by Dexter Balonious

June 23, 2009 at 5:52 pm (Uncategorized)

23rd June, 2009

The Year in question is the twelve months from Tuesday the 23rd of June, 2009 – at precisely 06:29:44 – until the same time on Wednesday the 23rd of June, 2010. Now I realise that for you, the Year hasn’t happened yet. But I’ve already lived it – MORE THAN A THOUSAND TIMES.

The first time was unspectacular, just like any other year. The fun didn’t start until Year Two.

Being off “sick” (it was Wimbledon fortnight) I hadn’t set my alarm. So I awoke at around nine and went about my mundane life. I was 52, single, once married, once divorced (no kids) and worked as a service engineer. And a thousand-plus years later, I still am. Except now, I no longer fix TVs for a living. Now, I can do almost anything I want. And I have.

You see, the first time I went to sleep on Tuesday night, the 22nd of June, 2010, I expected it to be Wednesday the 23rd of June, 2010, when I woke up. And for a while, it appeared to be.

As I stumbled down the road to the newspaper shop, all seemed to be perfectly normal. But when I arrived, the first thing I noticed was that the usual assistant had gone – and the one who’d worked there previously had returned. But I’m not too conversational first thing, so I just muttered, “Hi, welcome back.”

She looked at me oddly. But since I’d only been on nodding terms with her, I just paid for my Daily Mirror and left. It wasn’t until I opened it on the breakfast table, that things began to get weird. On the back page were the stories of the previous day’s Wimbledon winners and losers.

Except they were all wrong. And as I read further, I realised why. The events detailed had all happened last year. So I looked at the top of the paper. It read: Tuesday the 23rd of June, 2009. I then looked through the rest of it. Sure enough, the paper was a year old.

This was ridiculous. I mean, I’ve sometimes taken a paper from the previous day, when I’ve gone in early – but a year? I figured I’d sort it out later and turned on my TV. And then things got really weird. As I channel-hopped, it became obvious the TV stations were also running the programmes of a year ago. Even the news.

Now being a TV engineer, I realised this could all be an elaborate hoax. The paper shop would’ve had to have been in on it, but the real trick would have been to cut some fifty channels of recordings of last year’s TV into my cable feed. The more I thought about it, the more absurd it seemed. Then the phone rang.

It was my old boss, Belzer. He immediately started berating me for taking another “sick” leave – then fired me and slammed down the phone. The only problem was, the one-sided conversation I’d just experienced had taken place a year ago. This was the point where I knew something was screwy. I mean, Belzer had been born without a sense of humour – no way would he have been a part of such a gag.

I sat motionless for several minutes, trying to think of a logical explanation for what was happening. There was none.

So I dressed and set off for town. Once there, I wandered into several shops. The ones that sold newspapers all had last year’s. And the electrical retailers’ TVs were all running last year’s programmes. I thought of asking random people what year it was – but demurred, figuring they would think I was a nut-job. Hell, even I was beginning to think that.

Then I passed a betting shop. If there had been a light-bulb above my head, it would have lit up. I hit a nearby ATM, then went back to the betting shop and put £200 – all I had – on an accumulator. Last year’s Men’s and Women’s Singles champions. I was tempted to add the results – but I knew if they came through, the amount I’d win would attract attention. Something I wanted to avoid for the moment.

Over the following days, I continued to monitor events. Using a random phone-booth, I rang some random numbers in America and using subtlety, managed to confirm that it was indeed 2009. Then I watched the Lottery Show on TV. Of course, I wrote down the numbers. I reasoned that if this had happened once, it could happen again.

The cheque from the betting shop was for £27,000.

Over the next eleven months, I collected quite a bit more from betting shops. But in order to remain inconspicuous, I used different shops and kept the wins down to five figures. I’ve always had a good memory – which has turned out to be useful during the last thousand years-plus.

But that first “rewind” Year was probably the best I’ve ever had. I kept things simple. Took continuous holidays. Travelled the World. And met Kathie.

We had a great six months. But obviously, I couldn’t tell her my “secret”. Number one, she would’ve thought I was mad. And after I’d proved I wasn’t, by predicting events that couldn’t have been predicted, she’d have freaked out. Also, I realised if this “time-loop” happened again, I’d lose her anyway.

In fact, of all the problems with my life-style, this is the greatest. I can’t have a 100% relationship with any woman – because it’ll never last more than a year. This was confirmed when I awoke – alone – on the morning of Tuesday the 23rd of June, 2009. Again.

