Part I : Time Travel in Manchester
“Okay, Gee, we’re here – let’s get going – it’s about to get dark. My mum’s house is just ’round that bend,” I said, hugging my coat tight, pointing in the direction of my childhood home.
Gee took in a good huff of air. Then she coughed. “It smells rather bad here; it’s smelly, innit?”
“You and smells! Just ignore it, Gee – you’ll get used to it. Ugh, always so posh.”
Gee swung her designer handbag around as if on cue. I scoffed as we walked on, crunching over leaves and moss.
We trudged to my mum’s house, the sun setting above the trees.
“You know…Gee…the original Gallagher house is somewhere around here, remember?” My eyes lit up as I asked the question.
“Ah, shush! We’re too busy for that nonsense. Let’s get on with it — I’m tired.”
“Okay, geez. Don’t be a grouch.”
“You’re the grouch.”
Before we knew it, we were standing on the front steps of my house. As we walked in, the warmth and the smell of dinner in the stove usurped us. “‘Ey, Mum! Be down in a sec!” I called as Gee raced me up the stairs and into my childhood room.
“Well, this is it!” I said.
“You’ve got a lot of Oasis posters in here.”
“What? Who didn’t when they were a pre-teen?”
“I’m just saying – I mean – you’ve got more than anyone I’ve ever met. And I consider myself an Oasis fan, too. It’s like you’ve got bloody Liam wallpaper!” she said, breaking into a hearty laugh.
“Oh, judge away, Gee!” I scoffed.
“What’s this?” asked Gee as she poked around the bedroom’s corners and crevices. “Oh my God – I can’t believe this piece of crap is still here!” she said, gesturing to a 1980s MAC laptop that weighed about as much as the two of us put together.
“It’s like an antique!” Gee giggled. She slowly lifted the top of the laptop – mostly because it was so damn heavy – and as she did so, a loud crack of thunder startled the both of us, eliciting shrieks and making us jump before giggling nervously.
We turned around to look out the windows.
“Aaaaaah!!!” we screamed in unison as we jumped into each other’s arms.
“What in the bloody hell are the two of you doing here?” I asked.
“Yeah! You almost gave me a bloody conniption,” agreed Gee.
There sat Kate Jones and Jamie Andrews, bouncing around on my quilted, childhood bed, looking quite befuddled themselves.
“We dunno,” Jamie said. “It’s your story, Kelly. I was bout to go grab a pint meself – you, Kate?”
“Eh, was walkin’ round – saw the storm and thought I’d see what the two of them were up to,” she replied, bouncing on the bed. “But I’m not sure why I’m here either, now that you mention it, Jamie. And bloody hell, Kelly, what’s with the posters?”
“See? It’s so bad!” Gee said.
I huffed and crossed my arms.
“Oh, well. Wanna go grab a pint instead?” Jamie asked Kate, bouncing on the bed in return.
“I just need a break from being so bloody serious all the time,” Kate said.
Jamie scratched his head. “I know what you mean, Kate — ” he laid back on the bed and let out a long sigh. “Quite comfy, ain’t it? Would be better with a pint.”
“Would be,” said Kate. “I’m just so tired of all this bloody feminism on Sick Lit Magazine. BO-RING!”
Jamie replied by making an exaggerated gagging noise.
“Oh, shut up, Jamie,” I said.
“You’ve got a tape player!” Kate squealed, bouncing off the bed and over to it on my shelf, pressing play.
‘Rocking Chair’ by Oasis started playing.
“I like this one,” Jamie said.
“So do I!” Gee agreed.
“It’s okay,” Kate said.
“I love it!” I squealed.
We all started singing along. “It’s hard enough being alone, sitting here by the phone, waiting for my memories to come and play. it’s hard enough sitting there, rockin in your rockin chair!!”
I turned around to notice Gee fiddling with the laptop.
“Gee! No! Not in this storm!” I yelled.
“Why not? Also, just curious, how the hell does this thing still work? It’s 2016.”
“Nevermind that! Wait, how the hell do you know how to operate a computer in MS-DOS mode? You’re the youngest out of all of us!”
“Don’t mind that, Kelly! So many questions!” Gee rolled her eyes at me.
Thunder crashed again, this time louder, outside the windows, making all four of us jump.
“Jamie, you sound like a little girl,” Kate whispered.
“Why are we all hugging?” I asked, realizing we’d all clung to each other at the sound of the thunder.
“Dunno – nothin’ – didn’t scream like a girl. That was clearly Kelly,” Jamie said, clearing his throat and brushing off his shirt as he straightened his posture. “I’m fine. Not scared.”
