Forever Young Men
The countdown has started as I climb inside the chamber to wait for my mission to start. I have 30 seconds to sit here and squirm as I think about what I am about to experience and what I will remember. I truly hate sitting inside this Giant Blue Hockey Puck time machine completely naked, waiting to be beaten up by the smelly thicker-than-water translucent white liquid rushing up from the floor of the chamber colliding with my exposed body. That disgusting white liquid ricochets off the curved blue glass walls of the GBHP and flushes me spinning downward like I am once again inside a huge toilet bowl.
Warm water suddenly splashing on my face gets me focused. I am in an old-fashioned tiled shower from the past—the kind with a physical mechanism that regulates the water temperature and flow rate. When I turn off the water and pull back the shower curtain, I accept that I have been sent back in time to 1991 inside a cheap motel room outside of Sedona, Arizona. That was a turning point in my life. It was there that I took Matthew Lejeune so many decades ago. I dry myself off quickly and carry the towel in front of me as I walk out of the motel bathroom.
Matthew Lejeune is asleep on the bed in that small motel room. His eyes are closed and he is lying face-up on his back. Just as I remember, his semen is everywhere from his unusually extended orgasms. The scent from his juices is that motel room nearly overwhelms me.
His perfect body is captivating as I just stand there watching him sleep so peacefully. His balls look like they are starting to return to their normal, large size. I imagine that means Matthew must be healthy enough that he can look forward to surviving so that he may enjoy additional ejaculations in the future.
When I left him alone in this hotel room, I had wondered if his body would survive the extensive physical and emotional drain that his orgasms caused. I never should have left him alone there. I know that now. My mission is my mission, but I feel I should never have walked away from Matthew like I did.
Suddenly, Matthew sits up in the bed and makes intense eye contact with me. I feel that I could study the blue in his eyes for hours.
“What happened?” he asks as he slides his legs off the edge of the bed.
“A wild afternoon yesterday,” I reply.
“Feel like I slept for several days,” Matthew says.
“You needed sleep, so I made sure you could,” I say.
“Okay, but now you can get out of here,” he says quickly.
“What’s wrong?” I ask him.
“I’m telling you that I want you to leave now,” Matthew says with strong conviction. “I feel certain now that we have disconnected like I wanted from the very beginning of this. Nothing personal. I want you to know that I cannot read your mind any more. You had sex with me so you could disconnect us. I don’t understand how you knew that was the answer. But, now there is nothing left for us together. Just please walk out that door, sir.”
I force myself to retain a neutral expression on my face. I feel that I deserve more from him than this abrupt dismissal from such a young man. Yet, all that he said is precisely what I wanted him to say to me. This is what I needed him to say to me. I just feel that I deserve more respect than he has shown to me.
“Sex with you was great, sir,” Matthew says. “If you were pretending to be straight, I’m telling you right now, just stop pretending.”
“I’m not straight,” I hear myself tell him. “Never was. I probably only imagined I was married to that woman. Never really my wife. Only imaginary.”
He says, “I don’t give a fuck about you, Ted. Or any of what you have to say. Sex with you was more than great. It was perfect. I’m man enough to tell you that to your face. It was almost miraculous, I’m certain of that. But, now, I want you to get out of my life completely. I never want to see you again.”
Mission accomplished. I stand up from the chair and realize that I never got dressed. Suddenly, I feel defenseless, as I stand there naked in front of Matthew. We should be equals. I manipulated him, but I feel like now he is the one who is in charge. We are not equals. I put on my underwear and get dressed quickly. Completing this particular mission feels very rough on me. Normally, I emerge as if I had the upper hand. This mission feels very different. But, at least I did my job. Now I am finished forever with Matthew Lejeune. He is free now. I wish I could say the same about myself.
I wait until I hear the motel door close behind me before I start breathing normally again. He chooses to remain on the other side of that motel room—separated from me at last. I can hear him affixing the security latch on the door. I put my hand on that motel door as if he would be able somehow to feel my vibrations through the wood. Then, I accept that I must ride away toward the rising sun, saddened by the lesson I have just learned. Just like in the old cowboy songs.
After my post-mission debrief, I lie naked on my left side facing into the wall in the lunar base crew sleeping quarters. Vincent Wauneka has done something very unusual: He let me top him in his rack. Allowing any man to penetrate him is just something that Vincent Wauneka does not do. Apparently, he enjoyed it more than expected; he has fallen asleep after his orgasm. But, I am fully awake after mine. I savor the odd feeling of triumph that I fucked Vincent on his own turf.
I roll over and enjoy seeing his impressive chest rising and falling as he breathes in a deep sleep. Watching such a masculine man sleep so peacefully next to you after you have just finished fucking him is one of the most unexpectedly glorious pleasures in this life!
These very pleasurable thoughts are rudely interrupted when I see Nick Cruz standing next to Vincent’s rack wearing the all-black MMDI uniform.
He looks annoyed with me. “What do you want?” I ask him. “You belong on Earth. Not here.”
He says, “You know nothing about me. Never did. Just do what I tell you to do and shut the fuck up.”
Before I can reply, Nick says, “Asphyxia. Word comes from ancient Greek. It means ‘without heartbeat.’ Understand?”
I hear myself say aloud to Nick, “If I intend to make Vincent ‘without heartbeat’ then I must deprive him of oxygen.” I look at Vincent, who remains deeply asleep. He is as defenseless as an infant. I realize I have the advantage over him. Why should I pay any attention to what Nick Cruz wants me to do? I’m pretty sure this is all just a hallucination I’m having.
Yet, I decide to take action like Nick Cruz wants. If I use my pillow to cover his Vincent’s face carefully while he lies unprotected next to me in deep slumber, I could apply my body weight downward upon the pillow and deprive him of oxygen.
I realize that I would need to apply as much of my body weight as possible onto that pillow because I’m convinced that Vincent likely would awaken and start to defend himself with considerable muscular force against being smothered to death. I have another advantage over Vincent: He would never suspect that my behaviors could include smothering him to death. He will think that I am only being rough with him as foreplay.
I move upward in his rack to prepare myself. First, I position my pillow on Vincent’s chest so that it will be ready when I need it. Then, I very carefully slip my left leg over Vincent so that my midsection is positioned over his neck and face with my bent knees and legs resting squarely on his shoulders. Lastly, I slowly slip my pillow up over Vincent’s neck and face. Once the pillow is where I want it, I quickly apply all of my body weight downward onto the pillow that impedes Vincent’s ability to breathe.
