Science Fiction flash time travel

Application For Temporal Readjustment

By Kurt Pankau
Jun 21, 2020 · 519 words · 2 minutes

Photo by Debby Hudson via Unsplash.

From the author: Ms. Tapper would like to change her past. This was a more experimental flash of mine. Looking at it now, I get what doesn't work about it, but I still like it.


Dear Ms. Tapper:

Thank you for your interest in TransCron Temporal Readjustment Services. We were very sorry to hear about the situation regarding your former fiance Steven Hewitt. Regrets come in all shapes and sizes, but "if only I'd said yes" is very common, so rest assured that this is a situation we've dealt with before. Please answer all of the following questions (and make sure to mention children and grandchildren, were applicable).

  1. What is your name and preferred pronouns?
  2. What are the names on your birth certificate across all known (to you) realities? (Note: we respect your right to your identity and presentation--the information here is used internally and only for locating people in time and space)
  3. Describe the EVENT that you would like to have adjusted as it happened in this reality. Be as detailed as possible. It's okay if you don't know the exact date or even year of the EVENT. We can track a lot of that down for you. But details help.
  4. With regards to the EVENT in question 3, how has it affected you specifically? Did you learn any important lessons that you carried with you? Would you be a substantially different person today if that event were changed. (Answering YES is not an automatic rejection--many people are dealing with painful and formative regrets. However, we must be mindful of potential paradoxes.)
  5. Does the adjustment necessarily involve preventing the death of a person or persons? Please give as much identifying information regarding that person or persons as possible.
  6. If you answered YES to question 5, describe the moral character of that person or persons and any contributions they made to society prior to their death. Use as many detailed examples as possible.
  7. Does the adjustment necessarily involve causing the death or preventing the birth of a person or persons. Please give as much identifying information regarding that person or persons as possible.
  8. If you answered YES to question 7, describe the moral character of that person or persons and any contributions they made to society.
  9. Regarding payment, see the list of attached sporting event results. Will you be able to commit that entire list to memory and report it to our designated agent as part of your adjustment?

Kindest personal regards,

The TCTRS staff.

Dear Ms. Tapper:

Thank you for completing the questionnaire in such detail. We understand that organizing and writing down that much information can be emotionally taxing, and we appreciate the effort you put into it.

We regret to inform you that we are unable to arrange your adjustment at this time. You may not realize this, but you have applied to our agency in the past under your former married name "Hewitt". It may surprise you to learn that in your original application, marrying Steven was your greatest regret. We hope you take comfort in knowing that the life you have may not be the life you want now, but it is the life you used to dream of.

With our sincerest apologies,

The staff at TCTRS


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Kurt Pankau

Mostly sci-fi, often silly, occasionally heart-wrenching.