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Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 12:03 am 
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SQUARED TIME

Zone narrator Speaks:

Submitted for your approval, Mr. Maxwell Seconds, a metropolis dwelling rich businessman who is in the market for
recapturing his youth in the Twilight Zone....

A hot July day, 2008, Metro City

We see Max exit his Nissan Infiniti G35, black on black, tinted windows, keyless entry, and several other luxuries...the valet parks it, Mr. Seconds walks up a set of majestic looking staircases into a grand auction hall. He looks like one of the many elite here, wearing a dark suit and tie, and flashy adornments.

He sandwiches himself between a gorgeous brunette with an houglass figure, and a man who looks like father time.
The bidding starts, nothing catches Max's firece blue eyes, until he see its. A Diamond encrusted gold and platinum Rubik's Cube.
He stares at it with lust, and then does a checklist: 1. Cheesy, and gaudy? Check. 2. An enviable Piece? Check. 3. Expensive? Check.
4. A nostalgic item that returns me back to the day? Check.
He had to have it,the bid starts at $1000, then 2 to 3 to 4, finally $5000, he snares it.

The auction is over, he proceeds to claim his prize. The bald curator seals the item in a metal box, and hands him a letter of authenticity.
Then says" Beware, every twist of this puzzle, is a new puzzle".

Max smiles at this, thinking the old man is just trying to mystify the item. He gets back in his Nissan sedan, and races home. He pours himself some
herbal tea, and makes a salad. Then opens the box:

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Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 12:21 am 
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He lifts 'the cube' from out of the box. Admires it, and then notices numbers on each side. Zeros on one side, Ones on another,etc...

Max decides to twist the jeweled cube, and he looks at one side which reads : 10/10/85.

He smiles at this expensive item, then puts it down. He drinks his tea, and turns on a classic radio station: " Back In Time" by Huey Lewis and News is playing.
Then goes back and picks up the item, which is now glowing. The room spins , he is unconscious for a second. Then wakes up on a bed.

" Where am I?" Maxwell asks. He looks at the room, there are posters of The Cure, The Clash, The Police, and other 80s bands. He sees a Time magazine with President Reagan's face on it, turns on a large antiquated television set, and hears" Norm!!!"
What the heck, he asks himself, am I in an 80s themed museum? Does that even exist?
And why and how did I get here?

Then he goes to scratch his face and notices his arms are thinner and smaller than last he remembers. He then runs to the bathroom, looks in the mirror.
Max sees a teen with spikey hair, wearing a dog collar and an army jacket. His jaw drops, " I went back in time? Thats crazy talk".

Suddenly a knock on the door:

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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:26 pm 
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"Maxwell, honey?" announced the voice he recognized as his mother's. "You know, other people need to use the restroom too, sweetie."


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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 9:51 pm 
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Maxwell though back to how he would have responded. After thinking quickly he shouted back, "Get off my back already! It ain't like I've been in here for an hour- Christ, ma - I just got in here a minute ago."

"Maxie, I'm not going to tell ..."

"Max, ma! Max. Not Maxie or Maxwell, just Max. I gotta reputation you know." He waited for her response. It was funny the things you are oblivious to as a kid. He could feel his mothers disappointment creep through the door like a heavy fog. As a boy he didn't see it, feel it, or pay it any attention at all. As a man, he knew he was breaking her heart - but this is the past. you can't change the past without altering the future. He knew this - it was a well documented theory in every science fiction movie he had ever seen. He can't behave anyway other then when he was a young punk teen.

"Max," she began again. "There are five people who live here besides you. You could at least show some courtesy and civility."

Max threw open the door and pushed past her without looking. He knew if he looked at her he couldn't carry on with the charade. "If this is civilization - I wanna be at ground zero," he shouted behind him before he slammed his bedroom door. He flipped on the stereo and turned the volume to "ME." He looked at the knife scratched letters on the console face that used to say max and now read ME. 'God, I was lame,' he thought as he ran his finger across the carved letters.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:49 am 
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Metallica is playing on Max's boombox. One of Max's favorite bands. His nerves are calmed as he sits on the dark sheets of his bed. Then he hears banging on his door.

"What?! Who is it?!!" Max shouts. Then lower's the volume.

"Madonna" said the voice "No...Its your sister, who else?"

Oh Lana, my older sister,she should be of voting age, I have not seen or talked to her in years, when she moved away. I miss her, Max thinks to himself.
" Lana, come in". The door opens, there is a lovely 18 year-old girl who actually is dressed similar to Madonna: Material Girl days.

" Wow, punk, you actually are allowing me in ' Your royal domain'." Lana says skeptically, and saying the last part with her fingers in quotes.

Can't believe I was so cold to her, to not let her in my bedroom, I wish I could have been more mature then. Max trying to stay in his past character " Sure, only for this one time. Now, whats up?"

" Well, Punk," 'Punk' was Lana's sarcastic nick-name for Max, kind of to put him in line abit, he guess. " I found this" Lana shows him the Rubik's Cube, only now it looksjust like the original bright colored version, albeit there are still numbers on it.

" This was like in the family room, you know mom and dad do not like toys there, I got it before like they could find it, now you owe me". She interjects her speech with alot of 'like', valley girl style.

"Blackmail, huh? Lana, come on, why you playing me like this?" Max asks. Lana looks confused.

" Speak english. Now, look, you know its like how we always do it..you done me like this in the past" Lana states in a serious tone. She dangles the item in his face. Yeah, years ago, Lana needed help with chores, and Max said he would do them under one condition, 'Drive me to the mall and back'. So they had a weird symbiotic relation from then on.

" OK, I need like seriously ten bucks, Punk, the cube's staying with me until like you can cough that up. Bye, lil bro, love ya" Lana winks and leaves.

'Shoot, I need that cube, where can I get that kind of cash?' He then looks out the window, ahh lawns...sweet lawns. I remember mowing them for
mullah. Max turns in.

The next morning: Buzzer goes off at 6:00 a.m. Sh-- , school, I can not remember my classes, noooo. He puts on some clean clothes, combs his hair back.
Finds his bookbag. Looks around the room: he sees his science, sociology,and math texts. And his notebook has his schedule on it. " Oh thank God".

He goes downstairs, gets a lunch from his mom, he thanks her, and runs to the bus station.

He sees his old friend Dave standing by the curb. Dave is lanky, he's dressed in a wool trench coat, moused hair, he looks like a new wave fan.
Max says " Dave, long time no see". If I saw this guy in 2008, I would probably have avoided him, how shallow I became, what happened to me? He thought glumly.

"Whatcha talking about? I saw you yesterday" he chuckles " So, are you goin' skip Math class, so we can get some smokes?"

Max is perplexed , should he stay in character, or make a change?

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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 1:40 am 
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Max climbed aboard the bus when it arrived. He thought about mowing lawns and racking leaves all day, but there was something else about today that troubled him. Why October 10, 1985? There's gotta be something significant about todays date. But he couldn't worry about that, he needed to get the cube back from Lana. Arriving on campus, he and Dave stepped off the bus.

"It's not too late to get those smokes," Dave said almost hoping.

Max jammed his hand into his pockets and pulled out what cash he could readily find. He flipped through his change and a few crumpled ones. "shite, I only got a little over $3."

"Rad, that's more then enough for a pack of smokes," replied Dave. "Dude, you could probably even score a pack of cloves."

"Cloves are for espresso bar fags, dude - wake up." Max said more out of reaction then forethought. "I gotta come up with 10 bucks and fast."

"Don't look at me, dude. I don't get my allowance until Saturday."

"It's Thursday, Dave. What the hell do you do with you allowance?"

"Well, we bought that eighth of skunk and and a 12 pack on Saturday. You remember, Becky's party?"

'Becky's Party,' resounded through Max's memory. "Yeah, I remember that party!" he shouted as he back-handed Dave's chest. "Follow me."

Dave rubber his sternum as he trailed after Max. "Where we going?"

"To kick Billy Prescott's ass!"

"Dude, you can't be serious? Billy's like the baddest senior on campus. He eats freshmen like us for lunch."

Max turned and stood nose to nose with Dave. "Did he or did he not snag our sack of buds and bogart at least 4 of our beers?"

"Yeah ... but-"

"But nothing." Max turned and continued his steady and purposeful walk. "That bastard is long over due for an ass kickin'."

"Yeah - right - but you tried that Saturday night." Dave shouted as he hurried to catch up.

Max smiled evil and confident. "That was then and this is now, Dave."

Moving at a rapid yet steady pace they passed through the main quad and headed to the breezeway between the gymnasium and Wood Shop. Standing next to the old oak tree was Max's prey - Billy Prescott. Billy had his back to them and was unaware of Max's approach. Max slowed his pace from brisk to casual and continued his approach.

Dave slowed down too unsure of what Max was going to do. "There's 3 of them you know. Kyle and Tommy aren't gonna just let you get away with hitting him you know?"

Max continued undaunted and silent.

"Max, you heard me right? Max ... Max?"

The tip of Max's steel-toe boot bit deeply in the hamstring behind Billy's left knee - making Billy's weight collapse left. Using his right hand, Max caught Billy by the back of his head and slammed him face first into the tree. As Kyle stepped forward, Max's left hand violently collided with his larynx, stopping him in his tracks. Taking the opportunity, Max kicked Kyle squarely in his balls and dropped him to the asphalt and leaves. "Whatcha gonna do, Tommy?" shouted Max as he kicked Billy in the ribs with all his might before turning and stared manically at the blond boy in gray sweats. "You gonna fight or run, Tommy?"

"We're cool, Max, we're cool!" stammered Tommy holding his palms up in a defensive manner. "Just chill, dude. Just chill."

"You see - that's the problem." announced Max as he stepped toward Tommy. "Me and Dave were doing just that, last Saturday. We were just chillin' when you assholes came over and snagged our stash and beers. Well, this ain't Saturday night and I'm not wasted now. The way me and Dave see it, you guys need to recoup our loses."

"Dude, we smoked that shite already," coughed Billy Prescott with a small spray of blood punctuating his words. As he began to rise to his knees, Dave stepped up and kicked him in the back.

"Break his friggin' neck if he tries to move again, Dave!" shouted Max over his shoulder. 'About time his ass stepped up to the plate,' he thought. "Empty your pockets, chumps. It's time to pay up."

* * *

A thick cloud of smoke gathered in the rafters of the wooden garage. Max and Dave sat waiting out the afternoon and replayed the days events. The made almost 30 bucks in cash, a pack and a half of Marlboros, and Tommy's Sony Walkman.

"MAD MAX!" laughed Dave. "Damn, we are gonna be in so much trouble tomorrow when we show up at school."

"Nothing to worry about, Dave. They ain't gonna tell any one."

"What? Of course they'll tell, you kicked their asses. We're gonna get suspended or worse, dude."

Max snubbed his cigarette into an empty beer bottle. "Dave - we're freshmen. We just beat the shite outta 3 bad-ass seniors. They won't ever live that shite down if they tell. It will just get chalked up as another absent day for us all. I'm telling ya, they split campus as quick as we did."

"How can you be so sure?"

"That's how it went down before. They made up some story about college guys or bikers or some b/s. But they never told anyone."

"Dude, you talk this has already happened or something?" Dave grabbed the beer bottle from Max's hand. "No more beer for you, dude!"

Max realized Dave maybe right. He shouldn't have mentioned that at all. The small buzz made him forget for a second. "I'm talking metaphorically. Every year this type of ritual happens on campuses everywhere. It's a right of passage."

"Dude, that's deep, Max."

Max winked and nodded to Dave. 'It was a better story then the complete truth. Dave didn't need to know that Billy and the boys had jumped him in the breeze way. Everything went down the same way except Dave didn't loose any teeth and I got some cash outta the fight. Time to find Lana.'

* * *

Max made his farewells and returned home. He found his sister and mother sitting on the couch watching TV. Sitting next to Lana, he realized they were watching the nightly news. "Pssst," he whispered. "I got your 10 bucks."

"Not now," replied Lana. "I'm watching this. Wait for a commercial."

"It's just the news."

"And, like, it's just a stupid Rubix Cube - gah."

Max smiled broadly but spoke between clenched teeth. "If you go get it now, I'll make it 20."

Lana sneered like Billy Idol. "You are so lucky it's a commercial. Lets go, punk." Following Lana upstairs, she entered her room and closed the door. A minute passed before she opened it again. "Alright, give me the twenty."

"It's a commercial break, so it's only 10."

"You annoyed me during something important, so, like, it's twenty."

Max paid her twenty and she returned the cube to him. Max began to spin the axis and re align the pieces. "You haven't been playing with this have you?"

"Oh, please." Lana replied as she headed back down stairs.

"What were you watching that was so damn important anyway?" He asked in character more so then actual interest as he fitted a new sequence into the array.

"The Achille Lauro has been hijacked. Duh - where have you been?"

"The Archille Laur-" mumbled Max as the swirling lights engulfed him.

* * *


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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 2:53 pm 
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" Those dudes were caught---" Max said.

" What are talking about? This just happened, you are so weird." Lana spit out.

" Oh, yeah-- " Max regrouped his thoughts, yeah that happened later, " What I meant is I hope they catch these vile
villians."
" How do you know they are villians, like we should know why they did this! "Lana shot back, her green eyes glowed liked an angry feline.

" It this kind of thinking that will ruin this great nation!" Max shouted, his blue eyes narrowed, pointing a finger at his sister.

" Sorry! Like: when did you become a hardcore warhawk, Max?" Lana asked furiously. When she was really angry, she referred to Max by his real name.
" I am not!" Max returned ," I am just saying terrorists should be stopped."
" I agree with that! However, we should know their motivation first, that's all, why do you think they did this?" She asked in an annoyed tone of voice.
" Mental illness!!! That's why people do violent acts! " Then Max stopped in his tracks, what about what I did to Billy? Why was I violent?
Then he laughed, thats different. I did not kill anybody.

Lana said: " With all due respect, Max. All I suggest is: we try to understand our enemies before we do anything drastic. I heard
on the radio that the US and Russia are going to have a summit soon, see bitter enemies can talk."

Thats right, on November 19, 1985 - the 2 Cold War rivals will meet in Geneva: our President Ronald Reagan and the Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev meet for the first time. In 1987, their third summit led to a breakthrough with the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). The INF treaty eliminated all nuclear-armed, ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 300 to 3,400 miles. the final summit in Moscow in 1989, when 30 July Gorbachev and George H. W. Bush signed the START I arms control treaty. Which basically reduced warhead counts on ICBM.

Max countered " Well, you tree-hugging bleeding-heart tea-swilling hippie, I think--"

" Supper, you kids like lasagna, right?" Max was interrupted by his adoring mom in the next room.
"Sure mom," they both said, something the two could agree on.
----------------------------------------
In the dining room: the family sat. A white silk table cloth is covered with neatly arranged expensive silverware and fine china. Mom always did work hard to please them all. They never appreciated- Max never appreciated her as much as he should. Tasting her homecooking was amazing, every morsel tantalized his tastbuds ( yes cheesey saying, but true) to no end.
Ahh, he was back, Max thought to himself.

" Mother, you are the consummate cook, such a delectable and ambrosial repast, premium piquancy, your intermingling of such succulent and savory seasonings and formidible flavours are unrivalled, resplendently rendered, bravissimo!" Max could not help jumping out of character, the taste of her food brought up all the many years of pent-up emotions that were lurking inside.

Mom was flushed red, almost to tears, a smile was brought to her face that could open the gate to the heavens. She was speechless.
Big sis even was reeling, perhaps she misjudged him.
Max's dad was shocked as well and said " Son, you do me proud, where did you learn those SAT words?"
Wow, Max too was astonished by his dads respect. Max never felt his dad cared for him. He then said " Uh, Mr. Wordsworth, our English prof gave us some AP vocab to look at, and I thought I would practice them out here." ( Meredith Fans rejoice.)
Max's dad said " Well, I am impressed, keep up the good work, son." Max smiled, then remember to keep in character again. " Uh, I got to go see Dave about our class project." And then he left the house.

Dave's backyard----

" Max, glad you could make it." Dave declared.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:39 am 
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From the northside of the house came Jeff and Jake, 2 sophomore football players. Max stepped back , fists clenched, and said:
" Dave, whats this? You trying to beat me up? Why? I thought we were tight." Max emitted.
"No, chill dude," chuckled Dave. " The J boys here know what you did to Billy and his boys, and they want to hang with us."
Max was relieved, however the 'J boys' used to harass Max, calling him and Dave 'stoners',and 'burn-outs'. Such hipocrites,
they were the ones with the money who could score the most product, and did. Max was strictly a cigarette smoker, as was Dave.

" How did you find out? " Max asked, it just did not add up, he thought no one was around when he did his assault.

" Well, I was trying to make out with Becky behind the big oak tree, and I heard some noise, so I looked," Jake said "I saw you take out Billy, I was thrilled someone took him down, he kept harassing us Sophomores. I was actually going to help you with his goons, but then the bell rang, and Mr. Wordsworth, with his thick eyeglasses instructed us to get to class. If I did not listen to him, its detention city, sorry about that."

Then the other J : Jeff interjected " Great work. In the future, why don't you do this: Say, 'Hey, Billy boy, you know what the difference between you and the tree is?' Thats when you nail him, and then say ' The tree's still standing.'"
Max giggled, thinking in the back of head ' Wow, Spider-man humor, well you gotta love the big galoot, he tries'.
Jake asks " Where did you learn all those great moves?"
Max can not reveal the truth, that many hard years in the service and learning Ju-Jitsu paid off, " I watch alot of Kung-Fu with David Carradine."
All four laugh heartily.
" So what happened between you and Becky Banks?" Max inquired.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 4:22 am 
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Jake said " Nothing yet. Yet Saturday we are going out to see " Back to the Future", Becky's got a hot sister, Bella, I think we can get her to go out with you. If you are interested, we can double date, you can ride with us in my Mustang."
Max said " Sure, but what about Jeff?"
" Are you interested? Just joking, don't do a 'Prescott' on me, please." All laugh, then Jake continues " Jeff has a girlfriend: Brenda Price."
A cute little number.

"Hey, what about me? " Dave asks " Jake, do you know of any available girls for me, I am desperate."

Jeff says " I will ask Brenda, maybe you can hook up with one of her girlfriends."
Max asks " Yeah, why don't you just call her up, now?"
Jeff laughs " Yeah sure, I got a phone in my pocket that I carry with me everywhere; better yet, I got that Uhura from Star Trek thing in my ear." More snickering.
Ahh, if only these dudes knew how close to cell phone and blue tooth technology they were, alas...To be honest, Max was stunned either of the J boys watched something besides sports, let alone Trek.

Max then turned to them and says sternly" Ok, lets get organized. I am going to train all of you some moves I learned from martial art classes I took secretly, sorry Dave, I did not even tell you, I did not want anything to be leaked to my parents." This was untrue, yet again he could not tell the truth, then he continued.
" If any of you know self-defense and/or combat maneuvers, please step up to the plate, and teach us. Next, we need to stay connected. We need each others phone numbers, class schedules, etc, and we need to know everyone's strengths and weaknesses, the whole nine yards. We need to stay focused, united as a group, any dissent should be handled expeditiously, and eradicated. Who is with me?"

The J boys and Dave raise their hands in unison.

"OK, then, we meet here tomorrow.Same time." Max says, and the J boys leave.

Max looks at Dave sternly and questions" Why did not you tell me they were coming?"
Dave said " Hold on, they told me that they loved what you did. And without asking me: they just told me they were coming back to my pad, just a few minutes before you came, in fact. What could I do?"
Max eased up " Sorry, Dave. I had no idea. Anyhow, I do not know if I can trust them just yet. You and I have to keep an eye on them. Agreed?"
Dave shook his head. Then Max smiled and left.

The Next Day.....

Max returns to Dave's Backyard, yet this time, hes decked out in all black: black shades, black leather jacket, shirt, pants, combat boots.
Dave calls him " Max Vader."
Max thinks to himself, I think I can get used to this. I got a posee, a new girl, acess to a friend's car, new clothes, a new beginning. I am going to make things go my way, this time.
That part of his brain that says altering time is sacrilige is slowly being diminished.
" The future is here !" Max says to Dave.

Then Dave says:

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Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:29 am 
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Then Dave says, "The past few days, dude, it's like you woke up 20 years older but are still the same age. Don't get me wrong - it's freakin' bitchin' - but spooky too."

Max half heartedly shrugged. "Puberty I guess. I mean, I'm still the same guy I've always been. I'm just taking charge of my life rather then just riding the wave out."

