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Science Fiction Funny Adventure

This was the happiest day of Stanley Murray’s life. As he sat on the toilet thinking about what he was about to achieve, he couldn’t help but whistle a merry tune. As he flushed the toilet he could have sworn that he heard a noise in the kitchen but he quickly put it down to jitters, bearing in mind what he was about to accomplish. His life was about to change.

He opened the bathroom door and walked into the hallway. He hadn’t remembered leaving the apartment door open, but it was slightly ajar, so he closed it then returned to the kitchen. He looked up at the kitchen wall, where scrawled from top to bottom were symbols and equations. He looked down at the gadget attached to his wrist, which was wired into his nervous system. 

He had finally perfected time travel. 

It had taken him a gruelling 18 years of his 40 years on this planet. He knew it would work, but he also knew he would only be able to go back in time by 17 minutes. 

17 minutes. 

But that was all he needed. One hundred and seventy three million dollars was within his grasp. 

The lotto was drawn live on TV at 8 p.m. All he had to do was remember the winning numbers, flip the switch on his time manipulator, and it would be 17 minutes earlier. He had his laptop open and ready to buy the winning ticket on the lotto website. 

He sat at his laptop at the kitchen table. A large TV was mounted on the wall and tuned to the channel where the numbers were about to be announced. He stared with bated breath as the lotto host churned out an unamusing monologue about the president. He was slightly distracted by the sound of a blaring siren going past so clicked the remote control to turn up the volume as the numbers were being announced. 

“8 17 18 21 37 40 and the powerball 14!” the coiffured, overly enthusiastic host yelled out. 

Stanley closed his eyes and repeated the numbers over and over several times out loud. 

“8 17 18 21 37 40 powerball 14”

He held up his arm where blood was starting to seep from the side of the time manipulator. He flicked the switch. A whoosh of air and blue and purple sparks filled the room. The chair Stanley was sitting on fell backwards and the laptop spun across the table with the force of the blast. 

Stanley was gone. 

—————

At first he thought nothing had happened. He was still sat at the kitchen table, in front of the laptop. Then he noticed whistling coming from the bathroom and remembered he had gone to the toilet at around quarter to eight. He looked at the time in the corner of the laptop. It had just passed 7:43. He quickly tapped the laptop to get to the website so he could buy the lotto ticket.

His eyes widened with horror as the screen read:

Error - no internet connection

He screamed a long, drawn-out “No!” then quickly stood up to check the internet router. 

He hadn’t anticipated that standing up would feel so awful. It felt like his insides had been rearranged and he immediately felt sick. His legs felt like they were on fire and both his head - and the arm with the time manipulator on it - felt like they’d been hit by a sledgehammer. 

He staggered towards the router and all of the lights seemed to be working. 

He looked at his watch.

7:46

He had to buy the ticket before eight o’clock. 

There was a 7-11 two blocks away. He ran for the door and sprang it open, not bothering to close it as he ran into the street. 

He felt a rush of blood to his head as he painfully ran the three hundred yards to the 7-11, almost running past it as he hurled himself through the store entrance. 

There was a queue. 

He ran in front of a large lady with short cropped blonde hair, wearing a paramedic uniform. She had a tattoo of a skull with intertwined snakes running up her muscular arm. She gave Stanley a look of utter disgust. 

“I’m sorry it’s an emergency. I need to buy a lottery ticket.” He said. 

She grunted angrily at him. “We all do, jerk. Get to the back of the queue.” 

He sheepishly wandered to the back of the queue, past a skinny man wearing a Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda shorts, who looked him up and down. 

He glanced at his watch again as a bead of sweat dripped from his forehead. 

7:52

He held his watch in his line of sight and counted the minutes as they passed. 

7:53

The paramedic left and the skinny man shuffled forward. 

7:54

It felt like a lifetime when he finally reached the front of the queue. A spotty young man, with long greasy hair was chewing gum on the other side of the counter.

“Lotto ticket please. Numbers 8 17 18 21 37 40 powerball 14” Stanley hurriedly fired out the numbers. 

The cashier looked at him then slowly typed the numbers into the terminal. 

“Come on, come on” Stanley whispered under his breath. 

He finally held out the ticket and said “two dollars”. 

