The Universal Remote

I’m crouching right outside my best friend’s window, looking at the universal remote that’s sitting right on top of his TV. My name’s Abel. I am 17 years old. A few weeks ago when Cain, my best friend, moved houses, we found this remote in an old rusted box in the attic. When we decided to throw it away, he tossed it into the trash. Something happened though. We looked across the street on our way into the house and saw his cat, in mid-jump for a mouse in his yard, but he was moving in slow motion. We didn’t know what to do or think. This obviously isn’t anything we’ve experienced before. Then we remember. Our attention turns toward the trash, and we race over to retrieve the object we suspected to be at fault for this phenomenon. We point the remote and hit “play”. The cat resumes jumping as if nothing happened. In the following days we experimented as much as we could without attracting any attention. Then one day, we messed up. I tossed the remote over to Cain, and he dropped it just as a car was driving by. The car suddenly went into reverse, as if it were rewinding, and slammed into the car behind it, sending both drivers to the hospital. After that, we said it would never be used again, but he would keep it just in case. In the weeks after that, my life took a turn for the worse. My parents have separated, my girlfriend has moved away, and my dog has died. Cain has been at my side the whole time, but the one time I even hinted at using the remote, he just shook his head and said,” Some things aren’t meant to be changed. Life isn’t something we as humans were meant to alter.” That is why you find me tonight in my most desperate state of mind, about to break in to my best friend’s house.

Abel only lives about a block away, so it’s was easy to get to. Luckily, he chose a room on the first floor. His window faces his backyard, out of the view of anyone on the sidewalk out front. There’s something that makes my little heist a little bit more convenient though. He leaves his window unlocked for me in case I ever need to get away and come over in need of someone. Taking advantage of this, I start to slide up the window. About halfway up, I decide to slip inside. Any higher and I’d hit the squeaky spot and he’d hear it, or the cool night air would awake him. I squeeze myself through. I look around. The lump on his bed I can see still hasn’t moved. So far, so good, as long as he stays that way. I tiptoe towards the TV. Suddenly I hear a meowing that echoes like thunder in the quiet room. I look down to see his stupid cat. I instinctively grab him and cover his mouth. With the silence resuming, I continue to make my way towards the television, where the answer to all my problems lays. As I reach the TV, I realize I’m still holding the cat. I had completely forgotten. I’m in shock as I put down the unresponsive creature. I know I’ve gone too far and decide to grab the remote and leave. I wrap my hand around it, and head towards the window. Suddenly a light comes on. “Abel,” he says, “is everything all right?” As I turn towards the door where the voice is coming from, my eyes pass over his bed where I thought he’d been the whole time, only to see his rolled up blanket that I thought was him.
I now face the voice, to see a tired, sleepy, but now alert Cain. “Oh, yeah. Everything’s great. I just came to say hi.” He looks at me with a confused look. “At 2:33 in the morning? To say hi? Whatever it’s cool but…” His words trail off as he tries to conceal a look showing he understands why I’m really here. “…but before you leave, I’m going to need the remote back.” My heart immediately sinks. I immediately feel a wave of anger pass over me. I start to yell right off the bat. “Why should you be the one to keep it? What makes you the only one that’s qualified to have the control of time in your hands? Huh? Why not me? Answer me!” I start realizing that in the moment that I am in the wrong, but I can’t show him that I know that. Cain immediately answers me as if he’s been waiting for the night. “Abel! Do you hear yourself? You think I want to keep this so I can make you jealous? I want to keep this because honestly, you aren’t mature enough or in the right state of mind to have something like this at your disposal! Life isn’t made to be tampered with! It was made the way it was for a reason. It’s tough! You’ve got to live with the choices you make and the things that happen. That’s what makes life so special and so valuable! If you had the option to edit it with every mistake you made, you would never learn anything! Experiences wouldn’t mean anything. Your life has been harder than I have ever known. That’s not an excuse to do what you’re planning on doing though.” A long silence follows and I stand there with the remote at my side, now in full view, not caring anymore. I know I’m in the wrong and my conscience won’t let me find any words to use against him. Then, he takes a step towards me, and like a sickness or wave of nausea, the anger suddenly surfaces again. “Stay back,” I yell, “I’m fixing my life and I hoped you would want that for me!” He’s not paying attention though. He’s crouched over, squatting by the TV where I took the remote, about five feet away. With a horrifying flashback, I remember his cat. “You…you killed…you killed Jinx? You start to damage my life just to fix yours?” I take a breath to begin my explanation, but no words come. It doesn’t matter though because Cain’s already on his feet coming at me with his shoulder down. I don’t even try to react and his shoulder takes the breath out of me as in hits the target painted on my chest. He carries me in his sprint and slams me into his enormous bookshelf, which stands right next to the window. Excruciating pain shoots through my back and into my head. I start fighting back, which results in us falling to the floor. “Just give it up!” Cain yells as he tries to pry the precious remote from my desperate hands. Slowly, we both notice a shadow getting bigger and bigger. We look up to see the monster bookshelf falling away from the wall, and on top of us. I jump out from under it to get out of the way. I roll over the remote in the process, but now I’m worried about Cain.
As I recollect myself, I turn, and what I see astonishes me. I must have hit the pause button when I rolled on the remote, because what I’m looking at is the bookshelf frozen about two feet from Cain’s huddled up body. It doesn’t matter to him though. When he sees that he’s not going to be smashed, he rolls out of the way towards me, gets up, and as I’m about to react, he hits me square in the face. I drop the remote and all my focus goes to the pain. I slump to my knees so he’ll think I’ve given up. “Abel,” he says, “I don’t know if I can ever forgive you after what you’ve done today. You’ve left me no choice but to do something I never wanted to.” His voice is grim, as if he’s about to kill someone. “Cain,” I say, “I really am sorry. I never meant for this to go so far!” I position myself to where I’m kneeling on one knee, ready to jump at him again when the moment comes. “My life just has gone down the drain and then something comes along where I can change that, but you act like it’s your call. It p****s me off, but I know I need to start making better decisions.” I spring up with all the anger I have in me, ready to take what I came for at any cost. Cain’s positioned in his doorway, a lot farther away than I expected, but I keep running. He has the remote at his side pointing at me. His relaxed and expecting voice takes me off guard as he says, “Yeah and let’s start with this one.” I hear a click.
“It must have been a branch,” I thought. “Oh well.” Anyway, I’m crouching right outside my best friend’s window, looking at the universal remote that’s sitting right on top of his TV…





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback