms, I might be an asshole. So what? Where does your sense of good and bad draw the line when it benefits you? Isn’t that a subjective fixation after all? We find excuses for everything, and all of us, I mean ALL OF US, push the limit when it affects or benefits us. Call it a defense mechanism; I’m not a psychologist to know.
But if the school taught me anything was how to control my powers. Well, -ish. It wasn’t the school that taught me, but rather at the school is where I realized how to trigger the time stops. And –ish, well, because I’m in the situation I explained earlier, not really a full control of my powers. Whatever! It is what it is, no point in putting myself down (I had a bunch of others trying to).
I guess I was about sixteen - seventeen when I could trigger the stops at my own will, no need to spark anger, fear, or whatever adrenaline juice I was craving. I could just concentrate and “Puff!” the time would take a break.
I did so many things that you might have them only in your darkest fantasies, that I don’t even know where to start.
Do you know those smart-ass kids, the “populars” that make fun of everybody else? I cut their hair bit by bit, about a handful every day, enough to get them to think they were under some type of radiations or alien invasions. I loved the slow torture, the one that makes you think the world around you went crazy (well, it kind of did, since I made their worlds like that). In the gym showers, I was turning their showers either super hot or super cold (and yes, of course, I pretty much saw everybody in the school naked).
It got exciting for a while, stealing without being caught, freaking people out when their things were disappearing, getting everything I wanted without having to worry too much about money. But then people started being suspicious. “How the heck does a shmuck like me manages to always have the latest phone (albeit - no data plan), the best shoes, the nicest clothes? Where did my mom get all that money? How could we afford it?”
What can I say? What teenager doesn’t want to flaunt a bit? And if some other kids managed to convince their parents to get something similar, by “fluke” they were getting broken in the same day – easily ripped, holes, slashes... you name it.
I got visits from the police a couple of times. They caught me with some PS4s and games that others were just dreaming of playing. I told them I got them as a present. They didn’t buy it, especially when those were reported stolen. I “admitted” then buying them from a guy, on a back alley. They took me to show them the place. I did, behind my principal’s apartment (yup, I didn’t like that guy either). It took me a long breath to put one of the PS4s the cops had in their car, on the fire escape, next to his apartment.
Long story short, he got investigated then later released for lack of evidence. I got all my things confiscated, and I had to write a statement in which I promised to be a model citizen. As if!
But, the whole business with the cops kind of forced me to get a job – to prove at least that I had an income to pay for all the things I got. Part-time, an eager teen, dedicated to school but working at the same time in one of the economy’s main gear – McDonald’s. I was doing the bare minimum, enough not to get fired. I got evaluated on how fast I was, and guess what, I made a burger in a record time of 42 seconds (plus a 56 seconds breath).
I chose on purpose a McD farther from school, but as faith likes to fart on us, I got some colleagues showing up at the counter. They had a blast ordering me around – two guys and two girls. They changed their order four times, asked to make a complaint, asked to be reimbursed for a pack of fries that were “a tad too salty for their taste.” I endured. I kind of needed that job, plus I didn’t really hate it all that much. I endured until they paid and got their trays filled up.
Then I took a breath. Now, don’t get anxious; I didn’t kill them! I just placed their trays in a way that made sure that when time resumed, they spilled everything on top of each other. There’s a redeeming quality to a good laugh – for me and surprisingly for everybody else in there, except, of course, the four ketchup-coke-mayo-covered losers. Two weeks after, I was still making them regret their encounter with me - tripping them, misplacing their things, turning slowly one against the other. Easy-peasy!
I never had any friends. Not that I didn`t try, but I guess sooner or later they were freaked out by me and started putting some distance between us. Heck, even I would have been freaked out by me back then. I loved messing with people, and once you`ve done something to annoy me, you were on your path to slightly lose your mind.
I had a guy that didn`t hold the door while getting inside a building; for some reason, this always pissed me off – how hard is to wait for three f_ing (Yeah, I’m considerate, I’m not saying the full word) seconds for someone else?! He did it once, but enough for me to feel the urge to give him a lesson.
So, for a week, every time he passed in front of the same building, I was placing a banana peel under his step. Major fail for him. A week of falling more or less in the same place, and always slipping on a banana peel. I saw him a couple of time approaching the building extremely cautious, checking for bananas or God knows what.
However, 5 seconds later, he would inevitably fall. Then he started sliding on the concrete, you know?!, like a skater, not lifting the shoes off the ground. I tied his shoelaces. He fell and started shaking. For a while, I thought he had a stroke or something, but then he just let out this huge scream, full of frustration – my job completed.
On top of everything, I was a horny teenager… and adult. So I had my share of groping and checking everybody out, but then again, get your violins ready, it doesn’t get that interesting if you don’t get anything in return. It’s like taking advantage of a mannequin – all plastic. No kiss being reciprocated.
To resume – no friends, no girlfriends or boyfriends, no social life to make me feel connected to a so-called community. All alone and hated by everyone, all in my bubble, in my sorrow and with my thoughts of committing suicide.
Feeling sorry for myself yet? Do you feel my pain? Really? Tough luck! I never felt the need to be a part of society, and I loved myself and my powers too much to contemplate death. I was delighted to be alone and take advantage of a world that placed itself at my feet, ready to be abused.
I'm lying — a bit. I did care about my mom. A lot. And, to some extent, about my brother too. But that’s a whole soapy story I’m not going to get into.
I kept my job in the food industry for about four or five years. I got used to it. It provided free food (not that I ever paid for any) and a sense of belonging that somehow I craved, at a minimal level.
My mom died. Cancer. That’s the first time I really felt pain, a sort of pain that no medication and no running away can solve. I took my deepest breath ever just before she took her final one. I was there, in the hospital room, looking at a shadow of what she used to be and right there, I kept the time frozen for almost 3 minutes. I tried my best to keep her in this world for as long as my powers could allow – guess at that point I would have traded my powers for those of a healer, but, in life, you get what you get! I must have cried. In all honesty, I can't remember much. I just remember feeling powerless, useless, and I blamed the world for building itself heartless and cruel. I could even say I hated everyone.
I've quit my job shortly after. Well, not really quitting, I just didn’t show up anymore. They must have thought I died, or something. I left home and started wandering, seeing the world, and taking small revenge on its futility. I stole cars and drove them till the gas ran out, I ate whatever I felt like and visited all the places people put on their bucket lists. I booked flights right below travel agents noses and joined cruises from one continent to another.
I got good at keeping my breaths in. Top record after a few more years of practice – 5 min and 32 seconds – enough time to rob a bank, align all people in a YMCA position and disappear without a trace. I did it for the adrenaline, not because I actually needed the money.
In five years, I managed to travel quite a bit and messed up with quite a few people worldwide. I had bar fights in Thailand, “revived” some dead people in Romania (well, I just got the dead out of their coffins), diverted some bullets in Ghana, made an orchestra conductor moon the audience in Germany, and made a few presidents poke their noses on live TV.
This is the “SHE” part
It was in one of my travels that I spotted her drinking coffee at a bar, in the middle of a dusty afternoon, surrounded by a bunch of bikers. Imagine an Englishman drinking his tea between a horde of barbarians, with his pinky raised - that’s how she looked in there. I was arguing with one of the bikers who was in a mood to start a fight. Apparently, I was too foreign-looking to step inside his bar (well, blame it on my Eastern-European roots).
Sure enough, punches started flying and stopped mid-air for a few minutes until I rearranged their targets. In that time stop, making bikers punch themselves, I got a glimpse of the sun resting on her face, and if before all the mannequins of the frozen moments left me bored and uninterested, something about her face made me stop and take notice. Olive toned, an unconventional shade of red in her hair and eyes that could tell stories in a single blink.
When time resumed, she remained oblivious – apparently – to all the commotion around her. And, while I watched in awe, one of the fists finally found my face. And right there time took a break from my consciousness.
When I got back to the real world, she was bending over me, poking me with her finger and asking if I’m still alive. She told me I’m stupid when I opened my eyes – well, not exactly in those words. “What a moron, fucked-faced, stupid, idiot of a bozo are you? Do you live for the adrenaline or you’re one of those that get all happy at the thought of others abusing them?”
She grew up there, across the street from the bar and knew all the bikers by name since she was way younger. I tried my luck to impress her – I told her I was a wandering magician. I made her coffee disappear while I snapped my fingers (I poured it down the drain in a time stop). She wasn’t impressed, quite the contrary, she was pissed that she didn’t get the chance to finish it - the only routine she never deviated from in the last ten years.
