Someone somewhere was giving me a gang of second chances. Who knew when their generosity was going to run out?
So I staked out in the side parking lot of Family Medicine. I backed my Camry into a spot near some bushes so I wouldn’t be seen. But by the time I arrived there at 7:00 in the morning, there was no one to be seeing me anyway.
There I was, sitting in the driver seat like an old flatfoot. Slumped in my seat. A baseball cap pulled over my head. The tint on my windows provided an excellent cover. I spent the entire early morning thinking about the why of the loop. The why haunted me. Eluded me. It had nothing to do with saving Kevin. I knew that now. I knew exactly why I was stuck in a time loop. My mission. But the mission was daunting—much too daunting for one man to tackle. I needed a partner. Thena was the first person who came to mind. It was like a little voice in my head telling me that we were somehow irrevocably linked in some cosmic and spiritual way. In the kind of way that would cause her to believe me when I told her that I was in this loop. The kind of blind faith that would have her help me in perhaps doing what I was chosen to do. But I had to save Kevin. And I couldn’t get hurt in the process. I would sure need my ankle later.
It was nearly noon when I saw Thena walk by and I cursed. Why was she still here? Wasn’t she still mad at Kevin?
Now, I knew that the incident with the van wouldn’t take place for another fifteen minutes or so. So I had to act fast.
I pushed through the lobby doors in my trench coat and ball cap and said, “I knew you were going to let me down!”
“Dallas,” she turned left, right, then back to me. “What are you doing here?”
“I’ve told you: I’ve been here before.”
I looked around the lobby. “No…not here. But out there.” I pointed out the dark glass window. “Definitely out there.” Mind you, I was wearing a trench coat in the beginning of September, along with a hat pulled tightly over my eyes. I hadn’t taken stock in the craziness of my outfit. My next statement would sound to Thena as crazy as the outfit I was wearing.
“I’m stuck in a time loop. That’s how I know about Bryant Green—but all I know about him is that you were engaged long ago. That’s not important. I only brought him up because it’s a fact that I know that I could not have known unless I saw you talking to him, and of course your mother told me that you were engaged.”
“Kevin could’ve told you all of that. You know what? You need to leave.”
“Kevin’s coming soon. He’s going to start into that intersection and get demolished unless I save him.”
“I’m calling security.”
“Yesterday, you were wearing light pink toe-nail polish with glitter.” She narrowed her eyes. “Now how would I know that unless you took off your shoes? You didn’t yesterday. Not that yesterday. But on a previous yesterday, you did.”
Thena was motioning to the representative behind the reception counter. “Excuse me! Sir? Would you please call Public Safety?”
“Oh my goodness.” I shot up from my chair. “Kevin’s coming.”
I dashed out, knowing in my heart each step was the sealing of my fate. Sweat pooled at the base of my neck to match the moistness on my forehead. I tossed the hat to the ground. Why? No clue. Maybe I thought in the seconds between my lunging from the glass doors to the sidewalk my hat would slow me down. But that was stupid. The hat—if I still had it—would cushion the blow as my head hit the ground—again. Of course I didn’t feel much pain on my first go round (if that was the first go round of me attempting to save Kevin). But the pain afterwards? The mind gnawing migraines. My ankle feeling like someone had stabbed through it all the way to the bone. And that same someone had the unmitigated gall to leave that knife there. That rusty knife. In the next microsecond it dawned on me: what if I didn’t just get nicked this time? What if that minivan plowed right through me? Or what if I was unsuccessful in pushing Kevin out of the way of the van this time? It was sheer luck that aided me the last time. That stunt man stuff you see in the movies is not as reproducible as you think in the real world. Could I do it twice?