It’s embarrassing when someone walks in on you masturbating; it’s even worse when it is yourself.
Four months ago, a stranger walked into my bedroom. Shielding his eyes with his hand he shouted, “Put that thing away.”
“Who, how,” I scrambled to pull on my sweat pants and turn off the VCR. “Who the hell are you and how did you get in here?”
The stranger faced me and replied, “I’m you, from about twelve years in the future, and I came here by time machine.” He looked at me for a few seconds before adding, “I’ll give you a moment for that to sink in.”
I looked at him for the first time, having had other things on my mind when he walked in, and saw a face similar to the one in my mirror every morning. It was thinner and paler, with about a week’s growth of beard, but the mole on the side of his nose, and the scar above his eye matched mine.
My fashion sense apparently had not improved in the future. His faded T-shirt, torn blue jeans, and sneakers could have come from my closet. The only article of his clothing that looked new was his belt buckle. It was a black oval about five inches wide and two inches high, with three nickel-sized buttons on it; one blue, one green and one red.
I reached out to make sure he was not an illusion. “Hey. I know where that hand’s been.”
We stared at each other for several seconds.
“You’re really me,” I finally said.
“And I build a time machine.”
“Yeah,” he looked down and placed his hands on either side of his belt buckle. “This is my,” he glanced back up, “our little baby.”
I stared at the black oval with three buttons. “That’s it?”
“Part of it, the main components reside in other time dimensions.” I raised an eyebrow. “You’ll understand later.”
“Wow.” After a few silent seconds I asked, “Why did you come here now; I mean, couldn’t you have waited five minutes?”
“I can build a time machine, but I ah…” He glanced away from me and scratched the back of his neck, “I don’t exactly know how to control it.”
“Hey, this is only my second trip. Give me time.” He laughed. “That’s a time travel joke.” Hitting the green button he winked out of existence.
Before I could do anything, another figure winked into existence on the same spot. It was myself again, only this time he was in better shape, with a full beard, and he was wearing a three-piece suit along with the time machine belt buckle.
“Hi again,” he said with a wave. “I just popped in to tell you that it took me the better part of a year, but I finally figured out how to control my trips. I didn’t want you to think you grew up to be incompetent or anything. Later.” With a smile and a wave he hit the green button and winked out of existence.
I haven’t visited myself since then, nor have I been able to masturbate.
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