As you might imagine, on the previous night, while Kathie had peacefully slept, I’d lain awake for hours, waiting. But at around four a.m., I had drifted off.

The following year, I was alone on my “rewind day” and – fortified by continuous cups of coffee – sat staring at the clock. And at exactly 06:29:44 – nothing. The next thing I was waking again. My waking times on The Day vary marginally, but it’s always around nine a.m.

But I’ll tell you about Year Three later. I’m tired now. Oh – and just in case you think this is all bullshit – on Thursday, Michael Jackson will be found dead.

27th June, 2009

See? I told you. The Jacko story will run and run – obviously – but I did predict it.

Anyhow, on with my story. First, you may be wondering why I’ve waited over a thousand years to tell it. Well, I haven’t. I’ve told it many times – just not to you. And sometimes it’s got me into deep shit. But later for that. First, Year Three.

If Year Two was one of my best, Year Three was one of my worst. I’d committed the Lottery numbers to memory – which was just as well, because when I awoke, I discovered the numbers I’d written on my arm in indelible felt-tip had gone.

And so had a scar I’d acquired thanks to a slip with a kitchen knife. I was to discover this was a key to the whole deal. But first, that third Year.

The Lottery numbers were the same – and I pocketed £1M6 as a result. But I soon discovered that turning money into happiness took time. The process of picking up the money and sticking it in a bank took ages. Of course, no-one involved knew I had a limited amount of time to use it.

Since that time, I’ve refined the whole thing. Now, I can be rich and anonymous in just three weeks. But back in Year Three, it took me months.

And after this initial annoyance, things didn’t improve. First, I got a chronic dose of the flu. Then, having gotten over that, I decided on a holiday in New York. Humungous mistake. On the first day, I was hit by a taxi and awoke to find myself in a hospital bed. I was in agony for weeks. When I was well enough, I transferred myself to the Waldorf Astoria (what the hell – I was a millionaire) but as an invalid, I just got fat on the food and watched TV all day until…

Year Four. This was little better. I woke up feeling great, all of my injuries having vanished (along with around 18 pounds of excess weight). Then, having got the formalities of becoming a millionaire settled much faster, I decided to celebrate with an “exotic” holiday. Iran. I wanted to find out if I’m-a-dinner-jacket’s country was really as bad as it’d been painted. Unfortunately, it was.

Tehran was hot and oppressive, but having heard Mashhad was milder and had more culture, I jumped on a plane and being rich, went first class – up the front. We landed heavily, then the plane sort of lurched and…

Year Five. I awoke as usual, wondering what the hell had happened last time. I had to wait until July 25th to find out. Apparently, the pilot had landed about 40 mph too fast, lost control and ploughed into a wall. If I’d been back in the cheap seats, I’d have survived. But at least it had been quick – unlike back in New York, where I’d suffered major pain (I’m not good with pain – threaten to torture me and I’ll give up my parents, my country, my entire race, anything).

This taught me another important lesson. In my situation, death is no problem – just a short-cut to my next Year – but injury can be something else. My worst experience was in Year Two Hundred (and something). I got mashed in a train-crash and was in a coma for nearly ten months. The problem was I was sentient – but no-one knew.

The tedium I could have taken, but while the medics were busy telling my then-current girl-friend I was comfortable, I was in a world of excruciating pain. And not being able to even blink, I couldn’t tell anyone – I couldn’t even kill myself. More than eight hundred years later, the memory still haunts me.

And now my fingers are sore, so… Oh, before I go – on Tuesday, an Airbus will come down just off an island in the Indian Ocean, killing all on board – except a 12-year-old girl, who will be discovered clinging to the floating wreckage. The media will dub her “The Miracle Girl.”

4th July, 2009

Wasn’t she sweet?

Of course, the knowledge I possess could have prevented the whole incident – and every other incident during “my Year” – from happening at all. Couldn’t it? I’ll come to that in a minute. In the meantime…

Year Five was uneventful. I took it off. Meaning I forewent my usual Lottery win, in favour of a modest accumulator. £43,000. Enough to live comfortably and quietly for a year. I needed time to think.

During the previous three Years (obviously, Year One didn’t count, since I had no way of knowing I would be revisiting it – forever) I had discovered the answers to several questions. But these had raised yet more questions. And I needed to address the ramifications of both.

The first and most obvious being – just what the bloody hell had happened to me?