Another clap of thunder.
“Oh, shut up!” Jamie huffed at no one in particular.
“Ugh! Gee, what’ve you done?” I asked. The computer screen flashed off and on like mad.
“I swear I didn’t do anything! I haven’t touched it!”
A particularly long flash of lightning started…and continued…while Jamie and I screamed. Gee and Kate just looked at one another and shrugged.
“Whoa, what the fuck is goin on?” Kate asked, as the computer shook and gurgled. “How the hell does a computer gurgle?”
The room spun and shook, Jamie cursing the city of Manchester and my bedroom alike, while Gee clutched her Gucci bag with a death grip, while I frantically whispered, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home!!”
In another flash of lightning, the room and sky settled.
“Jamie’s hair looks terrible,” whispered Gee.
“My God, so does yours, Kelly!” she said.
“Well, what about Kate, huh?” I asked.
“She looks amazing. Just look at ‘er! Perfect!”
Jamie rubbed his head and groaned. Kate found her way back to the bed and asked, “Dear Lord, what happened?”
I looked out of the window.
“Guys…I think…I think we…”
“My phone won’t work!” Jamie whined.
“Mine either,” Gee said. “I’ve got like negative bars or something. Strange.”
I gasped. “Oh my God! Look at the bedroom!” I shouted.
“Hm, looks quite nice,” Kate said.
“No, don’t you see? All the Oasis posters! They’re…they’re….gone!”
“Thank God,” Gee said under her breath.
“‘Ya got a decorator in here, finally – thank bloody hell,” Jamie muttered.
“No, wankers! We’ve gone back in time!” I shouted. “Take a smell out the window, will you? I bet it’s a lot less rancid.”
All three went to the window and cracked it open before pulling it open all the way and taking in a nice, long breath of air.
They smiled and nodded to one another.
“Right that is.”
“Much less rancid. You’re right.”
“Look at the calendar on the wall!!” I screamed.
“It’s a Garfield calendar. Am I supposed to like it or something?” asked Gee, still clutching her Gucci bag.
“No! Look at the date!”
“Oh, bloody hell, it’s October 4th, 1990! It’s all Kelly’s fault!” Jamie yelled, arms flailing in the air.
“It’s not! Gee was the one messing with the computer!” I yelled back.
“Gee…!!” said Jamie.
“Wait, wait a second…” Gee said, “We can use this to our advantage! Don’t you see?”
“No!” we all grumbled in unison.
“Shit. It’s back to landlines and video stores and..and…” Jamie stuttered, his lips turning white.
“It’ll be okay,” Kate said to him. “Snap out of it Jamie!”
He wouldn’t stop mumbling, “Video stores…bloody video stores…no internet..we’re fucked, we’re so fucked…”
Gee slapped him across the face.
He was startled, then quickly grateful as he shook his head around. “Right, then,” he began, “So, where to?”
Gee said, “The original Gallagher house is only a few blocks from here.”
I lit up.
Jamie and Kate both groaned.
“We can go and meet Liam and Noel and mum Gallagher!” I squealed.
“Must we…?” countered Kate.
“Yes!” we all yelled back in reply.
“Yes, we’ve got to meet them before they become famous!” I agreed.
“Famous pricks,” Jamie said dryly.
“Oh, Jamie, come now!” chided Kate.
“Shit, shit! We look out of place – see? Everyone’s got bad hair and they’re all wearing flannel!” I whined, gesturing out the window to all of he people milling about on the streets.
“Hey, I’m wearing flannel!” Jamie said.
“And his hair is terrible,” Gee whispered again.
“Enough with the hair, Gee!” I grumbled.
“I heard that, too!” Jamie said. “My girlfriend is going to kill me!”
“Your girlfriend? I’m bloody married!” I shouted back.
“And I haven’t even been born yet,” said Gee. “Shit.”
“Wait, wait, wait! We’ve gone 26 years back in time and you’re telling me that our only plan is to go to the bloody Gallagher house?” Kate asked.
“Yeah. What? Why? What did you have in mind?” I asked.
“Bloody hell. Something better than that,” she scoffed.
We shrugged. “Shall we be off, then?”
At the Gallagher House
“Gee, you knock on the door!” I said.
“No, I’m too nervous! You do it!”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” said Kate, elbowing her way in between us and rapping loudly on the front door. “There. Cripes.”
“I can hear my heartbeat in my ears,” Gee whispered.
“I know. My hands are so sweaty it’s, like, embarrassing,” I whispered back.
