Emporium of Awesome – 4

CHAPTER FOUR – ID THEFT

“So you went back and did two years in the Air Force?” James asked.

“Yup.”

“Why was that, I mean I get the appeal, work on the latest tech of 40 years ago, but come on it seems a bit beneath you.”

“There is more to it than that.  So before I went back I did my homework as usual.  I looked for someone I could replace.”

“Replace?”

“Yeah.  I was 30 when I went back, so I needed someone that was born between 1950 and 1955.”

“You thought you could pass for 20 to 25?”

“Well sure, I look young for my age.  Anyway, they also needed to have died before I was born.  I was also looking for it in a rural area with, shall we say poor record keeping.  Needless to say I found what I was looking for. I went back to just after my birth and set up my new identity.”

“And you found someone named Todd Matherson.”

“Exactly.  He was 15 when he and his parents were killed in a car accident.  They lived in rural Iowa, well all of Iowa was rural. I got a copy of his birth certificate and social security info.  He was born in 1953, died in 1968. Since no records were digital and it was so far away, I just set up shop in Chicago for a couple of months as him and laid some ground work.  I also forged a few things and made sure they was where a paper trail if anyone went looking.”

“How did you manage that?”

“You would be amazed at what you can do with a modern laptop and printer in the mid nineteen-seventies.  I just did what I needed, jumped back to drop off my stuff and went back.”

“So not to pollute the time line.  Why Chicago though? Then again, why not? I assume you can go anywhere.”

“No, I can only go back in time to the place I am at when I go.  This isn’t like the shows that let them go anyplace as well as anytime.  I ain’t Doctor Who. No, I procured a place that I used as basically my base for all those years, where I could keep stuff whenever I went back.”

“Where is that?”

“You’re sitting in it.”

“Really?  I thought you had this place built like a couple of years ago.”

“I did, well I rebuilt.  The basement is the same though.  Before the shop I had a smaller building.  I knew this property would be prime real estate someday, so I grabbed it for cheap back in 77 when I got out of the Air Force, well my agent did anyway.”

“Your Agent?”

“Yeah, I had a guy.  Do you think I sat back and ran all of this myself?  Hell no, I had some people working for me.”

“I didn’t think the Air Force paid that well back then.”

“They didn’t.  In fact, it sucked.  I managed to get some bills from that era before I went back then I Back to the Future IIed it.  I was able to make a few bets and build from there. Why do you think I wanted to be stationed by Vegas when I was in?”

“To make the big bucks.”

“Between regular trips to Vegas and vacations to the Sci Fi and Computer conventions and events in California I was getting to know people that would be the players of the industry.  I am sure you know where this goes from here.”

“I think so.  But I have to ask an obvious…..”

“Of course I saw it.  I managed to get to know a few of the guys from the effects crew, so I was able to sneak into the premier.  I mean it might seem better in digital surround sound. But being with the cast in that theater when Star Wars opened was the balls man.”

“I am so jealous right now,” James said as he pulled out his wallet.  “Our food should be here soon.” He checked his phone as is gave a notification, the driver was at the front of the shop.  The pair of men walked to the door. James unlocked it and let the delivery guy in. He inspected the food and then handed the guy the money and a $20 tip.

“Thanks man,” the driver said.

“No problem, I am having a great night so I thought you should too.”

The delivery guy nodded and left.  James locked the door behind him. The two moved to the play area where customers usually played games.  James divvied up the food and they started to eat. “So why did you decide to tell me all of this now?” James asked between bites of sweet and sour pork.

“Because it is time to move into the next phase of my plan.”

“Which is?”

“I have no idea.  I just know in this day and age, I can’t keep up the Todd Matherson charade much longer, so I decided to end it.  I also figured I am in a good place right now, so why not start using this thing to have some fun. Thus I am telling you.”

“Do you plan on taking me to the days of old to relive the best of times?”

“Sure.  Which until recently I didn’t know if I even could.”

“As in taking people with you?”

“Exactly.  I always knew I couldn’t take that much with me, a backpack with some stuff in it, a box if I held it.  I’ve been tinkering with it for a while now and tested it with a big dog lately. It was a success.”

“I hate to think what happened to your earlier tests.”

“Nothing really, I didn’t try it until I was pretty certain that it would work.  I have a lot more going on as well. The amount of research I have conducted is insane as well.”

“I thought you went back to build up your fortune?”

“Well yeah, but since I don’t age when I go back, I’ve also done things like just go back 10 years and researched for 2 to 5 years a couple of times.  Think about it, researching as much as you want while not aging. Then return to the present like nothing happened.”

“This a basement thing again?”

“Yes and no, I have another place I tinker at as well.  I have to keep a little notebook to track where and when I have been.  That whole erase time thing if I touch myself.”

“Doesn’t someone think highly of themselves?”

Tommy pondered a moment, then realized what his previous words sounded like.  “You know what I mean smartass. The Time Cop thing. You come into contact with another version of yourself in another time and you cancel each other out.  I don’t know if it creates a paradox or wipes time. Not eager to find out either.”

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