PREVIOUSLY: The group considered help from Glen towards getting Carrie back. Mindylenopia’s present day identity was revealed.
PART 82a: REMAKING HISTORY
Papers had been taped up along one full wall, over the cabinets. The haphazard array was at least 20 sheets long and 4 sheets down; occasionally a section was missing, or another had been laid overtop. And the majority of the pages had been scribbled on with marker, seemingly random sequences of numbers and words. In front of it all was Chartreuse, on her hands and knees, perched in the middle of the central table, staring.
Tim turned his attention to Laurie, who was standing off to the side, her hands clasped behind her back. “W-What… what are you…”
“Chartreuse is trying to understand her girlfriend,” Laurie explained softly. “Or at least her girlfriend’s timeline theories.”
Tim blinked. “Her… girlfriend?”
“Oh, golly, I forgot you weren’t there when Chartreuse was outed by Glen… she and Carrie are an item.”
“Oh. Okay.” Tim looked from Laurie back to Chartreuse and the wall of pages. He saw it then – the numbers weren’t random, they were years, running chronologically, with months/days spliced in. Marked with events like ‘LaMilles Here’ and ‘Broken Swan’. “Why now?”
“The Mindy being with Linquist thing,” Laurie whispered. “Remember how Chartreuse said it couldn’t be? She feels like it’s actually not possible, given what Carrie told her about timelines. She’s tried to explain, and I don’t get it, but her attempts to do so seem to help clarify it in her own mind.”
The mention of Mindy reminded Tim of why he’d come down. “Well, we need you b-both upstairs now. Mindy, she’s here. And she’s Theresa! I left Julie alone with her, but we’ve gotta figure this out before meeting Glen!”
Laurie blinked. “What? Wait, Tim, you’re saying that you and Luci discovered Mindy’s identity?”
“N-Not even,” Tim sighed. “We didn’t get much of anywhere with Linquist’s notes, so Luci finally went to join the others at the library. I s-stopped at the cafe before coming here. The n-next thing I knew, Theresa was telling me she had the rest of the afternoon off and was coming to the mansion with me. It wasn’t until then that I… I realized…”
“Mindy’s Theresa? Theresa’s Mindy? Like, cafe Theresa? Ohmigod, are you SERIOUS?”
Tim looked over towards Chartreuse, taking a physical step back at the manic look she was now giving him. “Uhm, yes? Unless real Mindy pulled a Jedi trick on Theresa or something…”
“But that changes EVERYTHING!” With surprising grace, Chartreuse shifted her weight to her hands, kicking her feet around to jump off the front of the table. She grabbed a marker, pulling the cap off with her mouth as she ran to the right, scribbling ‘Theresa?’ underneath the words ’She’s GONE’.
Chartreuse then ran the length of the room, past word clusters reading ‘Glen Here’, ‘Session #1’, ‘Shady Jail’, ‘Julie Trip’, ’Luci DNA’, ‘Trip #1’, ‘Algonq Park’… and even more items within that, which Tim saw more as a jumble. When Chartreuse reached the end, denoted ‘Mindy Arrival??’, the mystic also scribbled ‘Theresa?’.
Chartreuse spat the marker cap out of her mouth. “Ohh, three CAN’T survive that. Can it? It, like, totally can’t. Can it?”
Tim turned his attention back to Laurie. “So, um, J-Julie needs us back upstairs.”
Laurie nodded. “Chartreuse, we need to go.”
Chartreuse shook her head, not even turning. “No no. I gotta see if that piece can fit in, Laurie. I gotta. I’ll, you know, be up once I’m sure. Don’t leave without me.” She charged over to the other side of the room again, now writing ‘Cafe Fire’ above and between ‘Glen Here’ and what Tim now realized was ‘Dance <3’.
Laurie looked at Tim uncertainly, as if wondering if that was okay. Or maybe wondering whether Chartreuse would be okay. Off his shrug, Laurie squared her shoulders and nodded. “Okay Tim, let’s go up and help Julie.”
“Hey, I just met you… this is crazy… here’s my number…”
“Julie, honestly, you don’t have to bury your thoughts under pop music,” Mindy/Theresa assured, a bemused smile on her face. “I’m not a mind reader. Besides, you know me, I’ve been working in that cafe since before you even moved to town.”
“No way,” Julie shot back. “You already admitted to nudging me away from seeing the truth. I don’t know you at all any more. Now stop talking.”
Mindy shrugged and leaned back against the wall in the mansion entranceway, hooking her thumbs into the belt loops of her pants. While still mumbling the song lyrics, Julie resumed her considerations of whether they needed Glen here ASAP. He’d been her first thought, upon the revelation, but now? Well, Mindy was acting a LOT less hostile than anticipated. So, if Mindy was willing to help them whereas Glen wasn’t… but what if that was her angle? Glen had also seemed nice enough, initially.
“This – is – cray – zee -“ Julie emphasized in the refrain. “So – call – me -“
Her phone rang. She jumped, and looked down to see that it was Clarke. Clarke. She’d even changed her phone to not use ‘Phil’. What had she been thinking? Would they ever be together again?
Tim and Laurie walked out of the sitting room then, allowing Julie to relax a bit. In part because she remembered now what Tim had said – he and Mindy had come right from the cafe. No one else knew yet. Pointing to the former waitress and giving the arrivals a curt, “I’ll be back, don’t let her talk to you,” Julie ran down the hall, accepting the call after the fourth ring.
“Glen said the location will be Willowdale Park. Can you get everyone else there in twenty minutes?”
“Ohhh, not really, no.”
She could practically hear the frown in his voice. “Why not? If we don’t do this, we may never get Glen to hear us out again.”
“Yeah. Thing is, we’re onto something here… it won’t wait. Did you find enough data to convince Glen without us?”
“I… we hope so. Lee helped us find this article that–”
“Okay, great.” She was realizing there was a way to maximize their options. “We’re going to need either Frank or Luci back here, they’re the best at temporal mechanics. Actually, make it Frank, you might need the Linquist angle and we’ve already got Tim with us.”
“Julie, what is going ON?”
“I don’t quite know. I only know that you can’t know yet. Oh, I’ll send you Corry in exchange for Frank, how about that? Between him and Lee, you should be able to handle Glen. Okay?”
Clarke didn’t reply. Which is when Julie realized how it must look to him.
“Oh no. Clarke, no… Phil, please, no, I’m not trying to shut you out again. It’s only, if I tell you, then Glen might…” The same old excuse. She clutched her phone, desperation returning. “That is, it’s not about the time machine, not completely, but if I say, then Glen will see it in your face, meanwhile out of all of us Glen might only listen to you, so if we end up needing him, taking you away now means we’ll have blown it there. Clarke, Phil, it’s fine, I’ll have people here with me, but if you think this means we can never be a thing again, please tell me and I’ll try to think of another–”
“Julie? Stop,” Clarke interrupted. “You sound like Laurie on a bad day.”
Julie swallowed. “Sorry.”
“You’ll tell me all about this afterwards?”
“Until then, the plan is for Jeeves to get Corry to the park, where he’ll pick up Frank?”
“Okay then. We’ll tell Glen the rest of you are tracking a lead. Just assure me that this isn’t old habits…?”
Julie exhaled. “God no. I actually cannot think of how this situation could be any more screwed up than it already is.”
“Talk to you later then. About everything.”
“For sure,” Julie repeated.
Clarke hung up, and Julie leaned back against the wall. Only to hear a car door slam. She raced back through the hall and out the front door, needing to get Jeeves and Corry back in the car before they could get inside and see Mindy.
“Mindy? Theresa is Mindy?” Frank questioned.
“Keep your voice down.” Julie peered up the stairway, but it seemed like Jeeves was already out of earshot. “Yes, Theresa is Mindy and she’s in the living room with Tim and Laurie; Chartreuse is still down in the lab doing who knows what. We need you to assess whether what Mindy tells us makes ANY temporal sense, to know whether she’s sincere. If so, maybe we won’t need Glen, but we CANNOT let her pull the rug out from under us.”
“Theresa? The red haired waitress from the cafe?”
Julie snapped her fingers in front of his face. “Frank, please, focus. She has mental abilities, like Glen. You need to approach this situation with confidence, don’t give her a foothold.”
“Er, right…” His posture straightened. “Let’s do this.”
Giving him a hesitant look, Julie nodded, and the both of them went into the living room. Mindy was sitting quietly on the couch, with Tim and Laurie in nearby chairs. The redhead looked at them with that hint of amusement in her expression, but continued to say nothing.
“So you’ve grown your hair long since the first time,” Frank observed, a mite redundantly. He folded his arms. “Theresa, just how old are you?”
Julie was unable to suppress an eye roll as Mindy’s smile widened. “Starting with the more personal questions?” she remarked.
“I’m about 32? Though I look younger,” Mindy answered. “We Temporals don’t quite age like you. Actually, I’m now the oldest Temporal ever.”
“And you’ve spent how much of that time in our past?”
“At least 12 years since the temporal banishment… and here’s a key thing I’m realizing you don’t know. Said banishment? It wipes the memory of the affected person. After all, it wouldn’t be good to have someone from the future using their knowledge in the past, right?”
Laurie gasped. “So… so when you got blasted back…”
“All gone,” Mindy sighed, her smile disappearing as she snapped her fingers in the air. “That is, beyond the most mundane things like a name, how to dress myself, and so forth. So I can’t give firm dates. In fact, I was homeless, I stayed at the shelter in town, tried to find work. Kept screwing up my languages, people thought I didn’t know proper English. Time lost it’s meaning for me.” She tapped at her head. “Underneath it though? Still a technical genius. Which was finally realized by one man in particular.”
“Linquist,” Tim concluded.
Mindy pointed at him. “Bingo. Last week, Tim, you asked me if I’d ever found myself not knowing who to trust? That was me every day, back when I had no memory. Linquist was the man who helped me through it. Saw something in me, that day outside the computer store when I was muttering about computer programming. Which is when things finally started going right for me – and wrong for him.”
“Why? What did you do to him?” Julie demanded.
“I… opened up a world of possibilities that he wasn’t quite ready for. If my memory had been intact, I never would have done it. But he’s the one who helped me put those memories back together!” Mindy shook her head. “It was as I finally began to remember who I was, and realize what I was doing, that I tried to minimize my impact on your timeline. Pull away from Linquist. Find myself my own place, adopt the name Theresa, and get some less conspicuous employment. Something to keep me in the background, while still letting me see everything that was going on.”
“As a waitress,” Frank said.
Mindy shrugged. “Worked out pretty well, all things considered.”
“Yes, it let you manipulate us very nicely,” Julie remarked.
Mindy shook her head. “Julie, I have made no alterations to you or your friends beyond what was necessary to maintain my hidden identity. Guiding you away from making any connections, like that time Phil Clarke seemed to recognize my voice the day after my younger self was here.”
Julie glared. “What about having us make you a time machine?”
Mindy’s partial smile returned. “Ah, right. That. Well, I was originally sent back here on a mission, right? Those memories came back along with everything else.”
They couldn’t trust her. Could they? Julie glanced at her watch, noticing that it was the time when the others would be meeting with Glen. She wondered whether they were having any better luck.
NEXT: After Effects
ASIDE: Happy Valentine’s Day… a day with Clarke and Julie still having romance issues… well, this is post #200 for the blog, so that’s some good news?