Donny Maxwell had been working on it for seven years.
He sniffed and he exhaled. Billions of neurons fired in his brain and a dopamine rush ensued. He felt smart again.
Donny grabbed the de-galvinator and unscrewed the cap. He stuck it’s pointy, shiny end into the power chamber. A billion watts suddenly surged through the entire machine as it lit up in spectacular fashion; little lights here and there, hiss and beeps and cranks and humms.
In the middle glowed strongly the entry pod, blue like some angelic presence.
He sniffed and he exhaled again. No this was too much. One of these days he would OD. But it felt so good. Good? He had quit two jobs, one an apprentice engineer, the other a college professor. Good? No it didn’t feel good. He was 45, divorced and unemployed. Taking a gun to the head would have been better.
He sniffed again. The rush and a groan of pleasure. Crap he said. No just get in, leave it, leave it.
He started climbing the metal ladder leading to the entry pod. The small snuffbox full of glistening white powder remained in his hand as he climbed.
What are you doing? I told you to leave it. Just throw it.
He didn’t care, he continued climbing. Donny’s brain gave an order and his limbs refused. They were insubordinate and obstinate.
But he was going back to fix this wasn’t he? He was going back to change his choices, to change his life. He had to chuck the box.
Dony climbed into the entry pod. His right hand struck the side of the pod as he pulled himself in.
The snuffbox fell and sprayed it’s entrails on the floor below in a white mess.
Donny wished to climb back down.
Donny did not climb down. He closed the entry pod and prepared for travel. The Machine hummed and sparked violently.
Donny checked his left jean pocket (the ace of spades was still there )and closed his eyes. Either I go back and change myself or get blown up in the process. At least I tried, I can say that, at least I tried.
Tons of nuclear power reverberated throughout the machine. A bright white light filled the entry pod and Donny felt his very skin beginning to melt. He shrieked at the top of his lungs as a sudden panic overcame him.
Too late. There was darkness all around and he saw no more.
The bell rang. Children shuffled. Footsteps fell. Doors creaked. Voices shouted.
Donald Maxwell lifted his eye lid and rested his chin on the desk. He had fallen asleep in physics. Crap. And there was an exam tomorrow too. Crap.
He looked around the room. It was empty by now. Mrs. Gawiski looked at him blankly.
“Class is done. Tired from your sweet sixteen party hun?” She said gathering up her things.
Donald nodded and uttered an awkward goodbye and quickly shuffled out the door.
The bus zoomed away unnoticed as Donald ran after it. He was late again and would have to walk home. Crap.
He was already out of breath and his shirt stuck to his back with sticky sweat. Crap.
Donald started walking home by the side walk of black-wood street. Cars and buses shot passed him unnoticed and the sun beat down mercilessly.
Today was a crap day. Still, he had an awkward feeling. Why had he fallen asleep in physics? He never, ever fell asleep in school. Donald started thinking about time travel for some reason.
Why the hell am I thinking about time travel? What is this stupid ace of spades doing in my pocket?
When he got home he found Crozy already there.
“Missed the bus maman? How’dju fall sleep dude?” he asked.
Donald shook his head and patted Crozy on the shoulder.
“Donno, but dude, I’ve been thinking o weird crap walking home.” he said.
“Ya like physics crap.”
“We gots exam, like tomorrow boy. That’s probs why” announced Crozy.
“Tell me somming I don’t know.”
“I gottashow you somein though, I got it for you like yasked.”
Both boys hustled into Donald’s garage. His parents were not home.
Crozy unearthed a small, plastic pouch from his pocket. Alarms went off inside Donald’s head. Tell Crozy to leave. Right. Now.
Crozy opened the pouch and inside was a fine, crystallized dust.
“What the hell’s dat dude?” asked Donald, fighting the urge to smack the pouch out of Crozy’s hand. Something or someone was telling him to leave, to kick Crozy out the door, to stay away from the package in his hands.
“Calm dust dude.” Crozy said nonchalantly. “You order this yesterday remember?”
No, he didn’t. Wait he did. He had. Yes. Calm dust, a special powder that students would mix with their drinks to focus better on the grueling, 4 hour long, end of the year exams. Even his doctor had recommended it.
Some of his friends were already taking it and the results showed.
No. Wait why. It was completely fine. Why do I think this is some kind of drug? Stupid Donald. No, don’t take the pouch. Don’t take it. What the hell. Why shouldn’t I?
“You all-right dude? Lookalike you constipated.” asked Crozy.
Donald had a sickening feeling in his stomach.
“I ordered this…. um.. why would I?” he asked.
“Dude you first inclass nut job. Exams tomorrow. You tell me, use my credit-card, get this for you remember?” said Crozy “Why you freaking out for?”
“I don’t know, I feel like I shouldn’t take it for some reason.” Donald responded. Crozy frowned.
“Or I’m just probably being paranoid,” said Donald, grabbing the pouch from Crozy’s hands.
That night, Donald sat, gazing at the shimmering, crystal powder in the black pouch. Something inside his head still tugged at him to chuck it out the window. But he had a physics exam tomorrow.
That following morning, Donald rushed out of bed. Crap. The Bus would arrive in 10 minutes. He had no time to prepare a drink.
So he pinched a wad of Calm powder and sprinkled it into his mouth.
The effects were instantaneous. During the physics test, everything seemed distant and far away. His brain functioned at it’s highest potential and he left the exam room already knowing his grade. 100.
That night, Donald took another shot of Calm powder, and it was the greatest feeling in the world.
Right after that however, he felt disgusted, guilt ridden and regretful, as if a thousand hours of hard work had amounted to nothing.
He felt as if he had tried to recover from some terrible disease, but utterly and absolutely, without knowing it, failed.
So he grabbed another wad of Calm powder, sprinkled it into his mouth, and groaned in orgasmic pleasure.