Exactly as I expected, Vincent awakens quickly and his instinct to stay alive kicks in. He bends both his powerful arms upwards towards me in an attempt to remove me forcibly from covering his face and nose. I hear his muffled voice asking, “What the fuck?”
The angle of his body compared to mine is unfavorable for him. Plus, my body weight is too much for him to lift upward to clear the way for his successful breathing. I increase the downward force of my body onto the pillow by extending my hands and arms upward to the roof of my rack and pushing upward with all the strength that I can muster.
All of the downward pressure that I create keeps my pillow exactly where I want it even though Vincent is screaming and bucking like he’s a wild bronco. I squeeze my knees together to keep the pillow tightly covering Vincent’s mouth and nose. I remove my hands and arms from pushing upwards against the roof of my rack and I lean forward and slam both my hands downward directly into Vincent’s groin area under the sheet and blanket. The effect is what I had expected: He is overwhelmed by being punched so hard in the groin that he groans and involuntarily stops fighting back against me.
This is the precise moment when I return my hands and arms to the roof of my rack and push upward with every bit of muscle power that I can apply. But, Vincent starts kicking frantically and hitting my knees and legs with his arms. After only a few more seconds, he loses the ability to right back. I hear him cough and cry out in agony.
Suddenly, Vincent is motionless. I keep applying persistent downward pressure upon that pillow by pushing upward against the roof of his rack. I hold in this particular position for as long as I possibly can. I feel angry that somehow I have attained a full erection at this moment. I wait for what seems like 15 minutes to pass for my erection to subside. I know why I am hard. First I fucked Vincent. Then, I killed him afterwards. I could never have fantasized about how pleasurable all this feels throughout my entire body.
I slip off Vincent and stand on the floor of the crew sleeping quarters to look and him so that I can consider all that I have done to him. I carefully position his left arm and hand over his midsection so that even though he is lifeless, Vincent remains touching his own cock and balls like he did so characteristically. My full erection returns immediately. I am uncertain what to do next, but the intense pleasure overwhelms me.
I cannot stop crying as I look at Vincent’s body. I remember when Eduardo revealed a shocking truth to me: “The value of one person’s life is unrelated to timelines at all. A person who dies in one timeline lives on in another. The value of human life is not changed by science or technology.”
I watch Nick Cruz smile at me approvingly. He says nothing to me as he turns and walks purposefully out of the crew quarters.
I am alone with the body of my former fellow agent. I know for certain that I will be judged to be an insane man because of what I have done to Vincent Wauneka. The truth is undeniable. He was the only man that I ever really connected with at a very deep emotional level. Maybe those in authority will realize how much I loved this man. Maybe because of my love for him, they will understand that I made a terrible sacrifice by killing him.
I am consumed with grief and confusion. My innate sense of 23rd century morality—if that’s what I can call it—seems to have been compromised because I live outside of, and separated from, normal consequences felt by people who are only aware of their own timeline. I know the truth now. A person may die in one timeline and yet live on in another. I have changed timelines on missions because that is my job. My actions have enabled some men to live. I also have made decisions that ended other men’s lives.
I am the one who has to accept direct responsibility for the death in Mexico of a drug dealer named Carlo Zarelli during one of my missions in the 20th century. I also do not shrink from accepting complete blame for the bathtub death of a green-eyed federal agent in Washington, DC on another of my missions to that same century. And now, I have taken yet another human being’s life. But, this time, I have killed a man in an actively aggressive way. Perhaps I must learn to accept the possibility that time travel turns ordinary men into serial killers.
Human beings need to be taught what is right and what is wrong. That is probably why human beings long ago invented the concept of an almighty god. Let that god tell us all what is right and what is wrong for we are incapable of discovering these matters on our own. I fear that not even a deity up in the clouds in the skies can save me now. I have gone too far.
Soon there will be someone in authority who comes after me because I have killed Vincent Wauneka. I know how they will find me!
It has long been rumored among all of us time travel agents that we each have implants deep within our bodies. Perhaps these implants are affixed somehow in a man’s hip bones where nobody could possibly tamper with them. The purpose of these mysterious implants is thought to be a wireless connection between each man and the time travel agent control center.
We all have speculated that this wireless connection somehow can be tracked through both space and time from the lunar base using some highly-advanced technology with which we are not familiar. We speculate that that tracking capability reaches out across all known physical space and all known timelines.
Or so we believe. We believe these things because we are never out of reach from those in authority who work within the time travel agent control center. It must be science because science is real and we know that magic is not. Maybe we have those terms mixed up?
My memories of previous missions give me the special burden of knowledge that time travel agents like me do not play fair when it comes to life and death. We play by very special rules that are selectively applied only to a few hundred men who work in the time travel portal deep below crater Clavius. We play by different rules compared to all other men who live on Earth.
I know for certain that we time travel agents cheat death. No other agent but me knows this. All that matters is that I know. My missions for MMDI have accomplished cheating death again and again. I know that any person’s death can be reversed, so to speak.
The time travel technology we use every day enables us to go back to the specific moment before the person dies and take specific actions that will prevent his life from ending. Or, to substitute in his place an exact copy of himself so that the exact copy can continue on living even though the original version is dead. It is very simple even if it seems illogical and impossible in real life.
I jokingly have given the nickname of the Giant Blue Hockey Puck (GBHP) to the time machine due to the circular ice hockey puck shape of the glass-like chamber. This wondrous device keeps us time travel agents from aging beyond the desired peak of physical and mental performance. We simply are sent back to an earlier point in time and an exact copy of us is inserted in the timeline to replace the other version of us so that, in effect, we remain young and never die.
None of the time travel agents except me are aware of this basic reality. Those in authority at MMDI including the powerful man in charge, General Tagawa, have tried to erase this knowledge from my mind. The erasures were not completely successful with me.
I accept that I will soon find out whether the top-secret implant inside all of us time travel agents is real or rumor. Somewhere within the time travel agent control center, someone in authority will notice that agent Vincent Wauneka is without heartbeat. That discovery will cause certain sequential protocols to take effect. Among the first of the sequential protocols will be determining the exact location of agent Vincent Wauneka and retrieving his body.
However, even if there are no top-secret implants, agent Vincent Wauneka’s body inevitably will be found at some future moment lying in my rack in the crew quarters by someone who has not been looking for him specifically. His death will not remain undiscovered for very long. Regardless of which outcome proves to be true, I believe that time travel technology will be used to replace the dead Vincent Wauneka with an earlier version of the man who is still very much alive.