The only glimpse of interest from her was when I started telling her about the places I visited. Her eyes opened up and, I can swear, her ears got an inch higher. She never visited anything, except a so-called canyon, 5 miles away from them. In all truth, I saw it, a mere sinkhole that, if continued, could have swallowed the whole town up. Surprisingly enough, she was quite knowledgeable – she reacted to my surprise with another tirade of cusses, pointing out that the internet and the school system traveled in those parts as well. However, the money and opportunities avoided her for the past twenty-eight years.
I wish I could tell you that she liked me soon after, but the truth is it took me a few months until she kind of showed me a fingernail of hope. My “magic” acts didn’t impress her; my constant flow of money not even so. My stories about traveling and my knowledge of the world opened the door to more meaningful conversation. This was probably the thing I had to work the most for. No shortcuts – although I might have used some time stops just to take a long look at her face.
She finally told me she liked me for who I was and not who I was trying to be. She was always good at reading people. I guess she kind of smelled that something about me was off, but she let it slide for a while, afraid, unwilling, or maybe just not interested in exploring things too far.
One problem with us was when we had sex for the first time. I accidentally stopped time and if for me, things were fun, for her lasted an amazing 3 minutes. She must have thought I was too nervous, or inexperienced.
I took her to see the world exactly a year after we met. The world was called Chicago, first. Then New York, Osaka, Brisbane, Lima, Montreal, Stockholm, Cluj-Napoca, Milan, and a long list of other places. She asked me only once where I got the money from. “From the ATM,” was my answer that closed any other conversation.
Back to the shit
Two years fast forward, and we are ready to get married. Yay, me! I was joyful, complete, some sort of happiness that I couldn’t have imagined it existed. Honeymoon in the North of Canada. Exotic enough for her and a place I actually never visited before.
And here comes the big part. Like super, mega heavy, the type of heavy that leaves you breathless. The final heavy shit.
She’s about to die! She doesn’t know it yet for sure, but in about 2-3 minutes, her final breath will be splashed into tiny atoms and spread throughout the universe. She will die, and with her my only opportunity to be happy. Her eyes are still watching me, scared, the type of look that asks for answers and salvation at the same time.
I wish I could figure out a way to tell her everything will be OK, to give her comfort and to take her to a space where her heart would find a steady pace. I wish I could figure out the laws of nature and reverse somehow the time. I wish I weren’t so powerless. Once again. Useless.
For some reason, right now, I remember the stupidest things about her. Like how she blushed every time she let a fart exhale in my presence, or how she used to rub her nose fast every time she felt a sneeze build up. Or the way she used to snuggle close to me, in the middle of the night, until I could hear her breath finding relief.
There was a time when I figured out I could have spilled the beans (and the corn) and tell her everything. But then again, she never asked too many questions, and my past and secrets remained my past and secrets (sort of).
We were in Budapest once, and on one of my time stops, I made a stupid mistake. I got some money from a bank, walked out and in my daze, and took her hand in mine. Then I let time resume its course. Just that I chose the other side than what I initially left from. She freaked out. Looked at me with her big eyes and didn’t know if she was going crazy or I did something to her. Before the panic settled in, I asked her if everything was fine. She mumbled something about magic, then stood on the sidewalk, looking somewhere in the distance, confused. I tried to act surprised, worried, to make fun of the situation, to invoke my “knowledge” of the dark arts, but nothing took her out of that state. She just said, after a while, “I get it!” then stood up and we continued our walk.
Looking at her now, I feel like she knows, at some level, a bit more about me, and her eyes are begging me to do something. Anything.
She’s about to die. Like dead forever, not like in movies where someone says I’m dying and then they find a miracle cure and they live happily ever after. She’s about to die, and I’m just as worthless as I was on my mom’s death bed.
You know the feeling when you realize you have power over everybody else? I don’t anymore. I feel utterly lost, and my search for a solution is hitting walls that built themselves up even higher, every time I think I make a small scratch in them.
One more mega level of shit. A personal one: I’m about to die as well. Like dead - dead. The only difference is that I can move around and ponder about stupidities, while the others around me remained frozen in their moment or terror. I’m about to die and time decided to take a more extended break this time, one that for some reason, I can’t reverse.
