Jerry Weeks looked out the window. It was raining, both outdoors and in his mood. His wife was yelling at him for the last time. He looked at his watch, given to him by his son as a birthday present some years before he died. It was Saturday, June 26th, 2010. Five-forty PM, exactly.
“Are you even listening to me?” she shrieked.
“No, ” he lied. He was. He heard every word, every accusation stabbed him in the gut, because, of course, he knew she was entirely right about everything, entirely right in every profanity, every hurled object, every slight, every recrimination. The obsessions, the paranoia, the late nights and early mornings, then came the amphetamines and suddenly the nights and mornings blurred into one. He lost his job, and had to live off of his trust fund. When he’d drained that, and could no longer afford the speed, he switched to Crystal Meth. His teeth eventually fell out, but Meth was cheap and easy. He mixed it up himself in the lab in between experiments, sold a bit on the side in exchange for butter-and-egg money. He lost his health, he lost his friends - not that he ever had all that many, to be honest - and now he was losing his wife.
In truth, he’d lost her years before. But couldn’t she see? He’d done it all for her, for their son, for the life they could have had, should have had, but didn’t? She stood by the door, bags in the hands of a cabbie, or was he her new boyfriend? Hard to tell. He tried one last time.
“It’s supposed to be a better world,” he said impotently. He’d meant for more, but he’d never been good with words, and the more he fought for something redeeming to say, the less articulate he got.
“Jerry, I don’t want to hear any more of your paranoid JFK conspiracy nonsense,” she said, her voice unhinged and shrill.
“I can bring him back, you know, I can make it un-done. Everything that has gone wrong stems from one point…”
“You shut up! You shut up now!” She lunged at him, “This has nothing to do with my boy!” She kicked him and punched him. He didn’t move to defend himself. “You were like this long before he died, before he was born, even!” She picked up a heavy glass ashtray and smashed him upside the head with it. His every sense exploded in pain, and while he didn’t black out, he couldn’t make sense of anything for a bit. Presently he found himself on the floor, and she was kicking him. He felt the pain, but it couldn’t really hurt him anymore. He was all hurt out for one lifetime. The Cabbie/Boyfriend was pulling her away from him, and she was vomiting out profanity, but that had long since passed the point of diminishing returns. You can only call someone a name so many times before it loses it’s meaning. Even if it’s true, as in his case.
“It’s ok,” he slurred, climbing to his knees, looking her directly in the eye but not really looking at her. Their son took after her. When he saw her, he was trying desperately not to see their boy in the coffin, trying not to remember them lowering him into the ground in Arlington. “I can fix it. Tomorrow will be better!” There was a pleading in his voice, a total brokenness betraying a lifetime of hurt. It was, after all, a terrible, terrible world.
“You see?” she said, “You see what I told you? He’s insane.” Ah, so he *was* her new boyfriend after all, though Jerry. The man took her bags, and he started inappropriately giggling. “We’ll both laugh about this when it didn’t happen.” she threw the lawyers papers at him, and stomped out the door.
He didn’t want to cry, but he felt like he should. It just wouldn’t come though. There wasn’t a tear left in him, and there hadn’t been for years.
“This is a terrible world,” he said to no one in particular, “But it doesn’t have to be.”
Having quite literally nothing left to lose, he went into his basement in the lab. He’d been working on this, on and off, for more than twenty years. It - and various conspiracy theories about Kennedy - had been his life’s obsession. He’d actually been capable of making the trip for going on a year now, but he