Having read “Day Of The Triffids”, my first suspicions concerned matters celestial. But extensive research failed to uncover any known abnormality in the heavens around Rewind Day.

So I began asking random people if they too were in a “time-loop”. This, of course, lead those I interviewed to figure I was cracked – but at least I managed to establish that the phenomenon wasn’t common. Only one guy said he was in one – but then, he also said he was in regular contact with aliens. And Elvis. And his dog.

But if this meant I was unique – why me? What was the purpose? To go around preventing disasters for “my” Year? But if that was so, it could only have been engineered by some sort of – God. But if He was behind it, why didn’t He prevent the carnage Himself?

Actually, for several years I did try to prevent the biggest disasters. But of course, no-one would take me seriously. It lead to one of my first crack-ups (I’ve had a few).

In fact, it was this thinking that lead to my first attempt to “go public.” I knew that I needed to be specific if anyone was going to take me seriously, so I sent letters to thousands of publications – with a code-word – predicting Michael Jackson’s demise. Naturally, most publications ignored them. But a few printed the letter.

Thus, when they received my next letter – with the same code-word – concerning the Comoros plane crash (the one with the girl who survived – I didn’t want to mess with the one in Iran, given that I had been on it) they took notice. The plane was inspected and found to have several faults, a couple of which were critical. It was grounded and the flight – with a replacement aircraft – occurred without incident.

I was in San Francisco when the good news came through. But then the FBI turned up. Somehow, they’d tracked me down. Throwing me on the ground and pointing guns at me, they cuffed me, dragged me to a cell and sweated me for days. Eventually I made the mistake of telling them the truth – and proving it.

For months, I was subjected to every kind of invasive test you can imagine – and a few you could not. But of course, time marches on (or in my case, around) and finally my Rewind Day arrived. They sat around and watched me, cameras turning. And at 06:29:44, blessed blackness descended.

When I woke, I vowed never to do that again. Verily, no good deed ever goes unpunished.

In fact, I did it many more times. When I was being clever, I was vague enough to avoid the attention of the authorities – or devious enough to put sufficient cut-outs between them and myself to avoid capture. But sometimes I got unlucky and at other, darker times – just didn’t give a damn.

No wonder super-heroes always have secret identities.

Then came thoughts about the machinations of the thing. If I couldn’t work out why I had been “selected” – or how the thing had begun – perhaps I could understand how it worked.

Over three Years, I had established some of the ground-rules. I would be “re-born” at the above-mentioned time and date – and at the same location. Any injuries or changes to my body (weight-gain, a haircut – even death) would be “reset”. And this was one of the answers that begat a question.

If every atom of my body was resetting – given that memories are engrams (although after many hours of studying neural networks, hippocampii and what-have-you, I came to realise that in 2010, the science in that field is still largely theoretical) – surely, as a physical thing, they ought to reset as well?

And if they didn’t, would I remember everything that ever happened to me? Could I learn every language on Earth? Become proficient in every skill? Be able to play every instrument? Know everything? Become a super-being? A god?

Well, having been around for in excess of a thousand years now, I can tell you that the answer to that question was and is – sadly, no. It seems that whilst the brain may indeed be a many-splendoured thing – it still has its limitations. Just as a computer has a limited memory, so does its natural counterpart. Every time it takes material on board, it discards redundant material to make space for it.

Oh sure, my language skills are better and far more varied than most and I can play most musical instruments (badly) but there are plenty of people who can do all of those things as well – and much better than I. And having interviewed a few of them, I’m pretty sure they live in standard linear time.

Which meant that, basically, I was a seer who might live forever. Which so far, I have. And now I tire again. Later…

9th July, 2009

So where was I? Oh yes – those ramifications. Well, as stated above, I realised that whilst I could theoretically nail every woman on the planet, I would be unable to sustain a relationship with just one – or even have a totally honest relationship for just the one year.

Furthermore, whilst I was sort-of invincible, I could still experience pain – and I didn’t like it.

And while I could experience and learn everything – I would not remember it.

But the kicker was something too terrible to contemplate. Eternal life. After sixty years, a man has learned everything he needs to know, done everything he wants to do and achieved everything of worth he is ever likely to. Further time is not needed.

Plus there were the imponderables. Like, I’d already established that the World was the same during each Year, other than with the things I’d affected – either directly or indirectly – but did each of the Years carry on from that point? And was there a version of me in each of them?