I already told you I’m stuck. Well, there you go, my girlfriend and I are both about to die. And about 50 other people or so – to be more precise 53, 5 kids, 20 women, and the rest men. All are getting ready to hit the last check mark of their lives.
Honeymoon, or rather honey-plunge to the depths of Hell. I was half asleep when the plane shook more than the regular turbulence. A small jolt first then an uncontrollable shake that got a few people yelling. I looked out the window and saw one of the plane’s engine leak a thick smoke. Then a second jolt, more powerful and the few yells turned into a sea of screams. The second engine must have exploded. The Captain started talking, barely making himself heard through all the cries.
“Please remain calm; we’ll try to glide as much as possible and try to... Fuck!”
Fuck?! Who the heck says that while trying to calm people down? The communication stopped, the people continued their yells, and I decided to get up. I turned my head enough to see a piece of the engine piercing through the end part of the plane, causing a gash the size of a small car. And then, staring at the void, I realized my cruel fate. I’m going to die! And if my shock wasn’t big enough, losing my love next to me screwed me up even more.
Surprisingly, this time, I didn’t even think I held my breath. I just freaked out, as a cow led to the slaughterhouse that finally realizes its doom. The time stopped... and it still is. And my fate is as clear as the sky around us. When the time resumes, I won’t be able to stop it for about 5 minutes or so, enough time for the plane to crumble in a nice trail of death and mangled metal.
I don’t even know when I realized that I was breathing in the time stop. I must have been losing it for a few moments.
First thing I did after getting to my senses was to look around. My one and true is looking towards me. Scared. The same feeling you can see on everybody’s faces. A flight attendant is making her way to the cockpit where two pilots seem just as desperate as everybody else.
I was scared, angry, frustrated. Every emotion you can think of passed through me, leaving me eventually numb and lost for words. I even got to the point where I accepted death. It is what it is. Life finally found its exclamation point.
I kept my breath in for a few minutes and tried to restart time when I exhaled. I was ready to let “nature” resume its course. But nothing happened. I was still frozen in a freaking bubble, with scared people around me and a love that wasn’t lived enough.
I cried like a baby frustrated with his favorite toy taken away from him. I’m still crying now and then, and it’s not even a sad cry, it’s more a frantic one built from uselessness.
I took a walk up and down the aisle, examined every person, and made up stories about their lives and what they leave behind. I took a look through the opened end of the plane and watched the earth in the distance, irritatingly refusing to welcome us there. Yeah! I thought about it. Jumping out and leaving everyone behind, but something made me take a step back. If I go, at least I’ll go next to the one I chose to spend my life with, whatever that might measure into.
I just read what I wrote before, and it seems that it sounds a bit pathetic, but hey, I’m as pathetic as I freaking want to be. You’re not in my shoes and if this is how I write or want to express myself, then so be it. I’m man enough to accept that.
I thought a lot about me and the ones around, so different, yet so alike in the face of doom. I got philosophical at one point and realized that each one of us is somehow unique, that each of us is the hero of his or her life, and the victim of fate, constantly battling time. We are the mirrors that never reflect the right image and the sounds that never reach their full songs. Flawed and perfect, small and utterly impressive, a sum of contradictions that swim against the terrors of life the world crushed upon us.
I started writing this to clear my head, to find solutions, but at this point, somehow, it feels more like a will than a resolution to my problems.
By my calculations, it must have passed about 10 or 12 hours - stuck in a snow globe, with the universe impassable to my struggle. Out of frustration, if anything, I drew smiley faces on the terrified people, or at least I tried. Looking at them now it feels I did a restoration job that failed miserably, most of them look like the Joker from Batman – half entertaining, half crazy as shit.
I remember the first time I saw the movie, the one with Heath Ledger. I got inspired ;). I stopped the time during projection, and taking a lipstick from a women’s purse, I drew on people's faces as many exaggerated smiles as possible, all around the room. They applauded at the end, happy with whatever resolution the movie provided them, but as soon as the lights were turned on, and they looked at each other, screams started spreading throughout. You can imagine the confusion and the sense of WTF that took over a bunch of moviegoers.
And now the same panorama faces me, with a touch of a cruel outcome. I’m the Batman in a plane full of Jokers, and the biggest Joker of them all - Time itself - is laughing the hardest.
