Warning: One of the things that really annoy me about modern literature is the ‘camera eye’ disease. That’s the recent tendency for authors to write stories as if they’re describing what they see on a movie screen, instead of just freely inhabiting the world they’re creating. Symptoms of the ‘camera eye’ include a severe disinterest in interior monologue not explaining the plot, a drum-beat insistence on physical description, and attempts at locking in our mind’s eye by explaining where it should be pointing at in any given scene. In other words, whatever can’t be translated to the big screen is left out as superfluous. I call these books ‘preliminary screenplays’, since that’s all they aspire to be as literature.
The ‘camera eye’ disease is hitting me hard over this one. Maybe I only think of it as a skit on some crummy comedy show. I keep wanting to add inflections and voice emphasis, as if the joke depends on how it’s delivered, instead of what the joke is. I fought as hard as I could, but you can probably still see traces all over.
Bob mentally prepared himself for the traveler coming from the year 2311.
After receiving strange audio communications from a man in the future, he was told that today this man will arrive on his time machine. The traveler sent ethereal messages to Bob announcing his coming through a futuristic technology, which I couldn’t describe with our contemporary terms and concepts without sounding painfully archaic to readers of that future time, if this documentation from 2011 can even last that long.
Bob waited patiently in his living room. He made sure to vacuum and have the dishes in his sink clean. Got to make a good impression.
At 9:19 a.m. the room flashed bright grey, and the future being in his future machine appeared, right on schedule. Filling up the living room space was….a rocking chair with a hair dryer attached? I can only approximate since it’s made of parts and material incomparable with any advancements we’ve ever seen.
The smoke cleared and the man from the future stood up. He was wearing nothing but a Fred Flintstone-like costume. Literally, it was a ragged orange loin cloth with black spots, wrapped over his shoulder. He also held an oversize plastic club.
The future traveler spoke to Bob with an exaggerated tone of authority, “Fear not! Avoid the natural urge to cower before my presence! For behold, I come to you, dressed in your modern attire.” He said, waving his hand over his caveman uniform.
“I have also brought you a gift, “ the traveler said handing the silly looking club to Bob, “It’s what we in the future refer to as a tool. You can use it to club dinosaurs and whatnot.”
That the man from the future came bearing sarcasm finally hit Bob and he set down the ‘gift’, “Hey! I’m only 300 years behind you. I think we’re close enough to figure out anything you know.”
The traveler looked around his surroundings and could barely contain his snickering. “Yes I can see that, living in a house made of wood and plaster. Hee hee. And what’s this? An X-Box 360, is it? I think I heard something about that in ancient history class.”
Bob tried to steer the conversation towards the unknown reason this traveler arrived. “What important cause has brought you here? Is there a war that needs to be prevented? An assassination to stop? What can I do for you? Please, have a seat.”
The traveler looked at the sofa chair Bob motioned at with humorous scorn. He answered, “I’ll try…” he sits, “No offense, but the furniture in my time is actually comfortable.”
Bob sat opposite, “I’m sorry. Now what have you to tell me about the future? I’m excited to know.”
The traveler said, “Your right. Let’s put on our exocaps and virtually exchange information….oh wait, I forgot….you haven’t invented those yet! Ha ha ha! Wow, your life must really suck!”
Bob yelled, “Okay! Okay! I get the joke! We’re not as advanced as you are. Isn’t there something you have to tell me?!”
“Oh, come now. This isn’t just a one-sided affair. After all, there is so much we can teach each other, as equals. Soooo…what’s it like to not know how quantum mechanics work?”
Bob jumped up in a rage, “That’s all you’re here for? You built a time machine and travelled 300 years into the past just to make fun of us?!”
The traveler replied in his mocking, sarcastic tone, “Gasp! Cognitive reasoning! That’s pretty sophisticated coming from someone who still uses the internet.”
Blind with fury, Bob left to grab his gun inside his gun case, and then came back and fired a shot into the traveler’s stomach. The traveler stood up slowly and looked down, his face in genuine shock and confusion.
“What the hell is that thing?” he said, pointing at Bob’s gun, and then fell dead.
Bob had a time machine now.
(more entries of this series at www.angryredmark.com)