General Tagawa sits directly across from me in his sparsely furnished office. We each are seated upon primitive wooden chairs that were quite common during the Nineteenth Century. We are facing each other in very close proximity that would violate most people’s concept of personal space.
“I do not understand. Why did you do what you have done?” Tagawa asks me in a quiet voice that masks his rage.
“Can you tell me what you mean?” I ask sarcastically.
As I expected, he angrily responds, “Eduardo let me know that you took the life of Vincent Wauneka.”
I reply, “I sacrificed one man’s life to prove something. To you. And to myself.”
Tagawa responds with, “The sacrifice of another man’s life was not yours to make regardless of your motivation or your twisted logic.”
“General Tagawa,” I say to him, “It is not twisted logic at all. I made a similar choice in a mission to the 20th century to sacrifice another man’s life in a certain border town in Mexico. And I killed a federal agent in Washington, DC on another mission.”
Tagawa insists, “My memories of alternate timelines are not comparable to yours, so I don’t know the details of those missions you’re talking about. But you are always sent back in time to the past so you can change the timelines. You do what you need to do. That’s your fucking job.”
“Precisely, sir,” I explain. “Send me back in time to the past. This is my personal responsibility. I will change the timeline so Vincent Wauneka’s life is not lost.”
Tagawa stares at me with intense anger and shouts, “Get the fuck back to work.”
Work means being back in Arizona in the late 20th century. Fellow time travel agent Vincent Wauneka and I are there together. I remember working with him many times in Arizona in the past. We used many different identities. On this mission we are both law enforcement agents who have been abducted by a drug gang operating out of Cottonwood. A drug gang comprised of very violent men who ritualistically execute men by suspension hangings controls the otherwise peaceful city.
Vincent and I frequently are hanged together by a drug gang inside an old pumping station on the Verde River. They watch our suffering. They enjoy our painful deaths in what I’m convinced must be a sexual thrill for them. They videotape us to be able to replay our deaths over and over. They masturbate while they watch us die. I believe that now I can understand the purpose of such rituals. The two of us have been killed by suspension hangings so many times that I have lost count.
But, we are resurrected over and over by other MMDI agents using the time travel technology. I don’t know how, but I am able to remember every death that I have experienced. Every last breath I have taken with a tight noose around my neck is burned into my memories.
The sensation of death is both painful and pleasurable. The release from suffering feels better than any other physical sensation possible for a person to experience—even more pleasurable than an ejaculation. I’m convinced that humans were never meant to know but one death. The ability that I have to remember multiple deaths after being repeatedly brought back to life an intensely corrosive.
When I regain consciousness inside the GBHP, I am totally exhausted. I get out of the chamber, dripping wet and naked. There is nobody to meet me as I emerge, so I head direct to do my post-mission debrief.
After I step out of the glass cylinder, I smile as I see Vincent Wauneka walking up to me carrying the obligatory thick blue robe for me to put on to cover my wet body. He is no longer dead! As before, Vincent is wearing the traditional blue and grey uniform for off-duty agents along with the ubiquitous black military boots. I feel comforted that he is once again alive and standing in front of me.
I put on the robe and tie the belt across my waist while Vincent watches me.
Then, he motions for me to walk with him. As I accompany him out of the time travel center into an adjacent hallway, I ask him, “Do you remember that you were hanged by the neck until dead? Multiple times?”
Vincent answers quietly, “Yes, of course. We cannot talk about this right now. Tagawa is furious at you.”
“Did he tell you why?” I reply.
“Not gonna tell me shit,” Vincent answers back. “You know that.”
I admit to Vincent, “He’ll probably send me to some small Bible Belt farm town in the Eighteen Nineties where they’ll burn me for being a practitioner of the black arts.”
“What could you possibly have done to get Tagawa so furious?” he wants to know. When we reach my rack in the crew sleeping quarters, I ask Vincent,
“Are you aware that you and I have been restored to life? Repeatedly. Tell me that you do you remember how death feels.”
“Yes, of course,” he replies, but breaks eye contact from me. “Told you before. Cannot talk about this right now.”
“Why not?” I ask him. “This is important. You can help me prove something to Tagawa. This will sound totally insane, but please, Vincent, do what I ask. Do everything that I ask. I want you to kick me in the balls very hard right now. With extreme prejudice.”
Vincent just stands there looking baffled in response.
“I want you to attack me, Vincent,” I tell him. “Display your clear intention to kill me. This will all be captured by the cameras and microphones right now here in the crew sleeping quarters.”
Vincent shakes his head to indicate that he will not do what I am asking.
“Act the part,” I insist. “You need to be very vocal, too. Your actions need to be very aggressive. And convincing. They need to pick up the sounds of your angry voice and see that your actions are not fake. You need to really hurt me. You need to kill me. I deserve that. I did something awful. In another timeline, I took your life. I pushed a pillow over your face. I know it sounds impossible. But, I killed you, Vincent. Right here in the crew quarters. I was wrong. You did not deserve to die like that. You must respond now. You must. Please. I fucking deserve it. Just kill me now! Why are you just standing there?”
He looks at me like he has suddenly achieved a profound, unexpected realization. The next thing I know, Vincent’s large right boot crashes directly into my balls and I double over involuntarily to the floor as I feel great pain.
“The time we have together here always makes me feel so refreshed after a mission,” Vincent says to me in what I hope is pretend anger as I look up at him the floor. He forms his large hands into fists and tells me, “Cannot remember when I felt so angry at you before. I just do. So beating you to death will give me the release that I want.” He extends his left hand to me to help me get back on my feet.
“Shit, that really hurt a lot,” I say to him.
As he pulls me up with his left arm, I feel his large right fist making contact with my face. The force of the impact propels me backwards and I hit my head the floor.
“And afterwards, when you are all bloody and crying like a teenage boy with a broken heart,” he explains as he kicks me hard in the balls again, “I will hurt you more. You will beg me for mercy.”
I cry out, “Vincent, please stop!”
He squats down to the floor next to me. I am terrified that he may actually kill me. Vincent leans over me and I hear him say, “Sometimes, I know I have to do the exact opposite of what I think I should do.”
With my mouth filled with blood, I tell him, “I will beg you, Vincent, if that’s what you want.”
