Stu opened the door and looked around. He bit his lip for a while then closed his eyes, inhaled deeply and finally stepped out. It was a warm day with no clouds in the sky. He wiped his face with his hands and walked wherever his feet took him. He was more interested in what met his eyes than where he was headed to.
He did not have a watch with him but he could say that it was still early morning. The first person he saw was a woman wearing a complete SCBA mask but with barely any clothes on. She was walking her pet dog. Strangely, the dog was wearing a jacket. Stu shook his head in disagreement. If anyone needed some clothing in that warm weather, it was the almost-naked-woman.
Walking further, he went by a park that had swings but no children at all. But what amazed him was that there were barely any trees in the park. With that, he realized that not only the park but everything around him was a lot less green. Something high up in the sky caught his eye. An airplane? It was way up in the sky and the sun’s rays blurred his vision but Stu swore that it looked more like a flying Porsche!
His attention was diverted by a brownstone building at the end of a lane to his left. As he walked towards it, the Led signboard read “Central Café”. The today’s special read “Fried Ice-cream” and “Crystal water”.
Stu shook his head and laughed. The door opened as he neared it. Stu stepped inside and took his time observing the place. To his right was a wall with hooks on it on which hung several masks. The tables were all occupied yet the place was eerily silent. Flying trays carried food for the customers and the people were all stouter and shorter than Stu. The women and men were all dressed in minimum clothing. A group of men speaking in undertones caught his attention. Stu occupied a table right next to them with the purpose of eavesdropping. At the center of his table was a small screen on which the word ‘menu’ flashed. Stu touched it and a list of items popped up on the screen. To his astonishment, ‘crystal water’ was priced at 100$. Stu frowned but an exclamation distracted him.
“Ohh yes! The WriteOn! I have heard about it too!” said one of men on the table to his right.
“I just love the idea chap! An actual writing gadget! Isn’t that excellent?” said another.
“Yes, yes! To be able to actually write…. this typing and touching is boring,” said another.
“Hark! Let’s read this” said the man closest to Stu. The man wore a gadget on his wrist which he touched and an image was projected in midair between them. Stu stared at the image and read what was written beneath it in disbelief.
“The WriteOn is a gadget that dispenses ink over a metal ball at its point. Narrow plastic tubes contain the ink, which is compelled downward to the ball by gravity. Brass and steel are used to manufacture the ball bearing-like points, then housed in a brass socket. Invented by Morgan Nutting, WriteOn is touted as the world’s new writing instrument. Manufacturers are producing designer WriteOns for the high-end and collectors’ markets.”
A dry laugh escaped Stu.
“What nonsense!” he said loud enough for the men to hear. “That’s a Pen!”
“Nooo” said one of the men,” that’s a WriteOn. You see, it’s a gadget that can be used for … ” he began to explain with much excitement.
“I know what it is!” Stu said with derision. “It’s not an invention! It was invented many, many years ago!”
“Are you crazy?” asked one of the men.
“Oh please. Do you people even do history?!” Stu mocked. “You people are just reinventing stuff that existed centuries ago and …”
A shrill voice interrupted him. Stu turned to see an extremely tall man standing behind him.
“I sit here?” he asked.
Stu’s jaw dropped. The man was 10-foot tall and blue-skinned.
“I sit here?” he asked again.
Stu managed to nod his head. The man sat down in front of him and began to order something via the screen.
Stu looked at him dumbstruck. Nobody else seemed to be surprised. James Cameron was right, Stu thought.
With that, he got up and retraced his steps.
Once in his time machine, he heaved a sigh of relief and turned the dial from 2721 back to 2021.