Given the things I would go on to do over the next millennium, this would become a question that would give me many sleepless nights.

It started innocently enough. For the first few Years, I was happy to live the life of a millionaire playboy. Although the time taken to sort the money and then acquire stuff, meant I only really had six months max to enjoy it.

So then, I began to look for “projects”. As a life-long film-fan, I decided to make a movie out of Dennis Wheatley’s classic book, “Sixty Days To Live.” Of course, as the eccentric nouveau-riche twat who was financing it, I would direct. But whilst this had been a fantasy for years, the business of actually doing it – proved to be tougher than I’d expected.

The problems were two-fold. One: to get a major movie through pre-production, production and post-production – then previewed, recut and finally premiered in just 49 weeks… And two: I didn’t actually have a clue how to direct a movie.

But eventually, I did it. It only took me fifteen years. Unsurprisingly, the first five attempts were fiascos. The productions collapsed amidst confusion. But each time I did it, I would learn a little more. The sixth attempt would probably have made it into cinemas, but my Year ended on the night of the wrap party.

A few more goes and I felt sure the next one would premiere in time. But then the preview cinema burned down, with my only negative inside. The fire was blamed on a carelessly extinguished cigarette – and I think it was mine.

The next try ran into all sorts of problems – I knew I was getting tired. So I took the next Year off – went fishing (actually, I bought a small tropical island and nailed every virgin on it, including some who were seriously under-age. I spent the last month in jail – but it was worth it).

The following Year, reinvigorated, I set to work. The film premiered on the 17th of June, 2010, and Jonathan Ross said it “wasn’t too bad – apart from the inept direction.” A success, then.

But those were the good times. Whilst I had nothing but my memory for keeping track of the Years – even tattoos would disappear on Rewind Day – I know when my first Dark Period began. It was in my one hundred and seventeenth Year. Which I’ll tell you all about… next time.

17th July, 2009

It has been shown that the human brain eventually tires of routine after about ten years. At this point, people go “postal”. This is the real reason for promotion.

Sure, promotions mean higher pay and more status, but their main value lies in the fact they mean your job will change. Which is fine, if your position forms part of a “ladder”. But if you can only go sideways, into a job you’d hate – like Postal Supervisor…

So, a change of routine every seven years or so is vital – even when that routine doesn’t involve stress. Thus after one hundred and seventeen years, even in a “job” like millionaire playboy, I can tell you (because no-one else can – not even Hugh Hefner) that you start to get frazzled. Enter Melenee Jessop.

Having scored (after a fashion) with my version of “Sixty Days To Live”, I wanted to try something contemporary. A script had passed across my desk. Called simply “Drive”, it was an actioner with a brain. I figured Hugh Jackman would be perfect for the lead role.

After flying though pre-production, we began filming. Hugh was a sweetheart, the rest of my cast were supportive and my crew were brilliant. But my producer had secured an American continuity person (you can’t call them “continuity girls” anymore) who… how can I put this? She was a total bitch. Look up the term “attitude problem” and there will be a picture of Ms Jessop.

I knew she was trouble from the misspelled name. But I had no idea how much trouble. The problem was, everyone else got on with her like a house on fire. As director and exec producer, I could have canned her in a heartbeat – but I knew it would throw everyone off.

And since she’d done all her ground-work, replacing her right at the start of shooting would have been disastrous. A fact I knew she knew. And she knew I knew she knew. Etc. Thus every day, she made it her duty to mess with my head in every way she knew how. And she knew a lot of ways.

Now I’m normally a peaceable bloke. I don’t hit other blokes and would never hit a woman. But she wasn’t a woman – she was a she-devil. I’m sure any shrink would have dismissed it as a “clash of personalities” – but it was much, much more. I don’t know what she had against me, but I knew I could not carry on living in a world that she inhabited.

The trouble was, since everyone on set knew our relationship was to say the least “rocky” – had anything happened to her, I would have been suspect number one. But I had my secret.

And after she had turned a shoot that should have been fun into a three-month nightmare, when I passed through Rewind Day, I was still determined to nail her – and not in a nice way. Usually, time heals, but I hated this creature on a molecular level. She had to go.

Thus, once I had acquired my £1M6, I dropped off the radar. Of course, I now had her on toast. She did not know me, had never seen me, knew nothing of the bile in my gut – that had been placed there by herself. While I knew what she looked like, where she lived, where she hung out – everything.

