Outrun Stories #15
The .44 San Diego Time Gap
“It’s 1994 and I’m sat in a downtown diner holding a banana milkshake. I remember it like yesterday, sat there, fresh out of the academy and Frost and his buddies trying to screw me over at any opportunity they had.”
“Take a sip,” he looks up and smiles. “What’s wrong with you, don’t like milkshakes?”
“I look back at him, dead in the eye, gotta show these old timers that you’re not going to take any shit you know? I remember it, yeah, just as I’m about to pour the thing on the floor his face distorts, kinda like a bad GIF, funny pixilation and my heart fucking leaps and I feel like someone’s jacked me with a Taser and then it’s black.
“Just the beat of my heart and a moment, and I’m kinda floating and ah. I’m thinking to myself, fucking Frost, he’s got one of those pricks from the station to zap me, fucker, this has gone too far. That sort of thing.
“Then, just as I feel myself coming to, it’s there again, zap, and again and again, over and over and I’m floating and being zapped and I’m sure I’m going to fucking die. My heart feels like it’s about to explode out of my chest and boom, flatline, black, floating and the voice, first time I heard you.”
“What did you hear?” She says.
“You just said, ‘come, it’s time,’” I stand up and walk over to the window, the neon city glowing through the fog a few hundred feet below.
“And what did you think?”
“What was I supposed to think? I thought I was dead.” I turn back to her, she’s still sat facing the wall the same way she always is.
“Are you sure you’re not?”
“Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it? For everything we’ve done, for all the things you’ve shown me, fuck, C-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate, all that, how am I supposed to really know?”
“Does it matter?” She asks, turning her head now, that smile creeping across her face.
“Cogito ego sum, I guess. I feel alive, I feel myself here,” I pad down my black suit jacket, take the aviator sunglasses off my face, turn back to the neon night glowing below. “You never seem to give me a straight answer, what else am I supposed to do?”
“Maybe it’s time?”
“A straight answer.”
“And why would I want that?” I say as I push my aviators back onto my face and smile back at her.
“And that’s why you were chosen, Billy. Let’s go.”