It’s just another day at the office. You can handle this. Just 6 more weeks and your transfer is supposed to be approved. Alright, where are we assigned today?… NEW MEXICO?! Ugh, c’mon! why couldn’t it be Cancun?! Because of course, it’s not Cancun. When was the last time you were assigned to Cancun, Jake? Oh, that’s right, you don’t follow the rules one time, and all of a sudden, you get to go to all of the dullest places on the planet.
I regret ever taking the job at the “Timeline Protectors” the intergovernmental agency set up by the ghosts of past, present, and future. I thought it would be a good idea at the time. They “scroogified” me 6 years ago after years of ignoring my family for political activism. Then Future was all like, “Oh, come work for us at the Protectors, you’ll fit in perfectly. You’ll love it too, you get to travel all over the planet in a flash making the world a better place.” He sure sold me a bill of goods.
I was assigned to Walter today. Something about turning his life around because he was headed down a path that would ruin thousands of lives, blah, blah, blah, who cares. It’s always the same with these people. It’s never-ending, which is why the Timeline Protectors was even created. The three ghosts couldn’t keep up with what was going on!
*Alright, let’s get down to ‘New Mexico’. Ugh. This is horrible. Man, I hate this time-portation phrase—“*Bippidy-Boppidy-Boop Jake’s going down the shoot.”
And there I was. Instantly transported to Arroyo drive, Sante Fe, New Mexico. It was fairly late at night because it’s always late at night when we do these things. Okay. Here we are. Now, where is this guy? I spotted the guy I was after. You could tell because he walked up, immediately went to the back and snuck in as quietly as he could.
The Protectors give you the ability to sneak up on your assignments, catch them off guard. The idea is that, if they are panic, then question their sanity, and you don’t go away, they will eventually have to listen to you. It all starts with the jump scare. Admittedly, I do love this part of the job. I popped into the living room as Walter was closing the sliding glass door as if the slightest noise would cause it to shatter into a million pieces.
Oh man, this one is going to be extra tasty, “Hey Walter.”
He jumped out of his skin and let out a yelp. That was going to sustain me for the next few hours for sure. I seriously love that part.
Walter forcefully whispered at me “who the hell are you?! How did you get here?!”
“Relax Walter, nobody can hear us. My name is Jake Abernathy, and I am with the Time Protectors. I am here to talk to you about your case.”
Walter seemed confused, like he hadn’t comprehended what I had just said to him (this is usually the case when I give this spiel. They usually latch on to the whole “case” thing.)
“What the hell are you talking about?! Who are the Time Protectors and what case do they have on me?!” He was still trying to whisper and yell at the same time. That, plus the jump scare, was making this a fairly enjoyable assignment, all things considered.
“Walter, can I call you Walt? Listen, Walt, you’ve heard of Ebeneezer Scrooge, right?”
Hey gave me another puzzled look, “From A Christmas Carol? What are you talking about?” He shook his head, obviously casting off his myriad of follow up questions, “Look, you cannot be here. I am asking you politely to leave. If you can’t do it that way, I have a gun, and I am not afraid to use it.”
“Walt, you can try and shoot me if you want, but the ghosts have made me immortal while I’m on assignment. So, we can either get on with it, or you can shoot me for your own satisfaction. What’s it going to be?”
He seemed to consider this for a moment, then, with a defeated look of exhaustion on his face he said, “Let’s get on with it, I suppose.” Then he muttered under his breath, “must have been that stuff I had at Aaron’s house…”
“Nope! sure wasn’t that. This is actually happening. Alright, so, says here that you… wow. Alright, Walt, we are going to need a serious intervention here.”
He shook his head again as if regaining his train of thought from earlier, “Wait, excuse me, you mentioned Scrooge, right? Why are you here and not the ghosts from the story?”
“They’re busy. Believe it or not, there are a million people with problems that cause misery for tens of millions of other people. There are three ghosts. Think they can handle everyone at once? I mean, they tried, up until about 1917, then they had a couple of guys in Europe they were supposed to talk to, but never got around to them, and… well you know how it went. Anyway, they hire us out to do their work.”
Walter looked at me with confusion and amazement, “This is crazy. Alright, whatever you say, Jake the ghost of whatever. Let’s get on with it already.”
Yeah. This case was going to be good. Finally, something to look forward to.