17th post: A short story- The Tourists

Sadly, today it is no longer Owl day. So a short story instead.

Anyhoo, another 1k(ish):

The Tourists


She was sitting when she watched him as he ate the apple.

She stared intently at him.

“For fuck sake what?” he said.

Completely unaffected, she hesitantly said, “If I may ask? What do you do with the apple? Where does the trash go?”

Through pieces of apple that tumbled out of his mouth he said “Outside.” His eyes, as usual, were really wide.

“Oh.” She said absently, before resuming her intense stare. It was obvious she was thinking. He continued to eat the apple. Eventually she said “I guess I thought you processed it. Or annihilated it or something.”

“Why?” He asked, whipping his head around whilst containing the apple in his mouth and thus narrowly avoiding propelling pieces of fruit into a painting.

He knows this, and is proud.

She answers his question, speaking quickly as always, “Well. Because. Nevermind. I guess that makes a lot of sense.”

Then he ate the apple entirely, core and all.

Finished, he turned to examine an object on top of a pile on top of the thing he called his desk.

She got up from her favorite spot and tried, very hard, to be deeply interested in a different object. This one was shaped like a cube, except a bit more squashed, and with one small shiny surface that did nothing except reflect. Silently she named it “the shiny cube”, before adjusting her hat.

She wore a green beret, and bright yellow gloves that resembled the ones she used to use to whilst washing dishes. She had found them in a pile.

He wore his terrible light green jacket and a scarf with apples on it.

She turned around suddenly.“May I ask something else?” She said

Immediately he responded “You don’t have to be so formal.” He didn’t look up.

“Oh well ok then. Where does the apple come from?”

“Oh.” he said. And he stopped to think.

She waited patiently.

After some time, he finally said, “I’ll tell you later.”

“Dammit come on why not now? I’ll try to understand. You’d be surprised. Do you have some kind of machine that can just make apples? And other things? A machine that can just, i don’t know, fabricate anything?”

“Let’s just talk about it later.” He said and started pacing around the room, which he liked to call his office.

Suddenly she realised it may not be up to him, that he couldn’t just tell anyone about such advanced technology. Though she felt a bit bad about being so curious, she didn’t feel bad enough, and asked “Are you not allowed to tell me?”

His face twisted: “Allowed? What the hell? Could you just stop asking me questions i’m busy.”

“Sorry.” She said, absently, then went back to scanning the room, irritated and bored. “It’s not like you’re doing anything important though.”

“What the hell?. Define important and also why are you suddenly asking so many questions?”

She was flabbergasted. “Are you kidding me? Questions? Of course I got questions! I’M IN A MOTHER FUCKIN’ TIME MACHINE!” Then she capered around the room.

At first he stared in disbelief.

Then he stared in approval.

The time machine was small, and the air always smelled a bit strange. Even he agreed, except he would argue that it was a damn good smell.

Their were a few things about the time machine that she found annoying. For one thing, it was small. Her apartment had been smaller, though not in terms of actual, livable space that wasn’t simply “utilised for storage” (as he said.)

Apparently, his name was Redbullsocks.

He said he named himself after his two favorite things from recently visited times.

She has up till now refused to call him Redbullsocks, because she felt it was a pretty stupid name. She also felt incredibly bored. So much so that eventually she said to him “Do you have any kind of, entertainment or something? Like a book? Or do you have some sort of…”

“Radio? Or Tele-vision? Yes, of course I do. Not limited to certain stations though. You don’t need to tune in. We have these sites you see, that anyone can create. Many are purely entertaining. Some are HILARIOUS. Though you probably wouldn’t understand them. Some of it is really complex. For example, there are these really short, sort of, things, like, imagine a picture of this REALLY CUTE- oh shit- there isn’t a word for it. Anyway, then imagine there are these really cute creatures, and they say, eh, ok there’s no word for that either. Never mind.”

“You mean like the internet?”

“OH YES! The internet. That’s what you call it. I forgot you’re from the early days of it. Fascinating. Though I suppose it’s unlikely you actually contributed.”

“Well actually I was a computer science major.”

