Lonny Lamaack was fed up with wishing time would stand still or that he could take back time he lost, so therefore, it was time to take matters into his own hands. He stared at a stranger in the bathroom mirror refusing to believe it was him—strands of silver dispersing through his hair and face wrinkling.
He just arrived home from the hospital. Moments ago, his mother whispered her last dying words, “Your’e pathetic, son. What have you ever done with yourself? Might as well be a lump of clay.”
She was still.
Lonny rehearsed the memory repeatedly including the stale smell of the hospital room. As he stared at the ugly filth in the mirror, he watched a tear roll down the strangers face echoed by the warm trickle on his own. He choked out the words, “This all ends now.”
He reached over and grabbed the shower head clinging and trembling with white knuckles. He screamed and began pounding the mirror. A web expanded out with each sharp thundering splash of glass spraying the air with a metallic odor. He dropped his weapon with a new resolve.
Marching around the house, the madman locked doors, closed blinds, and severed the line to his phone. He descended into his basement lair where he looked upon his creation—a divine miracle.
Lonny stood before a cathedral of machinery. He stretched out his arms, closed his eyes, and breathed in the tabernacle’s warmth. An endless entanglement of cords, tubes, and electronics spanned the width and height of the room.
The solution to all his woes stood before him, especially the cure to what he perceived as a chronic mental disease plaguing his life. The primary symptom the hypercondriac imagined was compulsive self contradiction. In other words, he refused to do what he said he would do, and therefore, would murder in cold blood hope and dream after hope and dream.
The figments in his head were his reality: girls he intended to ask out taken by other guys, novels he intended to write, a guitar he intended to master like Jimi Hendrix, music he intended to compose, art he intended to paint, parties he intended to visit, jobs for which he intended to be interviewed, and even amusement park ideas he intended to bring to reality without the know how or resources.
If hell was paved with good intentions, a worse hell was not having any intentions realized. The mediocrity before Lonny’s face day after day was a nightmare impossible for him to wake—impossible until now.
It took five exhausting years of research and work for Lonny to create the grand masterpiece before him. He studied everything he could find from the greatest mind’s of modern physics from Maxwell to Einstein to Hawking. Lonny’s only accomplishment was now a door to unlock the other lost opportunities—a time machine.
How did he do it? He proved the notion true that time was indeed a dimension of space and associated this notion with the way that he proved that electrons did indeed travel. An electron can go from point A to point B without crossing the space between the points, because it moves in other dimensions. Therefore, since time was a dimension, Lonny concluded he could somehow leap time in the same quantum manner. That was the insultingly simple version of his theory, anyway.
Lonny began stripping naked. This was a mere precaution, for Lonny only tested the machine on pets he kidnapped from the neighbors. Lonny would be the first human sacrifice to his metal god. Better safer than sorry.
After Lonny undressed and undid his watch from his arm, he stepped into a pod—the centerpiece of the tapestry of machinery. He faced outward with hands clinging supports to the right and left of him. Several harmonic hums surrounded the atmosphere increasing in pitch and intensity. A carousel of pillars rotated around him picking up speed.
Suddenly, the pillars slowed to a crawl. Lonny heard the machine power down. This wasn’t suppose to happen.
Explosions shot shrapnel around the room. Lonny crouched and covered his head with his arms. Then when the room went silent, he exited the machine. His watch on the table confirmed, he was still in the present.
Then Lonny heard a beep. First, he thought it was his watch, but then he realized it came from a pantry to the left of his machine. He dragged the door open to discover from the ceiling a body hanging.
It looked exactly like him.
Lonny fell backwards and let out a blood curdling scream. He rubbed his eyes and looked again. There, the body still hung.
The corpse wore a pinstripe suit. It’s hand gripped a crinkled paper. Lonny took courage, stood, and approached the spook. He tore the page from the hand, then began to read:
I'm sorry, but this will definitely piss you off. I blew up your our machine. It had to done. Things happened beyond what you and I could possibly imagine. Devastating things. I now realize the past is not to be tampered with. I’m warning you, don’t repair the machine! You absolutely do not want to know what the alternate present looks like. It, by the way, took a bit of thinking to find my way back to this version of reality. I hope your end will be better than mine.
With loving concern,
P.S. Swear to me that from this day, you will be a man of action as opposed to a man of ideas and intentions. I proved it to be a bad idea to change the past, but act today and your future will be bright.
Lonny whispered, “I swear.”
From that day forth, he never forgot his promise. Therefore, the machine did indeed save Lonny’s life, just not in the way he expected.