I was hired by some guy who told me you needed watching. He said simply I
should follow you and find out where the hell you went on a Wednesday.
It wasn’t a well-paying job.

Hell, it hardly covered fuel costs, but it
gave me something to do and it was regular money. My private
investigation agency was only three months old, built from the burned
ruins of my cop career. The honourable discharge, on medical grounds,
paid me very little in the way of actual money. I wasn’t going to turn
down untraceable cash in hand payments for work. They were what would fill the days left until I died.

I tell you
though, this Chevy is fucking uncomfortable. The seats are too hard, and
the stick shift disallows any kind of meaningful leg room. Shifting
frequently in my seat is the only way to keep comfortable and still
retain a clear view. And boy, do I like having a clear view of you.

You’re
gorgeous, I will give you that, and God, it’s so easy to stare. You
have the oddest effect on me. In fact, I can’t seem to watch you without
my dick sitting up and taking notice. I like my men tall, but Jeez, you
must be six-five, maybe even six-six? The photo they gave me does not
do you justice at all. It’s blurred and clearly taken with a telephoto
lens; it’s grainy and lacks any real detail. Up close and personal,
well, from ten feet away anyway, your hair is blonder.

It says in the
papers they gave me that your eyes are blue, but I haven’t gotten that
close yet so I can’t say for sure. You’re built though, and that’s where
my freaking fantasies start to take hold with a sticky vengeance. I
like my men built. I’m not a small guy, well, I don’t consider
five-eleven short, but finding men that really tower above me is
difficult, specially men with muscles like yours. Your chest is wide,
your shoulders broad, your capable strong hands make short work of the
carrying the cases you always arrive with.

The same cases you never leave with.

People
don’t generally bring luggage here; pharmacy bags clutched in sweaty
hands of desperate faced visitors, but no real luggage. This hotel is
$19.99 a night for a reason. You were there for reasons of your own …
but not the kind everyone might think, I would imagine. No one else
would notice you leaving without the bags. I do because I see you take
them in. It’s always around half an hour after arrival, and I log all
this on my iPhone. Today would be my fifth time of watching you. The
fifth Wednesday.

Today I’m looking to make first contact. Or rather, today I received the text that said I had
to make first contact. I must admit I was a long way past intrigued,
and bordering on ecstatic that I would finally get to touch you, find
out if you’re as hard and muscled as you look from a distance. They say
you’re gay, in the small box that’s there for extra notes, they wonder
if you’re meeting another man in that hotel room. I’m supposed to watch
for that but I never see another walking after you, or arriving before
you. It appears to me you’re completely alone.

You did have a
partner, some guy called Shaun, so I wonder how you would feel if I make
advances. Once this gig is up and I hand over my observations of your
boring visits to this out of the way no-tell-motel, then maybe we could
meet up and pull some all nighters.

I wonder, though, if I would
turn up dead like Shaun did. Dead as a dead thing—sliced in half just
above his groin from side to side as cleanly as if one of those lasers
from a James Bond film had been taken to him. The top half of him simply
filed as ‘missing’. The report claimed it was an unrecognised weapon
that had cut Shaun in half–an unnatural slice through skin and muscle
and bone and when I see the photos and read the open ended autopsy, I
must admit a shiver travels my spine with icy fingers.

I wait
until the door to room 29 closes. It isn’t a much visited room, in fact
if you take a look at the motel books–which I did–it shows the room is
paid up in entirety for three months. That in itself raised warning
flags. Why would you rent a room for three months, only visit on a
Wednesday, carrying suitcases and then coming back empty handed. My
imagination serves me the image of a room full of suitcases and nothing
else, I want to see if that is true.

“I was waiting for you to
make contact,” you say as you open the door after my knock. Your eyes
are so blue they shine, and I wax poetical in my head at the sheer
beauty of them.

“You were?” For a moment I’m stunned into silence at the casual way you accept my arrival.

“I need to ask some questions,” I finally manage to say.

“Shoot,”
you say, moving away from the door and allowing me access. I walk in,
cautiously edging around you, and the first thing I notice is the open
suitcase.

The open suitcases filled with apples. Piles and piles of scented fresh green apples, all manner of varieties in tumbled piles.

“Are
you a cop?” you ask curiously, tilting your head and blinking steadily.
I am caught in your sapphire gaze, a strange humming in my head.

“PI,” I say simply.

“Shaun was a cop. Kinda.”

“Dead Shaun?” Silly question, I know Shaun was a cop, my notes detailed him as FBI. You wince at my question.

“He
was a time cop.” I just stare. I know I am just staring, and sighing
irritably you move to the wall, waving your hand in front of the scarred
and peeling paint. The wall shifts, moves, whirls in front of my eyes,
and I don’t understand what I am seeing. It’s like some kind of freaking
tunnel. “He tried to follow me through a gate I opened at his
apartment. The gate closed on him. He was severed.”

Well, that was one explanation for the sliced man, and also the missing upper torso, I suppose.

“Oh,” because seriously…what the fuck?

“If
you want to come with me—” He pauses, hefting the first case of apples
into the vortex and watching as, loose and random and flying in circles,
one by one they disappear. “You’ll need to watch for it cutting you in
half. Stay close to me.” Clearly half of Shaun’s body had gone the same
way as the apples.

I take a step back. “Where does it go?” It’s a
valid question but you have this look of disbelief on your face, like
maybe I should know all this. Fuck. How could I have known anything? I
thought you were having an affair or something, not doing some creepy
Sci-Fi experiment in room 29.

“Thirty seventy-three.” Ideas race
through my head. There is no room number 3073. Shit, it’s a small motel,
no more than forty rooms at most.

“What?”

“The year.”

Then I realise what you’re saying.
You mean the year 3073, a millennia into the future. So I ask
the only relevant question I can think of.

“Don’t you have apples in 3073?”

“Nope.”
Okay, well, that’s a simple answer to my stupid question. “It’s my last
day today. I’m going home. These apples will last us a good while yet.
You coming?”

I look into your blue eyes, at your body, at you,
and I think back on what I have. I don’t even own a cat, I just have a
cancer that’s eating away at me and leaving me with little more than a
year, if I’m lucky.

You take my hand, throw in the final case of
apples, and then with a tentative smile you step forward and I feel the
tug of your hand and the pull of the vortex.

Do I want to time
travel with the hottest man I have ever seen, who happens to be gay, and
apparently runs some kind of inter-year apple-smuggling ring? Maybe they have a cure there for my cancer?

I take
that final step forward.

Do I want to go?

Fuck, yes.

THE END