Alternate Timelines

OCW (Excerpt)


I don’t know, but they did it.
They’ve done it before, and they did it tonight,
and they’ll do it again, and when they do it —
seems that only children weep.
–Atticus Finch



An apartment fire blazes on the twenty-sixth floor. A crowd of residents stand below, observing it rage, as firefighters and ambulances arrive.

Where do you go?

NOAH GRAY (6) is enamored by the flames, their bright orange hue reflecting in his tiny brown eyes. He’s fixated on the balcony , where a man appears to be trapped, still smoking a cigarette.

Familiar places.


Kids run around the front yard, and around the condo playing tag, and hide and seek.

What do you do when you get there?

NOAH GRAY (12) stands atop his front porch, high above the others. His eyes are closed and his arms are spread out. He prepares to jump.

Nothing out of the ordinary.


An old Irish joint comes alive with the accompaniment of a live band and a rowdy crowd watching football.

Why do you think you find yourself there?

NOAH GRAY (19) stands by the bar, babysitting a drink when his eyes catch a glimpse of ALLIE (19) sitting with her friends. Her eyes see him, but neither make a move.

Same reason anyone else would.


It lightly drizzles. Slouched over in the passenger seat is a FATHER (52), in a tux, drunk, and half-conscious, while NOAH GRAY (25) carefully pulls into the driveway, as his MOTHER (50) guides him in.

Which one is it?

The right one.

Noah pushes a button on a device hanging from the visor. It triggers the garage door on the right to begin to open.

No, no, the left one.

Noah immediately pushes the button again, stopping the right garage door about halfway up. Pushing the adjacent button causes the garage door on the left to open. The car enters the garage.


Once stopped, the Mother exits, passing in front of the car to open the door into the house. She lifts up her elegant dress so it doesn’t get dirty.

(turns to Noah)
Wake up your father, and bring him inside.

(looks over at Dad)
Can’t we just leave him here?

With the car turned on? Are you crazy? He’ll die.

I’m not entirely against the idea.

The Mother shakes her head, and enters the house. We hear the alarm beeping, and the subsequent code being entered into the keypad. Noah sits motionless. The alarm stops and she returns to the door.

What the hell you waiting for? Turn the car off, and bring him inside.

Why can’t you do it?

You saw what he did at dinner. If I go near him, he’ll start swinging.

Noah shuts the car off, and stares at his Mother, before she goes back inside, and then at his Father, who is lightly snoring.


He exits the car, walks around, and opens the passenger side door, leaning in to unbuckle his Father. Thinking that to be enough, he continues to stare at his Father.

Dad, get up. We’re home.

The Father barely registers.

(little louder)
Dad. Wake up. We’re home.

Noah pokes his Father’s arm to no response. He kneels down and takes his Father’s shoes, placing one leg outside of the car. As he goes to grab the other leg, the Father quickly swings his leg back in the car, and mumbles something at Noah.

Determined, Noah tries again, but this time, the Father pushes him away with his arms and legs. Noah loses his balance, and lands on his knees, just as the Father vomits in the car.

Disgusted, Noah exits the garage leaning down through the right side’s door, still half open.


Noah stands in his driveway. We can see the Father moving around in the car from the left side’s garage door, still open. The Mother returns.

We can see the Mother walk around the car to the Father’s side. Only her legs are visible through the half open garage door.

Piece of shit puked all over the car. Leave him here.
He can clean it up in the morning when he comes to.
What are you doing out there? Come inside. It’s raining.

The Mother returns to the door, and begins to close the left side’s garage door completely before entering the home.

Turn off the lights and close the door on you way in.

Just then, a MAN emerges from the shadows of the far corner of the house in a trench coat, and slips underneath the half open garage door. The left side’s door is just about finished closing. We can see the feet of the Man standing some distance from where the Father sits. Noah doesn’t notice him.

BANG. BANG. Light from the gun’s muzzle illuminates the garage, as seen through it’s rusted up windows.

“Saint Pablo.” | Produced by Kanye West and Mike Dean.
Performed by Kanye West feat. Sampha
©2015 Def Jam Recordings/GOOD Music.

My skinny tie is a clip on, she says she wants to dance to this song, and I tell her I quit that in oh nine, because my cousin’s wedding was a shitshow. Family is a no go, and I can’t bring myself to talk to them on the phone, where friends have pictures of their kids on their home screens, and I just have a time machine, because a DeLorean is my kid dream. Kanye says real family stick together and see through the mirage, but what if the mirage is family, and I don’t trust God? I stood in front of the Holy Book hoping that it would grant[h] me with serenity, but all I could think in my heart was angrily telling it that it will never know me, what I want, or who I want to be. I can’t even cry out, Lord, have you forsaken me? Because I know that I am the one who is guilty that my heartwork like clockbroke. Clever dyslexia is not a joke. To all of my cousins, tell your kids their uncle loves them. Five in five, went from a flip to a slide, had to give those RIM jobs, no wait that didn’t come out right. This has all made me think twice, about every time I’ve rolled dice, or ever had a sleepless night, where I’m afraid you’ll be out of sight, even when you’re up close. Hair smells like Garnier, Code Red’s on my breath though. I awoke from a dream where we were all alone, but now I am alone, and this vision has become my home. Is it possible to roam worlds if I’m the one that created those? They keep putting me in charge of channels I’m not qualified for.