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Was it Just a Dream?
Maya opened her eyes to the alarm clock blaring and sun light glaring through her window. The clock flashed 6:00 a.m in red. The power had gone out last night. She looked at her phone panicked to see just how much her alarm clock had deceived her. It read “7:53 a.m. Friday, May 13”. She instantly jumped out of bed ran down the hall slipping and sliding on the tile in her socks to the bread, which she then tossed into the toaster oven. Still in a hurry she ran to get dressed, brush her hair, put on shoes, grab her keys, phone, unbuttered toast and run out the door.
She was supposed to be at work at 8. “Not a second later” Her boss, Mrs. Lady instructed. Maya worked in a salon called “Lady’s Hair: a Salon for Ladies” where she stood on her feet and worked from 8 o’clock a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Somehow she managed to get to the shop at 8:13. She snuck into the back door, put on her smock, and called the next woman to her chair. She thought she had gotten away with being late just one more time, but just then Mrs. Lady walked in from the waiting area around the corner and gave Maya the evil eye. She had been caught. After she had finished perming the woman’s hair, and collected the money, Mrs. Lady called for her.
“Maya, can I speak to you in the back?” The stylists around Maya just gave her a look of sympathy as she made her way sheepishly to the back of the salon.
Maya walked in the door and studied the pattern of the carpet, the wall paper and basically looking every where but at Mrs. Lady.
“Maya, there has been a habit you’ve developed recently.” she said as if she was speaking to a kindergardener. “Do you know what that habit is?” The way she spoke when she was upset was belittling and Maya didn’t like it.
“I know I’ve been late a lot recently, but there’s construction going on around my house so the power keeps going out, and this morning my alarm clock rang at five till eight. I barely got breakfast and I almost got a ticket driving here.” She tried to defend herself as much as possible but Mrs. Lady didn’t like employees who talked back.
“That’s all fine and dandy, but your hair is a mess, you look sick with those bags under your eyes, and just look terrible. How do you expect people to trust their looks in the hands of someone who can’t even make themselves look good?” She was still using her kindergarden teacher’s voice.
“But I can make myself look good!” Maya was getting offended now.
“Nobody would be able to tell the way you’ve been looking these past few weeks.” She was obviously getting worked up too.
“Well, if you wouldn’t be so unreasonable about the ‘not a second later’ rule I would be able to get ready before work even if my power went out” That is when Mrs. Lady’s top blew. She was all kinds of furious.
“Get out!” She demanded. “Get out now! You can pick your stuff up tomorrow when I don’t have to look at you, but I want you out of my sight immediately.” That was it. Maya walked out the door to her car and left for home.
Several hours later she was sitting on the couch scanning through possible jobs in the news paper, one of the ads along the side of the site read “Made a mistake? Wanna fix it? Try a time machine for free!” There was a phone number attached but she was reluctant to call, scared it would be a complete fraud. “What do I have to loose?” she reasoned. She quickly dialed it and wasn’t even put on hold. She was immediately answered with an operator.
“Time Machine Rental, how can we help you?” Well, that was a senseless question.
“I’d like to rent a time machine, please.” She answered trying to sound patient.
“Sure. What’s your name?” the operator sounded really excited to hear Maya.
“My name’s Maya Smith.” She answered. There were sounds of typing in the back round as she began speaking again.
“We have a base downtown across from the post office if you come this afternoon at 4, we can help you. Just bring twenty dollars, and if the machine is returned in the same condition we will give you a full refund.” Finally the end of the conversation.
“Thank you so much.” Maya was about to hang up the phone.
“Oh one last thing!” the operator interrupted. “We are not responsible for any change done to the future as a result of the user. Thanks for calling. See you at 4.” The phone clicked and there was a dial tone.
“What could she have possibly meant by that?” Maya thought. “What could possibly be changed by going back to this morning and waking myself up?” For this reason she was even hesitant to use the time machine. The morning passed slowly. Minutes seemed like days scraping along like a tortuous making a trek across the Sahara desert. Seconds seemed like hours on end. Eventually it became time to leave. The speed limit seemed to be five miles an hour and she seemed to hit every stop light that seemed half an hour long each. Traffic seemed like an endless line that went on forever. Finally she ended up at the rental place and found it empty. There was just one woman sitting at the desk playing solitaire on her phone. She looked up, saw Maya, and stood up to shake her hand.
“Hello, you must be Maya.” She seemed genuinely excited to meet her. Her smile was huge and her whole body was jittering like a child about to go to a toy store. “I’m Kali Hall. I will be renting you your time machine.” She said as she rubbed her smoothed the pants of the pant suit she was wearing.
“Ya,” Maya started looking around curiously. “Why aren’t there more people here?” Maya asked confused. “It’s an opportunity to get an instant do-over. It’s written about in so many books, complete T.V. series made up about it. Who wouldn’t want that?”
“Well,” began Kali, “most people are sure it is a complete sham. That it’s not even true; and while time travel is in all those movies and books, It rarely turns out well.” This was a hard concept to grasp but Maya wanted to work for Mrs. Lady so bad she was willing to try it. Mrs. Lady was really an awesome boss and is very lenient except for her one “not a second late” rule. She would only go in to wake herself up at six o’clock and leave. That’s all. Kali gave her a form at least an inch thick to sign and date, saying they were not reliable for any thing that goes wrong. She signed and dated every spot she had to and told the Kali the time she wanted to go back to.
Maya’s stomach was tingly as she said “This morning at six o’clock.” Kali typed it into her computer.
“Good luck” Maya could tell Kali was just as nervous as her. She pressed the enter button. Maya closed her eyes and wished for the best. There wasn’t a jolt, or a jerk, and there weren’t tons of different colored lights like you see in the movies. She just arrived there. The door opened automatically and she stepped out of the machine that looked relatively close to a flying saucer. She ran to her own bed where she yelled at herself to wake up for 10 minutes without result. She sat down on the floor and began to cry. She was more up set then when she was fired. At least in the moment she was fired she knew there was no hope and she ought to just look for a new job. When she opened her eyes her pillow was sopping wet, and blankets were wrapped around her. Who moved her, she didn’t know but she too upset to care anyway. The time machine was gone and so was “the other Maya”. She looked at her phone to see how long she had cried. Her phone read “6:10 a.m. Friday, May 13”.
That evening after work she went back to that address where she rented the machine, and it was an empty building for rent. For the rest of her life, she never knew if the machine work or if it was all just a dream.?