Extras - Timely Persuasion


Deleted Scenes > Alternate Ending

I shut off the radio.  I couldn't possibly have done that, as I didn't even have the power to do so just yet.  Did that mean that I would still do it later in life?  That since the possibility still exists that it continues to be so?  If so, my plan was destined to fail.

At the bowling alley I asked for lane number thirteen.  Even though I didn't feel much like bowling, I had to pick up something I'd left behind many years from now and a few weeks ago.  Lifting the lower panel of the ball return was more difficult than I had imagined.  The soft plastic didn't have as much bend to it as I thought it should and it ended up cracking with a loud snap.  Fortunately no one seemed to notice, with loud cracking sounds being common enough in a bowling alley.

I set aside the broken sheet of plastic and there it was, right where I asked myself to leave it.  Tentatively my hand reached out for it, half expecting my fingers to pass right through it leaving it of no use to me.  That fear proved unfounded.  The syringe slid over when I bumped it just as any real object should.  I picked it up and smiled.  Phase one was complete. 

My bowling bag was sitting open on the chair in front of the electronic scorer.  I carefully placed the syringe in one of the pockets, but it fell right through the bag and onto the floor.  My foot kicked out just in time to dull the impact on the worn out leather, saving me from a doomed fate.  It made me think of the Twilight Zone episode where the sole survivor of the nuclear holocaust finds a library and then breaks his glasses.  He had a perfect plan for the rest of his life, but it would all have to go for not due to carelessness and broken glass.


More years passed.  Although my writing career as it once was never resumed, I did find my muse again.  Committed this entire tale you’re reading now down to paper as a memoir of what once was.  Thought about trying to get it published, but I don’t think that’s my call.  Besides, I was slowly becoming an old man.  It didn't particularly surprise me, since I already knew what I would end up looking like.  Hair grayed and receded, face wrinkled, skin sagged, eyes dulled.  Growing old disgracefully never felt so good.  The time was getting closer. 

When I first came up with this plan I was worried that the doctors would have caught on to it and captured me with their time change preventative surveillance, but I seem to have avoided their detection.  I hadn't so much as seen the blue van since I'd been back.  Rarely saw any blue vans at all, and I was always on the lookout.  Not that there was really much for them to detect if they were looking for me.  I had no contact with my future self other than that first time, but as far as this version of me was concerned it never happened.  Just a hazy recollection of a drunken memory and a killer hangover.  The syringe was the only evidence that existed, but they couldn't see it even if they wanted to.

D-Day would be here soon.  As long as I made the trip quick and painless I should be fine.  There was some concern that I wouldn't have enough in the syringe to pull this off, as I needed to take a hit myself and still be sure to leave one for the next me to find.  After a few iterations it would all be gone.  But I recalled my older self saying something about self-replication of the microscopic transmitters once they entered the body.  Even though I knew nothing of the science behind it, I did remember enough high school biology that I had an educated guess on how to make it work.  I'd take most of the serum myself, then reload it with a blood sample after a few days.  I'd essentially be giving myself a transfusion down the line, but with no real danger since it was always my own blood each time. 

Unable to see the back of my neck easily or receive help with the phantom syringe from anyone, I took the injection in my arm heroin addict style.  I don't know where I'm going, but I'm gonna try for the kingdom if I can.  Finding a vein beneath my old skin proved difficult, but I succeeded on about the fourth try.  Watching the whole process rather sickened me, but at the same time left me quite relieved that I never ventured into injectable drugs in my younger days. 

The trip back to hide the blood filled syringe went off without incident.  Being that it would in all likelihood be my second to last trip through time you would think I'd pick a nostalgic period since the timeframe wasn't important; I only needed to hide it before I found it.  But I so much just wanted to get the whole thing over with that I blinked back, did the deed, and left without even giving a second thought to what I thought of, where I went to, or why.

It was the final trip that had me worried.  I wasn't sure if I needed to make it at all and actually thought it may do more harm then good.  For the most part it was an insurance policy.  In theory, the end results of my final play would either set everything back to where it started or destroy everything completely.  Both results would effectively eliminate my even making the trip to tell myself where to find the syringe and what to do with it.  But just in case there was something I hadn't thought of, some third result that was neither perfect nor catastrophic, I felt I needed a fail-safe to have one more chance to do it all again.  I needed to close the loop, leaving just a single cause and effect pair.

