Let me tell you how everything changed. Especially New York City. The earth is mostly the same. It still has blue oceans and if you saw it from space, you’d still see the same land masses. Everything in its place. For now.
When I looked in the funhouse mirrors with you, I knew we looked wonderful together whether we were fat, skinny, short or tall.
The city changed when two guys accidentally discovered how to teleport; that’s what started it, at least. The two guys were named Ptolemy (his nickname, which he hated, was Mimi) and Fortune (no nickname), and they managed to teleport when they were trying to invent a laser trebuchet, which is less ridiculous than it sounds. Lasers can only shoot in straight lines, and the United States Army was interested in seeing if they could lob concentrated balls of energy at their enemies, and were willing to pay seven figures to anyone who could figure it out. When Mimi and Fortune first turned on the spherical energy generator, it zapped everything in the room into their purest energy states, turned it into a ball, and lobbed it 4 miles in about the same time it would take someone to Google “trebuchet.” Unfortunately, exactly four miles from Fortune and Mimi’s house was a cement block, which they and their apartment/lab’s furniture were unceremoniously fused with.
When I compared our hands, your fingers fit perfectly within mine, above mine, around mine. If you held your hand up to the sun, my hand fit perfectly in its shadow.
When the two inventor’s hapless girlfriends found the teleport trebuchet, they pretended it was their idea, patented it, and decided to sell it to the highest bidder. Unsurprisingly, North Korea and the United States got into a bidding war, and while the girls were sleeping off a night of we-got-offered-two-billion-dollars celebratory drinking, a gunfight between special agents for both parties ended in the United States unceremoniously stealing the device. The girls woke up to find a lovely gift basket made by Special Agent and Chief Scientist Robert Lewis’s wife, who felt bad for the two recently single psychology majors.
In our little apartment in New York City, we could get to the roof, and we would play our musical instruments and sing songs to the kids playing over-the-line.
The laser teleportation device, or SULU (Sub-Universal Location Unifier) was deconstructed then reconstructed by the United States Government’s top scientists, but they couldn’t figure out how to teleport anyone further than four miles before a group of Canadian activists stole it to help relocate deforestation companies into someplace more useful – like volcanoes, or deep ocean crevasses. The Canadian Activists located an interesting addition in Fortune’s design: the ability to choose what the ball of energy could transform into after impact. Fortune had no idea that whatever things in the vicinity of SULU would be the things transforming. Left on the normal setting, they would turn back into whatever they were. But if you put a little item inside a polycarbonate box, it would nudge their energy in that direction. This is how the Canadian Activists turned the mall developers in the Quebec forest into pinecones.
When we stopped smoking cigarettes, we discovered how we smelled again, and delighted in the absence of the scent of smoke from our clothes. You smelled like almonds and vanilla and some difficult-to-obtain spice.
Eventually, the Canadian Activists were subdued in a shootout between Haitian crime lords, the Central Intelligence Agency, and a particularly venomous Cuban cartel, and SULU was nearly destroyed in the process. Luckily, the parts brought back to the United States were exactly the parts that the government scientists weren’t able to replicate, including the polycarbonate box that the original deconstruction team thought was part of its poorly constructed casing. They lobbed a mouse four miles to the East, and the scientists there confirmed that the mouse was the same. The Central Intelligence Agency wanted to use the machine to send agents instantaneously into areas they needed agents to be, but four miles from the main offices was not what they had in mind. They wanted SULU to throw further. Would 3,500 miles be possible? they asked.
You and I slept well together, which was strange. I wasn’t expecting to meet someone who I didn’t steal the blankets from, or kick, or sleep walk away from. Instead we curled into a ball together and rolled into the corner of the wall the bed was in and stayed like that, curled up as close as we could be, warm and in a cove of blankets.
The scientists went to Central Park to test the stronger version of SULU, which they dubbed PLATO (Possible Lengthener of Area Travelled, Overall). They were worried that they would accidentally send something important from their lab with the stronger version of the machine, and weren’t exactly sure what to expect. They increased the energy but there wasn’t much energy needed. They looked strange with their little trebuchet in the park, especially with all the wires hooked around the wooden spoon that lobbed the energy balls. They wanted to make it look better, but hadn’t had the time to make a nice casing yet.
When were in Central Park that day, and we were eating bread with goat cheese and brie and drinking boxed wine that we had put in a water bottle, I had a ring in my pocket. I kept putting my pinkie through it while I kissed you.
Special Agent and Chief Scientist Robert Lewis’s wife had thoughtfully put a rose inside the polycarbonate box for him to find the last time she visited the lab, but he hadn’t found it yet. The scientists turned the teleportation device on and it took New York and turned it into a ball of energy that fit into the wooden spoon.
When I took the ring out, the last thing I smelled before we were scattered to the wind was roses.