At this his eyes lit up in an overabundance of enthusiasm. He got up and advanced on her, spewing questions.

She eventually started shouting: “YOU KNOW WHAT NEVERMIND… I JUST REMEMBERED- YEP, THAT’S RIGHT, I REMEMBER NOW. Turns out I never actually helped build the internet.”

“Pity.” He said, honestly disappointed.

“Yes a real crying shame but so do we have internet?”

He scoffed, repeatedly. “INTERNET! Imagine your internet after a million years or so of technological advancement. What we have is thousands of times better than the internet.”

“That sounds INCREDIBLE, can I see?” She said, leaping from her spot in excitement.

“NO FUCK THAT. I hate that stuff.”

“OH COME ON!”

He started to rant, his fists curled up in rage, “I can’t STAND IT, it’s so distracting. Can’t hear myself think. AND THE GAMES. THEY ARE SO ADDICTIVE. You do not know.”

“PLEASE!!”

“NO STOP YELLING”

“YOU STOP YELLING”

“FINE”

“Sorry for yelling”

“That is ok.”

Then for awhile they each did very little. He actually seemed quite engrossed with doing nothing. He would sit and zone out for long stretches of time. Occasionally he muttered a word, usually in a language that she did not understand.

On the other hand she spent most of the time getting irritated and bored.
Until she convinced him to go visiting.

“If we go will you please leave me alone?” He asked.

“It will be fun” She said, whilst she looked around the room collecting various rags. She would sniff the particularly terrible ones, but wrapped most of them around her body.

For awhile he worked the controls of his time machine inside the room he thought of as an office. They landed on earth on the 20th of April, 1616 AD, in the middle of the English countryside. They walked for awhile till they came to a village.

She complained about how it was the wrong village. He said “Do you have any idea how freaking hard it is to land this thing accurately?” She felt a bit bad after that.

So instead of visiting William Shakespeare they did other things.

At first she followed his strict instructions, always staying within sight. He examined a windmill for hours, touching the wood, and making little notes on a piece of paper. At some point they entered a barn, and he stole some hay and ran away.

She followed.

She thought, this is excellent.

After awhile though, she started wandering off. That’s how it began. She wandered off. Then she would scare the locals. Then she would taser a local with the high tech taser device, and then that complicated things till they ended up kidnapping a local peasant who was being accused of being a witch.

Which was very much their fault.

Later, back inside the time machine, which he referred to as the “vehicle”, they stood over the body of the simple English peasent they had abducted.

“Well fuck. What do we do now?” she said. He silently stared at her.

Suddenly he seemed filled with great determination. Taking a stand between her and the peasant’s unconscious body he stated “I know what you’re thinking but we’re not going to kill it. I don’t care what your culture demands. It’s not right.”

“What the fuck I was not thinking of killing him.” She said.

“WOW REALLY? Sorry! Sorry! I guess I was being a bit racist there.” She just shook her head.
He looked embarrassed, and said “Stereotypes.” as way of explanation.

Eventually he decided they would deposit him in a particularly nice location, but not before he had to argue against taking him to her own present era, though she claimed it was just so she could show him amazing things.

In a compromise, he allowed her to show the peasant a single video, taken from her own primitive internet, from youtube. It was a song, recorded by some guy, about an elephant who falls in love with a peanut, but the peanut is actually a human dressed as a peanut. She tried to explain to the peasent that the song was made to fulfill a pledge the man made on a website where people posted links to other websites, or sometimes just text, and people commented on and either upvoted or downvoted the post. The man recorded the song according to one of the requests made in a comment by someone else inside a thread the singer had created where he stated he would record songs by request.

This was all translated to the peasant, who had been given some kind of drug. (“Trust me.” Redbullsocks had said).

The peasent screamed until they turned the video off.

Afterwards Redbullsocks berated the girl, who now wore several ties on her arms.

“You gave him a bad trip.” he said.

They ended up depositing him a couple of thousand years farther on and after that he was fine.

The last thing he said to her, before she went to sleep was “From now on please call me Barnhay.”

Then he used his machine to make more apples, which he ate.

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