Alice looked at the remembrance plans in the after-life brochure. Why was it so difficult to choose? There were dozens to choose from. Hair, eyes, facial features were standard features, but what else did she need? What else would she want?
“The Whole Kit and Caboodle plan, please.”
The planner smiled. “Our best seller. That’ll be three million credits.”
“Oh, um, sorry. The Kitchen Sink plan, please.”
“Nine hundred thousand credits.”
Alice looked at her account balance. “What can I get for three hundred credits?”
He sighed, opened his desk drawer, and pulled out an etch-a-sketch. “Temporary backup.”
It started life as great-great-Grandpa William’s shirt. No one would know that by looking at it, but we see it every day. There’s great-great-Grandma Elizabeth’s dress, and little Agatha’s sampler remind us how lucky we are to survive to twelve because she didn’t. Great-Grandma Florence and Grandpa Joseph are there as well. They lived before the war and most of the color is from them. It has grown and shrunk over the years, but everyone is still there. A little here and a little there; each generation adds to it. Our history and family love is reinforced with each stitch.
Out on the edge of town, where only sage brush stop, sits a small road-stand emporium called Mr. Wonder’s Oddities of Space and Time. Everyone in town knows about the shop and it’s odd owner Mr. Wonder, so few questioned the strangely dressed people when they began popping up all across town years ago. The town is used to strange looking people – it can’t help it, after all it was a small group of strange looking people who formed the town in the 60s. And boy, were they a strange bunch. Hooting and hollering all night long, and don’t even get me started on what they did during a full moon – you don’t want that image in your head. No, people don’t start questioning things until it’s too late. Well, it is probably too late for some and not early enough for others.
You see, inside Mr. Wonder’s is where I sit. Yep, that’s what I do. I sit and wait, and wait and sit. Nothing else I can do for another three million years until my ride comes back. So, I sit and watch Mr. Wonder putter around his shop. I sit and watch as he barters a little here and a little there. Never enough that anyone in town would miss – yet. But, they will.
I’ve been here for thousands of years and it never ceases to amaze me how unobservant humans are. Even when people like Mr. Wonder are exchanging a hill here, a valley there for the bits and bobs he needs to restore the transdimensional gate system he hides in the basement of the shop. He is hoping to reach the big buyers in the Ur dimension with that. After all, everyone knows they have all the wealth one could ever want. But don’t worry he’ll never get it going. He’s missing the cellular stabilizer and deliquifyer. You don’t want to know what those do to a human … trust me. I’ve seen it once, and boy, it was messy. No, he’s stuck with the little guys for a while. Well, at least until my ride gets here … then you guys are on your own. How do I know he’s missing it and won’t get another one? There’s only one in existence, and it’s sitting in my pocket. Won it off its creator in a card game…probably shouldn’t have cheated though. That’s how I ended up in this little mess I’m in. Oh well, he said he’d be back.
If you ever find yourself driving down a seemingly deserted stretch of road out on Route 1 past town, stop at the shop, will ya? It gets mighty lonely sitting all day long in hourglass with nothing to do but count the sands of time.