(Sequel to “Knowing too much and Nothing at All” – A Time Travel Story)
There is a bar on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh that has live music on Tuesdays. An older couple sing, sometimes their own songs, mostly not.
A man, full of booze, grease and hair, my mother later dubbed ‘drunk Jesus’, stumbles over to our table. He mumbles something presumably polite, then reaches across the table for his jacket sitting by the window. As he puts it on he looks at all three of us at once, as only the very drunk can do.
“You their mum?”
My mother nods. My brother and I drink our beers, awkward.
The man’s eyes go wide. “Nuh-uh,” he blurts out. My brother and I drink a little faster.
“I got a kid y’know.”
“I didn’t know,” my mother informs him.
“Oh yah!” drunk Jesus half-spits. He removes his jacket and tosses it halfway back to where it was. He pulls out his phone. I finish my beer.
“I’ll grab another round,” I cry, leaping up from the table.
Drunk Jesus takes a seat. As I walk away I hear him saying, “she’s a year old now, yeah, I haven’t drank the whole time. Not a-once. So, I can celebrate!”
I shudder, then mosey my way through the crowd. I make it to the bar. The music is loud. A man tumbles over in front of me. It is a process but I manage to find my hands full of beer. I begin to head back. Suddenly a popping sounds interrupts the scene. A few feet from where I am standing, a shower-looking tube of fogged glass has appeared in the middle of the room.
The music stops. The whole bar turns. The shower doors open. A man with neat hair and an old face steps out. He looks around the room and his eyes fall on me. He looks at me as a goldfish might look at itself. He frowns.
“Why do you look familiar?”
Then suddenly his eyes go wide. “Aw hell,” he looks around him, “am I in Russia again?”
Everyone in the room is staring, now at me.
“Uh, nope,” I take a sip of my beer, “Scotland.”
I smirk at him, then at the room, proud of being the-guy-who-knows-the-mysterious-time-traveler. The Time Traveler gives my smirk a disappointed look. Then, he begins looking around.
“Wait, then that means,” he mutters.
“Ah-hah!” he cries. He walks straight up to drunk Jesus.
“Martin you bastard!”
The man Martin, previously known as drunk Jesus gives the time traveler a startled drunken glare. He opens his mouth. Before he can get a word out, a crack, hits the air as the time traveler back-hands Martin off his stool. He stands over Martin with a finger pointing menacingly.
“Get your shit together martin, get your goddamn shit together.”
Martin rolls over and looks up.
“Let me hear you say it martin, let’s hear, ‘I’ll get my shit together.’”
The time traveler puts a hand to his own ear.
“I’ll get my shit together,” Martin moans from the ground. The Time traveler takes a deep breath. He gives martin a swift kick in the temple and Martin is knocked cold. The Time Traveler turns to me. I am trying not to smile.
“What are you so smug about?”
I look around the room at all the faces of all the drunks. I look over at my family. I give them a thumbs up, I don’t know why. They frown. I look at the Time Traveler.
“Well, you said I wasn’t important and look at this, seems I am some sort of common factor or you know, something,” I say, uncertain of what I really mean. The Time Traveler’s eyes take on a sarcastic shape.
“Oh yes, Mr. important. Mr. piece of malfunctioning data this stupid thing couldn’t sort out is more the gist of it. But sure, I suppose that means if you know so much now, I guess I’ll have to kill you.”
I laugh. He doesn’t. He starts walking towards me. The crowd behind me doesn’t move. I am trapped. He grabs hold of me. Then, he puts his hand directly over my eyes. I hear a snap above me. The hand is pulled away. The Time Traveler has his back to me.
“Enjoy, Mr. Important,” he says, chuckling and getting back in his machine. There is a pop and it’s gone. I shake my head clear and look around the room. I notice the music is back to its previous volume. The room is falling over itself. Behind me, a man tumbles to the ground. I turn and frown at him. I look back at the table where my family sits. They are looking up at me, expectantly waiting for this round of drinks.
I look on the ground. Martin is laying there, groaning. I walk over to the table. My brother holds his hand out for a beer. My mother frowns down at Martin.
“He’s really wasted,” she mutters. My brother nods.
He sits up and looks around. No one is paying attention to him but us. He stands and swivels his head side to side.
“Hey!” he grabs a man nearby, “did you see that guy?”
The man shrugs him off. Martin frowns to himself. He scans the crowd. He walks back to our table.
“Did you guys see a guy here, he hit me, he said, he—“
My mother and brother frown at him, they both shake their heads. They look at me, I look up at Martin, I sigh.
“Get your shit together,” I say.
His eyes go wide. He stares at me a moment, then turns and runs from the bar. I sit down. My brother watches the man go.
“People here are nuts huh?” he decides, we agree, we finish our drinks.