"That's the shite I'm talkin' 'bout. Last week we were blazing bongs and trying to get the high score on Defender. Now, you're all taking charge and kicking ass."

"Max squinted and leaned in. "Whatta ya want me to say, Dave? Kicking Billy's ass was like a wake up call I guess."

"I don't know, dude, maybe that's it." Dave mumbled more so then spoke. His head hung downward and stared without focus. "No, that's part of it." He straightened up. "I've known you for 7 years, Max. I've seen you get your ass kicked a lot of times and mostly by your sister. But, dude, you never fought like that. Hell, Chuck Norris doesn't fight like that."

Max could only nod in agreement. Flipping a cigarette from the pack, he slapped his zippo across his thigh to flip the lid open, then brought it back up to roll the wheel against the flint. The flame ignited in his hand as he brought it up, lit the cigarette, and flipped the lid closed. As max took a deep inhale he pondered everything he shouldn't tell Dave and what the pros and cons were. "f@%k it," he said exhaling. "We're going to see Back to the Future tonight, right? You got any idea what the story is about?"

"Yeah ... Michael J. Fox goes back in time to make sure his parents hook up else he won't be born. Siskel & Ebert gave it 2 thumbs up."

"Ok," Max laughed. "Cool. Michael J. goes back before he was born, so there wasn't any time problems with (2) of him existing in the same space and time. But, what if he tried to go back 2 weeks or ten years, what would happen?"

"Wait, wait, I know this." Dave brought both index fingers to his temples to show he was visually concentrating. "There would be (2) instances of him in the time stream and both would end up doing the same thing, right?"

Max handed his cigarette to Dave and pulled up a lawn chair. "Take a seat, dude. This is going to blow your mind."

With raised eyebrow Dave sat in the chair but retained the cigarette. He took a few quick puffs before exhaling, "Lay it on me, Dude."

"Alright, check this out. They older self would be absorbed by the younger self. He would retain all the memories and knowledge of the future self but get the younger more youthful body."

"Ok, so we are going with P. K. Dicks theory instead of Mike Criton's. Ok, I'm with ya." Dave took some more puffs on the cigarette before the concept actually sank in. "Dude - are you sayin' that's what happened to you? Get the hell outta here."

"You said you saw it yourself. It's like I woke up 20 years older - it's 23 to be exact."

"Get the f@%k outta here!"

"Whatta ya want me to tell you? So far I haven't done anything outta the ordinary."

The lawn chair flipped over as Dave suddenly rose. "Nothing out of the ordinary - dude, you kicked Billy & Kyle's ass. No way that happened."

Max tapped his right temple with his index finger. "No, that did happen. Trust me on that, homes, that went down pretty much blow for blow. The only difference was it took place 5 minutes earlier then it was supposed to."

"5 Minutes earlier? That's 5 minutes of life that was altered for everyone there. That's 5 minutes of experiences we have lost."

"Trust me, they weren't that memorable."

Dave took a last hit from the cigarette and crushed beneath his left foot. "They were important enough for you to chose to come back that exact day and date."

Max held up his hand and shook his head. "First off, I didn't chose October 10, 1985 ... It was chosen for me."

Dave began to point his finger only to be cut off again. "Alright, that in itself may add some validity to your protest, it was an important day in my life. But it was an important day in your life too. You got to share in the ass kicking. Tell me that wasn't the greatest feeling to stomp on Billy Prescott like he was a little toad beneath your feet."

"Well, I can't deny that." Dave nodded in agreement. "But if this was supposed to happen, why were you all freaked when the J Boys showed up?"

"They didn't witness it the 1st time. No one did but us and Prescott's Posse. Everyone else was in class."

"So if everything went down the same way, why were you in such a hurry to get it started? Why didn't you wait the extra 5 minutes?"

'Because you got the holy shite beat out of you,' ran through Max's mind and was almost vocalized. "Call it a preemptive strike."


* * *


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Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:26 am 
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Lanky Dave took a drag from a menthol cigarette Becky gave him awhile ago, clenched his teeth and said " You sound like a military expert, like a Black-op guy, what gives?"
Max's thick eyebrows sunk over his eyes in agitation " Have you not been listening?! Ok, I will paint it out for you: I am from the year 2008. I have combat training, I was an E-9, who saw action, a war called: Desert Storm, I probably should not be telling you this, alas... I have seen things you never could dream of."

Dave still skeptical, " So do we get flying cars? Do you watch holographic tv shows? Is the Jetsons for real--"

Max shakes his head " I do not think I should give away all that, at this time. Look, you do not have to believe me, just know its payback time on bullies, are you in?"
Dave taking this all in, began " Where do I sign up? #^(& yeah!!!! Lets put these @#$%!ers down."

Max down to his last ashes on his cigarette, states " Good, now you got to dress like me, I got you a leather."
Dave eyes him " Wow, thanks, is this how its suppose to go down?" Max nods, affirming him.
The air blows, autumn leaves of rust, amber,and ochre rustle, then the J boys join the party with the ladies as promised.
They pile in Jake's Mustang, top down, and they drive to the movies.

At the movies:

All of them sit in the backrow watching Micheal J.Fox and Christopher Lloyd deliver the goods, all the while downing vats of buttered popcorn, and sodas, and trying to get lucky. One of the J boys tickles Becky, who lets out a thunderous laugh.

Then in the front row stands Rick ( the pr--k )Reddman, a Senior weightlifter, rumored to take 'Roids, he turns back and says" One more disturbance, and I will take care of business!" seated next to him is his twin brother Reed ( bad deed ) and two of their lackey Senior pals. who all laugh with Rick.

Max gets up from his chair,and rushes to the front, and soon after him is Dave and the double Js. Max using the base of his hand, connects to Rick's mandible, causing his head to snap back, and blood droplets spraying the air. He then introduces closed fisted punches to his face. Rick is on the ground.
The J Boys pick up Reed and a lackey by their collars, and take them out of from their respected chairs, and throw them to the ground hard. Then, Dave rams a lackey into a support beam. He smiles " That felt great."

Max looks at Rick, and asks " Any other requests?"
Reed emphatically waves his hands no, and he and his minion leave the theater, this is followed with a flurry of claps, the audience loved it.

They go back to their adoring ladies, and watch the movie.

An usher rushes in and says:

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Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 1:11 am 
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An usher rushes in with a flashlight in hand. Pointing the beam at Max and the boys, he says, "Alright guys - you're outta here."

"Why?" inquired Max. "Were we laughing too loud?"

The usher gestured with the flashlight as he replied, "Get up and come with me, wise guy.

Max took a long and languorous sip from the soda until its contents were audibly drained. "Well, I need another soda. Anybody else want anything while I'm up? Ladies? Nothing?" Alright then, I'll be back."

The smell of buttered popcorn filled the air as the usher led him out of the darkened theater and into the lobby. Max knew this scenario too well, they were off to see the manager. As they passed the snack counter, Max sat his empty cup on the counter and requested a refill. Before he could get a chance to get it refilled, he was whooshed away into the managers office.

* * *

Dave, the J's and the girls waited in the lobby by the Centipede game for Max. According to Gloria who was working the counter, the projectionist claims that he witnessed a fight. They had gone into the office 20 minutes ago.

Dave wondered how Max was going to get out of this one. This clearly wasn't a "do over" for them. This was free flying virgin territory for all of them. Max may have had 20 years to figure all of this crap out but he wasn't so lucky. Until 3 days ago, he was that weird New Wave dude who hung out with his metal head buddy. Now they got older friends, foxy chicks, new threads and a different perspective on everything. For the first time in his life, he felt like he counted now. He was somebody. He was part of something bigger that him self, then this town, then this time.

Dave examined The J's and the girls. Young, pseudo preppie, way off of both his and Max's radar screen as potential anything. Now, they are checking out movies, double dating, and making plans for their New World Order. If he wasn't experiencing it 1st hand, he'd never believe it. Even John Hughes couldn't sell this story.

He studied his reflection in the glass windows as he lit a cigarette. The clothes looked sharp. His stance ... a little straighter - a little prouder. Taking a hit, the glowing cherry ember flared, casting a strange shadow and highlight combination in the glass. His features seem sharper, stronger, more defined - but most striking were his eyes. They were different somehow. Brighter, livelier, sparkling with a brilliance he couldn't recall seeing before. Dave didn't know how much of his reflection was true or merely an optical illusion, but he liked it - he liked it a lot.

The door to the Manager's office opened and Max came out grinning like the Cheshire Cat. As he approached the counter, Gloria quickly made him a fresh drink and handed it across the counter free of charge. Dave watched Max as he mouthed the words "Thank You," in that cool way only older men look cool doing - yet Max looked cool doing it. Gloria, who everyone suspected was a lipstick lesbian, actually seems enchanted by his small attentions.

"So what gives, Max?" shouted Jeff across the lobby.

"Nothin' to worry about, Jeffrey. Just a slight case of mistaken identity," announced Max as his slid his left arm around Bella's waist. Looking into her eyes, he winked. "See, I told ya I'd be back."

"So, spill the beans already, dude." Said Jake while kicking the Centipede game as his last man died. "What happened?"


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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 2:07 am 
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Taking them all outside to the parking lot, they gathered around Jake's car and attentively listened to Max's story. "Basically, the theater was too dark to positively identify anyone. With the back-light in the projection room and the film light on the screen, at best, all the projectionist could see would be our silhouettes. Being that Mr. Billings has ran this multiplex for 6 years, he knew most all of us on sight. There is no way he could believe any of us beat up anyone."

"And that took 20 minutes?" Becky said while she loudly popped her gum.

"No, that took less then 2 minutes. Mr. Billings deems himself a good judge of character and although Dave and I are a little delinquent, we're not 'scrappers,'" Max said accenting the quotations with his fingers. "Have any of you ever been in his office before?"

The others all looked at each other and shook their heads.


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" Wow, Max, everything is working in our favor for once in our meager lifes" Dave said, standing taller, looking impeccable in his black leather jacket. " I want to thank you, and hope I never wake from this dream."

Max's lips curl up, his eyes glow brighter under the parking lot's halogen lights. " No sweat, its our time now, right everyone?"

The Double Js, Dave, and the girls say "Yes" in unison, and then Jeff turns on the dark Mustang's stereo. The song "Every Breath You Take" by The Police is playing, the girls instictively wrap their arms around their respected male partner, and they all slowly dance. Then Gloria comes out from the film house. She walks towards Max and says " Baby, you are cooler than an icebox, can I have this dance?"

Max is in a quandry, which girl should or could he dissapoint? He is not tied down to Bella yet, he just started to date her. And Gloria was a girl he had a crush on for years, she never noticed him, until he became a bad boy, that would burn the old Max, yet in this New World Order, he does not care, so what to do?

Then the weirdest thing happened for Max. Bella softly grabbed Gloria's hand, and brought her to dance with both herself and Max, then all three embraced.

This brought up "Whooos" from the dudes, signs of their admiration. Max was thrilled, and yet felt strange, is this normal? Then he said to himself: why fight it.

The song ended, and then the J boys asked " Whats next, where do we go from here, Max?"

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Max smiled broadly, he was elated because he now really felt he was the leader. Here were footballers, who were older, Sophomores for God's sake, who just a week ago would have maligned his good name or would shove him into a locker, who are now asking for his advise. Who are showing Max respect.

" Ok, ladies and gents, we need to step up our game. Jake I love the 'Tang. Yet, we need something that can fit us all comfortably. We all need to find jobs to afford a van. We also need money for other amenities. If we work as a team, our lives will be the most enviable on campus. We will be the Queens and Kings of campus. Is everyone in?" Max looks at his colleagues.

All of them agree by nodding. Then Max grins even larger " Good, let us part, and we will see each other at school tomorrow, and we will discuss further what needs to be done."

Everyone goes their separate ways, except Dave, he stops Max, and says " Look, I like Brenda's gal pal Britanny, yet she's more like a friend. I have a crazy question for you, Max. Ok here goes: could I ask your sister out on a date?" He asks this, thinking Max may go berserk, yet its a chance he will take.

This is perfect, Max thinks: because Max believes Lana is getting suspicious of him, and she may blow his cover. " First off, you know shes older than you,
plus shes a flower power chick. If those things do not bother you, go for it. You are actually saving us, we need you to feed her ideas, that everythings cool.
That nothing is unusual. We need to extinguish her suspicions. You know what I am saying?"

" Dude, thanks for letting me have the opportunity to get freaky with yo' sis. Actually, I do not mind what you said about her, and I will do anything to maintain our new status quo." Dave expelled.

" Ok, first off, what you do with my sister is not to be talked about in front of me, secondly, ask her out ASAP." Max commanded, adjusting the collar of his leather jacket.

" Sure Futureman, by the way, I was just wondering how did you get here? A time traveling Delorean? A space ship? What?" Dave inquired.

Max held out the multicolored cube that he fished from his jacket's inside pocket, and said " This is how".

" A Rubik's Cube? Now I know you are high. How could this little device bring you here now?" Dave asked, partially chuckling out the words.

Max himself did not even know how it happened, yet explained what happened from the start, from the auction house to going home and opeing the box to playing the Huey Lewis and The News song. Even to Max himself it seemed impossible and outlanidsih, yet here it is in 1985, he is standing next to his then 16 y/o best friend.

Dave then asked, " So have you tried playing with the Cube?"
"No, as I told you I was chosen for coming to this point in time for a reason, so I did not want to mess with that. I must be here to fix things, to change an event or events, to make my... our lives better." Max interjected.
" So Max McFly, do we stay friends in the future?" Dave asks. Wow, how naive we were as kids to think everything is permanant. How we think we will marry our hometown sweatheart, stay in the same city forever and stay acquainted with our buddies 'til we die. That was not the case for Max, after High School, Max
went to an out-of-state university, and lost touch with Dave and his past. He did not tell Dave this, in hopes that this time he could stay with Dave and his new crew, So Max bent the truth " Sure, we stay friends" They never became enemies, but friends usually stay in touch.
Max suddenly changes topics " So, whats your take on our new allies?"

Dave, pulled out a cigar, Becky gave him this one too, she must like Dave more than he leads on, he lights it up, and offers Max one " Max, this crew, its perfect-o."
Ahhh 'Its perfect-o', Dave's catchphrase was music to max's ears, and he says " Dave, great, so come to my house and talk to Lana, ok?"

Dave does as said and...

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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:45 am 
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Dave does as Max instructed and to his relief, Lana was actually interested. She agreed to go out with Dave under TWO conditions. (1) Never tell Max what they do together - ever. (2) No sex without a condom. Dave agreed that he could live with these conditions.

* * *

Gloria woke up punctually at 5:45 AM. She fixed her morning breakfast consisting of a chocolate Instant-Breakfast and a granola bar. She promptly turned on MTV to catch the morning line-up. Kurt Loder was going off and Martha Quinn was just starting. 'Martha always had a good first hour to do aerobics to,' she thought removing her night gown to exercise all natural. She tried to get into her workout but each song brought images of Max into her mind. Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Don't You Forget about Me, Can't Fight This Feeling, I Want To Know What Love Is, Relax. She feverishly reached for the remote and turned off the TV. "Damn you, Martha Quinn."

At 6:30, she entered the shower to wash the morning workout off her but she couldn't wash Max off her mind. 'He was Lana's little brother. Although Lana wasn't a queen of the campus, she definitely had some clout with the "in" crowd. Maybe that's where Max gets it from. He's so mature for his age. Kind of rugged cool that other recognizes. Hell, the other boys followed him around like lap dogs and the girls ... they are into him too. Especially that one girl, Bella. She didn't seem to have a problem with me dancing with him as long as she was part of it. I guess she's marking her territory and letting me know my boundaries. Or maybe she was into me because Max was into me? Regardless, some of Max is better then none of him. And if little Bella wants to join in ... '

Gloria stuck her head under to shower nozzle and turned off the hot water.

* * *


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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:20 pm 
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Riiing...ring... its the phone. She dashes to it, forgetting her towel. " Hey, Gloria, what you up to?" Its Max.

She twirls the white curly phone cord around her porcelain looking fingers saying" Uh nothing, hon. You wanna come over?"

" Of course babe, see you soon" They both hang up . A little while later, Gloria, in her pink bathrobe, allows Max in her apartment. He brought some drinks,
some salsa and chips, and a long stem red rose, he hands it to her.
" Gorgeous Gloria, " Max says, recalling her nick-name he created for her years ago, and it became popularized amongst the whole freshman class of Metro High. She really did live up to her name, she could probably win in many beauty pageants if she ever attempted to try out. She was curvy, her hair was dark, lustrous and long. Her eyes were huge chocolate orbs, and her lips were naturally red, like the skin of a cherry.
" I have never felt happier in my life then I am at this moment. You know I had a crush on you like forever."

" I know, Max " Gloria said, now feeling what he feels. Her animal instincts gravitated her towards him, she felt he was a cross between The Fonz, James Bond,
and Darth Vader, it was driving her crazy in love with him.

" You knew? Wow, so why are we just now starting to date?" Max asked while trying to hide his annoyance.

" Sorry to tell you this, Max, yet the old chiche' is true, chicks dig bad boys. Especially ones who's tires are worn abit, if you get my drift. So why are we talking?"
Gloria says this, all the while pulling Max towards her ( using his jacket's collar ) so she can plant her scarlet lips on his. The two become romantic.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:04 am 
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Max puts a tape in a tape deck: Depeche Mode 's World in My Eyes is on it. He got this before its 1986 release, thru a studio producer friend of his sister.

The two bodies dance, their collected sillouette is shadowed on the wall, which looks like a long heart. They move slowly to the beat. The night ends, and Max has to go back home. He sneaks in, Lana watches in silence.

The next morning:

Max stops Dave in the school hallway and says " Dave, thanks for doing your part, you are an admirable soldier, I would have been honored sharing a foxhole in Iraq with you." The reference is lost on Dave, yet he smiles. Max continues " I remember this day, this is the day John Judason, and his 2 cronies: 3 major misanthropes try to embarass us in front of the whole lunch period crowd. They throw dresses at us and they tried to say we were girly men, what my time calls: metorsexuals, or Ryan Seacrest lovers." Again, Dave is lost, yet asks:

" Ok, so what do we do? Get the J boys to back us up? Are they doing this cuz we got girls?"

" Yes, pure jealousy. Well, definitely they are back up, but I was thinking grander. You know Sloan the Slab, the largest Junior 3 times in a row right. Well, I know he has a thing for Brittany. So I was thinking we offer her to him, and in return he helps us out." Max says in a calculated toned.

Dave is startled by such a machavellian plan, yet wonders if this crazy plan can actually work. " You can't just give someone a girl, its insane, and where are our scruples?"

" Just watch me" Max says seriously. He tried to ignore Dave's latter comment.
So the 2 venture down to the far end of the hall where Sloan is sitting alone. He looks at them with disdain, he does not hate them, he is just miserable about his failures, so he wallows alone. He utters " What do you want, Max Vader?"

Max is taken aback, yet is thrilled his rep preceeds him " Well, sir, it has come to my attention that we have rarely hung out with each other, let alone had a passing word for each other, I desire to rectify this situation, care to hang with us?"

Sloan the Slab's first instinct is to say ' I do not ', yet, he thinks hanging with Max's crew has got to be better than sitting by some high school lockers in the corner of the hall. And he thinks, if this is a gag like "Candid Camera" or something, he will repay Max kindly. " Extremely enticing, your palatable proposal sounds really resplendid, I surely shall." Max and Dave are abit shocked by his almost poetic sounding words, then the lumbering giant rises, even taller than Dave, and he shakes both of their hands, and follows them to the other end of the hall.

This is one of Max's crews bases, all of the girls are here: Becky, Brittany, Bella, even Gloria. They all either meet Slab or reintroduce themselves to him.
Max foretold Brittany to flirt with Slab, she at first was repulsed at the idea, but now has a better view of this hulking man, she was smitten, especially since she was so small, she liked this balance. All of them chat, and joke for awhile before class starts, they offer Slab some candy: Chunkys, M&Ms, Reese's pieces, which E.T. made famous, etc..they even buy him a New Coke from the vending machine, Slab and Max both liked the new version,they were in the minority. Then, later, Max pulls Slab aside, and says:

" Sir Sloan, I have observed that Brittany is infatuated with you, would you like me to hook you 2 up?" Max asks the big man.

Sloan the Slab, only having one girlfriend in his life, and that girl moved to different school, and he was attracted to Brittany in a major way,and he kept the thouhgt in the back of his mind ' This may be a set-up, just to easy', yet, said " Definitely."
Max set it up, Brittany agreed, hugged Slab, and complimented him on being a gent.