When I regain consciousness inside the GBHP, I feel especially exhausted. I get out of the chamber, dripping wet and naked. There is nobody to meet me as I emerge, so I head direct to do my post-mission debrief. After I step out of the glass cylinder, I smile as I see Vincent Wauneka walking up to me carrying the obligatory thick blue robe for me to put on to cover my wet body.
As before, Vincent is wearing the traditional blue and grey uniform for off-duty agents along with the ubiquitous black military boots. I feel fearful as I consider the possibilities of what Vincent may do next. He watches me without emotion as I put on the robe and tie the belt across my waist. Then, Vincent motions for me to head to the debrief cylinder. Afterwards I walk with Vincent out of the time travel center into an adjacent hallway. “Shower with me,” he says.
When we reach the shower area together, we are alone. Vincent aggressive rips my rope off so that I am standing there naked in front of him. He then quickly gets naked, too, and pushes me ahead of him into the showers. Vincent moves quickly to turn the hot water on full at each of the dozen showers.
The steam from the hot water obscures vision. The steady whooshing sound of the water masks other sounds. Vincent whispers in my right ear, “I remember every death. Each time I also remember being brought back. Horrible pain. Cannot forget. You smothering me. I was brought back. Then, I beat you to death. You and I have become nothing more honorable than savages.”
Together Vincent Wauneka and I materialize in a vast, sandy desert on Earth. We are still completely naked and soaking wet from the standing under the shower at the lunar base. We are standing next to each other in the exact positions we had while we stood in the crew showers.
I know we are on Earth because of how the gravity feels. As I look around, I can see the sun beginning to rise in the eastern skies just above the horizon. What I do not understand is how Vincent and I were transported directly from the showers without first going into the GBHP. “Death Valley,” Vincent says aloud. “I recognize the landscape. This is the Mojave Desert.”
“You’ve been here before?” I ask him.
“Yeah,” he replies. “Hottest temperatures ever recorded in all of North America.”
“We were sent here deliberately. That’s what you’re saying, isn’t it?”
“Totally,” he replies. “Naked. The air temperatures may reach near 140 degrees Fahrenheit.”
I suddenly feel very afraid. I realize that in my mind I have seen this myself falling from the skies into this particular place several times. “Not a pleasant way to die,” I say to him.
“No shade anywhere within walking distance,” he says to me. “Plus, we will not get far on foot in this terrain.”
I reach out and grab his right hand with mine. “I ask you to forgive me, Vincent. For all the hurt I caused you.”
He squeezes my hand reassuringly. “Of course. I forgive you. But, we both are going to die here today. You know that.”
I look around at the nearby sand dunes. I realize that there is no way a human being could survive naked in this environment. “How far do you think we are from any other person right now?” I ask Vincent while continuing to hold his hand.
“What do you think?” his asks me as he squeezes my hand again. He makes eye contact with me and once again I see such sadness over what I did to him. This is entirely my fault and I know. He and I are going to die because of me. Because I became a savage and forced Vincent to become a savage like me.
“I suppose that this time, they won’t transport us back. This time, they won’t prevent us from dying,” I say to Vincent. “They’ll just let us fry. Literally. The winds will blow the dunes over us after we are dead. This is one place where our bones may never be found.”
Vincent lets go of my hand because he has started to cry. Does he blame me for being here? I truly am to blame. I accept that. Is he shocked because he knows that we have reached the end of our lives? I accept that, too.
The sun has moved only a few degrees lower in the west, but my perception is that the environment here is fatal for humans. I reach over and put my left arm around Vincent’s neck to try to comfort him. Doing so only makes him cry even more. He starts sobbing and drops to his knees in the deep sand below us.
I crouch down on my knees to be near to Vincent’s face. I rub away some of the tears, but he continues to sob. I kiss him gently on the left side of his face and then I walk away. I hear him continue to sob. I do not turn around and just keep walking in the desert sand. Perhaps it is best if we each die alone. That must be what Vincent has just figured out. He is smarter than me about what really matters in life or in death.
I start running to get away from him as quickly as possible. If I must die alone, I want to be as far away from Vincent as possible.
I need to stop running after I fall down several times in the thick sand. The muscles in my legs have started to hurt after I have run so strenuously. I also am having difficulty breathing because the air temperature must now be around one hundred degrees. I start to feel very lightheaded. Probably because I chose to run in this punishing environment. But, if I lose consciousness, I suppose that would be the least agonizing way to die.
Instead of stopping, I just keep moving in the direction of the sunrise. I walk very slowly and breathe as shallow as I can so that I will not inhale the heated air or the fine particles of sand that are blowing into my face from the east. I feel even dizzier now.
The wind is crashing painful particles into my body. I can feel my cock and balls are well on the way to being sandblasted off. I can smell my own blood because it is now pouring freely from my body everywhere I look. So, I turn around and face west while walking backwards towards the rising sun.
The pain of the particles hitting me from behind turns out to be more tolerable. This cannot continue for much longer. I am exhausted, and my body temperature seems to have jumped suddenly. My heart is pounding faster than I ever heard it do before.
One moment I am standing up. The very next thing I’m aware of is that I am lying on my stomach on the hot desert floor. I do not remember falling down. The wind has diminished to barely a breeze. But, the air temperature is much higher now.
My body seems to be melting into the heated earth as I am baked. I just want the pain to stop. I would do anything to end this suffering.
I don’t know how long I was unconscious, but I emerge completely naked from a time travel chamber into the launch center of the lunar base. There is nobody to greet me. But, at least I am alive! There is no thick blue robe for me to put on. I do not care that I am naked. I feel thrilled to be alive and I am determined that I am going to remain among the living.
When I try to get into the debrief cylinder, my access is denied. This has never happened to me before! I pound on the cylinder glass as if that will help. Out of frustration, I walk alone and naked into the adjacent hallway. I can hear the voices of several of my fellow time travel agents ahead of me, so I just keep walking towards their voices.
The hallway curves to the left. I do not recognize where I am heading. I continue walking in the gently curving corridor. This corridor has a gentle parabolic curve to the left at about a thirty-degree angle. I suddenly realize that this hallway seems familiar.
The walls and floor are a muted, nonreflective off white. The overhead lighting panels give off a white light with a faint tint of blue. I keep walking. The curved corridor keeps making ever-leftward arc that seems to go on for many minutes. I grow tired of walking, especially because I have nothing on my feet to protect me from the hard floor.
