Max was good at twiddling his thumbs. He had nothing to do that sweltering afternoon after lunch, so he sat in Nando's Gurney Plaza twiddling them, watching the world pass him by. A hundred frantic shoppers later, he'd drifted off into a bit of a stupor, so when he looked up and saw a tall, long-haired guy approaching his table, he fairly jumped out of his skin. He eyed his Madeira Red suspiciously, wondering if there had been alcohol in it. They wouldn't. They'd lose their halal license. But he couldn't quite wrap his head around the fact that a very much younger version of himself had just plonked his extremely thin derriere on the chair in front of him and was grinning at him like a maniac.
"Crazy, isn't it?" Young Max said as he beckoned a waiter.
"How - who -"
"What, why, when?" That cocksure grin again. "Ice lemon tea, please." The waiter nodded and walked away.
Max finished gaping. "Are you really me? How is this possible?" He cast another dubious glance at his drink.
Young Max followed his gaze. "It's just pomegranate juice and Sprite. And sugar."
"Are you sure?"
"I'm quite sure that I'm real and that you're not drunk. You stopped drinking a long time ago, remember?"
"Yes - but if you're a younger version of me, how would you know?"
"Because I'm not."
"Not a younger version of you. I'm a different version of you."
Fifteen minutes later, Time Travelling Max leaned back in his chair, nibbling at his straw as Max leaned his forehead on his open palms and groaned.
"I have no idea how to understand what you just said."
"That's okay. It's not important. You just have to remember what I'm here to tell you."
"Why are you here?"
"You haven't been listening, have you?"
"I've been trying!" Max barely stopped himself from pounding the table.
"Temper, temper. I know how it is. That's where those scars came from, right?"
"Oh how much you know, but how little you understand!"
Time Travelling Max fell silent, contemplating his remark. "That is true. I've only studied what you've been through. I do not think I will understand." He shook his head as if to rouse himself. "It doesn't matter. The only thing of importance here is the message."
"Things are not as they seem."
Max scowled. "What's that supposed to mean?" He watched as his other self opened his mouth, lifted a finger and then froze.
"Apparently not supposed to tell you. Just remember that. Things are not as they seem. I have to go now. Thanks for the drink."
Max gaped as he got up and rushed away.
Seconds later, Max went back to twiddling his thumbs, solemnly swearing to himself that he would never drink Madeira Red ever again. Wasn't worth the price and the (he was quite sure) hallucinations.
This is a Max story, written under duress.
Maximillian Chan (Max) is a long-haired, tattooed, gangster/biker type dude that first appeared in my 2003 NaNoWriMo. AND THEN SOMEONE GREW AN UNHEALTHY OBSESSION WITH HIM.
I don't know if that's 700 words. It's probably round about the 200 range.
But that's too bad.
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