The other fear was that this insurance policy would negate what I was about to do if curiosity got the better of my younger self and he decided to deviate from my instructions and really explore the limits of time travel just as I had.  In the end I decided there wouldn't be any harm.  If he succeeds he might leave things better than I did.  If he fails he probably couldn't have done worse.  And in either case I didn't advise him to repeat my actions when he becomes me.  In the end he'll do just as I intended on his own whether he likes it or not.

If my younger persona heeds the warning, everything will be fine.  The only remaining cause and effect pair will be leaving the syringe, telling myself where to find it, finding it, and repeating.  There will be no experiment.  There will be no escaping and sending my younger self on a mission.  There will be no need to contact Dad.  There will be no experimentation, no setting sis up with Nelson.  No wedding or bad relationship or bad marriage or bad life. 

I repeated that again and again in my mind.  Finally convinced that it was the right way to proceed, I blinked back to find myself. 


Sitting at the bar, I waited just long enough to see the dejected look on the young man’s face.  Then I told him the two words he needed to hear. 

“Play ‘em.”


“If it’s such a sure thing, why don’t you play it?”

“It’s not possible.  And it’s your lucky day, not mine.  My lucky day has come and gone.  But your lucky day just got luckier.  Check under the ball return at lane number thirteen.  It's your destiny."


That was all it took.  The last thing I ever said to myself.  Short and to the point, and then I walked right out the door.  His curiosity would be piqued, and everything else would take care of itself.

My work here was done, and I was ready for the final blink back home.  I knew that I wasn't going to make any more trips through time if I could help it.  The stress was just too much.  I had passed that responsibility on to the next me down the line, and if he could make a better choice by learning from my mistakes and having a fresh perspective, so be it.  Maybe my sister would still end up with Nelson.  Maybe I wouldn't end up with the redheaded girl.  Maybe I'd keep my current wife.  Maybe it didn't really matter in the long run.  Maybe it was time to stop worrying about past and future lives and to let things work out on their own in the here and now. 

As I blinked back to the present I felt a sense of relief.  Whatever happened next would happen for the right reasons.  I wouldn't be around to remember it, but I had a feeling the younger generations of me would like it better that way.


Very important!  Read carefully:

This letter and syringe are quite literally for your eyes only.  The fate of our world rests in your ability to follow these simple instructions.  Though you may be tempted to do more than is described below, please don't.  I know because I did, and I know you wouldn't like the results.  The only chance we have at saving our sister is to keep our Sam Beckett boy scout ego in check and just let things happen naturally.

Keep this in a safe place where you won't forget about it or lose it.  Out in the open is fine, as only you will know it's there.  In the year 2043, inject yourself with the contents.  I assure you it is safe, but even if you don't believe me you'll be old enough that you won't much care either way.  Wait two days, and draw a sample of your own blood into the open syringe.

Next, come to this bowling alley.  Find a quiet spot (tough, but you know what I mean) and think about your fondest childhood memory.  You'll know the right one when you find it.  You'll be transported back to the time of that memory.  Everything around you will seem to be an illusion, almost like a dream.  Take the syringe and put it back where you originally found it, and wish you were back home. 

That's it.  I know you probably want more details, but it would be unwise for me to give them.  That is why I'm contacting you by letter rather than in person.  I don't trust myself not to tell you everything, so here on paper I have a limit.

Do well, and you'll have a great future.  Do anything else, and remember I warned you.  Break the cycle.  I know you can, because I'm you. 

If you need further evidence, read the enclosed manuscript.  What the hell, try to get it published if you’d like.  We know your writing career could use the boost, and you did write it, afterall.  Like this letter it also should be for your eyes only.  In case you do decide to seek a mass audience with it, I've refrained from using proper names to protect both the innocent and guilty from knowing too much about their own possible futures.  That includes you.  If these people are a part of your life you should be able to recognize them.  If not, it’s probably best you didn’t seek them out.  They may not be important this time around.

The only exception to this nameless rule is Nelson, as I hate the guy so much I hope he rots in hell.  It may be for all the wrong reasons, but please remember his name.  If we succeed he will cease to exist, but if not do anything in your power to keep him away from our sister.  I realize that just by using his name in I leave open the possibility that the true identities of the other characters may be discovered, but that's a risk I'm willing to take.  Besides, if that ever happened we could always just blink back and fix it...