Other me got up and began walking beside me.
“What where you going to do if I hadn’t shown up,” I asked her.
“I was just going to stay at the theater all day and night and then go have a meal at Denny’s at around 3:00 a.m. Then I was going to head back around sunrise,” she said.
“Well, for some reason doing that doesn’t end well,” I said.
“Right,” she said.
“We could just go back.”
“Together,” she asked.
“No, then there would be two of us. I mean you go back to 2013 and I’ll go back to 2014.”
“Yeah, I guess so,” she said.
“I mean, I think it’s probably the best idea don’t you? God only knows what happens to you.”
“Yeah,” she said.
“Is there something wrong,” I asked.
“Look, let me ask you this she said, what do you think of Tom?”
“I think…I mean he seems nice.”
“Well, he seemed a little standoffish…,” I began carefully. “But that’s probably because he didn’t get to know me …”
“I’m afraid you …I mean we just traded one abusive relationship for another.”
“Yeah, well he didn’t seem so thrilled when he found out we were together,” I admitted.
“Yeah, well I think that he was only ever with me in the first place because he was so grateful for my saving his job. He rewarded me with his willingness to be my boyfriend,” she said making air quotes.
“He’s never hit you has he?”
“No, he’s just really cold. I always feel like I’m in trouble. “
“Well, if we I mean one of us could break up with him.”
“Yeah, then no more time machine.”
“Right,” I said.
“Look, I think we could both stand to meditate a little bit and since the theater is out I wanna show you a places that’s really pretty cash as the kids say now-a-days,” she said.
We got on the bus and headed to the heart of Beverly Hills. We headed down Bedford Dr. to the basement of a small office building. “Sensory Anticipation Center.” the sign on the door said. We entered the office and other me asked for two tanks. The beautiful blond receptionist told us she had one appointment at 2:00 and another at 2:30 p.m. We reserved them and then we sat down in a dark waiting room that was surrounded by glow in the dark fish tanks.
“Where are we?” I asked.
“Remember when we were twenty five and we floated in that sensory deprivation tank?”
“Yeah, that was frustrating, I mean we couldn’t really relax enough to enjoy it.”
“Yeah, well the idea there was to put you in a place where you are unaware of your physical body and can get in touch with your inner thoughts,” she said.
“I remember. If you remember I remember, remember?”
She laughed and went on.
“Well about ten years ago they perfected the tanks and more people started using them. Well, pot use and floating go hand in hand and at first the pot growers association was thrilled at all the business they were getting. Float tank places sold brownies, even. After a while though, people began having epiphanies, they started becoming less materialistic. This scared advertisers and so they came up with these new tanks, you’ll love it trust me.
“Shelly,” the receptionist called.
She jumped up and told me she’d see me in two hours in the decompression room. I sat gazing at the fish, they were quit hypnotic and colorful, and they were also robotic.
The receptionist called my name and led me down a hall to a small room with what looked like a standard issue sensory deprivation tank. I showered and got in. for a moment everything was silent and dark.
Suddenly, there were stars everywhere and I began to have the sensation of floating forward though space. A tall handsome man was hovering over me. I felt myself being pulled upwards towards him and following him at an astounding rate of speed as the stars spun around us.
Waltz music began to play and we were dancing together in an opulent ballroom surrounded by beautiful revelers. I was no longer naked, but wearing a ball gown. He took me by the hand and pulled me out of the room and we ran down the street to a parked sports car. We got into the car and drove fast as beautiful scenery dashed passed us. The car stopped and he started floating through the stars again.
Suddenly, the sky turned pink and colorful cakes and candies began to float by. They looked close enough to eat and I tried, but they pulled away. The images turned to 3-D images of bottles of high end alcohol. The bottles spun very slowly. The stars returned and spun at an astounding rate until I felt dizzy. The darkness returned and again I floated there for a moment. I felt anxious I wanted the images back. Soft music played and the lights came up.
I climbed out of the tank, showered and headed towards the decompression room. Several people sat drinking tea and thumbing through magazines, but other me wasn’t one of them. I noticed a small local paper on the coffee table. I sat down and looked at the story.
Three Buildings in North Hollywood to be demolished today, the headline read. “122, 126 and 128 Van Nuys Blvd will be demolished with dynamite at 6:00 p.m. today. The city of north Hollywood elected to demolish the eyesores which have been abandon and uninhabitable for the last five years,” the article read.
I bolted up. My building was going to be demolished in two hour and so was the time machine. Other me must have seen it and run.
I went outside and looked for a taxi, but I didn’t see one. I jumped on the bus and headed back to NOHO. I wondered how I was ever going to make it up the stairs past a demolition crew; either one of me.
When I got there, there were cops and people everywhere. There were a couple of street vendors selling hot dogs and popcorn and souvenir construction hats. Two cops stood talking to a construction worker who appeared to be giving a statement. He looked up at me and pointed. They all walked over to me.
“That’s definitely her.” I heard one of them say. I turned to run, but they grabbed me. They took me to their car.
“What were you trying to do in there, ma’am?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said.
“Ma’am two people saw you run into the building and up the stairs.”
“An hour ago,” the cop said.
“I was on the bus an hour ago and I can prove it,” I said. I showed him my bus transfer. He wrote out a report and let me go.
After another hour the cops determined the building was secured. I watched helplessly as the buildings crumbled to the ground and everyone cheered.
I realized I was stuck in the future.