Microfiction #13 – Sixty-second Time Machine

It was a fine sunny day. Beautiful Alice was sitting on a bench under a shady tree by the lake. She was taking a breather from strolling in the park after a hectic day, enjoying the soothing virisdecent scenery with her dainty palms resting on a book that she put on her lap.

“Excuse me, do you mind if I.. uh..”

“Uh, sure,” Alice reluctantly replied.

Bob came out of nowhere and was gesturing to sit on the bench as well next to her. He was holding a dark-coloured mysterious box firmly. Alice noticed it.

Bob took a sit next to Alice. They shared a glance or two and smiled a little. However, Bob smiled bigger with a seemingly controlled, manly giggle.

“What’s that?” asked Alice as she pointed at the box Bob was holding on his lap.

“Oh, nothing,” said Bob with his head tilted slightly upward as though in pride.

“You sure it’s not a sixty-second time machine?”

“huh?”

Alice stretched her arm and kept a pointing finger at the mysterious box Bob was holding. Both of them looked at the box and the label on it was in view and read ‘SIXTY-SECOND TIME MACHINE’.

“Dammit,” said Bob in surprised. He immediately pressed a big red button on the box.

*Flicker*

“Excuse me, do you mind if I.. uh..” asked Bob.

“Uh, sure,” Alice reluctantly replied.

He sat next to her on the bench. They exchanged glances and smiles.

“What’s that?” asked Alice as she was pointing at the box.

“Well it’s certainly not a sixty-second time machine,” said Bob jokingly and laughed, “Dammit.” He pressed the big red button again with a frustration evident on his facial expression.

*Flicker*

“Well, it’s my lunch box,” said Bob in response to Alice’s curiosity.

“It looks weird,” said Alice, “I like weird things.”

“Cool, I’m b**b.”

An even more frustrated expression was seen on Bob’s face. He quickly pressed the button again.

*Flicker*

“Cool, I’m Bob.”

“Bob,” said Alice with a slight nod and smirked, “Are you trying to ask me out on a date?”

“No, c’mon. Do I look like trying that hard?”

Alice gave a silly look. He shook his head in disappointment and hit the big red button.

*Flicker*

“Are you trying to ask me out on a date?” asked Alice.

“Yes,” said Bob in confidence, “I mean I’m trying to.”

“Try harder.”

“Uh.. Hi…”

“Harder.”

*Flicker*

“Coffee?” asked Bob.

“Harder,” said Alice.

*Flicker*

“Dinner?” asked Bob.

Alice gave a much worse silly face with a soul-crushing smirk.

*Flicker*. *Flicker*. *Flicker over and over again*.

“We go back to my place,” said Bob as he brushed his fingers against Alice’s brunette silky hair near her dainty ear.

“Right now?” asked Alice in a smile as her head spontaneously leaned toward Bob’s hand.

“And make sweet love.”

“Uh… Gross.”

*Flicker*

“And we f*** our brains out,” said Bob.

“Uh… Finally, I’m so sick of men who can’t just be straightforward with what they want,” said Alice.

“I want you to spank my bad little boy down there.”

“Uh… Um…”

“C’mon, I thought you’d.. No? No.”

He frowned, looked down and hit the big red button on the box again.

*Flicker*

“I want to spank you,” said Bob provocatively.

“Oh, we’re going right now,” said Alice and giggled seductively.

Alice stood up and accidentally dropped her book on the ground. Out of chivalry, Bob picked it up for her.

“Oh hey, you like science,” said Bob looking at the book.

“Right, science… My seven-year old niece likes science,” said Alice with an annoyed face, “I’m doing postgrad in quantum mecha…”

*Flicker*

“Oh, you like theoretical quantum mechanics on the space-time fabric,” said Bob in a pretentious surprise.

“Yeah,” said Alice in excitement, “What’s your favourite part?”

“The butt,” said Bob, “We’re still talking about science.” He face-palmed himself as soon as he realised it.

*Flicker*

“Time travel,” said Bob.

“Me too!” said Alice in enthusiasm, “It’s amazing yet scary as f*** though.”

