by David Lee
A naked man is walking through a mall no one sees him.
|The mall was busy four days before Christmas people hustling about shopping some rude other, pleasant and considerate. Feeling a draft looking seeing my body naked it was terrifying. How did this happen? Standing there exposed without clothes; the people didn’t seem to notice my nakedness.
They moved around me without noticing. Were they blind? He turned looked through the stores' window studying the reflections moving hurried to unknown destination. What he saw was terrifying the people imagine present and moving but his image absent. He moved closer waving his hand frantically becoming extremely terrified there wasn’t a reflection his body invisible. He stopped at the glass, placing his hand palm down on the smooth glass, lower his head thinking. He moved through the glass effortlessly. He became part of the display inside turning looking out at the people hustling by. Opening his mouth and screaming loudly, no sound heard the people still ignored his nakedness and screaming. Invisible and his vocal cords couldn't make sounds. He pushed back through the glass grabbing and shouting at people trying to make them to notice.
His outstretch hands passed through the people as smooth as it passed through the glass. Desperately, he tried to communicate with the people. He stopped and stood still and thought the situation through logically as taught in Law School. There wasn’t a logical explanation other than it being a horrifying nightmare. When he awoke he would be in his apartment his body visible, and he could speak. He laughed aloud, but nobody heard. He walked up and down the mall enjoying the nakedness and invisibility. He could do despicable things the people oblivious to his actions.
He was considering the possibilities when he started shivering without clothes the mall promenade cold. He supposed he could experience cold and heat if visible, but he wasn’t positive. He thought logically about this briefly and came to this conclusion it was a terrifying nightmare, his body not here. His body was reacting to the coldness during his sleep. The cold persisted becoming unbearable he stepped through a wall into a store seeking warmth, found none. Reaching for a coat from the rack his hands passed through it. He ran through the store thinking the exertion might warm him. It didn’t it was getting worse. It was possible a person could die from hypothermia. He was becoming more confused and terrified as the minutes zoomed by at record speeds. He passes through the wall and is outside. The bank across the street marque is flashing the time and temperature. It was 45 degrees it seems colder. He passes through the wall returning to the mall the bone-chilling temperatures continued. He was positive freezing to death on the mall promenade possible. He sat down on a bench with a little girl licking an ice cream cone; placed his head in his hands and wept.
“What is wrong mister? Why are you crying? Are you lost?”
The tiny voice startled him. He jerks his head around remembering his nakedness; tries to cover his privates discovering he is fully clothed. He is wearing his favorite three-piece charcoal gray suit and his Italian loafers his briefcase is setting on the bench between him and the redheaded girl licking the ice cream cone. The sun is shining it is pleasantly warm he looks around and discovered he is setting outside the courthouse. The little-girl mother is standing behind the bench talking on a cell phone watching. He was confused and disorientated remembering the nightmare of being cold, invisible, and naked inside the mall.
“Because I’m only five years old you think it is alright to ignore me mister and not answers my questions?” The little girl said her tone angry.
“My mind was preoccupied it wasn’t my intentions to ignore you. I’m not lost are you lost?” “No mommy is behind us talking on the cell phone.
“What frightened you? You were talking crazy about something called hypothermia and being naked.”
The little girl’s mother closed her cell phone stepped around took her hand. “You shouldn’t talk to a stranger, especially strangers who talk to themselves.”
They walked away the little girl turned and smiled waved bye. He glanced toward the courthouse and wondered why he was here it was Wednesday. He wasn’t due in court until Friday afternoon. He checks the time and date on his Rolex. “Damn paid five thousand dollars for this Rolex a week ago, and it broke already. It can’t be July 15 2099 as the date and time indicates.” He said this aloud two people walking by gave him a strange look. He had no memory of coming to the courthouse. It was possible he walked from his office only five blocks away. He would check the parking garage where he normally leaves his car.
He headed around back to the entrance to the parking garage walking past the newspaper rack glancing at the headline. Thousands die in nuclear disaster in Beijing China. He sees the date and nearly has a coronary. July 15 2099, he quickly checks the date on his watch again the date on the watch agrees with the newspaper. Impossible he thought noticing the strange-looking vehicles for the first time. People stared at him. He hadn’t noticed they were dressed differently. They were all wearing white long flowing robes. Terror consumed him instantly he drops to his knees starts screaming loudly; knowing he is insane.
Consumed with terror placing his back to the cold concrete sliding down he began to weep. Muffled voice and footsteps heard passing his eyes remained closed and the terror continued consuming. Without warning, the dizziness overtook him and then there was blackness. He hadn’t passed out, but he felt funny. The sensation of floating engulfed him. It was relaxing and exhilarating he attempted to open his eyes they seemed glued shut and wouldn’t open.
“Jerry, Jerry Hudson what is wrong with you man?”
His eyes popped open staring at Justin Greene another attorney. Glancing around everything returned to normal. He checked the date on his Rolex July 15 2010. It was a nightmare he stood and looked at Justin briefly before speaking. “Too much to drink last night I guess got dizzy had to take a break.” Not wanting Justin to ask prying questions he turned and walked away.
Reaching into his pocket for his car keys, he finds a cashier check for ten million dollars. He stares at the check thinking about the things the money could buy. His eyes noticed the date. July 15 2099 the check was worthless. Terror returned instantly knowing somehow he traveled into the future and returned.
These were questions without answers.