I started thinking about movies and their happy endings, maybe one of those would apply to me as well. But so far, I can only think about killing the bad guy (who the hell is the bad guy in my scenario), finding out about a miraculous cure (Yeah, right!), a twist of fate or the hand of an omnipresent God (Anybody up there?).
I never saw myself as a hero; I never wanted the part, nor did I ever dream of saving lives. But right now I want to save at least one, and if possible, two – in case you didn’t get it, mine would be the second one. The rest of them could find their “Hey God, knocking on your door!” moment, for all I care.
Another hour must have passed. I measured the cabin interior, about 100 feet, take or give a few that I’ve approximated to count for the freaking hole in the back. 100 feet of a high-fly prison, 500 miles per hour, about 70,000 pounds at around 35,000 – 40,000 feet in the air (maybe less). Now if I calculate everything and add the wind speed of about 150 mph, subtracting the 32.1740 ft/s2 standard gravity value, adjusting it with any type of extra variance, I get NOTHING. Zero. I have no freaking clue how to science my way out of this.
Plan B or C, or Gazillion – yell my way out of this situation.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! (this is me yelling)
I got in the cockpit, took out the manual and spent some time trying to figure out if I can fix anything (the numbers above are from this useless gathering of figures and commands). You never know, maybe I can figure out how to fix an engine, MacGyver my way out of this with some tape and whipped cream.
I’ve been looking at the freaking thing for over an hour, and even if it’s in plain English, it could have been written in any language of the Earth, it still looks just as foreign. I tossed it aside. Right now, I’m bored. I flipped aimlessly through a magazine.
Ten questions to get to know someone, according to some No Name:
· What job would you be terrible at?
All of them
· What movie title best describes your life?
Right now, Castle in the Sky
· What city would you most like to live in?
· What are some small things that make your day better?
Money, kisses, hugs and probably something else. I have no clue right now
· What are you most looking forward to in the next 10 years?
· If you were the dictator of a small nation, what crazy dictator stuff would you do?
Wear color-coordinated clothes and sing songs about me
· What do you take for granted?
· What irrational fear do you have?
Dying (is it irrational?)
· What is one of your favorite smells?
My girlfriend’s neck
· What do you hope your last words will be?
Haunting soon in a place near you!
So? Do you know me better?... Yay, me! (Even in writing, I sound like a freak.)
I took out of life whatever I felt like as if I owned it, and it was mine to take. I always had a dislike for people, and it’s not because I thought I am superior (although, at some level…); it was mostly because I felt them too selfish, too concentrated on their little problems and their little (or big) egos actually to pay attention to whatever was going on around them.
We, as a society, are a bunch of individualistic, egocentric parasites that look for meaning in our self demise. We like to think that we are all having these precious, noble goals to our existence, when in fact we eat, shit and sleep our lives away, consumed by an imposed sense of need. We need this because..., we need that because..., excuses giving meaning to a straight path to death.
I’m not better. The only difference was that, in my case, there was no effort to my journey. I left the struggle to others. But in truth, I’m just as pathetic as all of them, and maybe a part of me hates everybody else just because they remind me of my own flaws. Wow! That’s some deep stuff I came up with, and once again you probably bought it all, like gullible livestock. Or maybe I just opened up. Confusing, isn’t it? Well, that’s life for you!
But, switching the subject, while looking at the Joker faces around me, it reminded me of one time when I got stopped by a cop while driving a stolen car. He definitely knew I was up to no good. He approached me slowly, while I was pulled over, his hand ready to reach for the gun. I had my sunglasses on and a smirk that should have betrayed mischief. He told me to keep my hands out of the car. I did and asked him what seemed to be the problem. He instructed me to get out of the car slowly.
I did. Well, not so slowly and not how he expected. I stopped the time the second I opened the door. I went to my trunk and got out a wrench. I unbolted all his car tires, took out the key from the ignition and put them on his windshield. As a last goodwill gesture, I took his gun out, making sure not to leave any fingerprints, threw it on his backseat and replaced it in his holder with a banana I had lying around.
The scene was ready. I got back in my car, more or less in the same position and let the time resume its course. I asked him if I can say something. He told me first to shut up and get out, but I told him I have to advise him of something first. His hand got closer to the banana, and I struggled to hold my laughter in. Eventually, I told him: “Listen, I really don’t think I want to stick around!”. I restarted my car and drove slowly-ish.
