Chapter 15: Adao and Miffy

When Adao first glimpsed his future home, he cheered. “Yes!” he said, pumping his fist in the air. “I’m rich!” He hadn’t admitted it, but seeing his friend Grayson’s success had filled him with envy. All his life, Adao had lived in a cramped house filled with people and shabby, hand-me-down furniture. It hadn’t been horrible, but he had dreamed of something greater in his future. And here it was – a huge modular house, walls of glass and concrete, and perfectly sculpted landscaping. The home of his dreams. Future Adao

“I don’t think you’re home,” said Ivy as they stared up at the darkened windows. They wandered around the building, surprised by the lack of security gates.

“Cool – I have a hot tub!” said Adao. “Come on! Let’s try it out.”

Ivy looked doubtful as she watched him peel off his clothes and climb in. “I don’t know, Adao. Even if the future you lives here, it’s still private property.”

Adao shrugged, then leaned back in the hot tub and closed his eyes. “Since when has that stopped you?” he asked. He had been watching Ivy closely while they had been stuck together in the future, and had noticed many unusual things – like the way she seemed to know how to manipulate electronic devices as well as he did, and the way she watched people and monitored their surroundings. He had overheard her asking a stranger for directions in another language, which he was pretty sure was Farsi. And earlier that day, he had been hiding behind a building on the university campus, and had seen Ivy combatting with her future self. That was what had finally convinced him. Ivy Malik was a spy.

He said nothing, though. What if it was dangerous for him to mention it? What if she had been ordered to kill people who were potential threats to her cover? Adao had read enough secret agent comic books to know the risks. Future Adao (3)Future Adao (2)

Ivy stripped down to her swimsuit and joined him in the Jacuzzi. Soon, the two of them were so relaxed that they did not notice the future Adao approach. “Hello there, me,” the future Adao spoke. Ivy let out a shriek, then climbed out of the hot tub and began to yank on her clothes. Adao followed.

Future Adao (1)Future Adao (6)

“I wondered when you would finally track me down,” said the future Adao, who did not seem at all surprised to find Adao and Ivy on his property. “Of course, I knew that you were here the moment you activated the alarm on my infrared fence,” he said, gesturing.

Infrared! That explained why there were no security fences around the property. Adao grinned. “And let me guess – you had remote access to security cameras on your property.”

“Right here on my watch,” said Future Adao, holding it up for Adao to see. “And I was pretty impressed to see you in the Jacuzzi with Ivy Malik,” he said, letting out a whistle. “I always thought she was pretty hot.”  Future Adao (5)

“Um, I’m standing right here,” said Ivy, her voiced edged with irritation.

Future Adao waved his hand. “Oh relax,” he said. “Hey Miffy – could you offer our guest a shoulder rub?” he called out to a shiny magenta and gold robot.

“Of course, dear,” said the robot in a smooth female voice. It walked over to a very surprised Ivy and began to massage her shoulders.

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“Adao, Ivy, I’d like for you both to meet Miffy,” said Future Adao, leading everyone inside his house. “She’s the newest generation of MIFs – Matrimonial Fembots. We have been together for three happy years now.”

Adao nearly choked. “Together? You mean – together together?”

“That’s right.” Future Adao leaned forward and gave Miffy a kiss. “Miffy has been programmed to do everything a human wife can do. And she is the love of my life.” Future Adao (8)Future Adao (7)

Adao exchanged shocked looks with Ivy. A robotic wife? “Well,” he said, his voice weak. “That’s um…neat.”

Future Adao smiled. “You two must be starved. Come on you two! I’ll replicate you some pumpkin pie. Do you guys like pumpkin pie?” He began to whistle as he led them to the kitchen. Future Adao (9)

As they followed nervously behind, Ivy leaned over and whispered in Adao’s ear, “I say we find out how to repair the time machine and get out of here quickly!”

Adao nodded. The future him was completely insane.


Chapter 14: Spy vs. Spy

Tracking down the future Adao turned out to be far more complicated than Ivy and Adao had thought. They pored through electronic books and directories in Grayson’s extensive library, but they were unable to find any information about Adao Rocha-Morinho from within the last fifteen years. 1SpyvSpy (5)

“It’s like I’ve dropped off the face of the planet,” said Adao, shaking his head. “I don’t understand why I would just disappear after inventing such cool robots.”

