Doors of Time
[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia… In this episode (10.1) Letitia challenges her black sheep brother, Gunter …]
The Fog of Time
Reality is out there; oftentimes it is hidden behind the fog of muddied perceptions, overlooked details and the brainwashing of denial. At that precise time, Letitia was sure that Gunter was in denial about something; that something being his association with Boris. While Trevor insisted on doing a little dance and ditty about Gunter and Jemima, Gunter kept batting the demented soul with the back of his hand and telling him to stop in no uncertain terms. Obvious denial there.
Meanwhile, as they walked, Letitia kept glancing back, sure that behind Trevor, Boris lurked in the shadows. Sure she smelt wafts of cockroach. Definitely not garbage spilling out of public bins.
Gunter was perplexed about the possibility that Letitia could be anyone’s mother, let alone Jemima’s. As Trevor continued to provide the entertainment, Gunter argued, ‘But you can’t possibly be a mother.’ He gesticulated in mathematical frustration. ‘You look too young.’
‘I’m not. I’m nearing fifty, pet,’ Letitia replied, the verbal idiosyncrasies of a certain detective series she had enjoyed on Mirror surfaced. Then, guiding the conversation to eke more truth out of Gunter, she asked, ‘Why the sour face, dear? Why are you hiding here in Melbourne? Why don’t you keep in touch with your family?’
‘Do you know how screwed up they are?’
‘Hey, my dear, brother, I’m part of that family.’
‘But, there are parts you have no idea about, Letitia.’
‘Ooh, that sounds interesting,’ Trevor’s voice sang from behind them.
Letitia turned and glared at him. ‘What? Pray, Gunter?’
‘Wouldn’t you like to know?’ Trevor gyrated. ‘Come on baby, light my…’
Gunter snapped, ‘Stop it, Trev!’
Letitia laughed, ‘Reminds me of the Mr Bean.’
‘Mr. Bean? Who’s he when he’s at home?’
‘On Mirror, in the future…Oh, never mind…’ Letitia sighed. ‘I shouldn’t even be in this time.’
Gunter stared at Letitia his eyes wide. ‘Time travel is impossible. Anyway, why do you keep going on about a train crash?’ He then patted Letitia on her back. ‘I think you need help, Lettie, my dear sister.’
‘You did. Time travel, that is. When you go light speed, through worm holes, whatever. Remember Einstein’s theory of relativity?’
‘That’s forward. Never backward. Think of the…the…problems if you went back? The…the…what is the word?’
‘Yes, that is the one. You must not have paradoxes. They are not allowed.’
‘But there’s the paradox. Anyway, it’s more likely a parallel world. I gather this world is a parallel world, but out of sync, or time. In my universe, I am in 2018.’
Letitia thought that of all the people in the universe, Gunter would understand. But it appeared as if he didn’t. She had two choices. She could either persist in convincing him that she was from the future and risk ending up in the funny farm surrounded by the men in white coats, or she could pretend that she had been joking. After all, Trevor was still tagging behind them, listening. What would he make of this information?
Gunter scratched his head. ‘It still doesn’t make sense.’
Letitia laughed, ‘Gunter, you’d believe anything! You haven’t changed, that’s for sure.’
‘I – I thought you were – were – serious – ly deluded.’ Gunter patted her head. ‘Little Lettie! Always joking.’
Again behind, Trevor roared with ripples of uncontrolled laughter. ‘I reckon Ferro believed you, though. Know what – hee – hee – haw- haw, I had a friend from Adelaide once who used to tell us at school that she had flown to the moon in a spaceship called “Trigger” Ha-ha-hee-hee-haw-haw! What a name for a car! Trigger! Reckoned it was Chrysler Charger or something. Ha-ha. What Chrylser could ever fly to the moon, let alone move on four wheels?’
‘Well, there you go,’ Letitia said, humouring Trevor. A cold chill raised the hairs on the back of her head. ‘Sides, anyone knows it is Adelaide that is stuck in a time warp.’
‘Chrysler Charger? What is that?’ Gunter asked. Then before Letitia could explain, he jerked his head back towards Acland Street, ‘C’mon, let’s get a coffee and catch up.’
‘Okay.’ Letitia followed Gunter as he marched towards the bright lights of St Kilda’s most favourite street. Meters away, Trevor’s dance had developed into a street performance and coins, mostly the old, now defunct pennies, gathered on a crumpled hanky and glistened in the light of the lamps by the bay.
As they passed the food caravan once again, Letitia noticed the smokers still there, statue-like, tracking them, plumes of cigarette fumes rising and mingling with the humid night air. She could not resist throwing in a comment, ‘What is it with those people? Not very Christian, if you want my opinion.’
‘They’re not,’ Gunter replied.
‘They’re not? Then what are they doing at a charity food van, serving food?’ Are they working for Boris? she wanted to also ask.
‘Community service. They don’t want to be here; they have to be.’
‘Oh, that makes sense then.’ Letitia was tempted to add a quip such as “better than a Mirror-mind wipe” or “splitting rocks on the mining planet” but decided that under the circumstances, that turn of conversation would not be a good idea.
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021
Feature Photo: A door in Wil, Switzerland © L.M. Kling 2014