Not needing to be original, I waited at a place I knew she’d pass, with a sofa, a van and my arm in plaster. You know how it went.

Finally I stopped the van. The ether I’d poured into the back had done its work. I dragged her unconscious body to the farm I’d rented. It was miles from anywhere – and the farmhouse had a basement. As I dumped her on the floor, her skirt rose up, displaying surprisingly shapely legs.

I ripped her dress off, but despite being a highly-sexed man, her nude, unconscious form did nothing for me. Sex is 90% between the ears and having been routinely ridiculed – and worse still, humiliated – for three months by this excrescence, all I saw was something I wanted to destroy. Very slowly.

I’ll spare you the more graphic details – suffice to say that when she awoke, she found herself not only naked, but bound and gagged as well. I had no interest in anything she had to say and the gag served the dual purpose of shutting her up, while allowing me to hear her muffled screams.

Of course, had this happened the previous Year, she would have known who I was and been defiant and taunting. But this Year, I was just a tall, menacing stranger. She was absolutely terrified.

Having achieved that, I could have stopped at any time – but I didn’t. As I applied different combinations of cigarette ends, a stun-gun set on “low”, ice cubes and lighter fuel, I realised this was now going beyond simple revenge – even for the crimes she had committed against me.

I felt certain stirrings. I was enjoying this for its own sake.

Later, I stood in front of the farmhouse, watching it burn – and as the blazing timbers collapsed into the basement, ensuring that at least this version of Melenee was no more, I reflected on what I had discovered about myself…

27th July, 2009

Another Day. Where was I? Oh yes – Melenee.

Being, as I’ve said, a film-fan – I have seen a few serial-killer movies in my time. Although not very many, since I detest violence. But the act against Melenee had been a sexual one, not a violent one. Even in the state I was in, I knew that. Certainly, revenge had been the original motivating force, but now I had a new interest. I was going to take on the American police.

I knew they hated serial killers with a passion. Traditionally, with most murders, you don’t have to look too far for the culprit. And once you start questioning those close to the victim, you know someone will flinch. Then you use hundreds of years of accumulated wisdom, gained from countless interrogations, to break the person. It rarely fails.

And if the murder was a professional hit, you don’t really care whether you catch the perp – the victim was a bad guy anyway.

But if the victims are ordinary citizens with no connection to their killer, you are roundly screwed.

Unless the killer wants to be caught, they will usually continue until they establish a predictable pattern. I determined that in the Year I would take up this sport, I would be careful to avoid that.

I had nothing to lose. Even if I was caught, I would disappear before they could execute me. Basically, the worst that could happen would be less than a year in clink, followed by a quick return to my home in Britain. No worries!

All of my victims were attractive single women – in different American cities (I bought cars from newspaper ads, so as to leave no paper-trails) – but they were all found with playing cards in their mouths. First the ace of hearts, then the two of hearts…

And I wrote letters to the more lurid tabloids, posting them from the nearest mailbox to each victim. Of course, fearing “copy-cats”, the police denied that the crimes were linked. But when a police “mole” gave his paper the detail of the playing cards, I was immediately christened “The King Of Hearts Killer” – the thinking being I would continue working up the suit until I hit the King.

But I went mad soon after the eight.

The next few years are a bit vague. A new Year – a new institution.

Then one day, I just “popped” back. I awoke in a sterile-looking room. A chubby nurse smiled down at me and told me I’d had a “funny turn” in Tesco and been brought in. They had checked me out and put it down to heat-stroke. She said I could pick up my clothes as soon as I felt able.

Two hours later, I was laying on my own bed. I checked the date on the bedside clock. It was the day of “my” Lottery. I was back, baby!

4th August, 2009

Yes, I was back. That night, I went out to a disco, to celebrate my big win. It’s amazing how popular Lottery winners are with the ladies. Oh, now that was beneath me. I do apologise. But still, it doesn’t hurt.

My love life during the last thousand-plus years has been incredible. The average rock-musician has nothing on me. But then again, they can only expect to be touring for a few decades – I’ve been “touring” for more than ten centuries. Although I’d give it all back for just one…

Okay, enough of that. Self-pity is something I’ve learned to control. In fact after this amount of time, all emotions have left me anyhow. I’ve used them up. Now, I just live for fun.

One example was my last meeting with an actor whose work I’ve admired for quite a while. Mr Edward Norton.

Our first encounter – on a beach in the Bahamas, where he was sunbathing – did not go well. He thought I was a looney.