The bell rang, Mr Wordworths, holding a thick tome, looked thru the cracked glass of his horn rims, and asks all the students to leave the hallways. Max's crew split off to their respected classrooms.

Lunch period:

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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:05 am 
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The bell rings. All the students rush to the lunch rooms and the lunch carts. In the central hallway, we see Max's crew congregate, even Slab tags along, mostly to be with petite Brittany, yet also to hang with his newfound friends.

Just like Max remembered, Here comes large John and his 2 clowns behind him. 3 bullies who were bullied themselves, they just want to keep the vicious cycle going. They blaze past nerds, geeks and freaks, and then they confront Max and Dave. John is holding a ruler in his thick hand to intimidate Max. John says
" Hey, Max Headroom, ti-ti-ti-time to dance!"
Max scoffs at this and proceeds with" John , Max Headroom is an awsome 80s icon that gave represention to a bored youth searching for mordernity and coolness, thus your character attack is pathetic, trite and is an utter failure, let me insert a quarter in you to try again."
This was met with robust rounds of laughter from a sea of classmates.

John tries to hit Max with the ruler, his only recourse. Max takes the implement and shoves it in John's abdomen. Max then strikes John's nasal septum using his left fist. Max brings his left fist back, he strike John's orbital cavity with his right hand, then hits his left one with his other hand and vise versa, multiple times. Max twist his hips to gain extra speed and power. Twisting on the ball of Max's rear foot , made it a lot easier for Max to use the power in his hips to attack John over and over and over again. John crumples to the ground, crimson blood from his mouth paints his white tee-shirt, making it pink, ironic color, huh?

Then his 2 cronies come out with the dresses. A few Seniors come to back up John's pawns, so its basically a mad mob. The 2 jerks approach Max and Dave with the feminine apparel, when the double Js and Sloan step in. Sloan picks both cronies up by their respected tee-shirt collars and slams them into the steel lockers multiple times. He throw them on the ground, and he commenses to step on them, as do Max, Dave and the J Boys. ( In the back of Max's mind is the rationale that these creeps deserve this treatment for the torture they tried to dole out to all the innocents they ever met, plus Max now can forgive them, which in his mind makes it all better). Some other classmates put the dresses on the 2 beatdown thugs.

There is a loud thunderous wave of claps from a plethora of students.
Billy Prescott walks away in fear, then Mr. Wordsworth comes charging down, and everyone dispurses.

Metro High's school day is over:

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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:18 pm 
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6:00 PM - The Metro Mall

While the girls are bustling through the boutiques and fashion stores, the boys head down to the MusicPlus record store. Jake and Sloan stop outside, look at each other, then take the escalator upstairs to the arcade section. Jeff instantly starts checking the pop charts for the latest songs he doesn't have. This left Max and Dave alone to look through the albums.

"Dude, did you see how red faced and outta breath old Wordsworth was when he ran down the hallway?" Asked Dave as he stopped to examine a few albums. "I thought he'd have a coronary right there on the spot."

Max nodded his head in agreement and uttered a monosyllabic grunt. 'Man, shite is getting out of hand. Wordsworth gave me the stink eye like I was the bad guy. He and I had a bond. He was my favorite teacher and now - if looks could kill, I'd be dead. What the hell am I doing? What am I doing to all these peoples lives. why the hell are they following me like I'm a frickin' messiah?'

"Dude, what's the problem?"

"Nothin', Dave."

"Bullshit. We've known each other too long. You can fool the rest of them because they barely know you. But, Max, it's me Dave. I haven't seen you act this way since ..." He thought about if for a second. "Well, since the Future and present Max came together. What gives?"

Max looked down the rows to make sure none of the others were around. "I've been doing some soul searching - if that makes sense. I don't know why I've come back, Dave?"

"To kick some senior ass!" Dave started as a shout and ended in a whisper. "To get these corn holers back for all the shite they did to us."

"Yeah, but that's just it. It ain't just you and me anymore. The J's were never supposed to hang with us. Matter of fact, they hated me. Sloan never hung with us. The girls, that didn't happen. You and Lana - Me and Gloria, that certainly never f@%king happened."

"Dude! You and Gloria?" Dave punches Max in the shoulder. "That's righteous, Dude."

Max pushed the blow away. "No, Dave, that ain't righteous. Stay focused for me. All this happened because I made the events change from how they happened. You didn't initiate that fight last Thursday with Billy, I did, but you backed my play. At the movies, I initiated, the J's backed my play. Today in the hallway, I initiate and Sloane backs my play. It's as if I am the catalyst and you're guys lives are the explosion. I keep wondering what chain of events I'm drastically altering. I mean, all this a-holes who were punks ass bullies eventually left school and had lives. They had to have done something good or decent sometime in their life. And I don't know why I came back to last Thursday. Why ten-ten-eight-five? The cube didn't come with a manual or anything. Did I choose this date or did the date choose me?"

"Have you played with the cube since you got it back from Lana?"

"First thing I did when I got it back was to reverse the sequence of turns I made. I got the light show and everything, yet here I stayed. I even verified that she hadn't played with it prior to making the sequence rotations."

Dave shook his head. "You verified it? How? Do you have instant recall now or what?"

"I asked Lana if she played with it."

"Max, Lana would swear the sky was sunny when its snowing just to f@%k with you."

"Not in this case, we have an unspoken pact. We've had it since we were kids. You don't play with the stuff you've hidden for retribution or extortion. I used to take her make-up if she took my crayons and so forth. If either one messed with the others stuff, my Dad would get involved. And even Mom couldn't save us from an ass whippin' at this point. Dad has a rule, if one of us gets spanked, we all get spanked. We could mess with each other but never cross the line - don't escalate this to Dad level. So, yeah, I trust she didn't play with it."

"Well then, obviously you are here for a reason. The cube won't allow you to go yet or you haven't done something yet. Ok, no problem, we just have to figure out what that is. But in the mean time, kicking the bullies asses is a good time killer."

"Yeah, just so we don't become the bullies ourselves. Kinda like Dennis Hopper in that Twilight Zone episode."

"Dude, we're not Nazi's or the Manson family. Tell me that each and everyone of those dicks didn't get what they deserved?" Dave stuffed the albums he was holding back into a random box. "How many people did we allow to have positive experiences because they will never get pushed around by the likes of Billy or Rick or John? You said it yourself, you don't whether you picked the date or it picked you. Maybe this is what you were supposed to do? Maybe you were supposed to fulfill some karmic destiny to give these guys and ass kicking they were long over-due for? Maybe this is your do-over? Maybe you get to go back and change the things that you made the wrong choices on? Maybe this is exactly what was supposed to happen and you are fixing what the last guy who owned that cube made all screwy?"

Max raised one eyebrow and examined Dave. 'And he said I was deep?' "That's a lot of maybes."

He pushed Max like old times. "What, like you're the only one whose been thinking and coming up with theories? I may not have the years you do, but I'm no slouch when it comes to thinkin'. I've thought long and hard about this and the positives are stacking up fast. Like Gloria - so what gives? I thought you were into Bella?"

Just then, the J's and Sloan stepped up to them.

"Dudes, you need to come with us." Said Jake.

Sloan, nearly out of breath added, "The ladies are in desire of your company."

"Yeah, yeah," continued Jake. "They want to model some of their new ... outfits for you."

Max and Dave shared a brief quizzical glance before Max asked, "What store?"

In unison, the J's replied, "Victoria's Secret!"

Sloan bowed and gestured forward with his right hand. "Gentlemen, this way."

* * *

After the fashion show, that lasted for about 15 minutes before a few of the store patrons protested the under-age sexhibition, they all returned to Music Plus. As they milled around, Max placed a CD on the counter and watched the rest of his posse. 'Maybe Dave's right? They all look far happier then I remember them being. Of course, they weren't a unit then ... now .... before.' He barely noticed the cashiers presence and merely handed the $20 bill over his shoulder. 'No, this can't be a bad thing. There is a reason I am here. Maybe I am the catalyst that brings this bunch together? Maybe we needed to be together for some reason?'

He turned an faced the cashier and perform the routine courtesy's before gathered his change and his CD. He noticed the large cork board with band and play promotion fliers pinned to it as Gloria and Sloan Sloan stood just behind him. "Excuse, Dude? Can anybody post on the board?"

Handing Max his change, the twenty-something new-waver replied, "Anything non pornographic or drug related that is a local event."

"Hey, Max, whatcha gettin'?" asked Gloria as she brushed her body against his back.

"Just a CD," he commented to Gloria before readdressing the New-Wave Cashier. "Any size restriction?"

Gloria whispered, "No," into his ear.

"Nothing larger then 12 by 9 inches." replied the Cashier.

Gloria giggled under her breath as she nibbled on Max's ear.

Max thanked the cashier and gathered his CD. As he turned he became aware of Sloan's presence for the first time. "Whoa, Sloan."

"Are you forming a band, Max?"

"No, I'm working on a deal with Mr. Billings at the Multiplex."

"Oh," exclaimed Gloria. "That reminds me, I overheard Mr Billing telling the projectionist to order a movie for Saturday Night per you. What are you up to Max?"

"A way to may some solid cash for both Billings and us." Max said with a confident smile. "It's timely and trendy and should play repeatedly for a while."

Gloria put her hands on her hips and stared in disbelief. "Are you crazy, Max? People can rent that movie on VHS. Why are they going to come-"

Max placed his finger against her full pouty lips. "Trust Me. They will." He turned to Sloan. "Sloan, can you do graphics on that PC of yours?"

Sloan cocked his head. "Why, yes ... yes I can. And how did you know I had a computer?"

"Not important, Sloan." Said Max before he visually explained what he wanted the flier to read.

Jeff walked up to Gloria and asked, "What's that all about?"

Gloria smiled and batted her eyes, "Max has gotten us into the movie business. Didn't you know?" She turned and scurried after Max leaving Jeff to stand there and contemplate the meaning of her words.

"We are in the movie business? I hope it's porn."

* * *


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"Dave, the Dude, I do not know how you did it, yet you got Lana to order these new movies for Billings Film house, thank you..thank you." Max gives Dave a manly hug.

Dave smiles out " Max, your sister is still in a learning phase, she is still questioning herself. Anyhow, Max my man, I have totally brain-washed her to our cause, shes benign, and unsuspecting, and as you know, besides Sloan here, shes the only one amongst us who is OLD enough to snag R-rated movies. I told her she could get a cut of our royalties. She is totally for it."

Max giggled to himself, 'How silly am I? I mean come on, Lana, my own sister became a cookie-cutter housewife, soccor-mom, with 5 kids, she drives a SUV. She came 180 from her 1985 present self. She was idealistic, and now I see Dave confirms my belief: shes no threat. Shes helping us score cold cash, so its game on.'

Max shakes Dave's arachnoid-like phalanges " Thanks, Dude. Now we will be rolling in the dough, trust me."

Max, Dave and the Double Js go to Sloan's house, they enter his barron white-walled bedroom, even his bed sheets and pillow cases, and furniture are all white, he shows them his Tandy 1000 computer, a hulking white machine, it makes a "whhhhr" sound as it warms up to turn on.

"Sloan, good I see you got a daisy wheel printer, do you ever print out images?" Max inquires.
Sloan grins out " Indeed, in my possession is a 71/2 inch floppy disk of images of breath-taking models and actresses, who apease my ocular senses to no end, quite delightful. by the way, Do you care for a spot of tea, chaps?"

Max nods his head, Dave declines, as Max and Sloan drink English Breakfast tea, the group look at PC pics of Bo Derek, Christy Brinkley, Farah Fawcett, and Jacklyn Smith, all of them pixilated and grainy.

" Perhaps, my dear Sloan, we could alter these images to our advantage, what do you say? " Max questions the large man, who is now garbed in all black like the rest of the crew.

Sloan, caressing the black stubble on his chin, states "Sir Max,my good fellow, in the mininalistic interim of time that I have spent with your crew and yourself, I have observed that your superior managerial skills have only been to our benefit, in essense, I say: Onward."

Max's agenda is unfolding. Billing's Filmhouse is booming as planned, and the Crew is definitely reaping the benefits, as Sloan predicted. The money is rolling in.

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Max's Bedroom later that night ...

Max sat cross-legged on his bed and sketched designs on his art pad. Occasionally he would stop, tear the page from the book, half crumple it as he tossed it through the small basketball net above his trash can. The boom-box on his desk was set at a reasonable listening level and the mellow cool voice of Jim Lad spilled from its speakers. A gentle wind rustled the light home-made curtains and stirred the smell of the burning sandalwood incense throughout his room. 2 firm raps on his wooden door suddenly disturbed his tranquility. "Entrez. Willkommen. Bienvenue. Come on in."

Max's father entered the room and looked around. Everything was neat and tidy. Clothes were in the hamper. Bed was made. Drawers were pushed in and desktop was in an orderly fashion. The smell of old gym socks and stale cigarettes didn't permeate the room. He nodded approvingly before clearing his throat. "Maxie ... Max, is it ok if we have a little talk, son?"

'Wow - dad's asking for permission to talk to me rather than just dictating his commands? This I gotta hear.' Max thought as he placed his pencil and sketch book down and gave his father his full attention. "Sure, pops, what's on your mind?"

His father straddled up to the desk and half leaned, half sat on its edge. "I just got off the phone with Mr. Wordsworth - your home room teacher. He told me you and some of your friends got in a little scuffle at school today. He seemed quite upset about it. I thought I'd give you the benefit of the doubt and hear your side of the story before I come to any conclusions. Is there anything you want to tell me about it that may contradict his story?"

"Well, I don't rightly know Wordsworth side of the story ... so how contradicting it is, I can barely guess. But here is how it went down. You remember Johnny Parks, he use to be our paperboy a few years back?"

His father shook his head not remembering the name.

"He's a corn-fed kid, stutters a lot?"

Father snapped his fingers in recollection. "The stuttering kid who made all-state this year. Yeah, yeah, big kid. Even when he was young he dwarfed his 10 speed."

"That's him. Anyway, John, Billy Prescott and a few other seniors tried to start shite with me and Dave during lunch break. And by shite I mean they were going to try to kick our asses and makes us put girls dresses on. I tried to explain to him the error of his thinking and that just kind of pissed him off, so he tried to hit me with a ruler."

"A ruler? What's that? Some new slang for a bat, a knife ... ?" Replied his father momentarily distracted as he patted his pockets looking for a cigarette.

Max opened his bed stand drawer, grabbed his cigarettes, lighter, and a glass ashtray. He sat them on the corner of the bed. "No, a ruler. You know, 12 inches long, made of wood, used to draw a straight line and measure stuff."

Taking one of Max's cigarettes, he snapped the filter off of it, ran his tongue over the fresh break, flipped it around and lit it. Exhaling through his nose, he said, "Check, a ruler. Gatcha. So then what happened?"

"Well, I broke his nose. I mean, I can't swear to it, but I'm pretty fuc ... damn sure I did. Seeing that didn't drop him, I hit him in the jaw about a dozen times but he wouldn't go down. And when I say I hit him, I mean I full hip cocked fired on him like you taught me from your Marine combat training." Max mimicked the move and punched his own palm for demonstration. "He eventually went down with a thud that shook the pillars of heaven. But, I'm not too proud to tell ya, pops, if that wouldn't have put him down, I'd be wearing a pretty pink dress with white lace trimming right now - sure as you are standing there."

Max's father took another hit from the cigarette, tapped some ash, and exhaled a thick cloud out of his mouth in attempts to hide the ear to ear smile he had. "So, what did your buddy Dave do during all this?"

Max swung his legs out and spun around to get face to face with his father like he was talking to someone his own age, which Max knew too well, was almost the case. "Dave had my back. You see, they had a lovely little purple dress for him. When Johnny went down, more seniors decided that they were gonna get in and kick our ass and force those dresses on us. Dave, the J's and Sloan stepped up and put the smack down on those guys. It was like a WWF cage match, man. No holds bar, last man standing type shi ... stuff."

"Skinny Dave? You tall effeminate buddy with the freak show hair-cut had your back?"

Max hated that about his Dad. He always judged people by the way the looked first rather than who they were. But, different times raised different people. Max learned to accept this eventually but he never thought he'd have to be dealing with it again. "It's a New Wave hair style, pop. Lots of people wear their hair that way." Max retracted from the confrontation. He'd had this battle before and he knew this one wasn't ever going to have a clear cut victor. "But yeah, skinny Dave helped me beat on those a-holes. Not after the fact like some puss-wad, but from the get go, during the thick and thin. You'd like him if you actually gave him a chance."

"Could be? You a shed some light on a side of him I never thought existed. Hell, these past few days, you've opened my eyes about you too, young man."

"How so?"

"You're more like your old man that I gave you credit for." He snuffed his cigarette into the ashtray and dragged in counter clockwise circles until it was extinguished. "You know, Mr. Wordsworth thought you stabbed him with a knife. He said he saw you make a jabbing motion, this kid Parks stumble backward and a crowd gather round. When he got there, the kid was bleeding profusely."

"No wonder he gave me such an evil look," exclaimed Max. "Poor old Wordsworth thought I stabbed him?" Max started to laugh more with relief then with actual merriment. "Yeah, I guess I kinda did stab him when I think about it - but not with a knife." He shook is finger in protest. "When he tried to hit me with that stupid ruler, I took it outta his hand and rammed it into his fat belly."

"That sounds like some pretty real Green Beret type shite right there."

Max instantly noticed his father's tone and he was right. That was some serious hand to hand training. Desert Storm instincts still run deep in his reactions. Other people might fluff it off but military trained people recognize that move. "Well, you should know. You made me learn that move."

His father looked at him quizzically. "What? When did I teach you that? I never taught you that?"

"Sure you did. Summer of '79, after they took to consulate in Iran. You were so sure that we were going to have a terrorist invasion, you made me and Michael learn all sorts of combat training." This was a half truth that had a 50% chance of success. Yes it was true that his father did get all paranoid and train his older brother Michael all summer long, but he didn't train Max. However, his father was drinking heavily back then and he may not remember everything with much clarity. "Come on, pop. You gotta remember that. Mikey and me had to get up every morning at 5 AM and train until you had to go to work. Hell, you even tried to get Lana involved. You really don't remember that?"

His father scratched his temple and opened his hand dismissively. "I remember training Michael?"

Max stood up and did some military drills and exercises reciting military cadence from memory. "Come on, now do you remember?"

"Yeah, yeah - of course I do." His father said earnestly, trying to convince Max as much as himself. "I guess I was just more focused on Michael that I forgot for a second I trained you too."

Max shrugged faining like it was no big deal. "Wordsworth, man pop, I gotta talk with him and straighten this out."

"That's a very mature answer, Max. Very mature."

"Thanks, pop." Max smiled and basked in the moment. "When we talk about this in 5 years, you ain't gonna try to pretend you don't remember this, are you?"

They both laughed heartfelt and heartily. The father and son talk continued for about another 20 minutes and a few cigarettes. Max knew he and his father never had this talk. They never bonded like this nor took the time to just talk with each other without it turning into a fight. In the back of his mind, Max knew his father would die in 11 years from emphysema and heart disease. This was something Max often longed for after his fathers passing. To have spent time with him as a friend, as a buddy, as an equal. Well, here was that moment and he seized it, not wanting it to end but knowing it would.

Putting out his last cigarette for the evening, his Father looked down at the sketch book and tilted his head to read the caption. "DSoOz?" He looked at Max blankly. "What the hell does that mean?"

"It's a movie poster concept I'm toying with."

"Yeah ... your sister mentioned something about that to your mom. You got a deal with Billings. Some sort of Midnight Movie?"

Max raised his eyebrows and smiled broadly. "Well, I figure I'm too lazy to actually work but I need money. I was talking with Mr. Billings last Saturday and pitched him this idea. I figure the movie is only $200.00 to buy a copy of the print or $100.00 to rent it. If we don't cover the rental fee, I'll pay the difference and deal is over. If we make rent, we split the take at the door. If he thinks it's profitable to do it again, we buy the print, split the door, and keep doing it."

Max's father nodded neither showing approval nor disappointment. "Sounds very lofty and well thought out, Max. But, let me know how much scratch you'll need if your experiment bombs."

Max laughed. "No worries, pop. This is just the first in a long line. Pretty soon, you'll be borrowing money from me."

"With a name like, DSoOz - I wouldn't get my hopes up."

* * *


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Max calls up Dave , 'the Dude' and says " Come on over, I got the best idea yet, I just need your help." Dave jumps on his black 10-Speed, and motors extremely fast , due to his having long skeleton-like legs. Soon he arrives at Max's room huffing out the words " What's - so- important - that I -- I 'm missing The A-team now?"

