The Timies started to show up about two months ago. It was my brother Reggie and I who figured out who they were. We aren’t a great scientists or detectives or anything like that. Reggie and I are pickpockets mostly. We do little cons sometimes to get what we need.
We were on a bench in Central Park, to sleep off our hangovers. Reggie tugged at my sleeve and said, “You see that over there?”
“Those weirdos there. Look at that.” There were two of them, the man in a purple jumpsuit and the woman in turquoise, their tan heads smooth as billiard balls.
The man directed the woman to stand at the edge of the path. He took out a silver thing, shaped like a banana. ;I hadn’t seen nothing like it before. From the way he pointed it at her and the way she smiled, I guessed it must be some fancy camera.
I nudged Reggie in the ribs. “Go ask them for a portrait.”
“Yes, them. Do it before I put my foot up your ass.”
Reggie grumbled under his breath, but he did it. While I was always the brains of the operation, Reggie had the face. It was an idiot’s face, but people found it trustworthy, maybe because he seemed too dumb to be up to no good.
He waddled over to the couple. “Excuse me, would you like me to take your picture?”
They stared at him. The man said something in a bunch of gleeps and gloops that didn’t make no kind of sense. We got a lot of foreigners here in the Big Apple, so Reggie knew what to do. He pantomimed taking a picture with a camera and gestured at them. The man must have understood because he gave the silver banana to Reggie.
Reggie waited until the man and woman were on the edge of the grass, arms around each other. Then he bolted. The weirdos stood there for a couple of minutes in disbelief. I thought they might get a cop, but instead the man touched a silver bracelet on his wrist. A ball of green light eclipsed them for a moment and then it exploded.
I threw myself to the ground, as did everyone else who saw it. I thought those weirdos must have been suicide bombers or something. But then I realized the light hadn’t killed me. I looked up and saw it hadn’t killed anyone. Not so much as a blade of grass was singed.
I got to my feet and whistled a jaunty tune as I walked away.
I met Reggie in our flat. He had the silver banana on the table. I almost ran when I saw the woman in turquoise in the room, by the wall. But then her image flickered and I saw it was just a picture. Not a photograph, but some kind of hologram like in the movies.
“This is some high-end shit here,” Reggie said. I couldn’t argue with that. “What do we do with it?”
“Sell it. Something like that has to be worth a fortune.” We wouldn’t take it to no pawn shop neither. I’d have to look up the number for Apple or IBM or one of them big companies with deep pockets.
I went over to the silver banana to see if I could find a label. I didn’t see nothing but two buttons: one green and one red. The green one went off when I touched it and the hologram of the woman disappeared. The red one remained on and blinked every few seconds.
And then the whole room lit up in green light, just like in the park. Reggie and I dropped to our knees. Before I could open my eyes, someone had me around the collar.
I looked up to see a guy plucked out of a comic book. He wore black body armor and a helmet with a tinted visor that covered all but his mouth. He held me in one hand and in the other a silver object that looked more like a carrot than a banana. I guessed it wasn’t a camera.
The man bent down and actually smelled me. “This isn’t him. His name is Rupert Lecau, age 32, no occupation.”
The man had an identical twin with his hand on Reggie’s collar. That man sniffed at Reggie. “This is him. Reginald Lecau, age 29, no occupation.”
“Who are you people? We got our rights, you know. You can’t just bust in here and grab us.”
A silver circle appeared on the man’s armor. It projected an image of the guy who held me. Without the helmet he looked sort of Middle Eastern; maybe these guys were terrorists. Except the text below his name identified him as being with the Time Defence League. ...Tweet