Stanley held out his credit card and offered it to the boy. The boy looked at him apologetically. 

“Sorry dude, cash only. The card machine’s not working.”

“What?” Stanley shrieked. He reached out his hand for the ticket and his fingertips grazed against it as the cashier snatched it back. 

“There’s an ATM across the street.” 

Stanley looked out of the window into the busy street, flustered and in disbelief. 

The next person in the queue was a young blonde woman with a smiling baby strapped to her chest. She stepped forward as Stanley stood there, trying to grasp the situation. “Just a random ticket for tonight’s lotto please.” She said, cheerily. 

He tapped the terminal then said “Sorry ma’am tickets for tonight’s lotto are no longer on sale. They’re drawing the numbers in a few minutes.” He pointed to the TV on the wall behind him. The same cheesy host Stanley had seen only a few minutes earlier was reeling out the same monologue. 

“Well can’t I buy that one?” The young woman said as she pointed to the ticket he’d just printed. 

“That’s mine!” Stanley squealed. 

“No pay, no play, man!” The cashier said. “If you can’t pay me in one minute I’m giving it to this lady.”

Stanley looked at his watch as it clicked onto 7:59 precisely. 

He knocked over a stand of sunglasses as he sprinted towards the door and stumbled out onto the sidewalk. His mind was lazer focused on the ATM on the other side of the street. There was no queue. 

Like a gazelle he leapt out into the road and was immediately hit head on by a noisy, flashing, speeding ambulance. As his head smashed into the windshield, everything seemed to go into slow motion. He noticed the driver was the woman with the skull tattoo, a look of horror on her face as she watched Stanley’s face smush up against the window like a child looking at a Christmas display in a toy store. He slowly flipped through the air like a graceful broken, ballerina as blood spurted from his forehead. As his body spun in the air, time almost came to a standstill as he saw the cashier through the store window give the lotto ticket to the young mother. His legs hit the sidewalk first, crumpling under him in agonising pain, then his wrist with the time manipulator on it bent backwards and smashed hard into the concrete and sent out purple and blue sparks. Finally his head hit the floor with a massive crack. From the strange twisted angle he landed on the sidewalk, he could just see the lotto numbers appearing on the TV screen in the store and could hear a mixture of the sound of a baby crying and a young woman’s voice screaming “I’ve won! I’ve WON!”as everything faded to black. 

Janice, for that was the name of the lady paramedic, screeched the brakes of the ambulance to a standing halt. She leapt from the drivers seat and ran to where the crazy dude must have landed. She looked around bewildered. There was no one there. All that was visible was a faint blue and purple glow, shimmering in the air. 

———————

At first he thought nothing had happened. He was still sat at the kitchen table, in front of the laptop. Then he noticed whistling coming from the bathroom and remembered he had gone to the toilet at around a quarter to eight. He looked at the time in the corner of the laptop. It had just passed 7:43. He quickly tapped the laptop to get to the website so he could buy the lotto ticket

June 22, 2021 15:45

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6 comments

Gip Roberts
19:37 Jun 27, 2021

I see a little hyperbole in this story. People pretty much are willing to go to the ridiculous lengths Stanley did over the lottery. It was funny, and I liked the part where he's successfully time-traveled only to be met with a crappy internet connection and an out-of-order credit card reader. So much truth to all of this!

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Akshita Arora
08:11 Jul 02, 2021

Love the way you represent the story, especially the end was awesome. Along with Stanley I was also counting down as the time passed.

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James Pendleton
13:53 Jul 02, 2021

Ah, thank you so much for your comments!

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Anna Kerr
19:02 Jul 01, 2021

I liked this a lot! The ending makes me very curious to know if he was going to just keep reliving the day over and over and over… really cool concept! :)

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Link Arneson
05:06 Jun 28, 2021

This is amazing! Loved the pacing of it - each obstacle coming up until the final twist. I personally think the ending would be stronger without the last two paragraphs - knowing it loops makes it feel less tragically ironic and shocking.

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James Pendleton
09:49 Jun 29, 2021

Thank you for your great comments. I did try it first without the last couple of paragraphs but when I read it to my family they didn’t get the references throughout that he was stuck in a loop so I made it a bit clearer! Thanks again.

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