Dave looks around the immaculately clean room of Max's, 'Further proof of ghostly possession', he guffawed to himself.

Max shows tall Dave a wonderfully rendered illustration, that he did on white poster board.

"Hey, that looks just like the girls in sexy halloween costumes" Dave declares, his eyes widened. " Wow, you are an excellent artist, I never knew, yet with you I know I should expect the unexpected. By the way, what does DSoOz mean?"

" Well, I was thinking it might stand for : Desirous Seductresses of OZ? What do you think?" Max posed the question to Dave, while rolling a thin cigarette on his table, he closed both ends of the zigzag, and offered it to Dave, the lanky gentleman lit it up using his silver Zippo, a luschious plume of smoke enveloped Dave's cranium. In the background, an old track of the Dead Kennedy's was playing on Max's black boombox, which sat on his dressing drawer.

"Mr. Max, I think I like the title : 'Delicious Sweeties Of OZ' more, yet thats me. Anyhow, did you ask the girls yet about being in movies?" Dave asked curiously, he gritted his teeth, and pushed out more smoke.

" Mr. Dave, no, not yet. I like this idea, I just hope the girls do not fight for top billing" Max blurted out, quietly snickering to himself that this reminded him of
Billings who he is in business with, kind of an odd connection, yet it is what it is. " Look, off topic for a sec, if you do not mind, I think we all should get haircuts to help us look abit more professional, what do you think?"

Dave was abit leery, then said " What, your militant dad get to you? I love my hair, yet I am game if you do it too." He says this feeling his own spikey colored hair. Max just nodded, then said " In the meantime, I am going to talk to the girls, and get an idea what they think."

Max uses his sister's phone to call the girls to meet him up at Kirks' Coney Island in the mall. They all grab a booth, and he orders them all food, he rubs the waitresses arm, and says " Please give me the bill when we are finished, thanks dear." She nods and smiles a grin with her Bazooka Joe bubble gum clamped between her side pearly whites, she then goes off to the kitchen.

Raven-haired Gloria inquires " Max, so like why did you bring us here? Whats up, honey?" The last word of hers put abit of jealousy into the other girls at the table, they all kind of like Max, even if they were with other dudes of Max's crew, Max was just kind of special to them.

" Gir--er...ladies, I offer all of you a proposal of a lifetime. I feel each of you are extremely attractive, and intelligent, plus you all have radiant personalities, and special skills needed for the task at hand --" These glowing words really resonated well with the females at the table, the last part caused them all to beam. All of the ladies felt Max was asking something personal, risque, and taboo, and yet so appealling.

" My sweet lovely creations from the heavens, I want to ask you a question, there is no coercion here, I just want to know if--" Max was interrupted.

" Yes, yes, we will do it, we are yours" Becky spoke for the group, jutting her lovely 18 year old 'legal' frame at him, she is one of the only good seniors at Metro High in Max's mind, she was nearly falling out of her black laced bra (it had a small pink bow that sat between both c cups), which was beneath her dark silk shirt that was partially unbuttoned, quite a lovely sight.

" You do not even know what I am going to ask " Max said, with a laughing grin on his face, then it hit him, he removed his dark ray bans from his handsome face, no, 'This in not righteous.'

What Becky is suggesting is truly exciting for Max, yet his mind is at a crossroads, split between being a man in his thirties being in a 15 year old body dating 2 girls, now maybe 4 girls? Or is he is a 15 year old with the prescience of himself in his 30s? Max went back in time into his own former self's body, he knew this, yet his mind was perplexed. How will he be judged in the afterlife? Was he on the right path? Whats his next step? When will this ride end? I need to do the right thing, but how? His mind raced with a million questions.

" Look, I was just wondering how would you all like to be in indie movies? Here is a roughdraft of what the movie poster will look like " Max unfurls the posterboard with their stunning visages on it, and continues " I saw how you all walked the runway at the VS store, you are all money. What do you all think?"

Not exactly what bright-eyed Becky had in mind, yet thought maybe from here, she could get what she wanted, the other girls looked at each other, at first curiously, then each smiled out:
" For you, Max, the world, yes I would love to." Or they said some such varient of that.

Max was beyond cloud 9 and said " Thank you, thank you thank you, I love you all, auditions start in 2 days."

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For the rest of the week, Max tried to get a one on one talk going with Mr. Wordsworth. No matter how he tried he could not pin him down. Of course, missing a few periods here and there didn't exactly help his cause, but he had things to do if he was going to have a better turn out then last Saturdays premiere. And with both Bella and Gloria vying for his time, he seemed to never have an abundance of it to spare. He was well aware of the irony in this statement, him having traveled 23 years back in time. But since this is the year the Cube chose for him, he had to do the best he could until he figured it out.

He walked into the schools main office and found Mrs. Winwood behind the counter. She was elderly when his parents attended here, he found it hard to believe that she was still able to function but there she was, taking phone calls as she filed folders and sorted papers. 'She'd fit in quite nicely in 2008,' Max though to himself. 'Man, with a blackberry, laptop, and blue-tooth, she could rule the world.'

"Maxwell Seconds, shouldn't you be in class?" She inquired as she held the phone to her shoulder. Never missing a beat, she lifted the handset back to her ear then to her shoulder. "Well, what is it? I am a very busy lady today."

"I want to leave this envelope for, Mr. Wordsworth. I've been tryin' to talk with him all week, but-"

"3rd Row, 4th box," she announced before answering the question of the caller without missing a beat.

Max walked over to the East wall where the wooden message boxes resided just behind the swinging wooden door of the counter. Pushing the half gate open, he stepped into the inner sanctum of the schools operations and stared at the space designated for Wordsworth. It was empty.

"3rd Row, 4th box," she repeated.

Max slid the envelope into the space and quickly left the area. 'OK,' he thought. 'Now the ball is in your court, Wordsworth.' He turned and waved farewell to Mrs. Winwood as he left the office.

"Get to class, Mr. Seconds." She shouted after him. Picking the phone back up to her ear she continued her conversation. "I don't know what he wanted. Something about an envelope for you."


* * *


Saturday, October 26 - 10:53 AM

Image

Jeff sat and stared at the Poster Max had made of the girls. "Man they look foxy, Max. Down right drop dead gorgeous. What does, DSoOz stand for anyway?"

"Dark Side of Oz," Max replied as the barber cleaned up the wild hairs on the back of his neck with a straight razor. "However, Dave dubbed the picture, Delicious Sweeties Of OZ, which got me thinking about our future. Trends and fads are fine for a quick buck, but not in the long run. We need to keep coming up with a bigger and better gimmick - something permanent. Besides, we need something eye catching - I see it holds your attention."

"It most certainly does, Maxwell." Commented Sloan from beneath the hot towel wrap 2 chairs over. As he laid back in the chair, a young Hispanic woman was busily completing his manicure. "One question though, why is Britney dressed as a witch? Are you trying to subliminally imprint some deviant dark entity beneath her demeanor?"

"Subliminal, yes. Trust me, Sloan, I love Brit like like as sister-" Max thought about that for a second. "Actually, better then my sister. But you gotta admit, of our ladies, she is probably the most wholesome and demure. No matter how I started to draw her, I couldn't go sexual with her image - not that she isn't - but it comes back to the whole sister aspect. However, to get that image out of my mind, I pictured her in that satin witches outfit she bought for Halloween. I know she wants to do the traditional Margret Hamilton green skin and warts, but sex her up a little - now she's mysterious and dark. The other side of sexy. Quiet, brooding, wicked."

The barber turned his chair around and faced Max to the mirror. He held up a large hand-held so that Max could examine the neck line edge. "I don't get people coming in and asking for this cut very often. I didn't think a kid your age even remembered who James Dean was?"

"He's right, ya know. No offense intended, Sloan, but Dude, she gives me a boner just looking at her like that." Jeff looked away from the poster and examined Max's hair cut for the 1st time. "Whoa, Dude, you look like the Great Leslie from 'The Great Race.' You know, that old 50's actor?"

"Tony Curtis," both Max and the barber said in unison. They both exchanged a glance in the mirror and smiled knowingly.

The barber removed the gown cover from Max and shook the loose hair off and too the floor. Looking over at Sloan he asked, "How's he coming, Zeta?"

"A few more minutes, George." she replied with Spanish-American accent. "With one this size, it takes a while."

Taking a small whisk broom off of it's hook on the side of the counter, George made tiny yet flamboyant brush strokes to tidy his work area and chair. smack the back of the chair when he was done, he smiled a toothy grin at Jeff. "So, which 1 of them young ladies is your girl, son?"

Jeff flipped the poster around and pointed over the top edge at Becky. "This one here, George."

"In my day, we'd call her a hum-dinger."

"Well, she has given me a hummer," replied Jeff with a large grin knowing that the double entendre sailed miles over the old barbers head. "I'll have to ask about the dinger when I see her."

The little brass bell rang violently as Dave and Lana entered through the door. Lana was the 1st to speak. "Like, Oh my gawd, Max! Holy shite little bro, you look good."

Max smiled. "Like what did you expect?"

Lana walked a slow and inspective circle around Max. She looked him up and down. Instead of blue jeans he was wearing Slacks. Instead of combat boots he was wearing Melton Oxfords. Ash she completed her walk around him, he flipped up the collar on his gray Polo shirt and smiled. "My brother the GQ-YR."

Zeta was done with Sloan and helped him up and to the Barbers chair. George quickly unwrapped the warm towels and began to apply a thick foamy lather of shaving soap to his Sloan's beefy face.

"Excuse my ignorance, Max." Announced Sloan as he sprayed the lather from his lips. "I know what GQ is but, YR?"

"Young Republican," answered Dave as he sat down in Zeta's Chair.

Zeta eyed Dave carefully as he sat down. After a second, he realized she was staring at his hat, more precisely, his hair under the hat. "What's wit your hair?" She queried.

Dave pulled of his baseball cap to reveal his new hair color, which was actually pretty close to his real hair color except with blue highlights.

"Jesus Cristo!" exclaimed Zeta. "Who did this to you?"

Dave rolled his head to his left shoulder in the direction of Lana. "She did."

"Hey," protested Lana. "I'll have you know it was all blue when I started. I had to use 2 bottles of Clairol to get it to that state."

Max sat a $100 bill on the cutting table and motioned to George it was for everyone.

Zeta rambled off a continuous self dialog in Spanish that contained only 2 words that were perceivably understood by all; Armature and Puta. Taking Dave to the Sink, she began to was his hair, still muttering in her native tongue.

Before Lana could protest any further, Max grabbed her by the arm and dragged her outside. "Come on, Lana, let's wait outside."

Grabbing the poster board from Jeff, much to his complaint, Lana examined it out on the street. "First you become the big man on campus, then 2 girlfriends, a Movie deal with Billings, and now frickin' Di Vinci to boot? Dude, you gotta be an alien. Where have you taken my punk brother and what have you done with him?"

'Think fast, Max, change the subject.' "Yeah - you're one to talk. Where's my hippy-dippy sister who loathes my best friend for years and is now dating him?"

"I never loathed him?" She protested. "I just figured any friend of yours was ... well, a friend of yours." She placed her hands on her hips and cocked her head. "Why? What's it to you anyway? What's he been telling you?"

"Not a thing. And lets keep it that way. Agreed?"

Lana looked down at his neatly manicured hand before she shook it. "Alright, Mr. Alien, agreed. But what have you done with my little brother?"

Max laughed and shook his head.

"Fine ... don't tell me then. But will you answer 1 question for me?"

"If I can?"

"What the hell does DSoOz mean?"

* * *


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Max inhaled the air, he could smell Lana's shampoo ' Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific',( a long name with a memorable ad campaign). Its floral scent brought back several of his deep memories of his comradery with Lana. How they would make a fort out of the couch cushions, she was the captain, because she the elder, and he the first mate,and several other positive events shared by both.
He said " Well, my lovely sister, I am keeping the title abreviated, an acronym if you will, to get people to ask the same question you and everyone who has seen it did. I kind of want to keep the title up to interpretation, yet officially it stands for " Dark Side of OZ"?

Lana is taken aback by Max's compliment, smiles and says " Thats an unusual name. You seem to know what you are doing, I am sure it will be a hit. Just curious is this going to be a take on The Wizard of OZ? ."

"You can say that, yes" Max tells her this, not letting her know all the details that this is going to be a hard PG-13 movie, that takes some risks, he knows he can not make it an R, because some of the players in the film are underage, as is he, yets hes going to be " Pushing The Envelope".

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9:00 PM

Bella sat nervously in her room - waiting. Whether it was nervous jitters, anx ridden anticipation, or bottled up sexual frustration were questionable causes but all (3) were very plausible. Here she was, 16 years young, is part of an entrepreneurial endeavor with close friends and romantic relations. She thought about the later for several seconds, "relations." Although it was true she and Max had been dating, Gloria seems to have already marked her territory and claimed him. 'Hell, Max and I haven't even made out yet and she's acting like they have been doing the dirty deed.'

She walked over to her chrome and glass vanity and plopped onto the gold crush-velvet cushion atop the saddle bench. Leaning her elbows on the glass top, she rested her chin in her palms - staring at her reflection. 'I don't get it, I'm cute.' She thought matter of factually to her reflection in the mirror. clicking on the light, she stared at the Bella in the poster and then at the Bella in the mirror. "Before Cover Girl" She said pointing to her reflection. "After Cover Girl ... and Sassoon ... and ... Jose Freakin' Ebert." She said venomously while pointing to the reflection of the poster.

She flipped open the top to her make-up box and began to riffle through it. Grabbing her eyeliner she drew an "X" across Gloria's picture. "Alright, you slutty bitch, it's on!" She turned the tip of the eye pencil around and jabbed it into the little black sharpener With determined purpose she forcefully shaved a new point. Pulling the liner pencil out of the sharpener, she blew the tip free of and residue. Digging deep in the box, she found a disposable lighter and lit the new tip for a second before extinguishing it with a grunting exhale of breath. "If this is the way Max wants to see me," she said applying the liner and comparing it to the drawing. "Then this is how Max will see me. I'm not letting and lesbo slut try and take my man before I even had a shot at him." Pausing, she compared the eye-liner to the drawing again and reached for the mascara. "Max Seconds may not know it yet, but by tomorrow morning, he's goin' to have MY scent all over him or I'll die trying."

* * *


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6:00 a.m the next morning.
Audition day for the DSoOZ movie.

Max's crew unloads from their new black van that they put a down payment on, Dave said it reminded him of him of " the A-team" van. They got the money from their side jobs, and other means. Gloria contributed with her earnings from the movie house. Dave dipped into his trust fund, the girls gave a part of their allowances, the J boys already had jobs, and coughed up a bundle, Dave mowed some lawns to drop a wad, and Max's dad even kicked in some funds to help out the new entreprenuers, even though Max protested this at first, he said to himself that he would payback 'dear old dad' soon.

Max was tight with the school janitor, Mr. Ken Klien, who the kids nick-named Mr. Clean, in his white overalls, he even sort of looked like that Proctor & Gamble mascot, the bald dude with the golden earring, Mr. Klein gave Max the key to the school auditorium, for an hour.

The auditorium was the site for the auditions.

Max had everyone ( except himself and Dave, of course ) line up against the wall, he sat in a director's chair, he even stenciled in his name on the back o fit, in his right hand was a blow horn. Dave next to him, like an advisor. The girls were dressed to the 9s in their lovely costumes, while the dudes wore nice dark suits.

" Ok, all of you wonderful people, as you all know by now, we are here to screen for a new indie movie we are developing: DSoOZ. If things goes well, we can franchise out. So lets begin, Dave please hand out the roughdraft scripts." Max says this looking at them slowly from left to right, and back again. Dave hands a hefty script to each member.
" Ok, I want each girl to partner up with a dude. I see we are missing one male for this, ok, Dave please join one of the girls, " Max points him in the direction of the line, he partners up with Bella, Sloan with Brittany, Becky is with Jeff, and Gloria with Jake. " Very good, now I want each team to read the first page, one group at a time please."

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First up is Bella and Dave. They read their lines, getting to a romantic scene, where Dave has to kiss Bella. Bella feigns ignorance, and says " Ohh, Maxy, I do not know my motivation, could you please come here and give me pointers, sweety."
Max raises an eyebrow, and saunters out of his chair to meet Bella, he says " Ok, the line from the man is ' I give all my love for you, my queen' your cue is to lean in and kiss him. You do this because you believe he is not lying, and you see how passionately he needs you, so--" Bella grabs the nape of Max's neck and leans in and proceeds to kiss Max, with a very long luscious kiss. Max pulls back, and Bella asks" Like this?"

Max's mouth is now covered with dark crimson lipstick and he vocalizes " Yes...yeah like that, that was superb." Max is titillated, yet is put together enough to know the show must go on. Gloria however shoots a cutting glance at Bella, Max continues " Ok, Uh...next." Max tries to wipe the red make-up off his face.

The rest of the crew's teams do try-outs, at the end of the auditions, Max start analysing who was the best at what, who should play what role.

Dave comes up to Max privately " Max, you are such a dude, be careful though, I think Gloria is ticked offed at Bella, her eyes could kill."

Max is non-plussed,and says to himself: 'this is not good, I should know that juggling 1 babe is hard enough, I have been in a string of long relationships, now I got 2 babes to manage with, I hope it lasts, hmmm?'
Then Bella sneaks up behind Max and again kisses him, this time on the cheek, she then hugs Max.

" Bella, baby, you look like Avril Lav-" Max offers, forgetting for a second what year it was, now knowing they do not know who Avril Lavigne is, and changes it to " A very lovely lady." Then asks, changing the subject " How do you like the script?"

Bella in her dark black eye mascara, eyeliner, and dark lipstick, turns to look Max directly in his bright blue azurian orbs " I love it, especially our love scene, er Dave's and mine that is."

Max says " Great, you were excellent. " Bella hears the word 'excellent', it sends a shiver down her spine, she is thrilled.

Max then uses the blow horn " Ok, everyone, positons will be posted at 3pm, here in the auditorium, I will see you all in school." Everyone goes their separate ways, except for Gloria, she approaches Max.

"Max, what was that kiss?" Gloria's voice's volume has increased a DB or 2 from her normal, her face is slightly flushed pink.

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Dave saw this as his cue and he hurriedly walked Backstage towards the exit.

Bella, who had barely heard Gloria's protest as the auditorium door closed and locked behind her, fervidly tried to open the door to no avail. She quick turned to her left and ran towards the exit in the direction of the rear entrance of the auditorium.

Max, 38 years old but now once again reliving his youth at age 15, all the while still possessing his 23 years of obtained experience, calmly looked at Gloria. His brilliant hazel eyes sparkled green in the stage lights. He mused to himself how many times he had had this discussion in his life with various women - most older then the one who confronted him now. The one thing they all had in common, regardless of their age, was that they all believed: Sex equals a relationship. Apparently, Gloria was no different.

"Well!" she reiterated in a demanding tone. "What the hell was that kiss?"

"It was a kiss from the girl I happen to be dating." Max said calmly but distinctly authoritative.

Gloria dismissed his statements with a wave of her hand and smiled with cruel seduction. "Oh no, sweetheart. She may not know it yet - but you are all ... mine."

Max's smile was broad yet closed lipped as he laughed through his nose. "Really? I don't suppose I get any say in the matter?"

Many thought crossed Gloria's mind simultaneously and bombarded themselves behind her eyes. She was unsure whether she wanted to hit him or kiss him. 'How can he not be mine after that day at my apartment? He made me feel like no man or woman ever had before. It was sexy, nasty, and passionate. Why didn't he yearn for me like I do for him?' "Max, Max, Max,," she said taking one hip swinging step with each mention of his name. She rubbed her hand across his chest before purposely moving it lower. She pressed her body against his and spoke in bedroom soft whisper, "You can have say in anything you want. Anything. Anytime. Any place. Any where. But remember, Max, you maybe dating sweet little Bella but you've been f@%king me. Why is that, Max?" She slide around him making sure she tantalized him with every motion. "Are we just f@%k buddies?" She firmly engaged in a passionate French kiss with him.

Grabbing her around her taut and slender waist with his left arm, he reached up grabbing her by the hair on the back of her head. He forcefully pulled her head back to break away from her lush exploring lips. He could feel her quiver with sexual pleasure at the action. "You're a bad, bad girl, Gloria."

"I am what you made me." She concluded with a tongue rolling growl.

'Well, if that ain't just a karmic bitch slap of truth?' He thought as he lowered his left hand and slid it along her hip. "You're a little power slut, aren't you?"