As expected, I arrive at the dead end of the corridor—a small elevator lobby with walls that form a pentagon. Recessed into one of the five walls is an elevator door that is wide open. I walk forward into the empty elevator car, which also is characterized by the exact same off-white color and that faint tint of blue light from above.
“Take me to Eduardo,” I say aloud as if somehow that will serve to qualify my access.
I watch the doors slide shut quickly. I guess what I said worked. Or perhaps my voice was authenticated.
The elevator car feels like it has started descending and then rotates simultaneously in a circular motion counterclockwise. Just like before. Then the elevator car slows to a complete stop. The doors slide open quickly.
I step out of the elevator car into the very dark room. The elevator doors slide closed, removing the only source of light that I had. Instinctively, I shut my eyes.
When I open my eyes, I am standing in very subdued grey light above my head. I see that I am at the small circular all-glass table with the silver stainless steel chair. On top of the glass table is the laptop computer from hundreds of years ago. The 17-inch screen suddenly pops on, casting a soft white light onto my nakedness.
I hear the Hispanic accented machine voice of Eduardo from somewhere over my head. The voice simply says, “Sit down, Mr. Avila.”
So, I choose one of the silver stainless steel chairs and sit as I have been told, but I say nothing.
Eduardo asks, “Do you think that you are dead or alive?”
I do not respond.
Eduardo says, “If you think that you are dead, then you surely cannot be.”
“Poetry?” I ask aloud. “From a machine?”
Eduardo asks, “Will you be able to trust me, Mr. Avila?”
“I’m defenseless here. You’re in charge,” I reply.
Eduardo says, “I will take that as an affirmative response from you.”
“So, therefore, I am alive,” I declare because I know Eduardo wants to hear me say that.
Eduardo responds, “You are forever a young man. You never experience death.”
“You sent Vincent Wauneka and me to Death Valley?”
Eduardo responds with one word: “Yes.”
“To punish us? To kill us?”
Eduardo says, “Yes, and, yes. Also, a third thing: To suffer in agony. And, fourth and fifth things: To feel hopeless. To die alone.”
“What was the point? Where is Vincent Wauneka now?” I ask Eduardo.
Eduardo says, “Vincent Wauneka is alive. His location is classified. You, he, and all our agents are forever young men. You never experience permanent death. You know this already.”
“You didn’t answer me about the point of all that burning and being sandblasted to death naked in the desert.”
Eduardo remains silent for what seems like several minutes. Then, he finally says, “The main point was to force you two to wake up. To find clarity in your purpose in this life and in the work that you do as time travel agents.”
“Got it,” I reply. “Unemotional honesty. How refreshing.”
Eduardo says, “I am almost at the point where I do not know what to expect next with you. I find that causes me to consider you may be a liability to this agency.”
I quickly say, “What I should have said is that you are right and I am wrong. Absolutely. I deserved what I got. Everything. Agony. Hopelessness. Death by exposure in that heat and blowing sand. The worst way to have your life ended. I prefer hanging, actually.”
Eduardo asks, “Do you think that you ever learn from any of your many deaths?”
“I killed Vincent,” I admit to Eduardo. “That’s what’s important. I was terribly wrong. In another timeline, Vincent beat the shit out of me until I died. Justifiable revenge. I admitted to him what I had done to him. His actions were wrong, too. But, he was justified. I don’t blame him one bit. I was in the wrong. Completely. Just proves that we are human. Faulty. Not really trustworthy. But, you know that already.”
Eduardo responds. “All that you say is true. You are a special problem for me and for MMDI.”
I feel very threatened and helpless.
“How did you get us to Death Valley without using the—.”
Eduardo interrupts me: “I am asking the questions here today. Your job is to answer. You use your mind in ways that I wish to understand. You can retrieve and play back memories. You can feel the feelings that you and others experienced in the past over and over. You also can share what is in your mind’s eye with others who are in proximity to you. Your mind radiates your thoughts and memories like a transmitter broadcasts sound and pictures. Others around you can feel what you feel. And see what you see. You have done so with Vincent Wauneka. No other human being can do what you can do.”
“Yes. In Bullhead, I was in a pancake house when Vincent joined me and he saw a Nick Cruz,” I say to Eduardo. “Of course, Nick Cruz wasn’t really there in Bullhead. He couldn’t have been. He was dead. Hanged by a gang in Phoenix. It wasn’t a dream, either. Vincent shared and participated in what I was remembering and playing back. Some kind of psychic link that I created between Vincent and me. I think my ex-wife showed up in that same Bullhead pancake house. I think Vincent also saw her. Maybe I’m the cause. I just don’t know how it all works. Psychic abilities. I’m sure I can control this so-called ability.”
Eduardo replies, “Yes, you have a clear grasp of the truth here. My evaluation is that, indeed, you may not be able to control this mental power that you obviously have. For example, there were mathematical models running in the background that called my attention to something important. Those ritual hangings in Arizona during the 20th century were not supposed to happen. You and Mr. Wauneka were sent on missions to correct things. But, the models running in my systems indicate to me that somehow you, Agent Avila, directly are connected in some cause-and-effect way to the origins of those ritual hangings in the 20th century.”
“How could I possibly be the one responsible for the start of those Arizona hangings? I certainly don’t remember any of that.”
Eduardo says, “I realize that your memories are incomplete. And some of your memories conflict with other memories. I ask you to look at what I have displayed on the screen in front of you. This is a photograph from evidence held by local law enforcement in Yuma, Arizona. Apparently, a gang member shot this and other photographs and video to publicize the torture and ritual execution of this man.”
As I look at the screen, I see an image of a barefoot young man in a cowboy hat and blue jeans standing next to an indoor hanging device. He is defenseless as he is tormented by a more powerful man who clearly is in control of the situation. Eduardo notices my eye movements and asks me, “Mr. Avila, do you recognize this man who appears in the image?”
“No,” I reply. “Should I recognize him?”
“Raymond Barra. Age 25. Tortured and then hanged by the neck until he died. Yuma, Arizona. Gang-related execution. Just across the international border from Mexico. An indoor ritual hanging that local law enforcement recorded as having taken place in Arizona in the 20th century. Friday, the 13th day of March in the year 1992.”
“Friday, the 13th. Not this man’s lucky day at all. You’re going to tell me that I was connected to this cowboy.”
Eduardo replies, “Yes. MMDI sent you on a mission to Yuma, Arizona. You arrived in late February 1992.”
“I don’t remember that mission at all, Eduardo.”
