The spinning finally stopped and Jack was allowed to fall to the floor in peace. Marcus and Jenny kindly followed his lead, he assumed so he didn’t look quite so stupid. It was a kind gesture but when they also started moaning he started to feel like they were mocking him. Marcus leant to the side and threw up.
“Well,” Jack said, wobbling to his feet. “That went a lot better than expected.”
His friends both glared at him. “Better?” Jenny asked. “I suppose you were expecting our organs to actually spew from our mouths?”
“I was thinking it was more likely that we would be ripped to shreds and our atoms dispersed throughout the multiverse.”
“Seems like the type of thing you would mention before we agreed to come with you,” Marcus said.
“We were in a bit of a hurry.”
“Yet we had time to watch all three Back to the Future movies?” Jenny said.
“Crucial research. If you want to end up making out with your dad then so be it but if I’m going to travel back in time then I want to be prepared.”
“You really think we’ve done it?” Marcus asked. “This doesn’t look like 1979 to me.”
They all glanced round at the ordinary looking narrow alleyway they inhabited.
“I think so,” Jack said. “We were spinning for a very long time.” No-one could argue with that.
Jenny pulled Marcus to his feet and they walked towards the sounds of street noise.
“Why 1979 anyway?” Jenny asked.
“We’re hardly going to assassinate Hitler on our first try. That’s the mistake everyone in the movies makes. They go for the big adventure without starting with some light disco dancing.”
They emerged onto the street they had left thirty six years in the future, and there it was. Sure enough the first man they saw was dressed in flared purple trousers and a bright green shirt, dancing to the disco beats pumping out of the boom box perched on the front of his hover board.
“Interesting,” Jack said.
“You’ve sent us to the future?” Jenny said unconvincingly.
“I really didn’t see seventies fashion coming back into vogue,” Marcus said.
The street wasn’t busy but there enough people to convince Jack that the man on the hover board didn’t happen to be the greatest genius that had ever lived debuting his latest invention. The comers and goers seemed surprisingly unimpressed with his antics. Jack looked to his right in time to see a man whizzing towards them on roller blades as he watched a game of football holographically projected in front of his face.
Marcus and Jenny stepped backwards out of his way, but Jack decided to go for a different tactic and punched the guy square in the face. He fell to the ground with a satisfying cry. Sure there were probably other ways of stopping him but come on, who roller blades around town wearing purple shorts and pulled up white socks? And what was with all the purple?
Jack dragged the man up, relieved to see that he was a couple of inches shorter than him, and held him tightly by his lapels. “What year is this?” he demanded, cursing himself for how stereotypically time traveller he sounded.
“1979,” the man squeaked through his broken nose.
Jack let him go and the man scurried off. The three couldn’t help but watch him go; they had never seen a roller-blader scurry before. Marcus smiled as the holograph showed John Robertson score a goal for Nottingham Forest. “This could be our year,” he muttered.
They meandered through the streets, at one point having to skirt round a queue for the latest virtual reality game, which promised the most realistic death experiences.
“Look who we have here then,” Jack smiled as a young couple appeared round the corner.
They were in their early twenties and black, the man sporting a small afro that must have been several years out of date, a comb balance precariously inside it. The woman was shorter, but her afro was more impressive. There was an undoubtable resemblance to the young man to Jack’s left, minus the ‘fro.
“Max, Jeanette,” Jack greeted as if they were old friends to Jenny’s amusement. “Long time no see.”
“Hey there! There’s the guy,” Max responded without breaking his stride. He looked back as he walked past them though and saw all three teens staring at him, one with his mouth hanging wide open.
“What the fuck is going on?” Marcus said.
They all jumped when a man seemed to speak from every direction. Jack’s eyes scanned around until they found a giant holographic projection that seemed to be floating in mid-air. A man in a pin-stripe suit was reading the news headlines. The top one seemed to be the upcoming creation of a fourth TV channel, while the new prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, was welcoming Ronald Reagan as he teleported into the country.
“You know,” Jenny said. “When my parents talked about the seventies, I can’t help but feel they left some parts out.”
By Andy Wright
For another Sci-Fi short story from yours truly, check out The Coldsuit. If you’re in the mood for something a little darker, then why not have a look at the horror of Guilty or the action of Wartorn: The Brink.