So, the following Year, I sat apart from him and took certain notes.

The Year after that, I introduced myself again. I wasn’t wearing my director hat now, so he assumed I wanted an autograph. I told him that wouldn’t be necessary. I said I had an idea for a movie. He looked less than enthusiastic.

I said I realised he must get that a lot, but asked him to hear me out. He said okay.

I told him it concerned a man stuck in a time-loop. Every year… etc. He replied that it had been done – “12:01” and “Groundhog Day”. I said yes, but this guy lives in a loop that lasts a whole year.

He thought about it for a bit. Finally, he said no. I asked why not. He replied that a movie only lasts a couple of hours and the adventures that such a man might have would need far longer to portray. He said it would suit a TV series better.

Then he asked where I’d got the idea. By this time, I’d told a number of people, so I unhesitatingly replied – because I was in one. He laughed. I said that I knew he wouldn’t believe me – he hadn’t believed me the last time. And so I’d come prepared this time. He frowned.

I consulted my watch and my notes. I told him that in forty-five seconds, the waiter across the other side of the beach would stumble in the sand and drop his tray. We waited. Of course, right on cue…

Mr Norton was unconvinced. He pointed out I could have paid the guy to do that. I concurred, then told him to watch the sky. A plane will now appear… It did. Edward thought for a second – then said that it could be a regular flight, that appeared in that place with reasonable regularity.

“Okay,” I said. “See that seagull on the rock? In – fourteen seconds, it will fly over to the roof of that beach hut.” It did. He thought for a while, this time.

“I’ve got it,” he said, “You trained the bird. You fixed a buzzer to the rock and put food on the roof.”

“Fair enough,” I replied, “You choose the event.”

We sat for quite a while. Eventually, he said, “Right. Today’s August 13th. What will happen tomorrow? Something you couldn’t possibly know – but it’ll make the news.”

“Les Paul will pass away tonight,” I said. He looked downcast. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” I added – and left.

The following night, I sat in the bar. I asked the barman to turn on CNN. Edward walked in. “You’re full of it,” he said, “I just checked the newspaper – nothing.”

“Yeah, well, papers tell you yesterday’s news,” I replied. Just then, the main news logo flashed up on the TV. The announcer opened with three political headlines, then said, “Les Paul, the famous musician and inventor…” Edward’s mouth dropped open.

We sat, talked (in French or Spanish, when the conversation became intimate) and drank until they threw us out around three. Edward turned out to be a highly intelligent conversationalist. He came up with something I hadn’t considered. We have no proof of a linear existence. We just accept it. I said I’d asked many people if they were on the same trip as me and no-one appeared to be. He said, yes – but how did I know they existed? How did I even know he existed? He had a point. I was still musing on it as I went to sleep that night.

I’m still not sure if Edward believed me (I could have heard Les Paul was on the wane and just taken a chance) but he found me fascinating – and I him. He told me a lot about acting, so much so that in my persona as a rich eccentric – instead of directing films, I turned to acting in them. I got quite good, if I say so myself. Maybe you’ve seen one of my efforts?

9th of August, 2009

There are of course, some advantages to my strange existence. Two of which are: once one of my Years is over, there are no come-backs – and I have time to try everything once. Now I’ve always liked cats. And this one year, I adopted a stray that I became fond of. Extremely fond. And I found myself thinking that it was a pity she wasn’t a lot bigger.

I mean, I’d heard about bestiality – lonely shepherds, an attractive sheep, a full moon… I even recall a story of some guy who had an inappropriate relationship with a dolphin. All of which gave me an idea. Obviously, while the soft fur and affectionate behaviour of a domestic cat is seductive, the difference in size between a feline and a person makes congress impractical.

But what about a bigger cat? With this in mind, the next time I converted my lottery win into purchasing power, I started up a private zoo. To avoid suspicion, I had to acquire a number of animals. I still recall the trouble I had with one item.

I began the letter to the animal supplier: “Please supply a pair of mongooses” (it looked erroneous, so I discarded it and tried again) – “Please supply a pair of mongeese” (somehow that didn’t look right either) – finally I wrote: “Please supply a mongoose. On second thoughts, make it a pair.”

Eventually, I had a veritable Noah’s Ark (“don’t put the elephants where they can watch the rabbits”) of animals, but the only one that interested me was the young, female tiger. When we were finally alone, I made my move…

That Year turned out to be another one of my Short Years.