She ran her tongue across the front of her teeth just barely touching her top lip. "I am whatever you want me to be, Max."

Removing his hand from her hip, he briskly slapped her ass. Again, he could feel her quiver with delight. "Then I want you to be a good little girl and stop being jealous of Bella."

Gloria batted her eyes and pouted. "Is that what you want, Max?"

Releasing her hair, he gently caressed her cheek and ran his thumb down her protruding lower lip. "That's what I say."

She swallowed his thumb to his palm knuckle and slowly withdrew her lips around it in a suckling manner. 'That's what you say now. Just wait Max, you will soon forget all about Bella and then you will be mine ... all mine.'

* * *


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Dave sat about half way down the flight of stairs that led up to the back stage entrance. He smoked a cigarette as he waited for Max. Taking a long inhale, he rubbed his hand across his hair still trying to get use to the new style. 'I look like David Bowie & Ric Ocasek's love child,' he mused to himself. Taking one last hit, he flipped the the filter toward the bottom of the stairs - missing Bella by a sparse few inches.

"Sorry, Bella," he exclaimed as she rushed passed him. "I didn't see you."

She neither acknowledging him nor the cigarette incident. The door was locked but still she tried to force it open. Frustrated, she kicked the door with all her might, nearly knocking herself over the railing as she recoiled from the force. "God damn it!"

"Whoa, babe, what's the matter?" asked Dave as he stood and climbed up the stairs towards her.

"That damn slut, Gloria," she screamed in a hoarse angry voice. "That bitch is trying to move in on my Max."

Dave fained ignorance. "Max and Gloria ... no way, babe. Max is in love with you." Reaching the top of the stairs, he could see that she had tears streaming. Having no siblings of his own and new to dating, he wasn't sure how to handle the situation. He quickly decided to talk to her like she was one of the guys - a soft, fleshy, weeping guy. "He doesn't care about Gloria in that way. Besides, isn't she like a dike? A lesbo-nese? A labia linguist?"

Pounding on the back door with her fists, Bella screamed, "She's a god damned whore!"

"Bella, chill out. You're gonna-"

"F@%k you, Dave!"

Dave retreated a step. "Fine. Serves me right for givin' a shite and tryin' to set you straight. Believe what you want." He turned and descended the stairs. "I mean, what the hell do I know about it - I'm just his best friend. But if you keep acting this way, you're just gonna push Max away from you and who knows ... maybe even into her arms."

Bella closed he eyes and shook her head. He was right. She's acting like a little brat rather than the woman Gloria obviously already was. She took 3 long deep breaths. Leaning over the railing, she yelled down, "Dave ... I'm sorry. I'm not mad at you."

Stopping below the staircase balcony, he struck a match against the wall and lit a cigarette before looking up at her. "Yeah, I know that Bel. I also know why Max hasn't tried to put any moves on you yet."

She slid from the top to the middle rung of the railing. "Why?!?"

"Because he's a gentleman. And gentleman don't behave that way with a lady."

"That doesn't make any sense."

Dave walked back towards the foot of the stairs as Bella met him at the landing. "That's because you are used to dating boys. All hands and tongue with only one thing on their minds, Sex. Max doesn't want to have sex with you."

"He doesn't?" Bella exclaimed with raised pondering eyebrows.

"No. He wants to make love to you."

"That's the same thing."

Dave laughed his nerdy half snort giggle. "No ... no it isn't, Bel. Sex is purely a physical action with lust as its primary component. When a man truly makes love to a woman, it's an exchange of souls. A sharing of ones self beyond just the physical and into the spiritual." He placed his arm around her shoulder and walked her towards the van. "You see, Gloria, is only offering the physical. And if she gets it, it will be just another conquest and she'd move on. Do you really thing an 18 year old woman wants a 15 year old boy? No - not in the long run. She may use him as a toy until she tires of him. But I guarantee you, once an older more experienced man - or woman - came along, she'd be gone."

"Max knows this?"

"Who do you think broke it down for me? Max maybe the wisest 15 year old this world has seen in a long time. And I'm not just sayin' that 'cause he's my best friend."

"Yes, but you are his best friend," Bella commented bluntly. "How do I know you aren't just lying for him?"

Dave took a last hit from his cigarette and crushed it beneath his loafer. "Well, you don't. But trust me, if I was gonna lie for him, don'tcha think I'd have a better story then love and sex?"

"Well, yeah, I suppose that does make sense. But I still don't trust her."

"Never said you had too. I just said I'd tell ya what I knew about you and Max." Dave said slyly as he removed his arm from around Bella's shoulder. Reaching up with both hands, he used his thumbs to wipe away the mascara tears from her cheeks. "Trust me. Max explained it all to me."

Bella's blue eyes glistened in the autumn sky. "So making love is a spiritual exchange of ones self, eh? Yeah, that totally sounds like Max."

"Totally."

Bella gave him a gentle push and then wrapped her arm around his waste. They both continued to walk towards the Van where they could see Sloan & Brittany making out. "So, is that what it's like with you and Lana? A complete exchange of souls?"

"Lana and me," replied Dave. "Nah - it's purely physical."

* * *

As Dave and Bella entered the parking quad, neither noticed that Mr. Wordsworth had been observing their entire conversation from the shaded corner near the auditorium. Sorting through his many assorted keys that adorned the large key ring, he nervously scanned the area around him, then the keys, then the area. Finding the key he was looking for, he climbed the rear stage steps, unlocked the door, and slipped inside the auditorium.


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Max sat alone in his directors chair examining his notes and comments. He created a hand-drawn spreadsheet in his sketch pad where he weighed out the pros and cons of everyones performance. He had less then 20 minutes to make up his casting list but he only had 2 things occupying his mind. Bella's Kiss and Gloria's accusations. The later he knew how to deal with, Gloria was legal and over 18, he had been there before. But Bella was virgin territory for him - literally. He knew he was only 15 years in body but in mind and spirit he was 38. That's statutory, even if he's legally underage too, his soul isn't. What kind of hell is he creating for himself. When he makes his final stand for judgment, what will his defense be? 'Yes, Sir, God - she was 16 but I traveled back in time to when I was 15, so that makes it alright.' Disgusted by his own response, he tossed the sketch-pad on stage and headed for the side auditorium exit.

Retrieving a cigarette, he leaned against the crash bar and stepped outside. Flipping down the door cleat, he closed the door until the cleat hit the door jam - leaving it propped open a few inches. He lit his cigarette and thought about the days that have passed. 'Did I come back for this? Is this what I'm supposed to be doing? Sure - I prevented Dave from getting his ass kicked. Chewed through the high school bullies probably saving dozens of people from humiliating experiences that I never even heard about. Made some friends out of old enemies. Hell, even got laid by one of the hottest chicks that ever walked this campus. Now I'm setting up an enterprise that will make them financially secure as well as myself. How the hell can this be wrong?'

Reaching in his coat pocket, he pulled out the Cube and inspected it for the millionth time. It still was made of diamonds, rubies, emeralds, topazes, etc, embedded in what could be either silver, white gold or platinum. 'A stupid toy for a bored middle aged rich boy.' He mused while shaking his head. 'I don't know why I even bid on this damn thing anyway? $5,000.00 I hated these damn things when I was a ... my age. Hell, I hate auctions too. I get invitations and announcements all the time, why did I attend this one? Why? Why? Why?!?'

Discarding his cigarette, he stuffed the cube back into his coat pocket. Entering the propped door, he found himself singing, Money Burns A Hole In My Pocket more like Bill Murray then the Frank Sinatra he was going for. Walking down the aisle, he thought he saw someone sitting in a theater seat. "Gloria, I told you to come back at 3 o'clock with everyone else."

"I'm sure she will come back at 3, Max. I'm sure they all will." Announced Wordsworth glaring with disappointment more so than malice.

"Wordsworth? What are you doing here?"

"Better question, Maxwell, what are you doing here?"

Max shrugged. "Casting a movie?"

"Don't play dumb with me, Maxwell. You know exactly what I'm talking about."

Max grabbed a seat leaving a one chair separation between he and Wordsworth. "No. I'm afraid I don't."

"You were not afforded this opportunity to come back in time to sew the wild oats you failed to reap in your youth." Wordsworth pointed is aged and gangly finger accusingly. "You have disappointed me, Maxwell. Of all my students, you were the most deserving of this opportunity. I knew it from the first time I read your current affair about the taking of the Achille Lauro ."

"Wait, wait. I never wrote any paper on the Achille Lauro ."

"Correct." Announced Wordsworth using his finger like a conductor's baton. "But the 1st time you were here you did. It was poignant, insightful, but most importantly, it was just. You argued both sides of the argument without showing favoritism or bias to either side. Quite frankly, it was work far ahead of your years."

"You said the 1st time I was here." Max stated coyly. "What do you mean?"

Wordsworth stared into Max's eyes with a, "Are You Serious," gaze. "The 1st time you were here, David was beaten up on October 10, 1985. You retaliated and went home. Apparently, you and your family witnessed the events of the Achille Lauro unfold and you used your anger to justify the hijackers actions yet condemned their way of thinking. The next day, you returned to school but David didn't. We he did return, everyone assumed you had beat him up - including Jake and Jeff. You and David stopped being friends because he never told his new friends the truth. He went with the in crowd and you joined the ROTC. Is any of this ringing a bell for you?"

Max starred in disbelief. "How the hell do you know all this?"

Reaching into his vest pocket, Wordsworth brought forth a 23 piece slide puzzle about the size of an index card. It was made out of silver for the body and gold etched image piece slides. "Do you think you are the only person that can travel through time? I knew when I read your original paper it was written by a much older person. but I had nothing to prove otherwise. But when you didn't repeat the actions this time around, my true memory was alarming me to the change."

"True Memory?"

"Our true memory of what has occurred," stated Wordsworth replacing his slide puzzle into his vest pocket. "Regardless of how many ripples we create, we always know what our real time-line was. We also know when people are playing with it all willy-nilly as if they didn't have a care how it affects others."

"Hey!" protested Max. "1st off, I didn't ask for this. This whole time travel jazz was forced upon me. 2nd, I'm worried every single damn day about what repercussions my mere existence is having here. And 3rd, if you knew what was going on - why the hell did it take you 2 f@%king weeks to come talk to me?"

Wordsworth looked at his lap for a second before clapping his hands and looking up. "Quite frankly, I though you were going to kill me. There, I said it. I went into hiding. I'm not proud about this fact, but for the record, you scare me Max. I have to ask you though, are you The Collector?"

"The Collector?"

"So, you don't know then?"

"Duh! Does it look like I know what the hell is going on here?"

The side door suddenly opened wide sending streams of sunlight into the darkened auditorium. Everyone was returning for the casting announcement. Gloria was the 1st to enter, followed by Dave the girls and the J's. Sloan was the last to enter and close the door behind him.

"We'll talk more on this later." Whispered Wordsworth as he retreated into the shadows and made his way toward the stage exit.

* * *


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Max's crew enter the auditorium for casting announcement. They line up. Max holding a paper megaphone to his lips announces the parts,
Dave gets the first male lead. Gloria gets the first female lead, he continues giving everyone their parts. Then, Max tells them to meet back at the auditorium
at 6 am sharp tomorrow morning, then he dismisses the cast.

He sits in his chair re-reading the script and planning on how to make the crew even more successful, when a female figure enters stage left ( literally ).
She is far off, and a bit obfuscated by the dim lighting of the room, yet Max could tell the figure was a female. The figure moves closer. She looks familiar to Max.

" Gloria? I thought you left." Max blurted out abit puzzled.

"Close, but no cigar, my name is Loria, and you and Wordworth are the not the only time-travelers. " The woman said, she indeed did look like Gloria, but slightly older, her hair was slicked back, and she wore a tight black dress that hugged her curves severely.

" Let me guess, so you are Gloria with a different name, 'Loria'? , why not Lora? How did you come here? And are you from the year 2008? Why are you here???" Max asked even more confused.

"Ahhh, so many questions, well, good guesses, I was Gloria, changed my name to be different, Lora just was not pizazzy enough for me, Yes, I am from oh-8. and how I got here, is via this" she pulls out a Rubik's Snake fom her D and G purse, the toy has similar number markets like Max's cube.
" And, to be honest, I am here to stop you from getting romantically involved with Bella, the future is not bright for your union ,sorry to say."

Max is about to say something harsh towards Loria, than decides to play her game, it comes to him the Goal, so he can gain possession of her time piece. " OK, everything makes sense,
just one thing though, we need to unite all the known time pieces together to fight the Collector. Are you in agreement?"

Loria ponders Max's offer for a while, then says " Absolutely, wonderful idea, lets gather the remaining pieces the Time Collector does not have, and take him down." She says this with a cheshire cat grin.

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Max smiled an equally wide and mischievous smile in return. 'You lying bitch,' he thought to himself. "So, tell me, Lo - how is it that you can come back to this time as your older self? Certainly, that has got to cause a time loop or something?"

"It's Loria, sweetheart, not Lo."She stated with an air of disdain.

"Mia coppa, Loria, mia coppa. So what gives?"

She stepped forward and squeezed his left cheek between her thumb and index finger. "I forgot how cute you were at this age. So brash and impulsive."

Max smiled and batted his eyelashes all the while thinking of the several ways he could kill her where she stands. He knew intuitively that she was trying to push his buttons and illicit a response; a response she wasn't going to receive. "So tell me about the Collector."

"All in good time, Max." She paced around him in a circle studying him as much as he studied her. "Aren't you the least bit curious about you and Bella?"

"Hasn't happened yet so I don't want to spoil the surprise."

"Or virgin sacrifice." She stated as jest but jabbed with the impact of snide sarcasm.

"Something like that."

"Ah, but you told me all about it, Max. You said it was very disappointing."

Max raised his eyebrows twice. "Well, I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now."

"Yes you are." She accented with a guttural growl.

"I'd much rather hear about us."

"Oooh, there you go being brash and impulsive again."

Max shrugged. "Well, ya know, the impulsive side of me wants to bend you over on center stage."

Taking a quick and audible gasp of air, she purred, "Oooh!"

"But the brash side of me wonders why I'd settle for mature you when I can have teen model?"

If looks could kill, Max would be dead. He knew he had touched the nerve she was trying to stimulate in him.

"Experience, sweetheart."

Max stepped forward and cupped her left cheek. "Fierce and passionate, Gloria. Some things never change."

She pulled her head away from his hand. "I told you, it's Loria now. Aunt Loria to be exact. We do have such a strong family resemblance after all. Come on by the apartment sometime, Max. If Gloria's not there, I'll be. And who knows," she shouted over her shoulder as she turned and strutted up the stage steps. "Maybe if she is there, we can have a 3-way. Oooh!"

Max watched as she seductively crossed the stage and faded into the shadows. As the 1000 possibilities crossed his mind about his next move, 1 audible thought was produced: "f@%k!"

* * *


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As Max stands in front of the stage, Dave 'The Dude' rushes towards him, he is out of breath, panting out the words " Max----- Johnny 'Judas' Parks
kidnapped the J boys and --- and is ransoming them up to you--- and read this--" Dave holds out one of his spidery like hands and offers up a golden envelope to Max.
Max opens it up diligently and it reads ' Max, we got your recruits, and if that is not tempting enough, we got the gift of 'Time' for you; bring us Bella. So if you are smart, which you are, you will meet us at the Metro park, be next to the George Washington statue, at 10 pm tonight, so we can exchange gifts. Sincerely, Johnny.'

'Never knew Johnny the Judas to have such nice diction, perhaps he is better on paper, I can smell a trap a mile away, yet the gift of 'Time', he must know something, have to formulate a plan before I go,' Max thought expeditiously to himself then blurted out " Dave, I know this is a trap, I have to go, for your safety, you should stay".

Dave, his lungs now recovering, says " Are you out of your mind? Of course I have to go, you are the brother I never had. So, I say we get Sloan to join us and--"
Max feels warm inside from Dave's words, and says " Thats a great idea, we just need a game plan. " The 2 drive to Sloan's home. They discuss the situation with him, and he is in, and he devises a covert plan that they decide to utilize.

Metro Park, 9:59 pm, the night sky envelopes the city.

2 trim figures, a male and a female, in all black, from head-to-toe stand next to the first president's statue and they are suddenly abducted by 4 of Johnny's goons.
Johnny walks up to the taller figure and stutters " Ma-aax, Thi-i-is time I-I-I win, which is the -the -the way it should be", his goons cheer and let out " Yeah, we win".
Johnny thens shouts at Max " Yoo-yoo-you be-be-beat me in school. Ge-Ge-get on your knees, Now!!!" He spits as he says 'Now', the two figures kneel, and Johnny removes their black masks, and sees that they are not Max and Bella, rather, 2 Samoans, Sloan's younger brother and sister.
Just before Johnny can react, out come Sloan, his 2 older brothers, Max and a few freshmen and sophomores who were beat up by Johnny and co.
All of them surround Johnny and his possee. [In the meantime, Dave rescues the J boys, he unties their hands, and feet, and they join in to fight Johnny's gang]

Max's crew and his new followers attack the goons, it looks almost like WWIII, just savage chaos; Sloan and one of his older bigger brother just keep pummeling Johnny with haymakers, and then Sloan grabs Johnny from behind and locks his arms behind him, the older brother just upper cuts Johnny a multiple of times, he again crumples to his knees, and then surrenders. The J boys get revenge by beating on 6 of Johnny's henchmen, who are now all battered and bruised. Sloan's other elder brother is out attacking as many goons as possible.

Max, after being finished with punishing 2 of the Johnny's goons,they now lie on the grass in pain;Max moves to Johnny and asks " So Judas you surrender? Do you promise to never bother us again?"

Johnny spits out " uh--no--yeah", Max instructs Sloan to tighten his grip on the big jerk and asks him again , Johnny then howls " YES!!!Yes. Yes! I give, none of us
shall interefere or harass any of your members again from this time onward" Interesting how a little pain improves his elocution/speech.
Max still 'not to convinced' says " Please instruct your gang to cease all hostility on us. As you see, our forces grow everyday, if you come for us, we will
only multiply, and believe you me thats no lie!"

Johnny then shouts out " From this day forward, my gang must never harm, annoy, irritate or disrupt Max's crew, nor shall we ask or hire others to do that,
Johnny's gang will touch nary a hair on any of Max's crew nor their associates. If any of my gang goes against this promise, they shall suffer the consequences
from my hands and then Max's and his crew, is that understood?" He angrily asks his gang of goons.
In unison, they raise their beleagured voices " Yes, its understood!!!" They all stop fighting. Everyone parts way, except Max, who grabs Johnny's arm, which is like a tree branch, and asks him:

" What is this gift of 'Time' you wrote about in your letter?"
Johnny points him to a dark backpack that is on the ground, he then proceeds to open the bag, pulling out a clock radio, with 'TIME' insribed on the side, " I got this from Mr. Klein, the superintendent, he says it can make people time travel, can you believe that? " He then proceeds to laugh.

Max looks at it carefully under the moonlight, it has similar markings on it like the cube and the snake, he pretends to laugh and lies to Johnny " Thats preposturous, time travel is impossible, why did you try to bait me with this ? "

Johnny wanes from laughing and says " Well, I am sorry to say I easedropped on you and Prof. Wordsworth, you 2 were discussing time travel, and ridiculous stuff like that, I conjectured that you might be lured by this. Hmm, odd, you did come pretty promptly, let me guess, you are from the fututre, hahahahaaaa!!!!" Johnny's laughs again, it was like a roar.

Max was nonplussed for a moment, thinking this simpleton was onto him, yet asked him" Funny indeed, you know what? That is quite an interesting item, that clock that is, how much do you want for it?"

"So I guess a date with Bella is out of the question, heh-heh, well, how about your watch? " Jonny inquired.

Max looked at his wrist, he looked at his Finely crafted silver Citizen watch, and recalled that he replaced this with a Rolex years later, so he decided to make the trade.

He snatched up the Clock Radio, and said " Please keep your promise, Johnny, or you know what will happen" the 2 parted company.

Max was pleased, this just may be the third component he needs....

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The next day.

Max enters Prof. Wordsworth's office and shows him the clock and the snake. Wordsworth eyes the items and asks " How did you get these?"

Max tells him everything and then asks " So is this clock real?" Wordworth nods positively and says " Very good, we now only need to get 4 more time pieces, then we have enough to take to combine them and use them against the Time Collector."

Max asks " So where are the last 4 pieces?"

