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The Infinity Café

A place which stood the test of time

By J. R. LowePublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 7 min read

“... of this before…?” Bernard trailed off, looking confused.

Suddenly, a loud crash echoed through the dimly lit café as one of the waitresses dropped a handful of plates. She knelt down and began to scrape up the shards in a panic, exposing a silver chain necklace which hung around her neck. There was a moment of silence as the crash resonated around the room before the conversational mumble gradually resumed.

“Huh?”, Rich asked, “What are you talking about?”.

“Uh… I can’t remember. I lost my train of thought.”

“I was talking about my thesis presentation. I mean, I think it was passable, but Professor ‘should-have-retired-decades-ago’ was staring me down the whole time. Like does that dude even blink?” Rich paused for a moment and chuckled to himself, “At one point I was convinced he’d – you know…” he rolled his eyes back and stuck his tongue out ludicrously. “I wonder how old he is. Surely he would’ve been an old man during World War Three. No wonder he teaches history, he’s probably lived through essentially all of it. Like there’s old and then there’s ancient. I’m just glad it’s done, you know?”

Rich stopped talking, and waited for a reply, but Bernard wasn’t paying any attention. He was staring out of the dusty café window. Outside, a red neon sign flickered as it flashed the words ‘It’s all about the cocoa’. It was ironic that they were advertising cocoa, no one had tasted real cocoa in decades, it was all synthetic these days. The place was rather proudly named ‘The Infinity Café’. It was one of the only cafes to have survived the bombing during the wars, which basically made it the most famous café in the country. It had stood the test of time, that was for sure. The only reason why it wasn’t busy was because the majority of the country had descended into poverty and couldn’t afford it, and not because it was a particularly fancy café. Bernard and Rich were amongst the luckier few.

“Bern? You listening? A conversation kind of requires two people. I’m not a fan of monologues.”

“Uh, yes… sorry”.

“How’s your work going anyway? Weren’t you really close to finishing that project? You said you were gonna tell me what it was once you finally finished it.”

“Yeah actually,” Bernard chirped up as he reached for his bag which was placed on the floor beside them, “I finished it!”.

“No way! Show me! What’s it do?”

Bernard reached into his rather large and worn bag and pulled out a cube-shaped device which was littered with wires and buttons.

“Ah… well. It can reset time.”

“What?” Rich replied, chuckling, “I mean, I know there’s been a lot of research in that field over the past decade, given the absolute mess of a planet we live on now, but seriously?”

“Seriously. I did it. Well, I think so anyway.”

“Bernie! You realise what this means right? You could change history! You could stop wars! You could prevent cities from being reduced to scattered piles of rubble. You could even go far enough back as to stop West’s shipwreck of a Presidency from ever occurring!”. He paused for a moment, realising his over optimism, “Does it work though?”

“I have no idea…”

“Oh…Why not?”

“Well, I haven’t tested it yet.”

“You mean you’ve made a ground-breaking discovery which could literally undo every bad thing that has ever happened, and you haven’t been bothered to test it?”

“Well… Yes. I mean, it could be dangerous. I don’t really know if it will work. What if I’m completely wrong?”

“Well what’s the worst thing that could happen?”

“I suppose I could end up ripping a hole in the space-time continuum…”

“Oh… Well, this place is a hole anyway so, rip away.”

“Rich,” Bernard scalded, “I’m serious.”

“Ok sorry… how does it work though? You press a button and suddenly we’re back in 2054?”

“Well, technically no. Time doesn’t actually exist, or at least, not in the way that we think it does.” Bernard leant in closer to Rich, his eyes gleaming with passion “Everything that exists is made of atoms, right? As ‘time’ goes by, the atoms move and change, which gives us the impression that things have progressed and time has passed. So in order to rewind what we see as time, all you have to do is reset the atoms into the exact position they were in at whatever period you want to revert back to… does that make sense?”