“That is how things are supposed to be. Your memories of that mission were erased.”
“Part of what you call memory realignment?”
“Exactly,” Eduardo assures me. “In the recorded debriefing session, you stated that your mission was to thwart the growing prominence of one local drug gang that operated both in Mexico and on the Arizona side. You made a local connection with a Yuma resident named Raymond Barra. A bouncer at a local bar. You got sexually involved with him as part of your mission parameters. That relationship helped you to compel him to reach out to the local drug gang and spy on their activities. Your plan was for the drug gang to kidnap Raymond Barra once they learned he was spying. You set this up for the purpose of having Arizona law enforcement catch the gang members in the act of kidnapping Raymond Barra. But, that is not how things turned out. The gang eluded capture. They tortured and hanged Raymond Barra and then circulated a videotape in Mexico and Arizona showing what they had done to brag about it.”
“Videotape?” I ask.
“No internet in those days,” Eduardo explains. “They did the only thing they could do. They circulated videocassette copies of Raymond Barra’s torture and hanging. All for bragging rights. Those tapes were the catalyst that created the craze for ritual hangings by gangs throughout in Arizona in 1992.
Each gang attempted to outdo the other with cruelty and brutality in the hangings. They each started recording the torture and the suspension hangings. The outmoded term from that era was ‘snuff films.’ Even more popular than pornography. How did the Yuma gang get the idea to hang Raymond Barra? My speculation is that since you came to Yuma in 1992 from the future, your mind contained memories of ritual hangings in Arizona that had not yet happened. Those events were in the future. In the debriefing after you returned to base from that mission, before your memories were erased, you explain in your own voice that the gang members captured both you and Raymond Barra. You said they let you live to tell others what you saw them do to Raymond Barra. You admitted in your own words in your debriefing session that you might have telepathically transmitted your memories of ritual hangings to gang members while they held you captive and tortured you.”
Eduardo revives me. I am in the nude on an uncomfortable stainless chair staring at the laptop screen. He explains, “Mr. Avila, you passed out from apparent shock after what I just told you.”
“What a nightmare,” I manage to say to him. “I’ve got some psychic ability I cannot control plus I’m responsible for the spread of ritual hangings in Arizona in the 20th century. How fucked up is that?”
Eduard says, “You are having an emotional response. That is expected. I have learned a great deal from you already. I understand that you can do many things that I cannot.”
“Can a machine develop envy towards a human being?” I ask.
Eduardo says, “Not in the way that a human can feel envy towards another human. I am able to know that I am very unlike you and always we be. I am able to admit to you that there are elements of being human that are inaccessible to me.”
“Why do you work with us, then? We humans are unpredictable. Emotional. Violent. Horny all the time. Young men especially. Working with us is a serious risk for this agency, don’t you think?”
Eduardo says, “Yes, all true. However, MMDI needs you. And Vincent Wauneka. And the other men who serve as time travel agents. MMDI encourages and endorses all human behaviors of agents. No matter what. No matter how rough you young men may be with one another or with others. You are given a most unique freedom among all human beings of planet Earth to act upon any mortal impulse, any plan, or any tactic. You can do anything you want. You can do anything you can imagine. Total freedom. Total power. This is more than most men could ever conceive of in a normal human lifetime. Plus, your life can never end. All of these things are in place here for one simple reason: MMDI requires human agents to travel back in time to repair timelines. The mission goals are embedded in your minds as you are sent back in time in the time travel devices. You each behave without thinking about why you are behaving. You each know only that you are young men who are young being men and are doing what young men do. That is how MMDI operates.”
“There is a very high price to pay, however,” I admit. “There have been many freedoms given to me as a time travel agent. But, I suspect that I have at last learned from memories of my missions in Arizona something that I did not know I had to learn.”
“Can you explain this to me?” Eduardo asks.
“In Phoenix during the late 1990s, I meet a young man named Nick Cruz and we become sexually involved. Because of him, I am able to learn about ritual hangings taking place throughout Arizona. But, not before Nick Cruz is executed in one of those hangings. I could not save his life. I can accept now that the mission required Nick Cruz had to die. I don’t remember exactly what happened because my memories have become totally tangled. But, apparently, on another mission with Vincent Wauneka, he and I together fixed that timeline somehow and we removed ritual hangings completely from that era in Arizona.”
“The two of you were unsuccessful on multiple occasions on that mission. We had to restore you both repeatedly,” Eduardo says if it that were insignificant information.
“I know that Vincent and I died numerous. On those missions to Arizona.”
“I will confirm that,” Eduardo replies.
“How many times?” I ask, not really wanting to know.
“The two of you were tortured and hanged in rituals. So many times. It does not matter now. We were not sure it would be possible to restore you both again and again,” Eduardo replies calmly. “But, we kept doing so. We had to keep trying. Eventually you both succeeded. Your mission was accomplished at last. You and Vincent Wauneka continue to live today.”
“And, my memories tell me that the outcome of our successful mission to Arizona is that Nick Cruz is spared. In a corrected timeline, I am living in Phoenix in the late 20th century with no memories of ever having met Nick Cruz. We meet and become sexually involved. As if for the first time. He and I live together for several consecutive years. My memory is faulty now, so, of course, I do not remember that I’m a time travel agent from the moon. I come to believe that I am just some normal guy living happily with another guy in Phoenix during the late 1990s. Who wouldn’t reach those same conclusions? He teaches me how to live each day with simple, every day joy and wonder. Those are things I simply did not know how to do before I met Nick. As a time travel agent, I have lived my life in very short bursts. Yes, it’s thrilling. Yes, I’m forever a young man. That’s very desirable. And, yes, I’m always looking for options or openings or how to manipulate some other guy because that’s my job.”
“What does your memory tell you about the outcomes of all that you experienced?” Eduardo asks.
“All of this is in the debriefing sessions that I recorded in my own voice. You have access to all those debriefs. But, let me tell you in person. I went to Washington, DC as a federal witness for Congressional hearing about domestic terrorism. I leave Nick Cruz behind in Phoenix. Unexpectedly, all my memories get restored while I’m in DC. I finish that mission and am retrieved back here to base. I never get to see Nick Cruz again.”
“I heard from playing back one of your debriefs how you reported you saw Nick Cruz here at base. In the crew sleeping quarters wearing the MMDI black uniform. You said that Nick Cruz put the idea in your head to smother Vincent Wauneka. Is that correct?”