Ivy, however, managed to find a possible address for her future self. “I know it’s dangerous,” she said. “But I just have to see. I have to know what kind of person I’ve become.”

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Adao pressed his lips together. “I get it,” he said. “But be careful, Ivy. We still don’t know what kinds of consequences there may be from interacting with our future selves.” He stayed behind at the library while Ivy set off to track down her future self. The address led her to a sleek, ultramodern house, which was nowhere as huge and elaborate as Grayson’s, but still impressive. It was exactly the kind of home that Ivy would have chosen for herself. 1SpyvSpy (1)1SpyvSpy (4)

Ivy walked around the house, peering through windows and trying to get an idea of what she was like in the future. She even rummaged through her trash can, hoping to find clues. All she managed to find was a dozen empty iced tea bottles and a couple pieces of mail from the nearby university. 1SpyvSpy (3)1SpyvSpy (2)

Well, that was a start. Ivy left her future home and made her way to the university. It was kind of silly, she knew, to try to find herself on a huge campus full of people. Was she a student there? A professor? She wandered around, discretely scanning the faces of every passerby who remotely resembled her.  1SpyvSpy

And then, out of the blue, something hit her hard between the shoulder blades. “Oof!” She whirled around, crouching into a defensive stance, and found herself face to face with…herself. 1SpyvSpy (11)

“Who are you?” growled the future Ivy, her blue eyes blazing. Wait…what? Blue eyes? Ivy was so stunned that she forgot to protect herself as Future Ivy’s boot shot out and kicked her in the face. “Who sent you?” 1SpyvSpy (8)

Ivy fought back instinctively, hitting her future self with a few well-placed punches. “I’m you, you idiot!” she said.

“Who cloned me? I demand that you tell me!” Future Ivy’s next blow hit Ivy in the chest, knocking the wind from her lungs. 1SpyvSpy (12) 1SpyvSpy (9)

“Stop!” Ivy gasped. “Stop, you have to…believe me! I’m Ivy Georgia Malik. From 2015.” Bam! Future Ivy kicked her again, and Ivy fell to her knees. “I came here in Adao’s time machine. Stop!”

Future Ivy stopped pounding her. Her weird blue eyes widened. “Adao? Adao sent you here?” 1SpyvSpy (13)

“Yes,” Ivy rode to her feet, still clutching her chest. “Please, just listen.” Future Ivy waited, still poised to fight. But as Ivy explained the situation, Future Ivy relaxed. “So you see, we have to find the other Adao,” said Ivy. “If you are really me, then you already know how we can find him.”

Future Ivy nodded. “I am one of the only people who knows where he lives,” she said. “He’s become somewhat of a recluse.” She passed along the information that Ivy was looking for.

“Wait,” said Ivy. “Can I just ask – what’s up with my eyes? I mean, your eyes? ‘Cause, you know, they used to be dark brown and all.”

Future Ivy smiled. “In the future,” she said, “you can get cosmo to look pretty much however you want to look. Changing brown eyes to blue isn’t much different from getting a tattoo or a nose job.”

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Ivy shuddered. She made a mental note to avoid future cosmetic surgeries of all kinds. “See you when I’m you,” she said.

Future Ivy nodded. “Good luck. Hope you make it home.”





Chapter 13: Newer is Not Always Better

Over the next few days, Adao nearly forgot that he and Ivy were supposed to be trying to find a way to go home to the past. Grayson’s future life was like living in a dream – or in a much cooler version of the old Jetsons cartoon.

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The first thing they did was go to what Grayson called The Mall. But it was the craziest mall Adao had ever seen. All the products were on display in this huge, dome-like room. But when Adao used a Holo (what Grayson called these weird floating touch-screen computers) to make a selection, the object or outfit he selected would – poof! – suddenly appear on the display stand. Finding Grayson (7)Finding Grayson (2)

“It’s magic!” said Ivy, wide-eyed.

“It’s science,” said Grayson, grinning.