Rich stared blankly, “No. Not at all. Please continue though.”

The plate-dropping waitress suddenly appeared at the edge of the table. She half-heartedly tried to mask here exhausted gaze with a smile, but it was hard not to notice the lack of flare in her movements.

“What can I get for you guys today?” She stuttered.

“I’ll get the same as last time, thanks.” Bernard responded with a smile.

“Same.” Rich chirped.

“Sure, no problem. Coming right up guys.”

“Thanks” the boys said in unison as the waitress slumped away towards the kitchen.

“Essentially it just resets all the pieces.” Bernard continued. “The only problem is, the person who uses it is also one of the pieces. So, they get reset too.”


“Well, if it resets the person who uses it, then they’d forget ever resetting anything. You’d just be in a constant loop of resetting things and forgetting you’d done it. It would be a time loop.”

“Oh I see…”

“But” Bernard exclaimed proudly, “I’ve come up with a solution”. He reached into the bag and pulled out a small cluster of wires which extended from a metal dome shaped device. Rich stared curiously, waiting for an explanation.

“If I wear this device, it should, theoretically, allow me to retain my memory of what had occurred previously. Meaning I can do things differently because I’ll know what is going to happen.”

“Ok, so let’s test it then!” Rich said in excitement. Bernard paused cautiously.

“Well, you’ll have to test it sooner or later, right?” Rich said, “You either have to test it or give it up entirely. So which will it be?”

“I suppose you’re right”, Bernard said “So when should we do it?”

“How about right now?”

“Now?!” Bernard whispered in a panic.

“It’s as good a time as any.”

Bernard thought for a moment, and realised Rich was right. He would have to do it eventually, and there was no point putting it off.

“Ok, let me calibrate the machine.”

“Yes!” rich exclaimed in victory, “When will you go back to?”

“Well,” Bernard said as he began to press buttons on the machine, “The further back you go, the more complicated things get. So for a test I guess I’ll aim for about ten or so minutes.”

“Oh,” Rich responded in disappointment, “Well I guess if it works we can get down to the good stuff after.”

“Mmmm” Bernard responded, barely paying attention as he tapped away at his device. Rich waited impatiently as he tapped his fingers on the old wooden table.

“Ok, I think it’s ready,” Bernard said, slipping the dome shaped helmet over his head and fastening it with a clip. The couple seated at the table across from them shot curious glances in their direction and muttered something inaudible to each other, oblivious to the chocolate cake the waitress had placed in front of them.

“They must think you’re mad” Rich teased as he gestured towards them with his eyes.

“I probably am.”

Rich shrugged in agreement. “Aren’t we all?”

Bernard chuckled, “Ok, it’s ready. Once I pull this lever it should initiate the reset.”

“I’m not going to remember anything am I?” Rich sighed.

“No probably not. But if this works, I can extend the device to work on multiple people as well.”

“Awesome! Well, let’s see if it works then!”

Bernard nodded. As he began to nervously pull the lever, Rich suddenly chimed in “Here’s hoping we don’t end up in a time loop, hey?”

Bernard froze. Rich had a point. A feeling of dread seeped through him. What if this had all happened before? He thought to himself in a panic, what if the helmet is broken? As if it were a reflex, Bernard looked up at Rich and asked,

“What if we have done all-” the machine interrupted him as it began to rumble violently. Rich and Bernard both stared at it in shock. The device had been activated.

“... of this before…?” Bernard trailed off, looking confused.

Suddenly, a loud crash echoed through the dimly lit café as one of the waitresses dropped a handful of plates. She knelt down and began to scrape up the shards in a panic, exposing a silver chain necklace which hung around her neck. There was a moment of silence as the crash resonated around the room before the conversational mumble gradually resumed.

Sci Fi

About the Creator

J. R. Lowe

I confess, I don't exactly have a specific topic or writing style, or an organised train of thought for that matter. On the plus side, that means there's probably something here everyone ;)


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