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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
“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?”
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.
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.”
“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.
“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.