The Man In The Machine

What if you were so smart you could actually build a working Time Machine, what would you do with it. Adam Roberts is that smart a guy, he's built his very own time machine and he knows exactly what he'll do when he goes back into the past. He's going to correct a mistake, not one that he made, but one he believes ruined his life. Adam has tested the machine and knows it will work. He knows when he's going and what he has to do when he gets there.


2. I Can Fix It

He knew that at 7:30 at the Garfunkles restaurant just off Upper Street in Islington his dad would go in to find his mum already there waiting.


He knew what would stop his dad would be alcohol, so he simply used a set of his keys he'd sent back ahead of this trip.


They were for his dads old flat so he waited outside and watched him leave for work then let himself in and put bottles of his favourite gin in the fridge, emptied the jug of water his dad kept in there replacing it with vodka and put dozens of cans of lager all around the flat.


He knew his dad wound came home to change clothes before the date with his mum.


That's when he would see the alcohol and wouldn't be able to help himself he'd see the gin or the cans of lager, or he'd drink the tainted water and the taste of the vodka would be all he needed to reawaken the thirst for booze that would consume him later in life.


Just to be on the safe side he also waited outside his dads work and as he got out for the day he got ahead of him on the walk along the pavement on London Bridge as his dad made his daily walk towards the train station dropping the racing section of a newspaper with a few horse names circled, some he'd carefully researched to give him a few winners but mostly losers.


He saw his dad pick it up and seeing what it was he put it inside the Sainsbury's carrier bag he used every day to carry his tools to and from work.


Once indoors he saw the booze and was confused he had no idea where it had come from, he looked at them but tried to resist the urge to drink he took the cans and bottles outside and dumped them down the rubbish chute.


Went back inside and tried to forget about the booze and get ready for his date.


However the knowledge that there had been alcohol in his home was eating at him. He poured himself a glass of water from that jug in the fridge and as the first drop passed his lips, he knew what he was drinking and he loved it and kept drinking until the bottle was empty.


Then he wanted more, so he grabbed as much money as he could from his wallet and his hidden cash he used to pay the bills and went out to the local off licence bought six bottles of their best gin and four of vodka and began drinking from one of the vodka bottle as soon as he had handed over the money to the woman behind the counter.


By the time he made it back up to his flat on the fourteenth floor of the tower block he lived in he had finished that first bottle and started on one of his gin bottles.


As he moved from his second to his third bottle he completely forgot about the date.


When he remembered all about the racing guide, he got it out saw the horses that had already been circled for tomorrows races then scrambled through his draws looking for some more money.


Once he found every last penny he could remember hiding he divided it into amounts to bet on each horse.


Then he called his work leaving a message on his boss' answer phone saying he wouldn't be at work tomorrow as he wasn't feeling well.


Then pleased with himself drank some more until he passed out.


After watching his dad dump the cans and bottles he still knew he would give in to his craving. Sure enough he saw him less than half an hour later come out and go buy more booze.


In truth he hadn't expected it to happen like that, but he realised his dad was nowhere near the alcoholic he'd known growing up he still had some self control left.


However as he knew would happen, his dads unyielding desire to drink would take over and it did.


So he wasn't surprised to watch as he began unscrewing the cap as he waited in line to pay and took his first sip as soon as he had paid.


As he watched his dad head back to his flat carrying bags loaded with bottles of alcohol. He set off to find the restaurant where his mum would be waiting.


He got to Islington from Elephant and Castle and entered the restaurant. It was 7:25 and true to form his mum who was always early to any meeting was already sat waiting for him drinking a cup of tea, her other love besides religion, something else he always felt she loved more than she loved him.


Anyway he sat watching her as she grew increasingly agitated he recognized the look on her face. He had caused it more often than he could remember, as he got more and more into science and she felt his science were undermining his faith in god. Only for him to let her know he had never believed in God.


Thinking about it that was probably the moment her last shred of love for him vanished. He was only eleven at the time.


That in mind it surprised him immensely when he realised he felt bad looking at her at seeing her disappointment and that a sense of guilt got to him a sense of guilt he didn't even know he had especially when it came to her.


He went up to her and told her he was a friend that his dad asked him to come and tell her he couldn't make it as he wasn't feeling well and that he would call her to rearrange another date.


She thanked him and he left, but that's when his hatred for both his parents and the realisation of everything he had gone through to actually travel back in time to stop their meeting came flooding back.


He turned back and told his mum the truth; that Jack, (his dad), wasn't coming because he had fallen off the wagon after more than 2 years sober.


Just to hammer home his point he told her everything he knew about Jack’s alcoholism, that he began drinking aged 11, that his dad and granddad were drinkers. That he had been in rehab twice before he turned twenty one.


He also told her about his dads gambling problem all about the debts he'd racked up when he lived in Ireland and that his dad's parents had thrown him out after they had to re-mortgage their house to pay off those debts and money he owed to loan sharks he had borrowed to pay off the back street bookies he gambled with.


He hoped that if she knew all of this before she married him her severe old school belief in the catholic vows of marriage and disapproval of any marriage ending in divorce wouldn't be an issue and she wouldn't get involved with him in the first place.


She left the restaurant and told him she was heading home but that she would call Jack and see how he is to see if he was okay and maybe see if it was worth rearranging their date.


Adam watched her get into a black cab headed for the train station to catch the train that would take her home to her flat in Barking. He was angry he had hoped that would be enough to put a stop to his parents' relationship.


However he did have a contingency plan and his return device that he had built into the case of an iPhone 7, having gutted the internal mechanics of the phone itself. He had built a secondary return time programmed for one week, where he would arrive back in 2015 moments after he left.


In the days that followed, Adam spent a lot of time watching the man who would become his father as he spent it in betting shops, winning some money but losing more. He had a flask with him filled with gin drinking from it every day.


Seeing him continue on his downward slope of alcoholism and gambling ignoring the outside world and the people who cared about him. Agnes did call him several times but he was in no state to notice having messages on his answer machine or care about it.


This was the father Adam remembered and he knew it meant he was close to succeeding and that pretty soon his future would change and he would no longer be in it.


He would be gone forever.

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