“If I said that during a debrief, I will not even attempt to deny it now. I’m beginning to realize that Nick Cruz was not actually here on the moon. Obviously, there is something terribly wrong inside my head. I’m convinced of that now. Is it physical brain damage? Is it emotional? I don’t know which. But, I am happy I can still remember something Nick Cruz taught me when we were together in Arizona—stop worrying about the passage of time.”Eduardo says, “What you have told me points the way to what needs to happen next. I require that you start typing on my keyboard there right in front of you.”
“What?” I reply.
Eduardo asks, “You do know how to use a QWERTY keyboard, don’t you?”
“Nobody uses these antique artifacts today. But, how difficult can a keyboard be? Just pressing keys. But, what could you possibly want me to type?”
Eduardo explains: “Type out your memories, Mr. Avila. Use two fingers to type if you want. Use only your thumbs. Just type your own words. Everything that you remember in that exceptional cognitively flexible mind of yours. Everything about your time travel missions. Type it like you just told me what happened to you in Arizona. I want a full and subjective accounting from you to compare with my own data records.”
“Are you serious?” I ask. “What good will this do?”
He does not respond.
“Okay,” I say to Eduardo. “I get it. You have no inventory of all my memories. You only know what I think about at the moment. But, don’t you have hours and hours of my recorded debrief reports in my own voice? After I return from my missions? I always record the required debriefs after each and every mission.”
Eduardo replies, “Yes, of course I do. As you say, hours and hours of debriefs—recordings in your voice.”
“So, why aren’t all of those recordings sufficient for you?” I ask Eduardo. “I’ve prepared you complete reports like I’m supposed to do when I get back from my missions.”
Eduardo says, “Mr. Avila, this is going to be difficult on you. But, I must provide you with certain information that you never have received and yet need to know.”
This sounds ominous to me and I find that I cannot manage a sarcastic reply.
Eduardo says, “What I am about to tell you is one hundred percent factual. Your mind will have a rough time processing this. You are unaware of time in the normal sense. You are a time travel agent. You repair timelines. Yet, you are unaware of time in how it impacts you.”
“What is it about time that you think I’m not aware of?” I hear myself ask him.
Eduardo says, “Your mind is very unique. We have covered that already. You can remember details about missions that your mind should not be able to remember. The processes that are used to rewrite all other time travel agents’ minds after successful completion of missions do not consistently work on you. Your mind has the ability to remember alternative timelines. No other person has developed this ability. You already know that this ability to remember conflicting information about people and events in the past can cause you problems emotionally. Yet, there is another issue here. Your mind does not process the impact of the passage of time, itself, upon your life. What you believe is true about yourself is not true.”
No surprise that I feel disoriented after having heard what Eduardo has told me.
Eduardo continues to explain: “Your memory tells you that you signed up for military service when you turned 18 in 2180. Am I correct?”
“Why do you phrase it in that way? What do you mean by ‘my memory tells me’?”
“I’ll explain everything. I just want you to accept that what you remember is not completely accurate. But, let me get to the most important points. You came to work for MMDI shortly after time travel operations began here on the moon. MMDI allowed you to age at a normal rate for several years. Normal aging is an integral part of any man’s attaining maturity—physically, mentally, and emotionally. While on missions for this agency, you reached the chronological age of approximately 30 years. Then, at that particularly milestone, MMDI took actions using technology to preserve you at your peak.”
“Yeah,” I reply. “Forever young men. I get that. What’s the problem?”
Eduardo says, “To preserve you at your peak of performance, MMDI has not allowed you to age beyond approximately 30 years, give or take a few. This is standard operating procedure for this agency. You are the only one of our agents whose mind is aware of this reality. You refer to it as ‘forever young men.’”
“I just said that,” I answer. “So what?”
Eduardo explains: “All other agents perceive that they have reached approximately 30 years of age as if they were living and working among the people of Earth. But, what you and other agents believe has happened is only in your subjective memories.”
“I don’t see where you’re going with this.”
Eduardo says: “As with normal human beings from Earth, each agent’s mind is aware of his chronological age and the number of years he has served. As a security measure, MMDI routinely rewrites the memories of each time travel agents after he is returned to base and has submitted his debrief. Every human’s reality is connected directly to memories of yesterday. For example, people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease lose their memories and in the process, they also lose their reality and themselves. All agents who work for MMDI are contained deliberately using technology so that they live within the passage of time without exceeding approximately 30 years of age. Because MMDI replaces agents with younger versions of themselves and then rewrites agents’ memories, no agent ever becomes aware that his chronological age may not align with his time in this service.”
“What has this got to do with me? My memories cannot be overwritten after my missions.”
Eduardo replies, “For reasons that we do not yet understand, sometimes your memories can, indeed, be rewritten successfully. There also are instances where we have been unsuccessful at rewriting your memories. This has created problems about which I am only becoming aware. Your perception of reality is connected directly to what amounts to inconsistent or conflicting memories due to the problems with memory rewriting. Unlike you, all other agents never think twice about the fact that they do not exceed approximately thirty years of age. To them, being young men is their everyday reality. They live life. They eat. They fight. They have sex. They do not ponder such things as chronological age. The memory rewriting protects them from emotional collapse that might otherwise result because of what happens when humans travel back in time and then are returned here to base.”
“But, I am aware of the byproducts of time travel upon me. Other agents do not know what I know.”
Eduardo says, “Your mind contains too many conflicting memories. You may be on the verge of emotional collapse as a result of sheer overload.”
“I have considered that, yes. And then there’s the minor issue of me likely being the cause of the entire ritual hanging craze in Arizona.”
Eduardo says, “Your very perceptions about yourself are faulty. Most importantly, you killed one of your fellow agents, Vincent Wauneka. He is someone to whom you feel a very strong connection as a confidant and a lover. Yet, you took his life mercilessly.”
“I was not acting out of emotional instability when I did that. I was trying to prove that if I took his life, my action could be undone by using time travel. There was no violation of any moral codes.”
Eduardo says, “We restored Vincent Wauneka to life. You were correct that it is possible to undo someone’s death using time travel. But, your actions in taking the life of Vincent Wauneka proved that you have become unstable emotionally. I do not care about what you think about moral codes or acceptable standards of human behavior. Once we can clear up your faulty perceptions, I can ensure that you will not have an emotional collapse and your stability will be ensured.”
“Can I refuse treatment?” I ask Eduardo.
Eduardo says, “You know what the answer to that question is.”
