Monday, March 1, 2021

Microstory 1571: Secret Compartment

I just found this secret compartment in my grandfather’s old oak desk, and inside it was...

...his driver’s license! He’s never been married, he’s in his 60s, and he’s been married to the same woman for 25 years! How crazy is that? I had a hard time believing that, but there you have it. Here’s the proof. I’ve had many girlfriends over the years, but never an old girlfriend. After my daughter was born last May, a friend of mine called to ask if I could watch her infant daughter for a few days. Of course, I said yes. Then I asked, “do you happen to have an old girlfriend around who can’t have the baby?” We had a blast. The baby and I spent a few nights and weekends together, but we got to see each other the rest of the time. What did we do, you ask? We shopped, we talked, we ate dinner, and we watched movies. We didn’t actually get to do any of those things the whole time, but what we did do was talk for hours and hours on end. It was nice to reconnect after all these years. When I got my first full-time job in 1998, I saved money and...

...was able to hire someone to help me get clean. I had never done drugs before, but the cleaner says the desk must have been lined with some kind of hallucinogenic, perhaps to stop anyone from accessing it. Now that I’m better, and the things I’m saying make any bit of goddamn sense, and don’t contradict each other, I can get back to the driver’s license. At first, I don’t think there’s anything interesting about it, because I saw his current one in his effects after he died. Little by little, I start to notice discrepancies. Firstly, it claims that his birthdate was last year, and that his license won’t be issued until decades from now. That cannot be right, of course. Is there a smudge on the card? I try to wipe it off, then find myself a magnifying glass. No, it says 2020, which is absolutely bizarre. His home address is weird as well. It says he lives—or will live, as it were—at my friend’s house, the one with the infant daughter I just babysat. Only then do I notice the name. The baby’s name is Indra, and my grandfather’s was Darin. Those are anagrams of each other, which is not something I would have realized until seeing it here on the license, paired with the wrong surname. My grandfather was a time traveler. That’s the only explanation. He’ll grow up in the wrong body, undergo gender reassignment surgery, and then at some point, go back to the past, and become my mother’s father. I don’t know why, and I definitely don’t know how, but I know I have to do whatever I can to protect that baby...or I’ll never even exist.

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