Wordsworth smiles and shows Max a small sundial and says " By chance, I have been going to Salvation Armies, Flea Markets, and now garage sales, where I found this baby, same markings, got it for a fin, worth every red cent. I even got the phone number of one Miss Maya Thomas, the lovely owner, of the yard where the goods were sold. So in truth, we are down to 3 more piece, do not know where that is, plus we have to find the right used bookstore to host our project."

Max just rattles out and then asks " Well, this is good news, yet we still have 3 time pieces to go. How are we going to find those?"

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* * *

Max placed the clock and Rubix Snake into his backpack and left Wordsworth office. As he walked down the locker lined hallway, he noticed a rather large crowd gathered at the main entry to the school. He thought nothing of it, instead he found himself preoccupied with the events that had unfolded over the past few days. The unexpected arrival of Loria, Johnny Parks little abduction ploy and the gift of Klein's clock. Johnny seemed to know a little too much about what was going on with time not to have had some inside information. He claimed he over-heard his and Wordsworth conversation in the auditorium - which seemed highly speculative now.

Max ran Saturday afternoon back in his mind. There was no way Johnny Parks was in that auditorium. He's a linebacker, he moves like a bull in a china shop rather then a cat stalking his prey. His presence would have been given away. Besides, all the doors were locked except the side entrance. 'There was no way he slipped past both me and Wordsworth.' he though as he paused briefly at the water fountain. 'And his whole diatribe about he and Superintendent Klein just doesn't seem to fit what I remember about both of these guys. Johnny "Judas" Parks sold his own teams playbook to East Valley High for a hundred bucks. No way would Klein ever confide in him about anything. Especially anything that deals with time travel. Klein was a straight shooter and disqualified both Metro and East Valley from the all-state games last year. I can't see him even wanting to talk or be around Johnny after that betrayal let alone confide in him like a priest in a confessional about time travel.'

Continuing down the hallway, the crowd grew thicker and Max found himself having to serpentine the on lookers and idle masses that had built up. 'And why the hell would Judas care about Bella? She's too young and wholesome for his tastes. And that whole apology and soliloquy about he and his crew never messin' with my crew again seems really odd now. I mean, who talks like that anymore. Certainly no football player I ever met. Hell, even Sloan doesn't drop into 16th century Shakespearian elegance when he speaks. It's almost as if he was following some type of script. But whose script and why so elaborate?'

A loud clicking followed by microphone feedback cracked over the loudspeaker system momentarily before an unknown masculine voice announce: "Maxwell Seconds ... please report to the principals office. Maxwell Seconds, report to the principals office immediately."

Max could feel about a hundred eyes turn and gaze upon him. Undaunted, he moved past the staring, whispering on lookers and made his way towards the main entry. As he maneuvered to the principals office he glanced out the glass windows and doors. He could see the Channel 10 News Van outside along with several police vehicles - both state and local. Stepping into the Principals reception office, he found 2 State Troopers guarding the office.

"Are you Maxwell Seconds?" Announced the heavy set Trooper who was obviously the voice on the loud speaker.

"Yeah - that's right." Announced Max with a tone of apprehension and frankness. "What's this all about?"

The 2 troopers looked at one another before the Heavy set one spoke again. "Follow us, son."

"What's this all about?"

The 2nd trooper held the door to the Principals Office open while the 1st repeated his request with more insistence. Max entered the oak paneled office to find Principal Frank seated behind her large desk with 2 Plain Clothed officers standing on either side like book-ends. Miss Frank had obviously been crying for her eyes were still red and her mascara smeared under both eyes.

"Take a seat, Max." Instructed Miss Frank with a hoarse cracking voice.

Max unslung his backpack from his shoulder and placed it next to his right foot as he sat in the chair before her desk. "What's this all about?"

"We just want to ask you a few questions, Max, if that is alright?" Spoke the 1st Detective.

"And you are?"

The Detective retrieved one of his cards and placed it on the desk before Max. "Detective Sargent Dan Perry. And this is my partner Sargent Padgett."

"Well, officer-"

"Detective," corrected Perry.

"Mia coppa, detective." Max said through a wide and toothy smile. "Well, detective, do I need a lawyer present or at least my parents? I am a minor you know?"

"Why - you got somethin' to hide, kid?" Interjected Padgett.

Max examined Padgett and dismissed him with his eyes. "It's not everyday I get called into the Principals Office ... more like once a week. But when we have 2 distinguished members of Metro's finest in the room and a news crew outside, it makes one wonder what's going on. So tell me, Sargent, do I need a lawyer?"

"You've been watching too much Hill Street Blues kid. We just wanna ask you a few questions regarding your whereabouts last Friday."

Max thought about the question for a second. "I was here at school. Afterward, I hung out with my friends at the multiplex."

Padgett reached into his inner coat pocket and produced a folded copy of TDSoOz poster. "So, you got anything to do with this?"

"Yeah. It's a midnight movie show. I worked out a deal with Mr. Billings. Is there a law against a movie theater showing movies?"

"It says here that the movie is shown on Saturday night." Continued Padgett.

"Yeah."

"But you were there on Friday Night too? Why?"

Max looked at Padgett incredulously. "To watch a movie. I know you may find this hard to believe, Detective, but not all of us are A-Sexual like yourself and we have this little courtship ritual called dating. You should try it some time."

"Look you little snot nosed punk!" bellowed Padgett.

Detective Perry stepped between them. "Bill, calm down. He's just a kid."

"Maxwell," interrupted Miss Frank. "This is a serious matter. Your anx ridden responses only magnifies the intensity of the situation. It does not alleviate it. Just answer the questions without personal observations."

"Yes, Miss Frank," mumbled Max remembering he is supposed to be 15 and not yet a full grown man. "Look, I went out on a date to a movie. After the show we all went home - end of story, Why? What's going on?"

"You didn't perchance head home by way of Maple Street, did ya, Max?" Inquired Detective Perry.

"Why?" asked Max with suspicion in his voice. "What happened on Maple Street?"

"Just answer the question, Maxwell." Insisted Miss Frank.

Max rose from his chair. "No, I don't think I will."

"Sit down, Maxwell." Stated Miss Frank as the heavy set Trooper blocked the door.

"You know damn well that Becky and Bella both live on Maple Street, Miss Frank. Tell me what the hell is going on or get my parents and a lawyer down here."

Padgett stepped beside Max. "You want a lawyer punk? You got it." Padgett slammed Max against the wall and forced a handcuff on his left wrist. "Maxwell Seconds, you have the right to remain silent. If you can not afford an attorney, one will be provided for you."

Detective Perry grabbed the backpack away from Max as Padgett continued reciting him his Miranda rights. Perry unzipped the backpack and emptied its contents on Miss Frank's desk. Along with books, notepads, and pens tumbled out Klein's clock. Shaking the bag briskly, nothing else fell from the backpack.

Max maintained his composure but stared in disbelief. 'The snake is gone.'

Perry picked up the clock and examined it carefully. "Maxwell Seconds, you are under arrest for breaking and entering, theft, and the cold blooded murder of one, Hiram Klein."

"Not smart carrying stolen merchandise from your murder vic with you, kid." Announced Padgett accusatively as he pushed Max through the now open door and into the reception office. "With this and what we got outta your buddy Dave's locker, you boys are looking to go away for a long time. Maybe even get the chair."

Dave, who was likewise handcuff, sat in the chair next to a trooper. Both boys were then shuffled out of the office, out the main door and down the steps to the waiting police cars. Being roughly shoved in the back seat of the same car, Dave slumped his head downward as Max looked at the commotion outside. Flashing cameras, spurious reporters from different channels, journalists, and various on lookers peering through the windows to try to get a closer look at the 2 boys. He searched for any sign of the girls or the rest of his crew but saw none. As the the police cruiser pulled away, Max could see Johnny "Judas" Parks standing on the corner.

As the cruiser passed, Max found himself staring. Johnny pouted with exaggerated lower lip and crocodile sad eyes. He waved and mouthed the words, "Bye, bye, Max," as his silly expression transformed into an evil grin.


* * *


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" I get one phone call, right?" Max asked the officer in blue. " I have watched my share of Adam 12 to know that, now come on!!!"

The officer, whos face looked like a rock sculture, became ever so much harder, he rattled out " Yes, just one call, after that you are up a creek!" He hands Max
a black corded phone receiver.

Max dials home " Hello, ma, could you give me dad, please? Its urgent ma, sorry I can not explain it to you" The 38 year old man, for the first time truly recalls what 15 feels like, here he is helpless in need of patriarch, it reminded him of the time his dad helped him find his stolen bike, when Max was 12.

" Son?" Max's father's deep voice was like a fountain of water for a drowning man, it was heaven.

" Dad, I need you. You see, I--" Max was interrupted.

" Say no more, Sloan and his father related the Metro Park incident to me, I am going to get you out of there, and I am going to have a long talk to Mr. Parks, Johnny's father, enough is enough. Don't worry son, I will see you soon" Max's dad said, then they hung up.

Max was sent back to his cell, Dave was sitting on a bench, his eyes were red from crying, he begins to speak.

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"We are so screwed, Max." Dave sobbed more than he actually spoke. His thin gangly frame shook with a combination of fear and distress. "They got us framed like the frickin' Mona Lisa. Them cops ain't even looking for other suspects - we're it in their eyes, dude."

"Dave ... dude, chill out." Max said as he removed his sport coat. "They haven't even processed us yet. We're minors. They can't do shite until our parents get here."

Dave looked over at the adjoining cells. Men, various aged and ethnicities, sat or stood watching them. A few blew kisses or made sexual gestures. "By tonight, we are both gonna be somebody's bitches man."

Max chuckled and shook his head as he sat on the cold steel bench. "f@%k, dude, butch up already. They are just punking you man." Max lit a cigarette and passed it to Dave. "They are just like dogs. Don't let them see your fear."

With shaking hands, Dave brought the cigarette to his lips and took a long drag. "That macho brave shite may be fine on the school yard, Max, but this is some serious shite, dude. Frickin' murder one. We don't have any solid alibi but that bastard Johnny does. He's got his whole crew to lie for him."

Max lit a cigarette for himself and exhaled. "Think about that for a moment. Johnny Judas has a bunch of people to alibi him ... no big surprise there. Hell, tell me Sloan and the J's wouldn't do it for us."

Dave nodded and took another hit from the cigarette.

"What bothers me is, he pulled off a crime without leaving any finger prints, witnesses, or signs of forced entry. But somehow, he manufactured enough circumstantial evidence to point the authorities at us. Hell, he figured out how to get that stolen stuff into your locker without breaking into it and leaving any physical damage. Does this sound like the dumb-ass Johnny Parks we know?"

Dave shook his head and mumbled, "No."

"Damn right. And none of those jock Motorhead freaks he hangs with could think of a way either. The only truly clean way to get in or out of anything takes a set of keys. A key to get into both Klein's house and another for your locker."

Dave nodded his head in agreement. "Yeah. Hell yeah. Johnny and his crew would have used bolt cutters, crowbars and brute force."

"Brute force being the key in this case. Like when they grabbed the J's and demanded me and Bella as ransom. That is strictly small time, strong arm tactics. That's not someone who could plan the perfect murder and theft." Max rose and began to pace the holding cell. "Now check this out. The cops are on us about Friday night, which means that Klein died sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning. Johnny told me he got the clock after he overheard Wordsworth and my discussion in the auditorium on Saturday. But if Klein was already dead, Johnny couldn't have had the conversation with Klein - which was obvious anyway - but he wouldn't have known to grab the clock. Besides, if he was really there in the auditorium, he would have saw the cube and Wordsworth slide puzzle, and brought back a toy of some sort, right? But he gave me a clock. And not just a clock, an actual time piece according to Wordsworth. Now, regardless of his personal motivations, I seriously doubt even Johnny is dumb enough to go back into a house he committed a murder in and run the risk of being seen."

"So, like, Johnny didn't do this?"

Max took a hit from his cigarette and shook his head. "No, he's not smart enough to do this. He's just a pawn in play."

"Just like us then?"

Max smiled as he crushed the cigarette beneath his foot. "You don't give us enough credit, dude. You don't go through this much trouble for a couple of pawns."

"Ok, ok," Dave began to see the big picture. "So we are part of the monarchy. Your like the King and I'm a Bishop or knight or somethin'. So just who the hell is our opposing court if Johnny is just a pawn?"

"That I don't know," said Max as he threw his hands into the air. "But I think I've met the Black Queen."

"Yeah, Miss Frank," remarked Dave as he hummed the Wicked Witch theme from Wizard of Oz. "Dee dee dee da dee dee. I'll get you my pretty and your little friend Dave too."

"No, but not dismissed. I'm talking about somebody who was there when Wordsworth and I had our discussion."

"Wordsworth? Really? Unless you know something I don't, I would have never guessed him as a queen."

Max gave Dave a double take to confirm he was kidding. "No. Funny, but, no. Someone who desperately wants Bella outta the picture. Straight out told me that was why she was here."

"Gloria? No way, dude. She was outside with the rest of us at the Van."

Max grimaced a little before stating, "Loria. Gloria's future self came up after you guys all cut out. I have no idea how long she was there for, but she knew about Wordsworth and my discussion."

Dave tried to take a hit from the cigarette but found it had already burnt down to the filter. "Gloria's future self? Nah, can't be. No way. I'm no expert on the subject, mind you, but everything I've ever read on-" Dave looked around and lowered his voice to near a whisper. "Everything I've ever read on time travel that's just not possible. Look at you. You came back 20 years and you are the age you are supposed to be now. 2 identical versions of the same entity can't exist in the same time space continuum at the same time. That's the theory and you're the fact. You became your old self ... past self as it were."

"All I'm telling you is she was here, dude. Smoking hot and 40."

Dave shook his head. "That can't be."

"Look. Maybe she subscribes to the Back to the Future Quantum Physics Club or something - I don't know. But trust me. It was Gloria. Lips, tits and hips, Gloria. Age 40. Ain't no ifs ands or buts about it."

Dave shook his arms and body like Robbie the Robot have a malfunction moment. "Allllllllll-right! For sake of argument, she can exist as separate entities in the same time stream. How the hell did she get back here?"

"The Rubix snake." Max whispered between his smiling teeth. "Remember, I told you I had it in Wordsworth office. I placed both the snake and the clock in my backpack but only the clock came out. And I put the snake in before the clock, so it couldn't have fallen out along the corridor from his office to the main entry."

"Dude, you walked through maybe a hundred people. Anyone of them could have lifted it from your backpack."

Max thought about it for a second or 2. "Not enough time. Besides, when my name was announced, the people spread apart like I was Moses."

"Maybe you got caught in a crowd? Got delayed behind someone?"

"No, I was serpentining through them and moving pretty good ... shite - the water fountain! I stopped for water."

"How long was that?"

"Long enough apparently." Max threw his coat forcefully against the wall above the steel bench; missing Dave by mere inches. "Damn, I was too busy thinking about Saturday night to pay attention to my surroundings. Stupid! Stupid!"

"OK. What's done is done, right?" Dave said as he dug through the jacket for another cigarette. "Whoever got the snake is part of this. If they were good enough to get the snake from you, my locker and Klein's house would have been child's play too."

Max extended his arm and pointed 3 times at Dave. "Right you are. This is Plan B."

"What was Plan A?" Dave spoke as he lit the cigarette.

"The exchange of the J's for me & Bella. Had we done the switch off, I never would have got the clock. Klein would still be dead, but it would have been written off as a by perpetrators unknown. When we got the best of Johnny, Plan B went into effect and here we are."

"Oh great. So either way we went, checkmate."

"No ... this is just check." Max said returning to his seated position on the bench. "Right now the King and Knight are in peril."

Dave slapped Max's shoulder. "I told you we should have joined the chess club. So what's our next move?"

Max crumbled the empty pack of cigarettes into a ball and placed it back into his coat pocket. He motioned for the cigarette with his fingers. "I don't know. But chess club or not, I know enough not to make a move without examining the board and our options first."

"But we don't know who the opposition is let alone their position."

Max received the cigarette and took a hit. "Right. So until we do, we wait and examine the board until all is clear. If we wait, we will find out how we got fingered and who'd benefit besides the obvious. And sooner or later, the rest of the players will reveal themselves and their positions. And then we move."

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" Son!!! " Shouted Max's dad. " Dad!!!!" Shouted Max. Dave also wailed out "Mr. Seconds!!!"

"Officer, please let these two fine gentleman out, now!!!" Max's father ordered the man in dress blue, he jumped up and unlocked the jail cell. Mr. Seconds being a high ranking military man and aiding in several police investigations, as a P.I., he held alot of clout with 'The Authorities'.

Max, although having the mind of an adult in his 30s, was realizing now for once that he still was somehow 15, his needing his patriarch to bail him out, reaffirmed this belief.

"Dad, how is this possible, how are you getting us out?" Max asked, one could almost see the question mark above his finely moused dark hair.

" Son, first of all I am 'bailing you out', secondly I have a great visitor for you who might explain this better." Mr. Seconds admitted. Behind came a largebald figure
in a white janitorial uniform.

" Shalom, my boys," Mr. Klein said, waving his hand to them.

The two boys turned white, shocked, silent for a moment than they said " You are alive!!! How..how did you survive?"

Mr. Seconds smiles and said " I know this is a shock, he arose in the coroners lab and explained everything to them, they let him out, and then he rushed to find you guys, by luck, he came to our house right before I was leaving to get you 2, and explained what happened to me."

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Dave steps up " So, what happened? How is Mr. Klein alive."

" Well, you see, Johnny Judas decides to get some of his attack dogs..er.. his gang members to take me out, they attacked me from all sides, one of them hits me in the back of my head with a wrench from my tool kit, I know it sounds like a game of 'Clue', yet I am not Colonel Mustard, anyhow, I decide to play possum." Mr. Klein explains. Dave and Max ask what he meant, then Mr. Second elucidates:

" You see Mr. Klein is a special ops agent in his country, he has learned tricks to slow down his cardiac muscle and respiration, in other words, he fooled Judas's gang into believing he was dead, they put your DNA on the weapon to frame you guys, and they fled the crime scene."

" Yes, and I explained this to the officers, I will testify on your behalfs if this comes to court. Also, as of now, the law is after Judas and his gang." Mr. Klien expresses, this is a relief for Max and Dave.

A day later--

" Max, good news, Judas is in jail, they caught him and most of his goon pals. " Dave declares.

" Dude, thats great," Max smiles.

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* * *

Becky entered through the kitchen door and plopped her jacket and pom-poms on the counter. Although the game had ended 30 minutes ago, her blond hair was still sticky from sweating. Grabbing a glass from the dishwasher, she poured herself some cola and headed upstairs for a quick shower before Jake picked her back up. Usually she would forgo the shower and just head over to Shakey's Pizza after a game, but lately ... things became different. She was representing something bigger then herself and she wanted to always look her best. Passing through the dinning room, she could hear voices coming from the living room - older voices. This wasn't unusual, generally there was a Yoga Class, Save the Whales Committee, Neighborhood Watch or some other group therapy session going on Thursday Night. She was about to turn around and make her way up the back stairs from the kitchen when she recognized a voice, yet there was something different about it. So familiar yet so mature sounding. Silently she crept into the darkened alcove of the archway and peered at the small group gathered in the living room.

"Look at the evidence, Mr. Seconds," stated the shapely raven-haired woman sitting with her back to Becky. "Here it is in black and white. Head line news. Your son was arrested as the primary suspect in a murder investigation."

Max's father shook his head. "Look, Miss Godwin. That was the evening edition. If you would have bothered to bring the morning paper from the following day," he said as he reached inside his leather attache and retrieved the paper. He opened it and slammed it down atop the existing newspaper. "Klein's Alive! Twice as bold and big as life. If you bother to take the time and read the damn story, everything is clearly explained. Primarily, how someone else did it and tried to frame my son. Let me repeat that in case you missed it. Tried to frame my son. No charges were ever filed and neither my son nor David Lane were even processed. So your accusations regarding the 2 are way off base."

Becky watched the facial expressions and body language of Mr. Jason Seconds. He reminded her of an older, heavier version of Max. Almost the same tone of voice. Same center of purpose about him that let everyone know he was in control. She had no idea who this Godwin lady was, but she knew if father was truly like son, this was a must see confrontation.

"Jason ... Jason, she is just expressing her concern." Declared Becky's father, Mr. Banks. "Lets all stay calm and keep our heads here. There is no reason to get excited."

"Get real, Bob. She's not only casting dispersions on my son, she is completely maligning him. Everyone knows that Johnny Park and his friends have been arrested for the assault and theft on Klein. My boy and his friend were completely exonerated."