“Oh, my beautiful, bloody girlfriend,” Jamie moaned in the background.
We all sighed.
“My beautiful, Norwegian girlfriend!” he sobbed.
“SSh!” Gee yelled.
“Just a moment!” a voice called to us from inside the house.
“Mum Gallagher!” Gee and I said in unison. We squealed.
Then, she opened the door. I wiped sweat from my forehead with my sleeve.
“‘ello there. What can I do for ‘ya?” she asked.
“Noel!” yelled Gee. “Noel!”
I cleared my throat and stepped in front of Gee. “Sorry, she’s um, she’s, well, you know – anyhow we’re here to see Noel.”
“Well, then, come on in! Noel! Guests!” she called.
“Liam!” Gee yelled.
“Shut up!” I said softly, poking her in the side with my elbow.
Liam mumbled in our direction.
“What the fuck did he say?” Kate asked.
“Yeah, he needs subtitles,” quipped Jamie.
Noel trotted down the stairs, a vision in jeans and red Adidas sneakers. Gee gasped.
“Will this bloke need subtitles too?” Jamie whispered.
“Sh!” Gee chided.
“We are in Manchester, guys,” I said.
They nodded in agreement to one another, saying, “Ah, yeah, right.”
“Who the fuck are these lot?” Noel asked, breezing past us.
“Just for the record, I don’t want to be here!” Jamie shouted, raising his hand from the back of the group.
“I, too, am against this!” said Kate.
“You – the really short one – ginger – what’s your deal? And your gorgeous friend?” asked Noel.
“Ginger? That’s all I get?” I asked.
“We’re here to warn you!” Gee said.
“Warn me? Sod off,” Noel said.
At that exact moment, Gee’s iPhone began buzzing before her ringtone went berserk.
“I thought your phone wasn’t working!” I yelled through gritted teeth.
“Fuck, it is now!” she whisper-yelled back at me through equally gritted teeth.
“Phone? What’s about a phone?” Liam asked from his place at the kitchen table.
“Nothing! Nothing at all! That’s just, um, Gee’s…umm….umm…pocket Atari!” I shouted.
Liam shrugged. “Pocket Atari – must be rich, you lot. How many quid did it set you back? Quite a few, I reckon.”
He and Noel laughed.
We laughed back nervously.
When Mum Gallagher had completely left the room and we knew she was out of earshot, Gee started talking to Noel. She grabbed him by both shoulders.
“Noel – you’re going to write a song called Wonderwall. Ya gotta like add more guitar stuff in it so it’s harder to play. I get so sick of hearing it when I’m at University. And Liam, you’re going to do some crystal meth. I think. It turns out fine, though.”
Jamie and Kate rolled their eyes.
“We’re from the future!” I whisper-screamed, hands cupped around my mouth. “From 2016! And there’s this app called Twitter – and — ” I was cut off by Noel.
“What the fuck is an app?” he asked.
“She’s telling the truth!” Gee interjected.
“Your first album, Definitely Maybe, is going to come out in 1994; and track six is called Supersonic. Okay, I’d be chuffed if you’d change that dog’s name from Elsa to Stella to avoid making me look stupid on Twitter. Please.”
Noel and Liam just looked at each other, dumbfounded. Incredulous.
“Yes, in 2016,” Gee said.
“Chuffed, eh?” asked Noel. “You sound like an American.”
“Nevermind that!” Gee cried. “You have to listen to us! So, Liam, you’re going to hit your brother here with a chair – or, is it the other way around? – no matter, you’re going to be beating the shit out of each other a lot. But it’s worth it! So worth it!”
They looked at one another and shrugged again.
“Don’t listen to the critics about Be Here Now!” I yelled. “It’s a damn good record!”
“Her accent sounds fake,” said Liam to Noel, “Right? If you’re really from the future, prove it.”
Gee pulled out her iPhone. Or pocket Atari. Whatever.
It began to blink just like the old laptop in my room had…then we heard the thunder.
“Quick! You’ve got to come with us!” Gee shouted.
“Where?” they asked in unison.
“Back to the future, boys!” I said, as the house rumbled and shook around us.
Kate asked, “Oh, is that why they end up looking so young in the future?!”
Jamie only shrugged.
TO BE CONTINUED….
This wacky story came from a string of tweets between myself (Kelly) and Gee Charlie Middleton on Twitter this morning. I thought it would only be fitting if I used some SLM contributors as characters. Stay tuned for more! **Life is tough – we all see a lot of dark, bad things and have a lot of dark, bad days – writing something nonsensical and hilarious helps me to reset my brain and hopefully yours, too.**