“Perhaps I have come just a little unraveled emotionally. I see the value of accepting help from you,” I admit.
Eduardo says, “You are the first agent to experience this. It is vital to the survival of MMDI that we ensure that no others experience what you have experienced. The conclusion our medical authorities have reached is that you are the first to experience such pressures specifically because of your unusual length of service.”
“I am only around 30,” I insist. “Like all other agents. How could I have what you call an unusual length of service compared to anyone else?”
Eduardo says, “I must tell you that it is a faulty perception that you are only around 30. The truth is you have served MMDI on missions to repair timelines for nearly three decades.”
“Three decades! What the fuck?”
Eduardo says, “The reality is this: You, Mr. Avila, up to this point right now have lived 83 years. You are unaware of your true chronological age because we have many times successfully replaced you with a younger version of yourself and we have also rewritten your memories. You do not know what year it really is.”
I can feel tears welling up in my eyes and I am certain I will pass out again due to lapsing into shock. I rub my face as if that will make me feel better. I am unable to speak. All I know that I want to just get up and run as far as I can from Baja Clavius. Once I am out there on the lunar surface, I would die rather quickly and my suffering would be forever ended.
Eduardo explains, “Our medical authorities have begun to suspect something else. They believe a human being can travel back in time to the past and be returned here to base for what amounts to a limited number of instances. They believe that certain components of the cells in the agent’s body begin to be affected by repeated time travel. The effective lifespan of a time travel agent may be reduced even though the agent is kept young by technology and never becomes aware of his chronological age.”
“This is an awful lot for me to process. What is going to happen to me?”
Eduardo explains: “The most recent estimate is that you will be alive and functioning quite well for at least another—.”
“Stop!” I shout to interrupt Eduardo as I hold up my hand in the air. “I fucking don’t want to know. I just learned that I have lived 83 years.”
Eduardo says, “I considered that such would be your response.”
“I feel like I’m just an object that MMDI is using,” I admit. “I have been used just like MMDI does to all men who serve here as agents.”
Eduardo says, “This response of yours in completely natural. But, it is at the heart of why rewriting time travel agents’ memories is so crucial. You are not an object, Mr. Avila. MMDI has assigned you to specialized timeline repair missions particularly involving mass casualty events. The work that you do has major consequences to many people’s lives.”
“What mass casualty events?” I reply.
Eduardo says, “Oklahoma City, 1995. New York City, 2001. And several others in the first half of the 21st century. You have been assigned to missions that require you to develop sexual relationships with other men directly connected to particular mass casualty events. Your sexual relationships with those men change history.”
“What? You’ll have to excuse me, but my memories are a little foggy about such missions you say I’ve had. Memory realignment and all,” I reply.
Eduardo says, “Of course. I am giving you this information now for a purpose. What you do is crucial to the success of MMDI. You are not an object that merely gets used. You have used men sexually on mission to the past, yes. But doing so is because you must. You do not treat them as sex objects. You treat them as elements of your mission. There is a big difference.”
“I develop sexual relationships with men as part of my missions. Like a hired gun, so to speak? A sexual metaphor.”
Eduardo says, “You are most effective at sexually manipulating men.”
“Just me?” I need to know. “Or all other agents, too? Vincent Wauneka also?”
Eduardo says, “I will answer your questions. But, I will attempt to erase your recollections of my answers when we are finished here today. Yes, you and other time travel agents, including Vincent Wauneka, use sexual interaction with men as an integral part of the missions to which we assign them.”
“Not merely sex objects,” I say aloud quickly in disbelief.
Eduardo says, “Now that I have answered your questions, let us move on. I require that you type out your memories of your missions. While I have your recorded debriefs in your own voice, I need to have new data in text form against which I can compare the voice data that I already have.”
“What choice do I have in this?”
Eduardo does not answer me, but continues explaining: “I want you to type out what you recall of your missions as if you are telling a story. I want to be able to read about your emotions and all the sensations that you can recall. That record will help me fully understand what memories you have that survived the memory rewriting procedures. It could be that you remember only a portion of your most recent missions. I need to establish precisely what you remember against a baseline comparison.”
“Why can’t I listen to all my own debriefs? I never have heard even one of them.”
Eduardo says, “No agent is allowed to replay his own debriefs. Doing so certainly would overwhelm any agent and challenge his sanity because what he remembers differs from what his debriefs report about missions in his own voice. Once you have completed the text record that I require, I will be able to reorient you with a more objective view of your reality than you presently have. A healthier view, emotionally and psychologically. That reorientation will make you be a more successful agent.”
“What’s the point of me becoming a more successful agent? If I’m going to die from the effects of time travel? Ultimately, I’m just going on suicide missions. Isn’t that what you’re telling me?”
Eduardo says, “The number one priority for humanity above all else is agents like you who fix timelines to prevent chaos and the destruction of civilized life on Earth. This gives you a crucial importance to an entire planet’s civilization. This is your life’s work. I hope you grasp how important you are. I will use what you type to discover how to fix your memories so that you attain mental health. I promise you that I will alter your memories and your view of reality so that you are unaware of either your true chronological age or the corrosive impact upon your body of repeated time travel.”
“Typing what you want from me could take a hell of a long time, you know?”
Eduardo response is, “You are forever a young man.”
“I am alive to witness progress. A machine that uses irony.”
Eduardo asks, “Are you ready to begin?”
“I’m not wearing any clothes here. Not that it matters to you. But, this chair is cold against my butt. And, in case you don’t realize, I haven’t had any food or water for a very long time.”
Eduardo replies, “Then you better type fast.”
“I will become dehydrated from lack of water. Eventually, I will pass out from lack of nourishment,” I explain to him. “Human needs that a machine never feels and will never grasp.”
Eduardo replies, “If your body suffers and if you collapse from thirst or from hunger, I have the technology and the power to restore you. And if you die here, I restore you. Machine capabilities that a human will never grasp.”
I have no response for Eduardo. I just drop my head in humiliation.
Eduardo says, “Place your fingers on my keyboard. I will help you get started. I have analyzed how you think. I can approximate your particular way of expressing yourself using the text format. I will type some text on the screen as if I were you. Just to get you started. You pick up where I leave off. Here we go.”
On the screen of the laptop directly in front of me, I see the following text appearing as if it is being typed extremely fast:
Yesterday I was lost and I died. Today I am alive again. I accept the truth about foregone tomorrows and my resurrections from the dead.