Try, Try Again

Jackson just reached Berry in time, grabbing him by the arm and pulling him back up onto the curb. A half-second later, a delivery truck rocketed through the space that Berry would have occupied if Jackson hadn’t have pulled him back from the street.

“Jesus!” Berry exclaimed, shaken. “That truck could have hit me! How did you know it was coming?”

“Simple,” Jackson said. “I saw it hit you an hour ago, then I used the time machine I’ve been building in my basement to come back in time to save you.”

“Amazing!” Berry said. “You built a time machine? That’s truly…”

A thunderous crash of material—bricks and rivets and rebar and a wheelbarrow—smashed down into Berry, having fallen from several stories above them, as the two men were standing next to a building under construction. Berry was instantly pulverized into a splatter of goo and hair gel and bits of smashed cell phone.

“Dammit,” Jackson said.

Later, Jackson just reached Berry in time, grabbing him by the arm and pulling him back up onto the curb. A half-second later, a delivery truck rocketed through the space that Berry would have occupied if Jackson hadn’t have pulled him back from the street.

“Jesus!” Berry exclaimed, shaken. “That truck could have hit me! How did you know it was coming?”

“Simple,” said the second Jackson, putting his arms around Berry from behind and pulling him away from the first Jackson. A thunderous crash of material—bricks and rivets and rebar and a wheelbarrow—smashed down into the space Berry had been standing, cracking the sidewalk and throwing an impressive cloud of concrete dust up into the air.

“Good Lord,” Berry coughed, dust in his lungs. “That could have crushed me flat as a bug! How did you do that?”

“I built a time machine,” said the second Jackson.

“So did I,” said the first.

“Amazing!” Berry said. “You built a time machine? That’s truly…”

Gunfire erupted suddenly, and the window of a nearby bank blew out from the inside. A stray round entered the back of Berry’s skull, rattled around inside for a bit, and dropped him to the ground like a sack of wet flour.

“Crap,” the second Jackson said.

Later, Jackson reached Berry just in time, grabbing him by the arm and pulling him back onto the curb, where he was intercepted by the second Jackson, who pulled him back from beneath a tumbling mass of construction material, only to be tackled by the third Jackson, who dropped Berry to the pavement just as the window of a nearby bank blew out, and a bullet passed through the air that had until only a moment before been occupied by Berry’s head.

“Jesus!” Berry exclaimed.

“My!” said the first Jackson.

“Stunning!” said the second Jackson.

“I built a time machine,” said the third Jackson.

“Amazing!” Berry said. “You built a time machine? That’s truly…”

The manhole cover Berry was sitting on blasted up into the air, propelled by a geyser of scalding steam. After a forty-foot ride, Berry tumbled off and plummeted to the pavement, landing face-first, scalded red as a lobster, and then being decapitated by the manhole cover as it fell back to the ground.

“Shit,” said the third Jackson.

Later, Jackson reached Berry just in time, grabbing him by the arm and pulling him back onto the curb, where he was intercepted by the second Jackson, who pulled him from beneath a tumbling mass of construction material, only to be tackled by the third Jackson, who dropped Berry to the pavement just as the window of a nearby bank blew out, where he was then pulled by his ankles off the manhole cover he’d landed on just as it blew off into the sky on a geyser of scalding steam.

“Jesus!” Berry exclaimed.

“Insanity!” said the first Jackson.

“Unreal!” said the second Jackson.

“Madness!” said the third Jackson.

“I built a time machine,” said the fourth Jackson.

“Amazing!” Berry said. “You built a time machine? That’s truly…”

Berry’s head collapsed in on itself from the force of the baseball bat that cracked down onto his skull, struck from behind by the fifth Jackson, only just arrived from the future. Berry fell, dead before he hit the pavement.

“Gentlemen,” said the fifth Jackson, resting the bat upon his shoulder. “I built a time machine, and I propose that we use it for some far more fruitful purposes.”

“Like buying stock in Microsoft,” said the fourth Jackson.

“Or saving John Lennon,” said the third Jackson.

“Or killing Hitler,” said the second Jackson.

“Or asking Juliet Beasley to the junior prom,” said the first Jackson.

“Gentlemen!” said the sixth Jackson, just arriving from the future. “I’ve built a time machine, and we must go back and stop ourselves from marrying Juliet Beasley! Apparently, she grows up to be an emasculating she-beast who emotionally cripples us while draining our fortune made from Microsoft stock and selling our share of song rights to all of John Lennon’s recordings from the 1990s!”

“Good Lord!” said the fifth Jackson.