When they left the mall, Adao could hardly recognize himself. Grayson had talked him into this short, 2040’s haircut and some outfits that reminded him of sci-fi shows he’d watched back in the past. What’s more, he’d visited a 1-hour Cosmo salon and had his vision done. Which basically meant a lightning-quick laser eye procedure that made his glasses useless. He felt very insecure, reaching up every few seconds to tug at his short hair and push at the bridge of his nose where his glasses used to sit. Finding Grayson (6)

That is, he felt insecure until Ivy leaned over and whispered in his ear, “You look hot, Adao.” A hot blush spread from his collarbone to the tips of his ears and stayed there until they returned to Grayson’s house. Which, by the way, was like High Tech Disneyland.  Finding Grayson (3)Finding Grayson (1) Finding Grayson (4) Finding Grayson (25)

Grayson had gigantic, Ultra-High Res 3D television screens that covered an entire wall and were controlled simply by swiping your hand around in the air or giving it voice commands. And super sleep pods that guaranteed you a perfect 8-hr. sleep and could even control what you dreamed about. And bathrooms with built-in saunas. And robots – real robots! Robots that could cook and clean and tell jokes and shoot burglars with guns hidden in their robotic arms. Adao spent a good couple of hours carrying on a deep and nerdy conversation with Kermit, one of the robots, about the evolution of electronics and robotics, and then learned a shocking fact.  Finding Grayson (19)

“The inventor of the first model in my series was named Adao Rocha-Morinho,” said Kermit.

“That’s me!” Adao was stunned. He had only just begun to build robots – mostly for battle in the Battlebot arena, but still. Would he really become the guy who invented machines as intelligent as Kermit? “Hey,” he said, “do you happen to know where I…I mean, where Adao Rocha-Morinho lives?”

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Luckily, Kermit did. At last – Adao and Ivy could be on their way to find the future him and ask him how to repair the time machine. “You guys are welcome to borrow one of my cars,” said Grayson. He led Adao and Ivy into his garage, which was filled with sleek, expensive flying machines, and one vehicle that was probably considered a classic by now. Finding Grayson (16)

“Wow – your old motorcycle!” Adao ran a hand over the smooth metal, marveling at the contrast between the old and the new. “Does it drive as fast as all this new stuff?” Finding Grayson (17)

Grayson laughed. “Not even close,” he said, shaking his head. “But sometimes I like to ride it just to feel the wind in my hair, you know?” He ran a hand through his short, straightened hair and let out a sigh. “And because sometimes, all this—” he swept a hand all around him “—feels like too much. And being on my bike slows everything down and reminds me of who I used to be. Of who I should have been.”   Finding Grayson (18)

“Maybe you are the person you were meant to be,” said Adao as they walked back to the house.

Grayson’s eyes were cloudy as he looked at Adao. “Sure. Maybe you’re right.” His voice was flat, empty of the bubbly energy he’d had when they were both younger. “Hey, do me a favor, though?” he asked.

“Sure. Anything,” said Adao. Finding Grayson (24) Finding Grayson (23)

“When you get back to the past,” he said, “can you find me? Go to my university. Whatever it takes. And tell me to forget about the money. Forget about what my dad wants me to become. Do what makes me happy. Okay?”

Adao shook his older old friend’s hand. “It’s a deal,” he said.

Chapter 12: Grayson Tanaka’s “Perfect” Life

Future Grayson (6) Grayson Tanaka knew that he had no reason to be unhappy. In fact, just thinking for a moment that he was not happy with his life filled him with guilt. After all, he had everything that most people dreamed of. His wife, Tessa, was charismatic and gorgeous. His two daughters were healthy and smart and full of life. They enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle in the wealthiest part of town, with the latest model in servants and any comfort money could buy.

Future Grayson (10)Future Grayson (1)

Who could be unhappy with that?

He had worked for years to reach his current position as CEO of TanaTek. Like many people, he did the majority of his work from his own home office, connected to his company through the HoloWeb. Future Grayson (11)Future Grayson (9)

But occasionally, he drove to work, hoping to find real live people to connect with instead of blinking lights and glowing screens. More often than not, he found the building nearly deserted.

