The Loophole

by Tim Walters

Ben looked out into what seemed like endless blue sky and swirls of white clouds trying not to be present for so long in one place. He had the window seat in the fifth row about thirty feet away from the front of the plane. Dear reader you may wonder where he is going but it doesn't matter, though you may say it may be important, the landing destination of the plane he is on should not be considered nor mentioned. He will not be on the plane when it lands and so you see it doesn't make a difference where the plane is going. The important thing to remember reader is that it's not the destination of the plane that is important but the destination of Ben, as hopefully you will see the line of real life and dream interact quite often but this time one man is trying to create a burst of life before the end of his mortal life.

Thought and rethought raced through Ben's consciousness, it's funny but now that he thought of it he couldn't think of a time in his life when he had actually lived. "No, I think this will be the very first and I'd like to think that it's not something all that common, at least in the fashion that I am going to attempt." A few moments passed before Ben thought again and this time he wasn't as cool as before. It was almost time for his exit and he started to rethink, "I know I've thought of this moment for years but it now hits me as ridiculous. I mean how the hell did I think this would work? It seems like a pretty beautiful death on paper but now when I'm up here it doesn't seem so great." Ben motioned towards the person sitting next to him that he needed to get up, once he was in the aisle he starting walking towards the front of the plane. The stewardess said something but he didn't hear her, he closed his eyes when he was in front of the door.

When he reopened his eyes he was in a room sitting in a chair and a table was in front of him with another chair on the other side of the table. These were the only things in the room. There were no windows and there was not a door, the walls of the room appeared to give a white glow, you see there was no paint as a whitewash would be. Ben couldn't imagine where he was, his last memory was walking towards the emergency exit on the plane. He closed his eyes in a half hearted attempt to recall anything that had happened after he jumped out of the plane but he couldn't remember. He opened his eyes quickly when he heard the sound of a door opening and closing. A man of about forty years took the opposite seat at the table. He had black hair which was in good condition and a thick black mustache and he looked French to Ben. The man had a folder with him that was pretty large and he set it down on the table.

"Your name is Ben Thompson right?" the man asked.

"Yes, that's correct. I must ask you, where the heck I am and who are you?"

"You are in Loophole and my name is Guy de Maupassant."

"What?"

"Well I'm not really Guy de Maupassant, here at Loophole we like to pretend and take the form of some of the famous people who have been through Loophole."

Ben furrowed his brows and rubbed his eyes, "Guy, I don't understand what is happening and where I am. You see I was just on a plane and closed my eyes and when I opened them I was in this room and then you came."

"Yes, I fully understand. You succeeded on the plane. Hell, I couldn't think of anyone who has tried that one, I mean you just got up from your seat and walked straight to the emergency exit and opened it and jumped out. You should have seen yourself, you looked very calm and that's when we decided to bring you to Loophole because for very special cases we give the defeated a second chance on life. That is, after going through your records, we have found a specific event in your life that if changed would prevent you from jumping from that plane and in effect ending your life."

Ben had nothing to say to the man, no nothing to say at all. He didn't know what was happening, was he dreaming on the plane and this was the signal to not go for it. "Maybe if I close my eyes and think of the emergency exit, I will be there again."

The man laughed from across the table, "It doesn't work. It's funny that you human beings try to do these silly mind games with consciousness, it just doesn't work, there is no secret."

"Alright, if I don't know what it is then surely you must know the secret, right?"

"No I'm just your case supervisor and I'm not authorized nor paid enough to enthrall you with what is and what isn't."

"Well than what can you tell me?"

The man opened the file that was on the table between them and started, "Well, we have pinpointed where you went wrong that is when you missed...let's see here, ah...you missed Jill. Does this name have any meaning to you?"

Ben looked at the man and spoke, "Yes, it is the name of a girl I had known and loved from my childhood. But I don't understand what does this have to do with her?"

"Well, according to your file here, before you decided to jump out of a plane, you saw something the day before that resonated in your heart, is this right?"

Ben remember perfectly what the man was talking about, "Yes, I remember, it was an older couple of about fifty years old that were walking arm in arm into a restaurant I was in and it looked like they had lived there whole lives together. They were laughing and it looked nice and how I wished time could be fast forwarded so that I could feel the same."

A smile came over the man's face as he spoke, "Well, we can't fast forward time here at Loophole but we can go back in time. More specifically we can go back to the day when you had a chance to help out Jill during a rough time and you didn't. It also says here in your file that you have had dreams of this event."

Ben now thought he was really losing it because before this he could have believed anything the man across from the table would have said but this, this was too much, "In my dream, Jill is dressed all in black and she is waiting on a street corner for a bus that we would take in the morning and she is just standing there looking at me and her eyes are brilliant and seem to carry the sorrow of a thousand men. She then turns to look at me and she says something but I can't make out what she is saying and then she turns around and gets on the bus but when I go to get on with her the door shuts and drives away." He looked down and rubbed his eyes.

"Alright now, calm down it's not that serious. Let me see what we can do for you here at Loophole...let me see, let me see...ok here it is. What we can do is start your life over from a specific moment in time and you live it out from there. The only problem with this is that it is still up to you to alter your present life, we will not correct the action that has led you here, you will have to do it."

"Well, how the hell am I going to do it if this one specific event doesn't really exist but is more of dream or a culmination of events, I can't just get on the bus you see."