12th of August, 2009

Sometimes I spend time on silly achievements, just to pass the time. One such was the Year I decided to make love to a woman from every continent. Not much of an achievement you might think – until you consider that the continents include Antarctica.

Oh, Antarctica. A continent without countries, it has a ring of settlements around its rim – each belonging to different nations who have vowed only to perform peaceful research there.

Thus anyone born there legally belongs to the nation whose settlement they were born in. But morally, they are an Antarctican.

I had always assumed the place’s inhospitable climate and the fact it was peopled by scientists would mean that no-one had ever been born there. But reading a piece on the place, I discovered I was wrong.

Despite its medical facilities being primitive, over the last two decades, seventeen people had come blinking into existence somewhere on Antarctican soil.

Eleven of them had been men and two of the women were still children – but the other four were fair game.

Tracking them down proved tricky, but eventually I managed it.

One was a lesbian – I’ll gloss over that encounter – and two were happily married. I mused over whether either of the men they were married to had only done so to complete their “set”.

But it left one – Heather.

And it took seven years to achieve my aim. I soon discovered she had been seduced by several men whose aim had been the same as mine – including some well-heeled ones. But she was not impressed by money, being a successful financial advisor.

After several failed attempts to nail her, I finally hit on a plan whereby she would be forced to take the initiative. I waited until she was backing up her car and thumped the boot, quickly lying down.

She sprang from the car, to find me under the back, groaning. I had made sure I was expensively dressed, so she would not think I was a con artist. It worked.

Having driven me back to my luxurious apartment, I played the fallen soldier so well – she was putty in my hands. Furthermore, she had a killer body and we stayed together for the remainder of that Year.

18th of August, 2009

So there it is. A chap’s life is usually measured in decades – but mine has been measured in centuries. I have seen everything and done everything. I’ve even done parachute and bungee jumps – but remembering that damn coma, only on the very last day of one of my Years.

I have spent several periods in asylums. I have tried every narcotic known to medical science (my “resets” killed all and any damage or addictions I acquired).

There really is no height or depth that a person is capable of, that I have not dabbled with.

One Year, I even had a sex-change – but I’ll spare you the details of that one.

Where I actually am – whether the trail of debris I’ve created in some of my Years has continued after I’ve left them – whether some divine (or demonic) presence has studied me as I’ve blundered through this bizarre existence – I have no idea.

But now, as I turn my efforts towards the art of creative writing, I start a new chapter – no pun intended.

I believe the purpose of life is experience. However, eighty-odd years is enough to experience all you need. If you don’t have a handle on life by then, you’re unworthy of more time. I got mine within sixty years. I didn’t need another thousand. But I got them anyway.

And if I’ve squandered my time – tough. I didn’t wish or ask for this. It just happened.

Has it happened to you?

 

© John Bellamy 2009            all characters and situations totally and utterly fictitious

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3 Comments

  1. Mike Bird said,

    I NEVER HEARD OF SUCH A THING, BUT IT COULD HAPPEN I SUPPOSE. I DID ENJOY READING IT. THANKS.

  2. Anonymous said,

    Meh… just because you acknowleged “Groundhog Day” doesn’t make it any less of a rip-off.

  3. Dexter said,

    Ah, but “Groundhog Day” was ALREADY RIPPED OFF.

    The concept of a “time bounce” had originated in a 1973 short story called “12:01PM” by Richard Lupoff. It appeared in an SF/Fantasy magazine – and then lay forgotten for 17 years.

    But then in 1990, the story became an episode of a “Twilight Zone”-type series, made by Showtime, adapted (with Lupoff) and directed by Jonathan Heap, featuring Kurtwood Smith as the central character. It got an Oscar nod.

    Then in 1993, Heap co-wrote (again with Lupoff) and co-produced a full-length TV movie called “12:01” (the “PM” was dropped, as 24-hour time had now become commonplace) which was expanded and totally changed from the original.

    However, five months before this (excellent) TV movie emerged – “Groundhog Day” was released.

    Lupoff and Heap considered legal action – but were bullied into submission. After which the concept of what had now become known as a “time loop” effectively became public domain – and was used in “Star Trek TNG” and “Day Break” among others.

    The original “12:01PM” was based on the idea of an HOUR repeating.

    The TV movie (and “Groundhog Day”, “Day Break”, etc) extended it to a DAY.

    So I decided to try it for a YEAR…

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