“I know right,” said Bob, “Wait, what? Why?”

“Well, have you read the chapter on the practical applications?”

“Of course, I’ve read the chapter in practical applications…”

“And…”

“And I’m just going to hit this red button here.”

“Uh wh…”

*Flicker*

Alice was sitting on the bench under the shady tree by the lake. Her dainty palms laid on the book. Bob popped up out of nowhere, ran toward her and grabbed her book in anxious.

“Excuse me! Who are you?” asked Alice in shock, “What are you doing with my book?”

“Shh! I need to read this real quick,” said Bob, “Don’t worry this one doesn’t even count.”

“Tch,” Alice startled.

“fifty pages? F*** that,” said Bob in irritation. He promptly hit the box’s red button again.

*Flicker*

“No, I haven’t actually read that,” said Bob, “I’m too busy doing instead of reading.” Bob’s nostrils flared in pride as he put his arm on the backrest of the bench.

“Doing as in doing an actual, practical time-traveling?” asked Alice.

Bob correspondingly gestured to the dark-coloured box with a few buttons on it.

“Have you used that thing?” asked Alice.

“I don’t know… Maybe,” said Bob with a seductive smile and a sidelong look at Alice.

“For me?”

“Does that creep you out?”

“No,” said Alice, “No, that’s so sweet of you.”

“You really think so?”

“Yeah, I’ve never had a guy fight for me before,” said Alice, “Let alone die for me.”

“Well, I’m sorry? Die? You surely mean metaphorically, right?” said Bob in confusion.

“No, literally. Yeah, not you exactly but that’s the point of the chapter, right?” said Alice, “Time travel is impossible.”

“It’s not impossible,” said Bob, “I’ve done it. I mean, I’m here, then and now.”

“No, every time you’ve pushed that button you’ve created a copy of yourself in a parallel universe that exists about one minute in your past,” said Alice, “Your original body dies in the initial or the earlier universe.”

“Oh…”

“How many times?”

“I don’t know, maybe a dozen or so?” said Bob in a helpless look.

Initial universe: Alice panicked over dead Bob lying against the backrest with his eyes and mouth wide open as though a tragic death.

Parallel universe(s): Alice panicked and screamed for help over dead Bob lying cold on the ground. While in the other, Alice was poking lifeless Bob lying against the backrest before his head slowly fell onto her lap, ironically. And in the other parallel universe, Alice stood up and just ran from the scene. And in the other, Alice accidentally pushed dead Bob hard enough his body stumbled away from her. And in the other other, Alice simply screamed at the top of her lungs. The list goes on. Iteratively, the same was true for nth parallel universe—where n is any arbitrary positive integer but practically less than the actual number of Bob’s attempt.

“I’ve killed myself a dozen times,” said Bob in terror whilst gazing into the distance with a lifeless expression on his face—just like that of his in parallel universes.

“You know, on the bright side, you’re the first and only successful multiple suicide,” said Alice trying to soothe Bob, “It’s pretty cool though.”

Bob gave a helpless smile.

“Hey, look let’s go back to my place and just forget all about this stupid little murder box,” said Alice.

“Murder box?”

“The suicide time machine,” said Alice, “Who cares? That wasn’t you. It was them. Okay?”

“I can’t,” said Bob on the verge of shedding tears, “How am I going to get b***r again knowing what I know?”

“Dammit,” said Alice in regret.

“Huh… Alice you better thank yourself for this,” said Alice to herself in a sigh as she hesitantly pressed the button on the box.

*Flicker*

“What’s your favourite part?” asked Alice.

“Time travel,” said Bob.

“Me too! It’s amazing and scary…”

“Scary? What do you mean by scary?”

“No, nothing,” said Alice as she giggled realising she has screwed it up, “I mean, it’s not like this is some multi-dimensional murder box or anything, right?”

“Huh?” said Bob while laughing lightly in confusion.

“Dammit,” said Alice in frustration with both her eyes and mouth shut as she hit the button on the sixty-second time machine box Bob was holding, again.

*Flicker*


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