art by Melissa Mead
by Andy and RJ Astruc
Name: Marcus Nills
That field wasn't so tough to fill out. Marcus exhaled and ran his finger down the page to the next section.
Again, nothing to worry about. He tried to stay cool but he could feel his palms sweating around the pen. It was no big deal though. Just a form. Marcus told himself to stop thinking about it, that thinking was only going to make him freak out more. Not that it did any good. The next question was where it got difficult.
Reason for traveling back in time:
He had heard this was the big one. That if you didn't get this one right it was all over. He'd been told about people who hadn't given a good enough reason and they just got a big, fat rubber stamp: Declined. You had to convince them that you deserved it, that you had a legitimate reason and a basic idea of what was going to happen.
It was a big deal to send someone back and alter their history. People always thought it was easy, changing some tiny event or decision for one little person--they only ever approved small things, so nobody could go back and assassinate the president--but they never thought about the ripples. Marcus read all the books after he made the decision to apply, he knew all about how one person not turning up for lunch could cause a hurricane in China. Or something like that.
He just wanted a ripple of his own. Marcus chewed on his lower lip and started writing.
I applied for a job at Ciniflex a long time ago, and got it. I thought it was what I wanted at the time, but I ended up stuck there. I became obsessed with my work and it began to destroy my life. They were always calling me in and asking for me to do little extra jobs--for no pay, of course--and I always agreed. I got into a car accident while I was helping my boss deliver some files across town. I was so stressed out and the weather was bad. I hit a small girl. They said it wasn't my fault, that there was a lot of rain and the road was unsafe.
My wife started to hate me, all because of that job. I was never at home and eventually I came back and she was gone. No note, just a text message saying she wasn't coming back. I started drinking, got arrested several times for stupid things. I'm a wreck now.
He was sweating all over by the time he finished, his heart beating in his ears. But he felt that he had made a good case. That bloody job had started ruining him as soon as he made that split-second decision to take it.
He quickly finished off the rest of the form and took it over to the counter. The analyst took the papers and checked them over, then began putting the information into her computer. Marcus was feeling pretty good, he could see the analyst reading over his information with a look of concern. And why wouldn't people be sympathetic? He'd been through more than most.
The analyst tapped on her keyboard and frowned.
"Mr Nills, have you done this before?"
"Uh, no? Sorry, have I done something wrong? I can fix it." Marcus said, sweating some more.
The analyst slapped her forehead. "Ah! Silly me, you wouldn't even remember if you had. Listen, I'm really not supposed to do this...."