Monday Morning Mark • 55

September 13, 2021

One Minute Wit

The Great Protector

Sometimes a man has to be brave and do whatever is necessary to protect his woman.

So yesterday I went outside and knocked down two spiderwebs with a broom.



50-Word Microfiction

No Refuge

Planet Hope24 had water and vegetation but no known animals. It seemed perfect. Humans could begin the process of destroying another planet. So we went.

Rebecca was the only one who made it back to the ship alive.

At night she has nightmares.

I can hear your tendrils still digging.



Doodle

Table Talk

We all have our burdens to bear.



Fiction

Considerable Fortitude


“We must pretend to be awfully excited about it, and keep on asking questions.” — from The Silver Chair by C.S.Lewis


“I have truly never seen anything like it. What do you call it?” I asked.

“The Fob Decombobulator,” the inventor answered.

“What does it do?”

“Why, it takes fobs and decombobulates them. Of course.”

On the table in the middle of the workshop was a massive contraption. It had a wide assortment of gears and dials and levers and gauges. It was making quite a ruckus. Apparently, its sole function was to take tangled watch fobs and untangle them. Something easily accomplished by hand.

“I see. It seems most impressive. What do you think, Dear?”

“Most impressive, indeed. How long does it take to complete the decombobulation?” Clementine asked.

“Enough of the charade. You didn’t come here to see my latest invention. You hope to see the time machine. Am I correct?”

“I admit it. Your assessment is correct. You see, my wife and I had a child. She ran out into the street and was run over by a carriage and perished. Our greatest hope is to return to the past and prevent that tragedy from occurring.”

“It can be done, but it is extremely difficult. You see, Dr. Wellington, when you return to the past, there will be two of you. Your current self and your historical self. You will have to find a way to incapacitate your historical self while you take his place. You could simply murder him and take his place. Then live your former life again. But I fear few men have the courage to murder themselves. Or the fortitude to then live with the knowledge that they had. A better plan would be to simply detain the historical Dr. Wellington temporarily until you can complete your mission and return to the present.”

“I had not considered that,” I said.

“Few do. You must also realize that any changes you make to the past, no matter how small, will affect this present time.”

“Professor Flannery, would you be willing to detain my previous self? Freeing me to assume his place?”

“I suppose. Although I am not sure I could take you in a fight.”

“Sir, I am a doctor. I could provide you with a drug that would incapacitate him for a time. You could pose as a patient and administer the drug as he examines you.”

“I am not a doctor. Or experienced in such procedures,” Flannery replied.

My wife began sobbing and pleaded, “I am begging you, good sir. I would gladly give all I have for my precious Shannon’s return.”

“I am also imploring you, sir. I have considerable wealth. It is all yours if you will assist me in this matter.”

The inventor thought for a moment.

“It is against my better judgment, but I will assist you.”

“Bless you, kind sir!” my wife cried out and took the unsuspecting inventor in a tight embrace.

Flummoxed, the inventor’s countenance turned a crimson shade.

“I am in your debt for life, sir. I shall go directly to my office to obtain the narcotics I need and instruct my lawyer to draft a payment to your account. I shall return in all haste.”

. . .

A few hours later, Professor Flannery and I sat in his inconceivable contraption ready to embark on our mission. It was an indescribably complex machine. A true marvel of imagination and engineering.

“Prepare yourself, Dr. Wellington. The shaking is considerable, and you will see blinding lights. I recommend you close your eyes for the duration of the voyage. It is brief but will seem far longer.”

“I am prepared,” I said.

With a pull of a lever, the machine came to life. All Professor Flannery had warned me of came to pass. Then it stopped. We were in the same exact spot. “Did it work?” I asked.

“Of course.”

We got out of the machine and walked over to his desk. The calendar showed exactly two months earlier.

We proceeded to my office. I went over the instructions on how to administer the drug with Professor Flannery. He took the needle and went inside, feigning a terrible pain in his stomach. My historical self took him in to be examined. As the examination commenced nerves overtook Professor Flannery and he quickly jumped up and stabbed the doctor in the stomach. The doctor winched in pain and began to fall. He fell directly on Professor Flannery causing Professor Flannery’s head to hit the corner of the examination table as they went down. They both laid motionless on the floor.

I waited several minutes outside not knowing what had happened. Finally, I could wait no longer and went in to check. I found them both on the floor. I quickly checked their pulse. My previous self was alive. Professor Flannery was not. The blow to the head had killed him.

I was shocked. Then I realized I could no longer return to the future. Only Professor Flannery could make the time machine work. My mind raced. I would deal with this later. I had to save my child. Which I did.

My mission complete, I returned to the office. Should I leave? Allowing my previous self to carry on with my life. It would mean living a new life without my wife and child. I could not bear the thought. I knew there was only one thing to do. I picked up the needle off the floor and filled it with a lethal dose.

. . .

Exactly seven months later I sat in the time machine again. I had spent the previous seven months combing through Professor Flannery’s notes learning to control the time machine. I was determined to return to the past and prevent Flannery from perishing.

Professor Flannery was correct about one thing. It takes considerable fortitude to live with the knowledge that you had killed yourself.



Happy Monday.

Mark


Comments are better than gold to me. But don’t try to use them to buy groceries at Food Lion. They don’t share my view.