Future Grayson (8) Future Grayson (7)

During those times, he liked to wander around the grounds until he found a quiet place to sit. Then he would pull out a sketchpad. It was an expensive luxury – paper notebooks had become rare, and most artists created their work digitally. But Grayson still loved the rough feel of real paper and the sharp, woody smell of drawing pencils. He drew picture after picture, then hid it away in his briefcase. Like so much of him, he had learned to hide his passion for art from the rest of the world. It simply did not fit with the life he was now expected to lead. Wife, daughters, and business – that was the way it had to be.

Future Grayson (4)Future Grayson (5)

He had several work acquaintances, but no real friends. And so, he was taken by surprise when his servant announced that he had a visitor at the door who claimed to be a good friend. He was even more startled a few minutes later, when he found his childhood best friend, Adao Rocha-Morinho, at the door, along with Ivy Malik. Future Grayson (13) Future Grayson (14)

“I haven’t seen you guys since high school!” he said, amazed by their appearance, and more amazed by how the two of them had managed to remain looking so young. He invited them into his home and watched them look around with awe.

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“Okay, I have to ask,” he said after a moment. “Who does your cosmo?”

“Our what?” asked Ivy, exchanging quizzical looks with Adao.

“You know – your cosmetic work? Your faces?” Grayson raised his eyebrows. Didn’t just about everyone get cosmo these days? “You two look like you’re barely twenty years old!”

“Um…” said Adao. “Look, Grayson. This is going to be hard to believe. But try to keep an open mind, okay?” Grayson listened as his old friend explained about the time machine, and how he and Ivy had accidentally gotten stuck in the future. A time machine! It was the most bizarre thing Grayson had ever heard. Which is probably why, after Adao had answered a zillion of his questions, he decided to believe them. Why not a time machine?  Future Grayson (12)

“Well then, time travelers,” he said, grinning. “You are both welcome to stay here while you fix your time machine. But on one condition,” he added, looking Adao up and down and wrinkling his nose.

“What?” asked Adao.

Grayson clapped him on the shoulder. “We have got to get you a 2040 makeover.  ”

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Chapter 11: Users are Losers

“We have to find your future self,” said Ivy. “He’s bound to know how to fix the time machine, right?”

“Of course! Then we can go back to the past,” said Adao, who was beginning to feel like they were not only trapped in the future, but in a cheesy 80’s movie as well. They entered the nearby store, which was definitely not Walmart. Everything was sleek and shiny, glowing with lights and moving screens. Adao looked around, amazed by the technology. There was not a single human in the shop.

“Robots!” he said, the realization hitting him. The shop was entirely run by human-sized robots – some of which looked exactly like the prototype he’d been working on back in 2015. Could these be the future generations of his own inventions? “Wow!” he breathed.

“Maybe they can help us find the future you,” said Ivy. She marched up to one of the robots. “Excuse me. Do you have a computer we can use?”

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“What kind of computer?” asked the robot in a smooth female voice that sounded a lot like Siri.

Ivy shrugged. “A desktop? A laptop?” The robot did not seem to know what she was talking about. Finally, Adao pulled out his cell phone and was able to do a search. The only familiar name in the online directory was Virginia Zackowski. He saved her address, then the two of them set off to track her down. They took the strangest light rail train ever to the outskirts of town, where Virginia’s neighborhood lay nestled in the hills. Finding Virginia (3)Finding Virginia (1)

“I feel like we’ve gone back in time,” said Adao, looking around at the run-down and very non-futuristic house.

Ivy hushed him as the door opened, and a much older and more haggard-looking Virginia stepped out. She frowned at the two of them, narrowing her watery, red eyes. “Do I know you?” She blinked a few times, then took a step back. “Ivy Malik?” Finding Virginia (5) Finding Virginia (6)

“Yes, it’s me,” said Ivy. “But listen – Adao and I have just traveled here from the past. We’re trying to get back home.”

Ivy’s tired face cracked into a grin. “That explains why you both look so young! Come in, come in!”

Finding Virginia (10)

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Adao and Ivy exchanged glances. Leave it to Virginia not to even question something as bizarre as time travel. They entered her home, which was just as shabby inside as out. Virginia was talking five miles a minute. She lit up a cigarette and began to tell them the entire tragic story of her life since high school. She had tried to make it as a singer, and even learned to play guitar for tips. But when money had run tight, she had resorted to…less favorable arts. She burst into loud, gulping sobs, her thick makeup streaking her face.

