A shower appeared in my bedroom thirty seconds ago.
No, not a shower. A tube of some sort, fogged glass. The door opens, steam pours out. Okay, maybe it is a shower. A man with neat hair and an old face steps out. He frowns.
“You’re not Martin,” he says, then scowls, “crap.” He turns and looks at the shower, then back at me.
“Where the hell am I?”
I reach down and grab the neck of an empty bottle of beer beside my bed. I keep it at my side.
“My bedroom,” I say.
He glances around the room, unimpressed. “I see,” he mutters. Then, looks back at me, “but in a bigger sense, what city, what country?” He looks out my window.
“Somewhere in Europe?”
He frowns at me.
“But, you’re American?”
“What the hell are you doing in Russia?”
I shrug, “I like it here.”
His frown deepens. “Best you get out. Things are going to get messy pretty soon.”
I look out the window too, then back to him.
He gives me a serious look, “everywhere.”
He walks back to the shower and opens a panel I hadn’t noticed.
“Do you mind telling me who you are,” I ask, not letting go of the beer bottle.
“I’m from the future, I was supposed to come back, and,” he looks away from the panel, thinking, “fix something.”
“None of your business.”
I stand up.
He turns and raises an eyebrow, amused. He looks at the beer bottle, he smiles.
“Good luck,” he says, turning back to the shower, which I now begin to realize might be a time machine.
I point to the shower.
“Is that a time machine?”
“Sure is,” the man says, “a broken one, apparently. I was supposed to be somewhere far away from here. Lucky for me, you’ve got high ceilings. It could have been much worse” He looks up appreciatively. I do too.
“Yeah, people keep telling me to thank Stalin for that.”
The man chuckles.
“So, you’re not here for me?” I ask.
The man shakes his head, “nope, a very important man was supposed to do something very important today, I need to make sure he does it. So, if you don’t mind I’ll be out of your hair in a moment.” He twists a few wires around inside the panel as he talks. I sit back down on my bed. I frown.
“Are you going to kill me?”
The man turns and gives me a frustrated look.
“Why is that always the question people always ask? What about time traveling makes people think we are all a bunch of psychopaths?”
I think about it. I shrug.
“Are you going to erase my memory then?”
He crosses his arms, “now why, if I even could, would I do that?”
I look at the time machine shower and then back at him.
“I mean, I know about the future now, won’t that have some effect?”
The man gives me the look of God watching a squirrel choke on a peanut. He shakes his head and turns back to the panel. He twists a few more wires, slams the panel shut, and does a little jig with himself.
He opens the door to the time machine. He turns back to me.
“Uh, stay in school,” he says, giving me an awkward thumbs up.
“I’m almost thirty!” I call after him, but, the door is shut. I blink once, the room is clear of all abnormalities. I stare at the space where the time machine had been.
My hand loosens around the neck of the beer bottle.