Mr. Banks was middle aged, thin with a slight paunch belly and long dishwater blond hair pulled back into a ponytail. If not for the fact the he was bald on top, he looked much as he did throughout college. He brought his hands together in a zen manner and inhaled deeply and exhaled before responding. "We all need to relax, drink some more of this relaxing tea, and let the cool air of reason bring us back to a harmonious center. She is only expressing her concerned about the well being of her niece, that's all, Jason."

Calm and relaxing were foreign concepts to Jason. He spoke with impassioned hand gestures to accent and punctuate his words at all times. "Yeah, right, BaBa Bob. It's perfectly fine for her to be protective of her niece - but I'm the bad guy for being equally protective of my son?"

"Nobody is saying that, Jason." Inserted Mrs. Banks. Although she only stood 5 feet even and tipped the scales at 105 pounds, Bea Banks was more then ready to interject herself into any situation or conflict. "I think Miss Godwin brings up a good point. Why would these boys try to frame your son in the 1st place. Granted their actions were vile and heinous but Max must have done something karmically to bring this upon himself. I, for one, am beginning to agree with her. I'm not sure if I want my daughters exposed to any negative forces and potential dangers that your son may attract."

"Are you listening to yourself, Bea? I mean really listening? It's Max. You've know him all your life. Hell, this past month he has blown the doors off of his potential. So you might wanna come off of your meditational pillow and join us in the real world. Because beyond your inner focus are people that don't play by your rules. People like Stutterin' Johnny 'Judas' Parks, who is jealous of my boy's success."

"Please, Jason!" Bea retorted sarcastically. "At the beginning of the school year he was still wearing combat boots and Heavy Metal T-Shirts. Now he wears a sports coat and hosts a midnight movie at the multiplex. He's changed fads from a Punk to a MOD. Hardly any real potential to be jealous of there."

Becky winched. If Mr. Seconds was anything like Max, shite ... was about to hit the fan.

Jason lit a cigarette and purposely exhaled in both the Banks direction."Yeah - you're right, Bea. You and Miss Godwin here are 100 percent cooooorrect. My boy is a danger to your girls. You see my boy is going someplace in this world. He's 15 years old. He has a business where he works 2 hours on only 1 day and brings home what Bob & I bring home in a week. He is getting A's in every subject at school. Hell, he and his friends just purchased a new Van. Oh, and speaking of his friends, they are all making money off of his little enterprise too. Not too shabby for a 15 year old going through a fad, huh? So yeah - he's dangerous. He's going to be a millionaire before he's 40 and he might just acquire some enemies along the way. Some more idiots like Johnny Parks or even worse. Because envy and jealousy are 2 terribly f@%king dangerous forces, ladies. And if my French bothers either of you ladies - kiss my ass!"

Becky slapped her hands over her mouth for fear of laughing. She had never seen anyone tell her mother off. She had never seen anyone dare light-up a cigarette in Bea Banks presence, let alone in her house. 'Oh my god,' she thought. 'Max's dad is so cool.'

"Out!" Bellowed Bea as her boney finger pointed at the front door.

Bob began to gently push his wife aside and calm her down. "Find your center, Bea. Find your center. You know how NAM vets get."

"And just let me tell you this, Miss Godwin," continued Jason undaunted.

"Please, Jason. I don't think we have to keep polite civilities and pretenses up any longer. Call me, Loria."

"Look lady, I don't know what your game is and why you are stirring up this little lynch mob against my son, but stop it. My son was taken in for questioning-"

"Your son was a primary suspect."

"My son was framed. F - R - A - M - E - D, framed. Kinda like what you are doing here now."

Loria stood from her chair and purposely exaggerated the rubbing of wrinkles from her tight skirt. "I'm just trying to keep their little girls safe. You see, you forgot to mention one incie little thing. With power and money comes sex, S - E - X. See, I can spell too."

"Well, your little niece is 18 years old. She doesn't have to listen to you, me, them - anyone. And from what I remember about your niece, she's not 'Y' chromosome friendly anyway. So, I'm pretty sure she is safe from Max."

"Oooh, you'd lose that bet, slugger. She's been there and done that."

"What!? What did she say?" inquired Bea suddenly turning her attention from her husband to Loria.

Loria turned toward Bea. "Gloria. Max. Sex." She turned her head toward the archway, looked straight through the shadowy darkness, and winked at Becky. She returned her attention to the parents.

'That lying, bitch!' Becky screamed but only in her mind. 'Max would never be with, Gloria. He loves, Bella. He'd never ... ever. He's barely even kissed, Bella, and she basically had to force herself on him.'

"So you innocent little niece is turning tricks on both sides of the street - I see." Sneered Jason. "And you have the gumption to come here to warn them about my boy when your niece is committing statutory rape. Oh this is f@%king rich, do go on."

'Do go on,' echoed Becky's mind.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Banks too demanded more information.

"My niece did nothing to provoke any of his attentions." Loria protested with fain impunity. "Truth be told ... he seduced her. You said it yourself, she was on another path in the ways of love. Tell me, why would that type of girl try to seduce your boy; any boy? Obviously Max was the skillful hunter and she was his unfortunate prey. Oooh - and the things she told me he did to her, Jason, really, only a man of experience would know. It obviously wasn't his 1st time, slugger."

All eyes stared at Jason. Taking the last hit from his cigarette, he snubbed it in the teak tray next to the burning incense. "Really? Is that the best you got? He seduced her? A 15 year old boy seduced an 18 year old girl who is built like you? Really? Bob, back me up on this."

Bob blinked in surprise that his advice was in call for. He looked at Loria, then at his wife, back to Loria, until finally resting his eyes on Jason. "I'm with Jason on this one."

"Well that is a chauvinistic attitude, Bob." Protested Bea. "Just because a woman looks or dresses a certain way doesn't automatically mean she was the seductress or was looking for a good time."

Becky watched as long as she could but knew that Jake was due to return any minute. If he pulled in and honked, her presence would be known and there would be no way she could get out of the house. Quietly she side-stepped into the kitchen, doing her best to stay within the shadows. As the parents were enveloped in their heated discussion, Loria turned her head and seemed to watch Becky's retreat. Becky flipped her the bird and sneered. Loria smiled and turned her attention back to the argument.

Dumping the remaining cola into the sink, she placed her glass back into the dishwasher. Grabbing her pom-poms and jacket she could see the headlights begin to shine down here driveway. Shutting the door quietly behind her, she bolted out to Jakes Mustang, jumped in and turned off his head lights. "Go, go! Get outta here!"

"What's up, Beck? I thought you were gonna shower?"

"Get us out of here fast, Jake. shite's goin' down and we gotta find Gloria."

Jake backed out the drive and went half way down the street before turning the headlights back on. "You gonna tell me what's going on, babe?"

"I can't tell you. Not until I find Gloria."

* * *


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At Lex's diner ( the owner Lex is Max's father's Nam buddy ) in Metro city, which stands next to the Nexus ( a New and Used bookstore, circa 1960).

" Gloria, thank God I found you!!!" Yelled Becky with maddening glee, rushing towards the sitting girl. Becky's white cheerleading uniform still looked brand new, even after use.

" Becks, Beckster, I have never seen you this animated, what's up?" Gloria asked, she offered her and Jake to sit at her midnight blue table, the decor was military inspired, stark sailor white walls, dark Marine Blue tables, with framed pictures of tanks, air craft bombers, American flags, and military rank, insignia and medals. It looked like a 50's diner that was stationed near a military base, a Fort, mayhaps.

"Listen, G-girl, there is a woman here who claims to be your aunt, Loria, I believe she calls herself, anyhow,she looks like you in like 2 decades. She's trash talking about Max and our crew in front of Mr. Seconds, can you believe--"

Becky's question was interrupted by Gloria's astonishment " My aunt? Loria? Look the first time I ever laid eyes on this lady was last week, she was like she's my mom's long lost sister, some Day's Of Our Lives BS. My mom and I took the bait, and bit. I have not the faintest who she really is, or if she is telling us the truth."

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Jake opens his mouth " Ladies, I think she is an imposter. What we got to do is get on the horn and radio Icorp, pronto!"

The two lovely tweens look at Jake with deer in headlight eyes.

" Sorry girls, this place puts me in a MASH mindset, all the military paraphenalia, and repilca vehicles..... I was invocating Colonel Potter,by the way. Nevermind that, what we need to do is find Max and the rest of the crew, and let them know the 4-1-1 about all this." Jake expresses. The two girls sitting with him nod in unison.

Lex, looking like Bruce Willis in an officer's uniform, approaches the group " Would you care for anything?"

" Ok ladies we got to eat something before we tell them this dreadful news" Jake admits, Gloria and Becky look slightly disgusted, yet are still hungry, so also order.

-------------------------


" Max, you in your room, son?" Mr. Second shouts out from the downstairs. He is at the base of the stairs.
" Yeah, dad, I am doing some organizing, you want to come up?" This is not how the normal 15 yr old Max normally talked, yet Max's dad was cool to the
new and improved Max.
"Sure, " Jason agreed, and entered the organized bedroom of one Max. M. Seconds the II. It was becoming to look more and more like an office than a bedroom.
The desk had an IBM sitting on it with a printer, file cabinets stood next to it, they contained reels of movies, scripts,files on the crew, and even files on Max's enemies.
" Son, how are you? " Max's patriarch inquired, his hand caressed his crewcut.
" I am fine, somethings up, I can tell when you touch your dome like that, there is a problem, Houston" Max said, with concern.
" Look, son, I just talked to Glo's aunt, fine looking lady if you ask me, anyhow, she seems to think what your doing is wrong, and--"
" Uh, Gloria's aunt? What is her name?" Max asked defensively. He patted down the lapels of fine black suit, and straightened his eqaully dark tie.
" Lo--Loria, yeah, exotic name, don't you think?" Max's dad asked.

" Loria, that lying little Bi--" Max's voice elevated.
" Son, I have been cutting you alot of slack here, I respect that you are becoming a fine young entrepreneur, who is responsible, you have a vision I never had at your age, and on top of that you want to help people out, thats super. I am extremely proud. What I do not tolerate is language like that, so please rephrase what you were going to say" Mr. Seconds expelled, sternly.
Max, stopping in heels, remembered he had to maintain his cover of being 15 years old, altough a rebel, still showed respect to his father. He knows not to bite the hand that feeds. He decided to change his words " Loria is a liar, L-I-A-R, a charlatan. She is not Gloria's aunt, I know that. So please dad do not believe her, nor her propaganda."

Mr. Seconds, quite discombobulated at Max's assertions, decided to pursue this " Exactly how do know this? You run some DNA tests?"
Max, not wanting to reveal his true identity to his father says " Dad, you would not believe me if I told you."
" Try me, I have seen many things in my many decades of life, from war to poverty, to racism, to paranoia, I lived through' The Zone', " thats what Max's dad called The Twilight Zone, the classic television show.

Ah, the Twilight Zone, Max thought to himself, you hit the nail on the head. Thats exactly where Max felt he was living for the past few weeks, thanks to ' The gravitational time dilating cube' as Wordworth's described it.

Max was at a crossroads, should he tell his father his deep dark secret?

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" Dad, I--I--I think you probably know something is amiss, I cannot tell you why I know why Loria is a phony, I just hope you can go on faith here for now ." Max said, whilst looking mature with his hair combed back.

" Son, you are on target, I do know something is off, and I have something for you that might make things easier for you tell me." Mr. Seconds said this, he goes off to his own bedroom, and returns with a silver box, the size of a cigarette pack, engraved on the front are the letters " MMS II ".
"Here, open this, your grandfather: Max Seconds, the 1st, told me to give it to you, he said I would know the right 'time' to give it to you, I have no clue whats in it. I always respected pop, he told me not to open it, so I never did open it. Anyhow, now just feels right to give it to you." Mr. Seconds stated.

He handed the silver box to Max, Max opens it, wrapped in dark felt is some kind of stopwatch. Its sterling silver like the box, and it has the same markings as the other time pieces, except, this stop watch has a black button and a white button on either side. Tiny insribed letters on the back, spell out the name 'McNulty'.
Along with the time piece is a note that simply read ' Max, this is the center piece, you will know what to do.'

Max's blue hazel eyes light up in astonishment. " This is incredible, unreal!!! Love you grandpa Seconds!!!" Max is delighted, now less items to find. In his joy and understanding, he explained the whole time traveling story, and his follow up journey to this point to his father. This takes along time to explain, yet they both sit in Max's room, talking and rolling cigarettes. Max's dad tell him that his grandfather was a maker of clocks and fine time pieces, which led him to a fascination of
time travel, and space travel. Max's father is still in the dark about what Max's situation is, yet:
Max's dad did one last final reveal " Son, what I am about to tell you is about as hard to tell as to hear, " he started to choke up, the rigidly squared jaw father's eyes started to welt up slightly with tears. Not in any of Max's life, could he remember Mr. Seconds shedding even one tear, this was shocking, Mr. Seconds continues " Son, you have a twin brother, who wandered off... in the park...years ago...his name was Rex, we could never find him, we called the police with no avail, we searched for him what felt like forever...nothing. I do not know why, yet I feel his presence...."

Max thinks to himself 'Hmmm, maybe he is has something to do with whats going here.'

Now cue the dark organ music...............................................

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* * *

Max waited as his father solemnly left the room. Grabbing the phone from inside his new roll-top desk, he called Dave. "Dave - Max, we have a ripple."

22 minutes later...

Dave entered the garage. What was a cluttered mess of tools, camping gear and other assorted keepsakes, only a week or so back was now a tidy, organized, workshop. Sitting at the end of the machining workbench was Max, clad in a blue technicians smock and busily dissecting some odious apparatus.

"What ripple?" Inquired Dave as he closed the door behind him.

"How many people live in my house?" Asked Max barely looking upward from behind the large lighted magnifying glass.

Dave shrugged, "You, Lana, your parents, and Mike when he's in between semesters. That's 5."

"What about, Rex?"

Dave was slightly taken aback by the question. "Rex? What, you guys get a new dog? Whose Rex?"

Max smiled and set down the object of his attention. "Exactly what I expected you to say. You don't remember my little brother, Randy, do you?"

Dave gave Max a blank stare.

"Randy ... Rex. Hell, you nicknamed him Rex because of all his freckles and how he followed us around like a puppy."

Dave grabbed a work stool and sat down diagonally from Max. "Dude. I've known you for like -- ever. You don't have a little brother."

"Ah, but I did," stated Max holding up 1 finger to represent a single moments pause. "Prior to Klein's death and our arrest, I had a little brother. 12 years old, sandy hair, about 5 foot nothin'. However, since our release, he's gone. But check this out, when I first arrived back in this time, my mom was bitching at me because I was spending too much time in the bathroom. She commented that 6 people had to share the bathroom. Me, mom, dad, Mike, Lana, and Rex."

Dave shook his head. "Dude, whatever you are smoking - share it."

"No, I'm serious. Wordsworth had mentioned to me that the time travelers have a temporal memory thing. We know how the time line was supposed to run. That's why he freaked out when certain events didn't occur or happened differently. It's kinda like Spider-Man's danger sense but only with chronology. It's kinda a true history ripple detection."

"So then why can't I see or sense them?"

"I'm not sure. It may be because you are from the here and now whereas I am from the future. It may be because of the time devices themselves."

"Ok, I'm down with that. But you say you have a little brother who'd follow us around. Why haven't you noticed this until now?"

Max rested his chin in his palm and shook his head. "I don't know. I wasn't looking for him, I guess."

"So, how do you know he was even real?" Dave asked questioningly. "Maybe your memory is of a ripple and it's self corrected."

"No, he's real. I'm just not sure how long he's been gone. I'm only guessing about the time of Johnny Parks and Klein. It may have been earlier? I'm trying to remember exactly myself." He held up his science project. "I'm seeing if I can make another timepiece and back track to determine that myself."

Dave mimicked Max's pose, elbows on the table and chin in his palms. "Alright then, Mr. Welles - why?"

"Good question. My pops and I had a little talk about an hour ago. Seems Loria was at some sort of parents meeting over at Bella and Becky's pad. We were bad influences and the like. But when pops came back - he had changed. It was almost like he wasn't the same man. Something happened between the time he left the meeting and arrived home. He's still my father - but not the father I knew and grew up with."

"How so?"

"Little things really." Max stated as he lit a cigarette and pushed the pack down to Dave. "We talked for nearly an hour and not once did he light up a smoke. Not once. My pops smokes 3 packs a day. For him not lighting at least 4 cigarettes in an hour is unheard of. Then he seemed a bit bent when I called Loria a bitch."

"Yeah - but you know your dad and his use of profanity rule."

"But certain words he lets go. Damn, hell, and bitch being some of them. But he got a little preachy when I referred to Loria as a bitch. Almost defensive on her behalf."

"So," Dave stated as he exhaled a stream of gray thick smoke. "Maybe he's got the hots for her."

"No. He told me he got more then a little bent in the group session with her and the Banks. He basically told Mrs. Banks to kiss his ass."

Dave coughed and guffawed mightily. "No way. I would have paid to see her snooty ass get knocked down a peg."

"Ditto. Anyway, he also did 2 other things." Max retrieved the stopwatch from his pocket and slid it across the table to Dave. "He gave me this, an inheritance from my grampa. And he mentioned my twin brother, Rex. Who mysteriously disappeared from the park many years ago. We searched and searched, blah blah blah."

"I thought you said Rex was your younger brother?" Dave said as he examined the stopwatch.

"He was ... is. Now, we did have a dog who got lost in the woods when I was like 5 but some how, these circumstances have been rearranged and intertwined. Warped into this little ripple."

"So how is building a timepiece gonna rectify that?"

"I got this idea from the other time pieces I've seen." Max slid off his stool and retrieved a drafting tube from the old umbrella stand near the filing cabinet. He spread it out on the table before Dave. "So far we've got my cube, Wordsworth Slide puzzle, and Loria's snake-"

"The one someone lifted from your backpack?"

"Right. That's why I'm guessing that is about the time the ripple started. According to Wordsworth, these are not precision pieces. They take one back to crucial days in the owners time line depending upon the sequence entered. Problem is, it is different per owner and per sequence. Even the sun dial Wordsworth has isn't exact, it's limited to the position of the sun. So, I'm guessing, it can only take you back to a time when the sun is still shining. Maybe an 8 to 14 hours window."

"Unless they were in Alaska or someplace that has a 24 hour sun." Dave interjected philosophically.

"Good point." Max smiled seeing how easily Dave was adapting to this concept. "Now Klein's clock, the stopwatch, etc, can be manipulated much easier to days, months, years, and a specific time."

Dave spent several moments examining the silver stopwatch. "It's too bad the crystal is broken."

Max rolled his eyes mischievously. "Well, yes and no. It being broken allowed me to examine its mechanism without activating it. What's unique about the stopwatch is it doesn't actually allow one to travel through time, only stop it." Max flipped to the next page of the blue prints showing the watches mechanical insides. " A stopwatch is designed to measure the passage of time in milliseconds, seconds, and minutes. Typically an old analog watch like this can only manage 30 minutes."

Dave crushed his cigarette in the ashtray that resided mid table. "So, whomever is holding this can stop the world for a half hour?"

"Exactly. And they don't have to use the entire half hour. Just a couplea seconds or minutes would be long enough to say, get the Rubix snake from my backpack, slip some stuff into your locker just before you closed it, kidnap my little bother, etc. Then just walk away and once they are out of everyones line of sight, click the button and start the world again."

Dave sat the watch down and gave Max his undivided attention. "So, for sake of argument, someone else has a working stopwatch?"

Max nodded as he too snubbed out his cigarette in the ashtray. "Possibly even this stopwatch."

"Wait a minute, Max. You just said your dad gave you this watch less then an hour ago. Looking at the crystal and tarnish, it hasn't worked in at least 10 to 15 years."

"Probably longer but yeah."

"Alright, then how the hell could they have done all this just recently then?"

"Time is cyclic." Max stated as he removed the lab coat and hung it on the peg. "You keep looking at time as a straight progression. With the right assortment of timepieces, or even the right timepiece itself, you can move around through many periods of time simultaneously. Now, say this is the timepiece that had been used to frame us. Now, whomever used it, also could travel back in time. Now, sometime in the past they met my grampa. They got into a fight or whatever and lost ownership of the timepiece. Gramps now has it, kept it safe for me and now, years and years later, I have it in my possession."

"Right!" announced Dave as he grabbed the stopwatch from the table. "So all we have to do is find this McNulty character and set everything to right."