Finding Virginia (15) Finding Virginia (14) Finding Virginia (13) Finding Virginia (12)

While Ivy consoled Virginia, Adao excused himself and went to search for a bathroom.

Finding Virginia (4) Finding Virginia (7) Finding Virginia (9)

Instead, he found himself in Virginia’s bedroom. What he found was shocking. Next to Virginia’s bed was a huge stash of drugs and used needles. He sent Ivy a quick text. “I think that Virginia forgot that users are losers. She’s a total pothead!”

Ivy tried to confront Virginia about it. “Look, maybe there’s someplace we can take you to get help,” she offered.

Finding Virginia (16) Finding Virginia (17)

Virginia’s face twisted with anger. “Oh, so now you think you’re better than me?” Her voice slurred, and Adao realized that she was probably high or drunk even now. “Look, I told you where Mr. Grayson Bigshot lives. So why don’t the two of you get the fuck outta my house?” She waved her arms around wildly, lost her balance, and fell to the floor. Adao and Ivy hurried for the door, leaving their old friend lying in a sobbing heap on her dirty floor.





Chapter 10: Who Needs a DeLorean?

“Ivy, no!” Adao came running down the basement steps just as Ivy was stepping into his secret lab. He was not fast enough. Electricity (9)

“What the hell?” Ivy asked, walking around and around his invention. “Adao, what is this? It doesn’t look like a bomb. What does it do that’s so important to the—” She stopped talking and pressed her lips together. Electricity (11)

Adao let out a heavy sigh. “It’s a secret. I want to tell you, but it’s not exactly finished yet, and…um, I wouldn’t get too close if I were you.” Ivy was standing right beside his invention, running her hand along the hard metal claws. “Ivy, you really shouldn’t touch that,” he said. But it was too late. The machine activated, coming to life with electric hisses and crackles. Then it began to do something Adao had never seen it do — glowing with a fiery bluish light.Electricity (13)Electricity (12)

“It’s so weird,” said Ivy, who placed a hand, and then a foot into the center of the light. “It looks like an electric charge, but it doesn’t feel like anything. What is it sup—” Ivy’s words were cut off by a sudden ultra-bright flash of energy from the machine. Adao closed his eyes and shielded his face, but he could sense the light burning all around him. His stomach dropped, as though he were on a roller coaster at Five Flags.Electricity (14)

“Ivy!” he cried, reaching out for her, but there was nothing but bright light and nothingness. And then, his feet hit the ground. Dazed, he stumbled forward out of the claws of his machine. “Ivy?” he saw her standing there in front of him, staring into the distance. “Are you okay?” Electricity (15) Electricity (1)

Ivy whirled around. “Am I okay?” In her bewildered eyes, Adao could see the reflection of the dying bluish light of his machine. “Am I okay?” She raised her voice. “Adao, where on earth are we? What happened? What did you do?”

Adao offered a shaky smile. “Umm…I built a time machine?”

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YOU WHAT?” Ivy’s eyes grew very wide. She glanced from him to the machine, back to him. Then without warning, she turned and ran.

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“Ivy wait!” Adao raced after her. They ran outside and practically half a mile toward who-knew-where. Until at last, Ivy stopped in the middle of the street. Her face was filled with panic, which was unusual for her. She had always seemed to cool and calm to Adao. “Look,” he said. “Just look at your phone. Check your GPS.” They both pulled out their cell phones, which surprisingly still worked. A few moments later, Adao had a location. “This is Hiver Park, all right,” he said. “I think this used to be a Walmart.”

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“This does not look like Hiver Park,” said Ivy, looking around at the strange buildings and cars. “Where are our houses? And where is all the snow?”

She was right. Not only was there not a sign of snow, but the air felt too warm, like when he used to visit relatives south of the border during the summer. “Apparently,” said Adao, turning off his cell phone. “There is no snow in Hiver Park twenty-five years in the future.”

Ivy grabbed Adao’s arm and shook it hard. “Take us back home,” she said. “I wasn’t prepared for any of this. Take us back to the past!”

Adao shook his head. “I told you the machine wasn’t ready yet,” he said. “I’m afraid we’re stuck in 2040.”

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