The banana – 50 cents. The face he made – priceless. Imagine what his mind must have thought the minute he saw he was “threatening” me with a freaking fruit. I was driving slow enough to see him in my rear mirror, rushing to his car, scrambling to find his keys, rushing back out, taking them off the windshield and getting a frustrating chase on its way. So he must have thought. He managed to drive a few feet before the whole car found the road face-first. The tires came out, and the airbags kicked in. The last thing I saw was him kicking his car frustrated and trying to radio for back-up or something.
I ditched the car close to a rail track. Hoping on a train is an easy feat when all you have to do is stop the time at the right moment and stroll in. The car exploded soon after, in a trail of smoke. Must have been the match I left hanging and burning right above the gas tank. Who knows?! Could have been a technical problem too – it wasn’t my car to start with.
Am I good?
Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night asking yourself if you’re a good person? Do your dreams take you to places where you want to please everyone around you? If yes, then good for you, you deserve a medal of some type of loser category. My dreams kept waking me up just to ask me if I was bad enough (in your terms of course) if I was taking advantage of my powers to their limits before they, by some strange event, would be taken away from me. I always lived with that fear, and even if I didn’t always address it, it was there, lurking in corners of my mind. What if, at one point my powers would just disappear? What if it would happen in the middle of some terrible situation where I wouldn’t be able to do anything about it? Yeah, I know, I must have jinxed it, though the situation I’m in right now is not exactly what I envisioned.
An hour ago, I got bored and started looking through people’s belonging – passports, purses, wallets, and luggage. I felt the need to know them a bit better, my statuesque companions to a one way trip to an inevitable outcome.
Funniest name: Maximilian Short, a medium-sized man with a mustache the size of a small broom. 56 years old. Born in Bristol, UK, living in Toronto, Canada, dead probably close to some northern parts of Manitoba – I presume.
Longest name: Félicitée Clézérina Marie Mérégenne Prudhomme. 67. Looking way older, but with a spark in her eyes. Born in Levis, Quebec, married to Valois Valois – currently not present to this journey to “oops-you’re-dead.”
Weirdest thing I found in their luggage: A dildo with bite marks all over it – wonder if it was some dog’s favorite toy?!
The oldest person on board: Eleonore Houde, 97 years old – this must have been the trip to death for her, probably a good thing by the looks of it. She looks like a prune that got eaten by another prune and regurgitated in the shape of a raisin.
The youngest person on board: doesn’t matter. Yes, I can still be a nice guy and not go into all the details. Imagine I would, and describe the kid in the smallest details, and you’ll go: “Oh, an angel too good for this world!”. Fuck it! Not giving you that luxury.
You probably got it by now - I’m bored. But (yes, I start my sentences with “buts”, “however” is too long to write and, for me, it sounds too pretentious - like regardless, or undoubtedly)… but, I got close to the point where I feel the boredom turning slowly back into frustration. It’s where I usually manage to pull myself up and push my body to act, or react. Wait for it; it’s gonna come any second now…
Nope. Still bored as hell and the thought of going like this for the rest of my life is not so much scary as pathetic. I’ll most likely die of hunger or thirst. The food on board will probably last for a few days, weeks if I stretch it thin (not going to think about cannibalism – fuck, I thought about it! No worries, still not interested, just disgusted).
Cheap wine. I have about 10 bottles, actually 8 – 2 I already drank, of cheap wine – the type that makes your teeth hurt. But alcohol is oblivion, and for a while, I can forget and have my little princess party, with plastic cups and red, pretty-unknown substance. Get this, on the bottle of wine it says that it might contain nuts – it’s that cheap.
I put a blanket over my girlfriend. I got tired of seeing her face begging me for a solution. Out of sight, out of mind. It should work like that, isn’t it? Cover the problems with a tarp, and the world is all perfect again. Or, like flipping a switch that takes your mind offline.
I took a nap. I wish I could tell you how long I slept, but I woke up crying like a drunk or high guy who finally dreamed the meaning of life, just to lose it through his fingers the minute he got up. Pitiful.
I had a burglar wanting to rob the place I was sleeping in, one time. Well, I kind of crashed into this lake cabin of some rich assholes. They clearly weren’t there, so I broke a window and slipped inside the house for a well-deserved splurge. Besides the window and some food, I had no intention of stealing anything. I just wanted a quiet time in some fancy house, on a lake, with nobody around. I think it was somewhere in Arkansas, close to Fayetteville, if my mind doesn’t play tricks on me.