"Wrong." Max stated as he took the watch from Dave. Flipping it over, he used a small flat head screw-driver to pop the back cover off of the stopwatch. Holding the cover between his thumb and index finger, he held it under the magnifying glass. Stamped into the silver were the words: Belasco Potts and Son. 433 Main Street, Metro City USA.

* * *


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10:05 AM, Friday November 15, 1985

The electronic buzzer sounded as Max entered Belasco Potts & Son Fine Jewelers. The store was an array of glass cases lined with florescent lights. Contained within the cases were assorted rings, bracelets, ear rings and fashion accessories. The once colorful rose pastel wallpaper had long ago faded and like the sagging acoustic tiles showed various degrees of water stains. Sitting to the rear of the store sat a rotund man in his late 50s wearing a white smock that was much too small for his frame. His curly gray hair was in desperate need of a good trim as was the exaggerated mustache beneath his large and porous nose.

"Belasco Potts?" Inquired Max as he approached the counter.

"And Son," replied the man. "Belasco was my father."

"Was ... I take it he is no longer with us then?"

"Not for many years."

"Your sign reads, 'Lifetime Guarantee.' Does that still apply?"

Potts took a long drink from his Styrofoam cup and tossed it into the overflowing trash can before responding, "As long as this store is still around, so is the guarantee."

"Wonderful," announced Max with his trademark smile beaming. "I seemed to have cracked the crystal on my grandfather's watch. Any chance you can still fix it?"

"Crystals aren't covered. Only hands, dials, and internals." Potts announced with a disdain as if he was having his time wasted. "But let me see it and I'll let you know what the damage is."

Max reached into his pocket. "Well, I'll need it cleaned and adjusted too, of course."

Potts wiggled his sausage like fingers in a demanding motion. "Of course ya do, son. Let me see it."

Max placed the stopwatch on the counter and studied Potts round face for any sign of recognition.

Potts picked up the watch and gave it a cursory examination. "Eh, this is an old one. Looks like its been busted for a while. Tell ya what, kid." He placed the watch on the counter and pointed to the display case behind Max. "Why don'tcha take one of those as a no-charge replacement and save us both some time?"

Max looked over his shoulder at the watches in the case. Timex, Citizen, Seiko, and other watches gently spun around in the case. "Naw, that's alright. I really need that one repaired."

"Look ... kid. I'm tryin' to do you a solid. Take one of the other watches. They are all quartz precision, much better than these old wind-up jobbers."

'Man, this guy is good.' thought Max. 'Either he truly doesn't know what that watch can do or he missed his calling as a professional poker player.' "Look, if you can't fix the watch, just say so."

"Ok, kid. Obviously it holds some sentimental value for you. Tell ya what I'll do." Potts waddled around to the other case and grabbed a Timex from the shelf. "I'll swap the backplate around so it still bears the inscription and classic look. Only you and me will know it's been changed."

"How 'bout this, old timer. You swap the crystals out and we'll call it a day."

"I don't see why you are being so difficult, young Mr. McNulty? A watch is a watch, right?"

"Not in this case, young Mr. Potts. And the name is Seconds."

"Seconds? Are you any relation to Miriam & Maxwell Seconds?"

Max raised an eyebrow. "My grandparents. Jason is my father."

"Well, my, my." Potts replaced the Timex back into its case. "Let's see. You are too young to be Michael, so you must be one of the twins?"

Max thought about his next answer. 'I'm in a time ripple where my younger brother is now my missing twin brother. But since my twin has been missing for 10 or more years, why would Potts ask if I was one of the twins? Why wouldn't he just ask me if I were Max or even just assume I was Max?' "Well, I'm definitely not, Lana," he finalized with a boisterous laugh.

"He who laughs last - laughs best!" announced a frail voice from somewhere in the back room.

For a brief second there was a flash of fear in Potts eyes. "Sorry, thin walls. So how soon do you need this by?"

Max looked around. "It doesn't look like you're very busy. How about I just wait?"

Potts scratched his moppy hair and stalled, "Well, it could take some time."

Max leaned on the counter. "It could down right stop time."

"Time is on my side - yes it is." Announced the frail voice from somewhere in the back.

Potts shrugged. "Like I said-"

"Yeah, yeah - thin walls," commented Max. Looking toward the office door, he announced, "Remember the Maine!"

"Hey kid," protested Potts as he began to shuffle around the counter.

"54-40 or fight!" replied the voice.

Max side stepped Potts and headed for the door. "December 7th."

"September 11."

Potts lunged for the doorway and blocked Max. "Leave him alone."

Max slapped Potts' arm out of the way and slid past him undaunted. Sitting in an old fashioned wooden swivel chair was an elderly man; sunken and withered. His hands shook in front of his sporadic chest. Wisps of white hair cast an ethereal glow around his wobbling head as drool flowed from the corners of his mouth.

"You said he was dead."

Potts slowly lumbered over to his father. "No, you said he was no longer with us, kid." He knelt down and softly glided the chair to face Max. "I said poppa hasn't been with us for years. I didn't lie. He's lost, just like you, somewhere in the ripples."

"What do you mean, just like me? I'm not lost."

Young Potts shook his head in disagreement. "Kid you have no idea. Let me guess, you bought something on impulse? Something that you overpaid for and probably didn't want but had to have, am I right?"

"Maybe? What if I did?"

"Then your journey began and the pebble fell. You try to catch and contain the pebble but just when you think it's yours ... another pebble falls. Then another, and another, and so on. Pretty soon you can't hold all the pebbles and one slips away from you. And the next thing you know- "

"Pop goes the weasel," announced old Potts without being cognoscente of his own words.

Young Potts stroked his father's head. "And the ripple begins, Mr. Seconds. But it probably won't be the last because you believe you can fix it. But the more you try, the more pebbles are released until more and more ripples are created. Eventually the ripples will wake into each other and form a wave. Then, once that happens, you'll decide to build a device to stop it ... to correct it. I don't know when or how, Mr. Seconds, but you met my father out there and this is his life line to you."

"A broken watch is my life line?"

"Where ever you present self is, your body is doing exactly what my father's body is doing right now. People may think you are in a coma, having a grand maul seizure, or have just flipped your lid. If I fix the watch for you, you can stop all of this, freeze it forever at this moment. Then you can take your device and go back to your own time - your real time line. It will be as if you never left. Whatever changes that were made will have never taken place. Time will be as it should be and your life will continue on as before."

"And if I choose not to."

"Then you will be like this forever." Potts gestures to his father.

"But I've seen other travelers, in their future bodies in this time line."

"No, that's impossible."

"Why does everyone keep sayin' that? I'm tellin' you I've seen it, it's true."

"E Pluribus Unum," shouted the old man almost coherent in his tone.

Max addressed younger Potts. "My grandfather Maxwell Seconds left me this watch. He died in 1967, 2 1/2 years before I was born. You knew him and my Gramma. What did my grandpa know? How could he know?"

"I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together." Again shouted old Potts.

"Your grandfather tried to stop this and failed. My father tried to stop this and got lost in the ripples and waves of time. You are at the crossroads, Young Max Seconds. Sever this time line and restore your chronology as god or nature intended."

"But what of my family ... my friends?"

"They too will go back to the natural order of things remembering nothing of this split."

"What about me?"

Young Potts walked over to the work desk and began to fix the watch. "You will ... I don't know. When my father did return to us, he never said what he had done or what he had left behind. I want to believe he didn't remember either."

Max examined old man Potts closely. He stared into the empty void that were his eyes. "Somehow, I doubt that."

"Somehow, I do too." Said Potts as he wound the knob fob between his thick fingers. "This is your one and only chance, Max. Once you leave here today, you can never return. This shop will be gone as will poppa and me. I pray you have the strength to do the right thing, Max, for your own sake. Before it's too late."

"Is there nothin' else you can tell me? Nothin' at all? I mean I have a 1000 questions-"

"No. Nothing." Opening the desk drawer, he retrieved a faded green canvas notebook. He turned back to Max and handed him both notebook and stopwatch. "This is my father's notebook. It may be of some use to you. I could never decipher it, then again, maybe I was never supposed to. The watch is fully wound. I urge you to use it but once. Go back to your own time, Max. There is nothing but faded memories and ghosts here."

Max left the store and headed to the van. Climbing in the passenger seat, Jeff looked at him strangely.

"I though you were going into that jewelry store? Change your mind?"

Max looked back at the vacant store front then at the clock in the dashboard; It still read 10:05 AM. "It's gone. Sign said they lost their lease."

"Bummer du Fromage, dude." Jeff replied as he casually pulled away from the curb. "Where to, Max?"

"Home, Jefferey. Take me home."

* * *


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At Max's home:

The phone rings, Max picks it up . " Hello, Max?" the voice says, its an elderly learned male voice.

" Yes, who is this?" Max inquired, his mind raced trying to establish who was this familiar voice, he put his finger to lips to signal to the
others in the room to keep silent.

" Max, its me, Prof. Wordsworth, I found your number in the school directory." The educated teacher explained.

To Max's relief it was an allie " Professor, good to hear from you, whats up?" Max said, giving a thumbs up to his partners. Dave chimed " Perfect-o".

" Max, meet me at Metro Library, on the second floor, the northside, we need to talk". Wordsworth said, adjusting his crooked glasses.

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10 seconds ago ...

The Administrators door burst open leaving the locking hardware still partially engage. The walnut and veneer particles sprayed through the air as the handle fell roughly to the Persian carpet. Arnold Rothman, Chief Administrator of the Greater Metro Community Hospital, stared in disbelief at the figure that moved toward him. "My god - What's the meaning of this?"

She entered the office with her blond hair pulled tightly back into a braid and fury burning in her eyes. The almond Sheath cut dress accentuated her figure - especially her muscular definition. "Who the hell do you think you are, Mr. Rothman? I've just been forcibly evicted from my brothers room under your orders of euthanasia. I've never signed any such paperwork authorizing any such actions. What gives you the right-"

"I don't need your authorization, Mrs. Kittridge," exclaimed Rothman as he pushed his bi-focals back up the bridge of his nose with his middle finger. "Your brother's living will is most specific on this scenario. It was his exact request to never be allowed to live as a vegetable with tubes and wires being his sole provision of life. We are merely honoring that request madam."

Lana pushed his lamp and name plate from the desk and slammed both hands palm down on his desk. Rothman twitched with fear. "I don't give a goddamn what his living will states. Without a family members consent, it can't be done; the law is very clear on medically assisted suicides."

"That is correct," stammered Rothman. "That is very correct ... most astute knowledge you have their, Mrs. Kittridge. But we do have a family members consent."

"Whose consent? Certainly not mine and my kids are too young."

Staring at Lana's tanned and pendulous cleavage, Rothman made an awkward gulping sound as his eyes averted back towards hers. "Apparently, your brother chose not to confide in you."

"How could he, he's bee in a coma for the last week?"

Rothman smiled the cheesy smile generally associated with used car sales men and pedophiles. "I mean your other brother. We received a facsimile authorization just this morning."

"Bullshit! Michael has been with me the whole time and Randy belongs to some medieval recreation society that travels the country. I doubt he has even heard about Max. I also very much doubt he even knows how to use let alone gain access to a fax machine."

"Be that as it may," announced Rothman as he pushed his chair back from the desk and stood. Going to the file cabinet he retrieved Max's file and opened it. Carefully taking the fax from the manila folder, he placed it on the desk before Lana. "There, you can read it for yourself. All the tees crossed and the eyes dotted. There is even a notary public signature and stamp on it too."

Lana grabbed the page and read the signature over and over.

"Medieval recreation society, you say Mrs. Kittridge? How very interesting," continued Rothman. "That would certainly explain the Rex at the end of his name. I believe that means, King, in Latin?"

"I don't give a rat's ass, what it means, Rothman." Snapped Lana. "My brother would never sign this - ever! Have you verified this with the Notary Public who stamped it? I see the fax it was sent from was some copy and printing place. Seems a little suspicious for a Notary not to use their own fax machine?"

"What? Let me see that." Rothman took the page and tilted his head back slightly to read through the bottom lenses of his bi-focals. "Well, that's not all that uncommon, really. The state of our economy and all. So many people working from their homes these day."

"So you haven't checked it? Verified that this person is even a legal notary?"

"Me, personally? No," retorted Rothman as he straightened the knot in his paisley tie. "That's something handled by are legal department, which assures me, the document is legal and binding."

"So, like Pilot, that expunges the blood on your hands?" Lana marched around the desk and leaned slightly at the waist to become nose to nose and eye to eye with Rothman. "Now you listen to me and you listen closely. As a family member standing before you in flesh and blood, I demand that you cease any and all actions that may end the life of my brother, Maxwell Seconds. Failure to comply will most assuredly force me to sue this hospital and all it's staff for the wrongful death of my brother. I will personally petition and campaign for the District Attorney and the state Attorney General to seek criminal charges against the staff that performs the euthanasia, the hospital, and particularly you, Mr. Rothman. Because ultimately, it will happen on your watch, and regardless what your legal department tells you - morally, you are responsible. So, what's it gonna be? Will you grant his stay of execution or are you gonna be the executioner?"

Rothman gulped loud and awkwardly again. "I think this is a decision best left for lawyers and judges to decide, Mrs. Kittridge. But may I remind you, you are going against the direct wishes for your brother's living will."

Lana turned and stormed away. "Like you said, Rothman, this is a decision best left for lawyers and judges to decide." Pausing as security met her at the door, she turned. "Oh, and Rothman. Before you go see the legal department, for god sake, do something about that hard on you're sporting."

Rothman covered the bulge in his trousers with the the facsimile page and turned his back to the doorway.

* * *


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23 years earlier ...

Sloan entered the exceedingly large glass and wooden doors of the Metro City Main Library. His sneakers made a sharp squeak as he crossed the ornate black and white marble floor. The pencil lined librarian looked at him with an irritated stare that he returned in kind and continued past her desk. Climbing the sloping stairway behind the main desk, he walked to the South West corner, grabbed a near by book, and sat at the first table pretending to thumb through it. His eyes danced around the second floor searching for anything out of the ordinary. Being that he had spent many of his formidable years with-in these walls, it was decided that he should reconnoiter the zone.

Britney and Bella were the next to enter. Heading straight to the Librarian, they spoke in hushed tones and were then instructed to search for their inquiry on the 1st floor in the North East section: Cinema Corner. Proceeding to their destination, Britney glanced at Sloan who made the all clear signal by placing the book back upon the self. Pausing briefly by the front windows, Bella removed her teal sweater and casually tied the arms around her waist - another all clear sign.

Jeff, Jake, Dave and Max entered the library. In Max's left hand he held a faded green notebook. All 4 boys were dressed in similar suits and looking immaculately well groomed from their ages. Crossing the marble floor, they too headed upstairs. At the top of the landing, Jeff headed to the South East corner, Jake to the North East, while Dave and Max sat at the table nearest the balcony on the North West. Dave sat on the long bench as Max sat atop the table facing the stairs with his feet on the opposite bench.

"Dude, this place smells like a cross between a wood pile and lemon furniture polish," groused Dave. "How long until Wordsworth shows?"

"No idea." Max glanced at the roman numeral free space clock above the main doors. Its once highly polished brass numbers had now tarnished to a dull green and the "X" had years earlier became dislodge, but it's stained outline was still present. He had often looked at this clock but never really thought about its intricacy until now. The numbers were affixed to the wall and the hands extended from the wall on a rod probably no bigger or longer then his thumb. All the internal workings were encased into the stone wall itself. Any and all adjustments must be made somewhere else, in a back room electrical closet he guessed. Still, the precisioned gears that once must have shined like gold have been buried there since the stone was set in place during construction some 50 or more years earlier. Yet it still runs like as smoothly as the day it was installed. "I wonder who made it?"

"Made what?" asked Dave as he brought the Walk-Man headphones to his ears.

"The clock." Max replied knowing that Dave was already oblivious to any statement as the sounds of the Human League drifted from the red foam speakers.

Bella made 3 loud coughs to signal Max as to Wordsworth arrival.

Wordsworth entered the main hall and looked around nervously; more so than usual. His thin frame seemed even more tense as he held his arms tight against his body. His left arm cut across his abdomen as his right elbow rested in his left palm. His right hand was tightly fisted into a an oblong ball with the knuckle of his thumb just touching his bottom lip. Max internally chuckled to himself as he noticed how very noir like the nervous thin man in a shabby suit stood on the ornate marble floor with the large doorway and clock in the background. John Huston would be proud.

Wordsworth noticed Max atop the north balcony and scampered up the stairs and approached. Making it half way, he abruptly stopped when he noticed Dave sitting next to Max. His eyes darted towards Max, then to Dave, then back to Max with anxiety. Max waved him on-ward and Wordsworth cautiously continued.

"Why didn't you come alone?"

Max shrugged and examined Wordsworth. "You didn't say to come alone. "

"I was under the impression it was assumed." Wordsworth replied with tight yet animated motions. "This won't do ... " He turned and began to walk away when he noticed Sloan in the opposite end of the room. His attention was then instantly drawn to Jeff. "This won't do at all."

"Whoa, whoa," issued Max in a low yet commanding tone. "They're here to keep an eye out for us. With all the crap seemingly coming from left field these days, I wanted some back up - for both of us."

Wordsworth paused at the top step. His left leg stepped out and withdrew several times as he contemplated his decision to stay or go.

"Wordsworth ... I have Potts' notebook."

"You lie!"

"Shhhhh!" bitterly hissed the Librarian from the floor beneath them.

Max held the notebook up as proof.

Wordsworth scampered back to Max never diverting his eyes from the notebook. "Do you know what you have there, Maxwell? You have the holy grail of time travel." Wordsworth reached out with doubting hands and touched the well worn canvas. He delicately wrapped his finger around it and stared at Max with pleading eyes. Max released it as Wordsworth sat it down on the table and opened the cover. "The Notebook of Belasco Potts. I always thought it was a myth ... a temporal urban legend. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it actually existed. How did you get this?" Wordsworth face turned blanch. He stared up at Max with fearful eyes. "Maxwell, how did you get this!?"

"Relax, Wordsworth, it's not how you think. His son gave it to me this morning."

"You found the store?" Wordsworth shrieked with a hoarse croak.

"SHHH!" was angrily hissed once more from the Librarian below.

Dave took off the headphones and pointed his chin at Wordsworth. Max shook his hand as to wave him off at Dave.

"You found the store?" Repeated Wordsworth in a barely audible voice. "How did you find the store? Nobody has found the store in more years then I can recall but you found it. "

"Yeah," said Max shaking his head. "But it's not there now."

"No it wouldn't be, would it? Did you meet Belasco? Tell me you met him?"

"Yes, I met him." Max said remembering the shaking, withered, vacant old man who shouted incoherent yet cryptic.

A glistening of tears formed in Wordsworth eyes. "Did you talk with him?"

Max smiled a broad yet insincere smile. "Of travels and ventures still as fresh to him as the time in-which they occurred."

Wordsworth brought his thumb and index finger between his eye and wiped the moisture away. "Marvelous." He slapped Max's thigh to mask his sniffle. "Marvelous, marvelous, marvelous."

Max slid the book from under Wordsworth hand and closed the cover. "Sorry, Wordsworth, but that concludes the show part of our meeting. You said on the phone we need to talk and then when you came in here, you looked as nervous as a cat down to his last life. So tell me, what's up?"

...


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Mr. Wordsworth leaned forward in his ornately carved noir marbled chair, he took off his glasses, in a swooping motion, his horn rims actually concealed part of his handsomeness, he began " Max, the occurances that have transpired thus far changes you made are favorable for your future--"

" Excellent, is this why you brought me here? " Max inquired, abit impatiently.

" Mr. Seconds, if you will let me finish. I know you are a bright man, you probably figured out that you should use the stop watch to get the other time pieces."
Max nodded, and said " Way ahead of you, Prof."

Then the elderly professor continued " Excellent, again. Maya!" Wordsworth bellowed, to the ire of the Sarah Palin look-alike Librarian, who again hushed him, yet this time more forcefully.

Slinking out from behind the 101.5-109.5 bookshelf, which were Scifi/Fantasy novels, came a rather lovely brunette in cateye frames, outfitted in a white gossamer dress, akin to a greek gown. Max guessed her age to be 35. She walked towards Max, and said:

" Sir Maxwell, it is an honour to meet you. I am Maya Thomas, it is destiney for our paths to meet."

Max, somehow caught in the moment, took her ivory hand, and kissed it. " I too am honoured and humbled to meet you. I am still perplexed to why I am here, though, can you clarify this?" Max exceedingly became annoyed by not knowing.

Then Maya explained:

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