After turning around to face the time machine with which he intended to save his friend from the 2016 Manhattan explosion, Dawson Filter turned back around to ask the time machine inventor whom he happened to end up facing a question.
“Felix! Side thing: Why can the machine only go to one preset place for each year?”
“Time is hard. Stuff is relative and bad. I only had time to work out six hundred and twelve time ‘n’ space coordinates that work before my mind got bored.”
“Oh.” Dawson hopped onto the machine; and was joined by Twelve-Anne Stradivari and Babe Listowel, who were also on the quest. “So, 2015 or some such?”
“At the end of this sentence, I say yes!” Babe Listowel replied; turning a dial to 2015.
The trio’s surroundings became different, changed, if you will. The surroundings were, in order of weight, walls, a floor, a ceiling (interchangeable in order with the floor), three cabinets, four lamps, air, a doormat reading “Alive”, and a rug.
Babe Listowel ran, proximal phalanges in hand, off of the machine; until he was off of the machine, when he ran on top of the floor. He then stepped onto the rug, and fell; leaving a four inch deep rugburn in his skull.
“Ack! Pain!” Cried the aforementioned human.
“Oh, Babe, are you alright?” Twelve-Anne asked, “And can we give you a nickname? Babe is rather terrible, and I don’t want to make you suffer.”
“Thanks. You can call me the Autumn Tradesman. And no, I am not alright. my vision is fading to black, and my forehead feels like death.”
“Autumn Tradesman! We’ve to put pressure on the wound!” Dawson Filter suggested, “Such blood!”
“No! It’s my head, it’ll collapse if pressure is applied!”~The Autumn Tradesman
“Then what can we do?” Twelve Anne asked.
“Get me out of here! I can’t die here! Four lamps is too many for any room, and there isn’t enough else here to justify all of these cabinets!”
The Autumn Tradesman clasped his hand to his head, staggering away, moaning in agony, doing everything else that he happened to be doing at that moment in agony, and pulling from his pocket the Illuminati for the Blind’s Guide to Being. He opened the door, revealing that they were stationed on Earth’s moon. He dropped the book, and waved.
“You can’t not stay with us for one last hurrah in your final moments, Tradesman!” Twelve-Anne said through sobs.
Babe pointed at the guide. “Doubling the negative does NOT double the fun, Twelve.” He turned away.
Twelve-Anne directed her words at me and screamed:
“Stop it! You don’t have to let him live, but author, whoever you are, stop writing my life as a joke! No one will even get the double the negative, double the fun reference! Why can’t you just let us have one meaningful conversation while we’re here? This is not about you, and it isn’t about your audience, who I have a hard time believing really exist. This is about us down here who have to live between the lines. Don’t make those my friend’s last words. He’s fantastic, and if you’re going to kill him off, don’t write him to leave this room. Let him die at our sides as our tears wash away his blood, and let the sun set just as he takes his final breath so that we can cry over his body through the night.”
I sighed. Babe Listowel turned away again. He took a step, winced, and as he strode across the doormat, his four shadows fell across the word “Alive”.