The Marriage Plot

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By Tendai Huchu

“For God’s sake, whatever you do, do-not-marry-that-woman!”

“Who the fuck are you?”

“I am your future self. You remember that idea you had for a time machine? Well, it worked, it’s going to work – gotta get my tenses right – and I’m here to tell you… to tell me, not to marry that woman.”

“You look more like my dad.”

“I was also going to say lay off the beers a bit and count your damn calories. And while you’re at it, a bit of exercise every now and again wouldn’t be such a bad thing, if you can be arsed.”

“No way you’re me, hombre.”

“Do you want me to show you the mole on my left butt cheek, or maybe we can discuss your rather disgusting habit of jerking off to Chantal Biya pictures?”

“Jesus!”

The Marriage Plot

“I’m talking quickly because we’ve only got four minutes before I’m sucked back through the vortex to my own timeline, and, because of the parallax-duplicity problem, I can never come back to this exact moment again. Are you going to do as I say and leave that woman?”

“Why?”

“Because she’s no good for you. She’ll bring you untold misery and grief. Spare yourself, spare me, by cutting off all links with that woman. I can’t explain everything, but you have to trust me, trust us. Think of me as the gut instinct you never had, moron. It will hurt now, but – trust me – it will save you from so much pain, grief and anguish in the future, like an injection. Consider this a prophylaxis, a pre-emptive strike of the Gulf War II kind. Please, I am begging you from the bottom of our sclerotic heart.”

“Hmmm…”

“Motherf—”

“Okay, I’ll do it.”

(Five minutes later)

“I need to talk to you urgently. This is a matter of the utmost importance.”

“What happened to your teeth?”

“Excuse me?”

“We went through this five minutes ago, remember?”

“Ha? I’ve only just gotten here. Look, I’ve come to save you, my boy. There’s no time, you just have to trust me on this. I need you to get over whatever’s been bugging you and marry her. Forget these second thoughts you’re having.”

“Uh…”

“You absolutely must propose tonight! Do you have any idea what I’ve gone through in order to come back here – across the fourth dimension – to save you from yourself? If you have any regard for what’s holy, then you absolutely must marry her.”

“But you said—”

“Life without her is cold and bleak and… It’s unlife. Four billion women on the planet and she’s the only one for you. She completes you, she completes us. I’ve searched everywhere, you’ve searched; we’ve spent the last thirty years of our life searching, and no one can replace her. That feeling called love, it’s in your heart right now, and you will never feel it again if you don’t marry her. Instead all you’ll have is bitterness, envy and loneliness. You will go through the rest of your life alone, comrade. At your age, you’re thinking bollocks, but trust me, there’s nothing worse in the whole, entire universe. Imagine the pain of having your teeth and fingernails pulled out over and over and over and over again. Please, I beg you…”

“Okay, I’ll do it. I’ll marry her. Fuck.”

“Thank you, thank you, thank you. Now listen, a few days after I’m gone, you will not remember having seen me, but the decision you’ve made right now will linger in your subconscious and take effect. Trust that instinct.”

(Five minutes later)

“Thank God you’re here. You may not know me, but I absolutely must speak with you.”

“You again? What happened to your nose?”

“I’ve only just gotten here. Anyway, there’s no time. It’s about that woman! Listen to me very carefully. Whatever you do, you-must-not—”

“Are you kidding me? The only thing I’m not going to do is build that bloody time machine. You hear me? No. More. Time…”

Tendai Huchu is the author of The Hairdresser of Harare. His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Manchester Review, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Gutter, AfroSF, Wasafiri, Warscapes, The Africa Report, The Zimbabwean, Kwani? and numerous other publications. His next novel will be The Maestro, The Magistrate, & The Mathematician.
Tendai Huchu is the author of The Hairdresser of Harare. His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Manchester Review, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Gutter, AfroSF, Wasafiri, Warscapes, The Africa Report, The Zimbabwean, Kwani? and numerous other publications. His next novel will be The Maestro, The Magistrate, & The Mathematician.
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