I don’t believe in technology. I never had a need for it. Go natural. My motto: “If you can’t do it with your mind and hands, you don’t need it.” Computers confuse me, Blackberry’s mystify me. Cell-phones and Bluetooth devices, I I spit them out. When I was sixty, I wanted to go back. Not to a place…but a time. A time when life was simpler; not filled with mortgage payments, college tuitions, and business decisions. I wanted a time before my wife, my house my…commitments. I wanted a time before my sons and daughter and all the complexities of parenthood. I needed that again. I needed a re-charge, a breath of fresh air. I needed…freedom. So with this wanderlust in my heart, I entered the offices of Time-backs Trips.
“You can…go back. We have the technology. But it will cost you.” I looked at him: self-assured, confident, charcoal Armani suit. Denton; his name, like him, was short, curt, direct. No nonsense…definite.
“Sorry..but I don’t really want this.” I started to put on my coat to leave.
“Yes..you do, Denton said. “You want it. Need it.”
I looked at him again. He was looking away, looking at some point on the floor when he said it. He wasn’t looking at me. He wasn’t trying to convince me. He knew what I didn’t. No way, but,.. I’ll play…to a point.
“How much?” I asked. ”What are the numbers?”
“10,000.00 for the first ten minutes.”
I didn’t blink. I reached into my vest pocket and pulled out the taped stack of bills.
“When do I leave?”
“You don’t.” Not really. Your body stays. It’s more of a mind trip…”
Ah…there it was. I knew it couldn’t be true. I’m out of here. I stopped and fingered the bills. “10,000…for a virtual trip? I don’t think so.” I looked at my inside vest pocket and started to put the money back.
“Double your money back…guaranteed. No questions asked, fully protected by law. If you’re not 100% satisfied.” He smirked when I jerked my head up and searched his eyes again.
“You’re serious. So, let me get this straight: if I’m not 100% satisfied with this…mind trip…you’ll give me $20,000.00.. no questions asked?”
“That’s right.” I looked at him, looked into his clear blue eyes. I believed him. He didn’t blink, he didn’t waver.
“IF..you’re not satisfied.” He said, staring straight back at me.
“Can’t afford not to be.” He answered, cool..calm… a summer breeze.
“How does it work?
“You fill out this profile,” (he handed me two sheets), “We look it over, get your specific trip ready, and call you back in two days. Is that acceptable, Mr. Trackton?”
“Good. I’ll show you out.”
Two days later, I found myself back in the office.
“Mr. Trackton.” Denton nodded and extended his hand.
I took it slowly.
“Nice to see you again. Your profile was interesting; excellent detail, good emotional content.”
It was the longest sentence he’d spoken since we met.
“You kept a journal..a diary. ” It was more of a statement then a question.
“Yes. How did you know?”
“Details were too rich..too specific. They weren’t memories. They were detailed reports..even of your emotions. Are you ready, sir?”
“Yes. I’m ready.”
“We’ve programmed your Time-back to very specific periods.”
“You’ll see. We don’t like to give too much detail before a trip, spoils the mystery.”
“Periods..? Did you say..periods?”
“I only paid for one trip.” I said. If you’re trying to …”
“Yes. But we are called Time-back Trips, with an ‘s.’ There is no extra charge. It’s all included in the price.
“Mmm.. No extra..anything..right? No hidden costs; taxes..fees..?”
He didn’t answer, just gave me those steel baby blues.
“O.K. , o.k” I said, What do I do?”
“Follow me.” He pushed a button on his desk and the back wall that holds books slides away.
Another room is revealed…A combination dentists office, computer room. He turned down the lights and pointed to a dentist-like chair attached with wires hooked up to a computer console. The wires were attached to what looked to be like a bicycle helmet on the other end.
“Sit in this chair and lean back. Close your eyes while I adjust this helmet on your head. Sit back and relax. Take a deep breath and count backwards from twenty…enjoy, Mr. Trackton.”
I nodded and closed my eyes. I took a breath, let it out slowly though my nose.
“Twenty. Nineteen. Eighteen. Seventeen….” Blackness.
I am running down a hill leading to a wide open field. Kissena Park. Summer of ’69. I am fourteen. My legs, strong. I can feel them meeting the grass, smell the rich green, feel the golden sun on my face. The lake is blue, clean.. clear. I look up. The light blue sky holds small puffy white clouds. Bunnies float by as do big smiling white faces. I take a breath; the summer air… warm, a gentle breeze. It fills my lungs and I don’t cough. Not now.
It’s Friday. My Freshman year of high-school just ended today. Today!!! I am free. Summer is here. My time is like the field before me; open, wide..green with promise.
Karen. Karen. I see her waiting; poised on her bike. She stands with one foot on a pedal, the other
on the ground. Karen… my love. Long red hair, bright green eyes, her perfect form hardly hidden by a sweat shirt; long legs emerging from a pair of blue cut-off shorts. She faces the lake, the sun around her; a golden light covering her...God…she is so awesome. Her kisses sweet..honey…I feel my hard-on beginning…
I am 21. The baby grand stretches out before me. The hotel lobby is empty. I begin the boogie progression with my left hand. The fingers of my right fly over the keys…light..fast..1950’s; a compliation of Jerry lee Lewis, Fats Domino and Chuck Berry. I’m flying. I close my eyes..feel the keys under my swift and sure fingers. I mix it up; chords, melody meet in the middle…I fly..my fingers carry the lightness of my heart. No arthritis now; no hesitation, no brain freezes or senior moments. My mind is clear fingers flying. Strong, clear notes; a crisp dance ,flavor of 50’s rock and roll. People start to pass by and stop. Heads nod to the beat. Fingers tap..hands clap. 4 people..7..10..Looking, moving to my boogie. I’m drawing a crowd. Loving the attention, the joining in…loving the freedom…never took a lesson. I’m flying…..
A gentle shaking..
“Mr. Trackton?” More shaking. “Sir?”
I slowly opened my eyes. I felt the chair against me..
“Huh..mmmmmm…” Stretching. Moving into awakening.
“Oh…” I look at my hands; blue veins coming to the surface. I feel my bones ache as I sit up..slowly.. My legs ache from the arthritis…and I take in a deep breath but immediately cough it out.
I look around the room..then at him..
“Do you have packages, Mr. Denton?..”
“Yes, sir…we do.” A variety of them.
“I want to see them…all of them. I need to.”
Cold steel eyes burn into mine.
“Get the paperwork,” I say. “Get it.”
All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Joseph Trance.
Published on e-Stories.org on 26.01.2009.