Father Goes For Cigarettes and Disappears For Twenty Years

Another writing prompt.

—–

I walked into the gas station. “Marlboro Reds, please.”

The cashier smirked. “You really shouldn’t smoke.”

“You really shouldn’t stick your nose into my business.”

“That was rude.”

“Ya know what? Fuck you, I’ll go to the next gas station.” I knew she didn’t care. She was paid minimum wage to run that register and didn’t give a shit how good business was. Still, it felt good to not spend my money there.

As I headed to the door, a tingling sensation came over my body. At first I just ignored it, but it got stronger and I felt something like an electric shot when I touched the door handle. I nearly fell over, but I caught myself.

Things around me seemed strange. They were mostly the same, but different. A guy was staring at some sort of device in his hand. It looked like a cellphone, but wasn’t anything like a cellphone I saw. Must’ve been a rich kid, but he didn’t dress like one. As I looked around, I saw more and more people with them.

I reached in my pocket and called my wife. She seemed amazed that I had called and demanded to know where I’d been.

“I just stepped out for some smokes.”

“Why did you leave?”

“Like I said, I needed smokes.”

“Don’t fucking play games with me!”

“Honey, what’s wrong?”

“Where are you?!”

“At the gas station, sweetie.”

She called me a pig and hung up. I wasn’t sure what was wrong with her, and I went to my car. Except it wasn’t there anymore. Someone stole my car! As I reached for my phone to call the cops, a woman with a man in his early twenties approached me. She looked like my wife, but older.

“No way,” she whispered. “You haven’t aged a day.”

“Is it really him?”

She nodded. “It’s him. I don’t know how, but it’s him.”

“What are you two going on about?”

“You called me. Luckily I happened to be in the area, and we decided to pop in.”

“No, I called my wife.”

“I am your wife.” She gestured to the twenty year old man. “And this is your son.”

“No, my wife is twenty five. No offense lady, but you passed twenty five a while ago.”

She walked to the stack of newspapers for sale and showed one to me. Blood rushed to my head and I nearly fell over. September 27, 2016. What the fuck?! It had been 1996 a second ago! I darted for the other newspapers. Each one had the same date. “How is this possible?!”

A familiar female voice spoke behind me. “You really shouldn’t be so rude to strangers.”

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