Time to Die

a full El Salvadoran breakfast:
chorizo links, crema, eggs,
queso, black beans, tortillas,
plantains and a mug of black
cinnamon laced coffee
sat half destroyed
on the cafeteria table before her.
“Feeling better?” asked the nurse in charge.
“Yes, did everything go as it should?”
“The producers aren’t totally pleased.
Wonderful material though,
they say it’s quite moving,”
said Nurse Ellen
as she wrapped the blood pressure cuff
around Nadine’s arm.
“Producers? What about the techs?
They already have footage?”
Nadine was confused
they often were after
“Relax or we’ll get a false reading,”
the nurse said as the cuff constricted
“This is time travel.
It’s all been done
a hundred and two years ago,” Ellen explained.
“Of course, it’s disorienting.
I guess it’s all good.
Mind and genome mapped,
instructions executed.
I bought the ticket and died?”
Nadine frowned
“158 over 90… a bit elevated,
but expected,” Ellen said
as she measured the pulse Nadine remained quiet
“Heart rate: 68, low end of normal.
You were on a hijacked plane that crashed into a field.
There were no survivors,” the nurse answered
“That’s not what I meant,” Nadine said a bit snippy.
“How?”
“Yes, how?”
“Like everybody else.
Like everybody who’s ever gone back,”
Ellen’s voice filled with sorrow and remorse,
sorrow for what can’t be changed
remorse for all who try and fail to change it
“Good,” Nadine said. “The nanite exploded.”
“Cause of death: aneurysm, of course, but
realistically
you were an unidentified victim,” Ellen said
“But I tried to help,” Nadine confirmed
“You did.”
“Will they use me again?”
“The producers have expressed the desire,” Nurse Ellen said,
then added, “Unfortunately.”
“Oh, no. Where are they sending me?”
Ellen cringed, “A village
in the path of Mongolian expansion.”
“I don’t speak the language.
I’m white. How on Earth will I fit in?”
“They’re growing you right as the horde arrives.”
“I’ll be brand new: raw, hairless, naked.
What kind of show is that?
I’ll be raped a hundred times
before the first commercial breaks,” Nadine argued
“That’s the show they want.”
“But what if I survive?
I could alter the past.
My European DNA in 13th century China,”

Nadine panicked
History can’t be changed, she thought
that was the whole point
they calculate the Earth’s location
both in time and space
based on universal expansion
galactic rotation
global revolution, etcetera
anchor the portal’s end-point
open our end here
send the nano loaded
with the genome and mind maps
execute the operating instructions
in a pile of dead organic matter,
grow me, and walla!
harmless time travel, but…
“My God!” Nadine cried
“They could kill us all
for entertainment and profit!”
“Nadine, please, your blood pressure,”
the nurse said
“This is time travel;
it’s already happened.”
Nadine edged into hysteria, “What?
What happened then?”
“As always you died,
raped to death in under three days,”
the nurse said consolingly.
“Oh, thank God,” Nadine said,
relief flooding through her
blood pressure dropping

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