Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

I’m a mechanic. I work on time machines. It’s tricky work.

Having done this for a while, I’m developing a theory that some people can sense when they’re in the wrong reality. Reality bifurcates and splinters every second and sometimes, with a shudder and whip, a person can jump the tracks over onto the wrong set of rails. Their life is similar at first, then increasingly divergent. People that can sense this get more and more bewildered.

Me, I’m just happy to be drawing breath. Being as close to these engines as I’ve been for the last twenty years, I’ve probably shuffled through dozens of alternate realities. I have no sense of my reality changing but sometimes I listen to the air around me for ripples, anything to tell me that something’s ‘gone wrong’.

You can see how people in my line of work tend to go crazy after a while. It helps to have a hobby.

I collect the journals of teenagers that have committed suicide and cross-reference them for similarities. I suppose as hobbies go, it’s a little dark. Whatever. It keeps me humble, rooted in the now, happy to be alive, and aware of death.

The fourth-dimensional propellant for time machines is notoriously unstable. We had a time fire last Monday that’s burning for two weeks forward and back from the explosion. A fuel leak hit a spark and all of a sudden, I could remember the fire starting ten days ago, working up to the explosion. This reshuffling of memories is what sends most chronomechanics around the bend.

I’m pretty passive about it. I just go back to reading my journals and try not to think about it.

The journal I’m reading tonight is for James Peter MacDougall. He hung himself two years ago up in the old Jenkin’s place on Powell Road.

What’s interesting to me is that I saw James yesterday down at the Safeway.

I have to get to back to work.

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