A Despondent Man Makes A Wish He Can Never Take Back
ifty-two year old Virgil Thompson stared at the half empty fifth of Jack Daniels sitting on the table in front of him and contemplated refilling his glass. He was already three sheets to the wind, but after a moment or two he decided what the hell. It was the middle of a beautiful summer day, but all the shades in his small apartment were pulled down. The room was dark and gloomy, much like his mood, so another few quaffs of Old Number 7 wasn’t going to hurt. He poured himself another glass, took a drink, and thought about how much his life had changed in the last six months.
There was a time in Virgil’s life when he had it all, and he was the happiest man on the face of the earth. He had everything a man could ask for: a beautiful home, a beautiful wife, two beautiful daughters, a great job, and more good friends than he could count. Now all that was gone. His wife of 31 years, Sheryl, had divorced him and got the house, his entire family hated him, he’d lost his job, and he was broke. Even his friends no longer wanted anything to do with him.
But at least he still had Jack. And the loaded .38 Smith and Wesson revolver that was sitting beside the bottle. That was a last resort though, and he wasn’t sure if he even had the guts to use it.
“Shun of a bitch,” he slurred. “What the fuck happened to me?”
He was all alone in the apartment, so when a mysterious voice suddenly answered him, he quickly sat bolt upright and looked around to find his uninvited guest.
Don’t blame yourself, Virgil.
“Who said that?”
There was nobody there, but the voice continued.
Call it bad luck, call it fate, call it what you want. The fact is it happened, Virgil, and there’s nothing you can do about it now.
Virgil looked around once more, tried to stand up, but when the liquor overtook his equilibrium and he almost fell to the floor, he slowly dropped back down into his chair.
“Who are you? Where are you?”
Some might think of me as an angel, others as just their conscience. I’m whatever you want to me to be, my friend, but you won’t see me. Because you can’t see me.
“What do you want?”
I’d like to help you. All you have to do is ask.
Oh, Jesus, Virgil thought. I passed out and this is a dream. Or I’m a lot drunker than I thought I was. He took another drink and laid his head in his arms.
No, and yes, the voice said. But I still want to help you.
Virgil raised his head and looked around the empty room. “OK. You wanna help me? You really wanna fuckin’ help me?
All you have to do is ask.
“Fine! I’ll play your damn game! Turn back time!”
The room instantly grew brighter, then disappeared completely, and Virgil Thompson’s wish was granted.
~ ~ ~
ime had indeed turned back, just not the way he wanted. He was now back in the year 1969 staring at a small child in a hospital maternity ward. Nurses were walking around attending to the newborns, oblivious to the strange man standing among them. He walked over to the newborn and looked at the name tag on the bassinet:
Baby Girl Sheryl Fisher
His wife of 31 years.
“Hey!” he cried out. “Hey, Angel or whatever you are! This isn’t what I meant!”
But there was no answer, and the nurses acted like he wasn’t even there.
He looked at his clothing, his hands, and they were exactly the same as when he was just sitting at that table in that small apartment drowning his sorrows with the Jack Daniels.
And it didn’t stop there.
The maternity ward suddenly lit up with a flash, just as it had in the apartment, and he found himself sitting on a stool in a saloon, surrounded by cowboys wearing six-shooters. A grizzled old man with his arm around a whore was drunkenly stumbling down the stairs…
He was on some big ship, surrounded by pilgrims busily walking back and forth on the main deck, huge sails fluttering in the wind overhead…
Men wearing togas in a large coliseum, fighting to the death…
In a desert, men both young and old being flogged as they moved humongous stones on logs to what he believed to be the beginning of a giant pyramid…
What appeared to be a dense rainforest, the only sounds were of animal screams and terrible roars all around him. He looked up to see a pterodactyl soaring in the sky…
And here we are, my friend. You asked me to turn back time, so here we are: the beginning of time…
Virgil Thompson fell to his knees and screamed, but there was nobody on the planet to hear him.
Written for the Newsfeed Challenge of May 2018
Inspired by the song 'Stressed Out' by Twenty One Pilots