"It is foolish of you to think that you know or can decipher waking from dream but hey look we are pretty good at what we do here so let us set 'em up and then you knock 'em down."

Ben stood up from his chair and started to walk around a bit. He tried not to think to ridiculously of the situation, it had to be a dream. The man slammed the bottom of his fist on the table and spoke to him, "For the last time, this is not a dream, this is not reality, damn you this is nothing, accept what is laid out in front of your eyes. If we didn't think you were a special case then you wouldn't know anything."

"Listen, Guy I still don't get it, if this is not a dream and this is not reality than what is this?"

The man smiled, "I don't know, a being within itself."

"Huh?"

"Sorry that was a bad joke but seriously you are in Loophole where all is infinite. Please let us get back to your file as I have another appointment after yours."

"Ok, so basically you are going to send me back in time to a specific time and event and then I am going to decide if I want to alter the way handled the situation from the way I have previously?"

"Yes, it is up to you if you want to alter your future so that you will not end up on that plane. Once you are put in back to that specific time, you will make your decision and then live out the rest of your life from that decision, so if you do the same as you did you will end up jumping out of plane to your death but if you try something else you may get that which you desire."

"Alright, what time frame are you going to send me back to?"

"Well, according to your file and our calculations, you are going to be sent back to August 28th of 1994."

"Why was that date chosen?"

"It's funny how a file of paper could explain a person's life more so than they could themselves, that is, this date is the day when Jill's mother passed away from lung cancer. Don't you remember anything about why she left?"

"It was very long ago and I was ten years old at the time."

"You know, we help you guys out and then when we get ready to send you back and you don't know why you are going back and what happened specifically about your unfortunate event. Both of Jill's parents died in August of 1994 and that is why she went away to live with her grandmother."

"Yes, now I remember. So how is it going to work, time traveling and all."

"Well, we are going to reconstruct time in the following fashion, you are going to be placed in the front yard of her house and she is going to be walking to get on a bus and from there it is up to you to alter the situation."

"What should I do?"

"I couldn't say."

Ben rubbed his face and looked around the room. "Okay when does it start?"

The man laughed and said, "Whenever you want, right now if you like."

Ben closed his eyes, "Okay I'm ready." When he reopened his eyes, he was standing in Jill's front yard. He couldn't believe his eyes, "It's just like how I remember it to be except I remember there being a tree with is bark pulled off to the side of the house." Ben was lost in thought about how ridiculous this was and how it was so vivid. Jill walked out of her house and walked up to Ben.

"I'm going to live with my grandma in Babylon. I don't know if I will see you again."

A feeling of disappointment swept over him as he didn't think about what he was supposed to do.

Jill spoke, "Didn't you have time to think about what you would say to me. You knew this day was coming ever since my parents passed away and now you don't have anything to say to me, I love you Ben and you don't get it and probably you never will." She started to walk off to her grandmother's car and was ready to get in.

Ben at first looked at the ground as she walked off and then he swung around yelled to her, "I love you, too. Yes, I have always loved you, it just took me a while Jill to figure out that I had missed out on you. A couple of years after you left I would have a couple of beers in the night time and think about you and what I missed out on and now I don't have to worry anymore."

She laughed for the first time in a couple of weeks, "Your silly Ben, I care for you too but I don't know about drinking beers and all. But anyways I will write you with my new address and phone number. Goodbye."

As Ben turned around a flash of new memories popped into his head, ones that showed him with Jill and with their children and with their friends and family. Ones that showed him as an old man and Jill as an old woman walking hand in hand. Ben had wanted these moments all his life even though he was never old enough, still he wanted them and now he had them. He smiled to himself and said aloud, "Guy, you did it you crazy son of a bitch, you did it." He walked back to his house and wondered if his mother would still look the same in that old house. When he got there he opened the front door and walked in.

The clouds looked good to Ben as he drifted to his death, he remembered being a child and trying to figure out which animal the clouds looked like. He was happy and for the first time in his life he wasn't worried about nothing as there was nothing to hold him back anymore, he was on his way to the completion of his life. The ground looked small to him, as if nothing had definition and nobody lived down there. The pressure that was exerted on his body from the atmosphere hurt a bit but he didn't mind it so much as he knew that he was about a thousand feet from the ground and it wouldn't matter in a minute or so. He laughed to himself and thought, "Damn, I didn't expect this, no I thought I would have passed out by now and just fall to my death with nothing to show for it, although I know its not real, I can't help but feel like I lived a long and good life." He closed his eyes one last time and waited for the cold hard earthen ground.

When the paramedics showed up to the scene, they were surprised to see him in such a condition, "I thought it was a young guy who jumped out of the plane" said one paramedic.

His partner spoke, "He is a young man. That is what the plane company told me and I doubled check his records. Why what's up, it's someone different."

"Yes, this here is an old man of about seventy five years old."

At Ben's funeral, they all marveled at the fact that he had aged what seemed like fifty years over his age but one thing that couldn't be disputed was the fact that he died happy as people who attended that funeral can tell you, that he was buried with a smile on his face. Years after Ben died, doctors and scientists looked to find a solution to why Ben had aged so much after he jumped from the plane. After research was conducted, no solution was rendered. The solution dear reader was right in front of them if they only had looked for it in places which were not scientifically based.

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