Friday, August 13, 2010

Timeline Indemnity


According to the company literature, consciousness will migrate to the nearest alternative timeline created where synaptic activity is still present.
Johnny Tinder used his right to a phone call to contact his insurance broker.
“I’m calling in my policy,” he said, “I’m at the Utopia Sestri police station.”
He listened for a while
“Murder” he said.

The broker was as Johnny remembered him: brown-suited and ferret-like, smelling of cigarettes and tea.
“It is imperative that from this point onward you make all of your decisions consciously and with maximum intent” he said as he attached the wire-frame helmet onto Johnny’s just-shaved scalp.
The uniformed guard at the door held the expression of someone who’s just stepped in dogshit.
“See you in another life” said the broker as he handed Johnny his card:


Timeline Indemnity™
Your Future, Your Decision
Sam Faulks
Life Broker
0800-INFINITY


Johnny decided to place the card in his hip pocket and noticed a sudden shadowy edge to his actions.

As the days progressed toward his trial Johnny’s life became more and more ghostly with the possibilities that forked off at every decision he made. Most were variations that left phantoms of himself walking a few steps ahead or behind; in one he was stabbed by a fellow inmate as he exited the shower; in another he was beaten by a guard.

The judge’s gavel fell in a staccato progression of guilty verdicts and Johnny was sentenced to a thousand death penalties.

Johnny Tinder died at the end of every decision he made; the firing squad faced him through the clouds of cordite; the gunshots echoed down infinity and all his ghosts were laid to the slaughterhouse floor.

The coroner removed a thorny electronic net from Johnny’s scalp and from the back pocket of Johnny’s prison uniform he withdrew a business card which carried the name of an insurance broker.

In the loom from which our abstract perception of time is woven, there are only so many threads that will accept the dye of reality.


Tales for the attention-span deficit reader

6 comments:

Yodood said...

… and only the still naked can bear to wear such colors on their skin.

This one rocks all day long

Justin Russell said...

Perhaps an apt alternative title could be: "Timeline Indemnity Inc., or, Quantum Fatalism Unltd."?

A spicy slice of sci-fi tbere Pisces. Really enjoyed it. More of Timeline Indemnity please.

Pisces Iscariot said...

Perhaps in a parallel universe I could write some more of these :D

Harlequin said...

this notion of the loom and what can be produced and tolerated is quite profound; the mobius feeling of this was wonderful.... and a bit eerie.

Moineau En France said...

i loved the idea a lot too, and the writing was beautiful. i thought it could be fleshed out, not a lot, just a little. the "phantoms of himself walking a few steps ahead or behind", perhaps the example of a stabbing, another example of something more ethereal?

but heck, i get the feeling that once you are done with a piece of writing, you are done. (i could be wrong...) some writers are like that; they are often prolific geniuses. in another thought thread, i was like that.

now i'm going back and revising all day long. my brain damage demands it. xoxoox

word verif: kning. that's what i've been doing here in this post. :>>))

Pisces Iscariot said...

Harlequin: I honestly don't remember writing the last line on this - the benefits of writing while slightly drunk :)

Laura: You're right: I never go back and revise these short pieces, they are like mind dumps for me - my novel writing is however a bit more complex and requires endles revision.
Prolific? yes. Genius? I doubt it.