“What about Hitler?” said the fourth Jackson.

“Did we kill him?” said the third Jackson.

“Did we at least change the course of history?” said the second Jackson.

“Before our souls were crushed by a cold and loveless marriage?” said the first Jackson.

“Worse!” said the sixth Jackson. “Hitler actually sublets the loft over our garage like a Nazi Fonzie!”

“Gentlemen!” said the seventh Jackson, arriving from the future in a leather jacket with a swastika emblem on the back, with his hair done up in a greasy pompadour and a tiny brush of a mustache beneath his nose…

This week’s IndieInk Challenge came from Shelley, who gave me this prompt: “You travel back in time, to change the outcome of…” I challenged Chimnese with the prompt “A roll of film found in a dead man’s closet.”

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20 Comments

  1. Kind of like Monty Python does Dr. Who… Not that I’d know anything about that sort of thing…

    Reply
    • Kameko

       /  February 27, 2012

      Honestly, I had a much more interesting idea for where to take this prompt, but I need more than a week to fully realize it.

      Therefore, the silly instead of the serious gets posted.

      Surely a little humor never hurts.

      Reply
  2. Oh my GOD I’ve been having the worst weekend. Things have picked up today, but my stress level is still high, and this just had me giggling madly. I love how each new Jackson starts with “I’ve built a time machine”. This piece put me in the mind of this story:
    http://www.abyssapexzine.com/archives/abyss-and-apex2007/wikihistory/

    Reply
    • Kameko

       /  February 28, 2012

      That was a wonderfully funny read! Thank you for linking it. Snarky time travel stories are the best, don’t you think?

      Reply
  3. OMG!! I am laughing hysterically. That is awesome.

    Fabulous short story, I love the varying Jackson’s and how they keep trying to save that one guy. You’d think after the third time he was off’d that maybe it was his time?

    Reply
    • Kameko

       /  February 28, 2012

      When your number is up, I believe that it’s up.

      I’m sure I could have come up with a few more ways for Berry to bite it, though.

      Death is easy. Comedy is hard.

      Glad you like it!

      Reply
  4. What fun ride! I kept waiting to find out what the next incarnation of Jackson would do. Great job with the prompt.

    Welcome to the Challenge!

    Reply
    • Kameko

       /  February 28, 2012

      Thanks for reading, and thanks for the welcome. I do a lot of writing over here, but there’s a great bottleneck of rewriting going on, so I wanted to try something fun with a solid deadline for a change.

      Hoping I can keep it up!

      Reply
  5. I loved it! I was trying to keep track of the Jacksons, then you throw in the Berrys, it was really well done.

    Good post

    Reply
    • Kameko

       /  February 28, 2012

      Thank you! I didn’t want to throw anything too heavy out into the world for my first attempt at this IndieInk stuff, so…

      Comedy!

      Reply
  6. Absolutely hilarious. I love the multiple Jackson’s 🙂

    Reply
    • Kameko

       /  March 1, 2012

      I’ve out-Jacksoned the Jackson Five on this one, I do believe!

      Reply
  7. Freaking hilarious!
    The tempo and pace are perfect, as are the number of details. This little piece entertains and amuses, but also has a bit of a lesson about destiny, toying with inevitability, and keeping the secrets of ones creations.

    Reply
    • Kameko

       /  March 1, 2012

      I’m happy you enjoyed it! It was awfully fun to put together, and I’m hoping to do a few more challenges to see what comes about.

      Busy busy!

      Reply
  8. I love it! I was curious how this story would turn out when I made the challenge.
    You went beyond my expectations. Loved the irony and the re-do’s.

    Reply
    • Kameko

       /  March 1, 2012

      It was a lot of silly fun, for sure. It also inspired me for something else that I haven’t had the chance to work on yet this week, but I’ll be sure to pop it up over here for your future enjoyment when it’s all put together!

      Idea machine, that’s me.

      Reply
  9. chimnese

     /  March 1, 2012

    I wish i cud go back in time to have a difrent outcome, but i wudnt want to feel that same pain…
    the curiosity really got me in this story..the outline and the plot was quite good.

    Reply
    • Kameko

       /  March 1, 2012

      I don’t think I’d want to go and change anything in the past, not really. Not knowing what was coming one time was enough. Not knowing what’s going to come again when something is changed is just too unsettling, I fear.

      Things are sometimes better left alone.

      Reply
  10. This was fantastic. Fun and funny. Well done and welcome to IndieInk!

    Reply
    • Kameko

       /  March 4, 2012

      Thanks for the welcome. I’m very much enjoying my stay!

      Reply

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