So, I was waking up after drinking expensive champagne the whole night, and for some drunk reasons, I started crying about the state of the world. Not bawling, just letting a few tears run down my face and feeling powerless about some heck-knows what issue I might have imagined. And I was beginning my morning with more champagne – and some toast. I heard this “bang!”. The loser broke another window, although the freaking door was open. I hid for a bit, letting him explore the house, then when he finally relaxed… I stopped the time.
I lifted him slowly and placed him outside (funny thing, I didn’t pay attention, but I dropped him about 20, 30 inches above the ground – he remained suspended in mid-air). I locked the door, cleaned the broken window, and covered the hole with a plant. When time resumed, the freak freaked out, falling to the ground. He was acting all weird in the middle of the backyard, and I could see him retracing his steps in his mind, acting out his break-in, and turning confused around. He then approached the house again, moved to a different window, and broke in again. He kept touching his body and every piece of furniture, trying to make sure he and his surroundings were real. Then laughing, he finally relaxed a bit and tried to pour himself some of the champagne I left on a counter.
Five minutes later, the time froze again, and he found himself outside once more. This time, when the flow of life resumed, he started yelling, looked at the house, and started running away as if he finally understood that the house was possessed – by me :).
Looking back at my life, I feel like I made quite a few people believe in ghosts. It’s my contribution to the world, sparking some touch of fantasy in this boring reality. I once “haunted” one of those fake reality shows, the ones that apparently film ghosts and walk around with fake instruments that are supposed to measure soul patterns. Right! They probably measured their own stupidity level. Anyway, they were filming something; I walked on the set in a time stop and wrote “I know you’re all fakes” on the walls... in red marker.
It’s nice to see heathens turn believers in a finger snap. You can see them losing layers of fake reality and switching to question their very existence.
The gift of imagination that builds itself up into flesh and blood – that’s my present to this world.
If I could only imagine myself out of this situation. Puff (!) and the time bubble will disappear, and my plunge to a flat earth will be inevitable. Or, actually, I could imagine myself, with my girlfriend, somewhere on a beach, enjoying some tropical mystery drink. If only...
Breaking news. That was the message that appeared fast on the TVs of every Canadian and soon after on never-heard-of TV stations around the world. A red line that was begging for attention froze movies, TV series, cooking, and reality big-bachelor-marrying-my-cousin shows. Everything stood still as random puzzled TV anchors were announcing a mysterious event, that occurred somewhere in the Northern parts of Canada. 55 people were aligned in the middle of a frozen field, all passengers of a flight that found its doom a few kilometers away. All alive and with no recollection about how they ended up there.
The hand of God was invoked by some, aliens, teleportation devices, government cover-ups by others, but all in all no valid answers have been given. The news was showing the lost people, all wrapped in blankets, trying to figure out how they ended up in that field.
Some of the interviewed mentioned an explosion on one of the engines, that shook the whole plane. Others talked about mysterious lights, others about the power of God that shined upon all the believers. However, none of them could fully explain how they ended up in that field, in their seats, with the safety belts still attached.
The discussions took over the whole world for about four days until a baby goat with three heads replaced the focus and debates. Conspiracy theory websites were the only ones still interested in the small northern Canadian event. The “mainstream” explanation focused on a teleportation device that the government might have started to test on people, a test to see if they can kidnap the so-called unwanted individuals from their homes.
Ok, ok! This is freaking funny. Apparently, we all survived the plane crash due to some teleportation device. Yeah! Hail the government and their secret operations. Where would have we been without the mercy of the mighty rulers?
I don’t even know why I’m still writing this. I’m alive, I survived. We all did.
Call it guilt maybe... or the need to give you some resolution, or perhaps it’s just my ego wanting to make sure, that at least in my book, I get credit for MY triumphs. But then again, it is easier to explain things through the lens of a teleportation device than to actually believe that I alone had the power over all those survivors’ lives.
I wish I could tell you that I figured out how to save everybody due to some intricate thinking patterns (you know?! in movies you’d see this as the image of a nerd overlaid with some complex mathematical formulas). You should know better!
