Strangers By Choice

Ann Marie Tajuddin

Sam stumbled over his own feet as he appeared in mid-stride, catching 
himself on a newspaper dispenser to his left, bolted down to cold concrete 
near the edge of the sidewalk. He stopped and the considerable flow of 
pedestrian traffic hiccuped for an instant, and then moved to branch around 
him, trickling off into the distance. He noticed several peculiar looks as 
people moved around him and wondered the cause of them. A few people even 
looked continuously back as they advanced onward, their expressions as 
curious as if he'd just dropped out of a spaceship. *Oh, what now?* he 
wondered, glancing himself over. He seemed normal - dressed in a gray 
turtleneck with a brown leather jacket over it, a pair of brown slacks, and 
dress shoes. A watch and a wedding ring weighed down his left hand and he 
fingered the ring briefly. Nothing abnormal, as far as he could tell. 
Eventually, the few people who'd paid him any notice were gone and it was 
back to how Sam remembered a big city being - a lot of individuals for whom 
no-one else was even visible.

He ducked around to the other side and looked at one of the newspapers: New 
York City, Friday, February 18, 2000. His eyes widened and he put a hand on 
the biting cold metal in front of him to steady himself. He'd never leaped 
this far forward, had he? It sounded awfully close to what Al's time would 
be. Even if it wasn't, the project would still be going on and he wished 
he'd leaped in closer to New Mexico.

Hoping he didn't have to be anywhere soon, he pulled out the wallet in his 
back pocket as it seemed to be the only thing on him he could use to gather 
any information until Al showed up, and opened it up, then dropped it as if 
he'd been stung. It fell in slow motion, hitting the edge of a puddle, 
splashing greasy liquids and slush onto Sam's shoe. His own face smiled back 
up at him on a New Mexico license, just like it had when... He scooped it up 
before anyone else could and held it in his hand, straining to remember.

Point of View

Part 1 NEW December 22, 1999
Part 2 NEW December 22, 1999
Part 3 NEW December 22, 1999
Part 4 NEW December 28, 1999
Part 5 NEW December 28, 1999
Part 6 NEW December 28, 1999
Part 7 NEW December 28, 1999
Part 8 NEW December 28, 1999

Part 9 NEW January 6, 2000
Part 10 NEW January 6, 2000
Part 11 NEW January 6, 2000
Part 12 NEW January 6, 2000
Part 13 NEW January 6, 2000
Part 14 NEW January 6, 2000
Part 15 NEW January 6, 2000
Epilogue NEW January 6, 2000

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