So, I had this conversation with Lou one night about time travel. It really stands out in my mind because, up until that point, he had never showed any interest in the subject. This was Louis Barber, full time employee at Electronics Emporium, over on Seventh. Successful television salesman, sure, but an expert on space-time? Not a chance. That was my territory. I was the guy with a doctorate in Physics from MIT. Lou left Wilson Community with a Bachelor’s in Business Communications. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not trying to debase his education. It’s just that his background is nothing like my own and here he was theorizing like Stephen Hawking or Brian Greene. It was actually difficult keeping up with him!
The lighting in his living room was low that night. When I asked if I could turn the lamp on, he put his hand up.
“No,” he said. “Keep that off. The light from the kitchen is enough.”
His hand – it was wrinkled and ghostly somehow. This won’t make sense to you at all but it didn’t fit. He didn’t fit.
We spoke for perhaps forty minutes. Again, I’m ashamed to say that some of his postulates were a step ahead of me. I told him that I had to consult my notes to corroborate his deductions. He just chuckled, a low and hollow rattle.
Then, there was the peculiarity of how the conversation ended.
“Remember,” he said, “this was your idea.”
A few weeks passed and I stopped in at Electronics Emporium. Having substantiated his end of the conversation with some research of my own (including a phone call to a former professor), I must say that I was rather excited to see him again. Truth be told, I walked into the television section thinking that I could actually learn something that I hadn’t gotten at MIT! From Lou! Well, my friend was just full of surprises. Can you believe that he hadn’t the slightest idea of what I was talking about?
“None of this makes any sense to me,” he said. “All that astrophysics stuff is your bag. You know I could never get past the math.”
“I know,” I replied, exasperated. “But, that night-“
“The night you’re talking about, I was in Phoenix with my wife, on the other side of the country. You sure it was me?”
I thought of the hand, washed out and gray, quivering in the low light. But the voice – it was him. I was sure of it.
Well, there would be no second round that day. Super Lou was gone.
I received a phone call from Lou a few weeks back. It had been years since we last spoke. During the call, he said that since our conversation that day at Electronics Emporium, the theories that I had proposed had never quite left his mind. My theories! They were his theories!
Further, he had recently read an article on the human brain – how we only use a small percentage of it on a daily basis. He went on and on, linking the brain’s potential to space-time. Lou was so intrigued that by the end of our conversation, I had agreed to lend him a few of my old and dusty textbooks from MIT.
Then, earlier tonight, Lou came to my door, flushed with excitement.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to wake you but I just had an idea and you’re the one guy who can tell me whether or not I’m barking up the wrong tree.”
He went on to theorize that if one’s will were strong enough, he could boost the intensity of the electrical current running through his brain.
“In doing so,” he explained. “This person’s options would increase, not unlike a satellite upgrade.”
“Options?” I yawned.
“Yes,” he replied, “with time. Maybe with the electrical upgrade, one could tear a hole through the fabric and go forward or backward in time by his own will and not the universe’s. Didn’t Godel theorize that-”
“Lou,” I put my hand up. “It’s very late. Can we discuss this another time?”
“Yes,” he smiled. “I’m sorry. It is late to be discussing this topic. Another time, then.”
He started down the hall and I called after him.
“If you manage to pull it off, pay me a visit when you get there.”
“Alright,” he replied. “But remember, it was your idea.”
© 2008-2021 Brendyn Schneider, Use or reprint not authorized without permission from the author. Conversations with Lou was published in the February 2008 issue of Ascent Aspirations Magazine