I saved everybody by mistake. As simple as that! One of the flight attendants, at the back of the plane, was between me and another bottle of wine. So, I pushed her a bit, enough to make room for me to pass. It just happened that I pushed her right above the opened gap in the floor. She floated there without falling, trapped in between nothingness and the safety of the time bubble. For a while, and don’t ask me why, I felt like the time stopped just around the airplane. So what’s a trouble maker to do if not push the flight attendant even more through the hole, to test that theory? She got stuck in the same place where I took my hand off her.
Do you see the light bulb turning on? No? Neither did I. I just thought it was funny how she floated there. So, in my Joker mode, I took another flight attendant that wasn’t far away and pushed him down the rabbit’s hole. And again, he stopped right there, next to the other one.
Yeah! I left them there for a while until it finally hit me how I could save my girl... wife. I could push her down the hole and somehow use her body and the flight attendants’ to go down to the ground.
One issue appeared like a thorn in an eyeball. My girl had her hand so tightly wrapped around the chair that I couldn’t get her out of the seat unless I broke her fingers somehow. So, I realized she had to come out with the whole chair. But I didn’t have enough room to get the freaking bolts out, unless, of course, I removed the seats in front and behind her. And to remove those seats I had to remove first the ones... you get the point. I took me about 4-5 hours until painfully I removed every single seat from my section of the plane. And, about the same amount of time until all the seats with passengers were separated from the floor. I guess I got carried away.
I tested things out. As long as I put my hands on the chairs, I could drag them around. I tied two of them with the seatbelts. I could only move one of the chairs as if the belt didn’t transmit the time movement to the other one. First, I thought that was a stupid thing, but soon after it hit me even more. I could tie all the freaking seats together and use them as a ladder –ish. Why all together and not just two? Well, call me a big softie. I figured out I had to give those people their chance to live, or at least I could try.
The pilots and one of the flight attendants were a bitch and a half to get out. I presume it’s like giving birth – squeezing something big and unwilling to cooperate through a small hole (that was the cabin for them).
Fast forward – through a few other hours of tying every chair with passengers together, lowering them through the hole, linking the two suspended flight attendants at the end and going from one chair to the other, dropping them bit by bit through the sky. Imagine a game of tag that goes on and on, up and down. Each time I was stepping on one chair, it started going down fast, the only thing stopping it, with me on it, from falling, being the seatbelt or whatever I could find to attach it to the next one. It was like a rollercoaster that freaked me out every single step I was taking.
It all seems easy-peasy. Just that if everything was, sort of, suspended in the air and safe for them, for me was hell. One wrong step and I would have been a pancake on the ground. Honestly, I was scared like you wouldn’t believe.
I don’t know how long it took me. I was tired, hungry, thirsty, cold, bitter, frustrated, anything you can think of, I’m sure I felt it. Finally, the last of the flight attendants were on the ground. Motionless statues. Then I untied them all and placed them in a tight formation, and watch them with the same Joker faces staring at me without moving a muscle.
As I contemplated my fucked-up situation, I took a seat next to my woman. In that second screams erupted around me (those freaks thought they were still in a doomed airplane), and then confusion. And some moments after, a loud explosion was heard rocking the silent winter landscape (poetic, isn’t it?). It most likely was the airplane, of course.
One thing none of the TV stations mentioned was the fact that all the passengers in the flight (except one) had their faces painted. ;) Who the heck could explain that? Not even conspiracy theories fans would have been able to.
It took almost two hours until the first help arrived. Some people had frostbites, others some unexplained bruises (don’t blame me too much). TV crews were closely behind, like crows sensing a kill just happened nearby. To this day I don’t know how they were able to get there so fast – I guess gossip and the thirst for extraordinary fuels cars better than gasoline.
One extra element, before I finish this long explanation of how I froze up the world – my wife was among the only ones not to scream. She looked me in the eyes, grabbed my hand, and said: “Thank you!”
That was it. Thank you! No other words were necessary, and no other words were spoken.
Now, I live my life like I always did. No worries, no jobs, just enjoying it to the max. And she’s happy too. One extra thing though: we both decided not to take the plane anymore. We drive, take trains, boats, anything that keeps us close to the mother earth; safe environments that I can control better.
I am probably going to burn this random gathering of thoughts, or I’ll just carry it with me for a while, just to prove myself that even though I might be a bad guy, sometimes, it’s all just a matter of perspective.
THAT'S IT - THE END