SIXTY-FIVE, 2.0

Erin stared at Todd over her hands, fingers entwined, knuckles white in frustration. They’d been sitting across from each other for close to an hour, and Todd was starting to feel anxious. The next appointment was only twenty minutes from now, and he had to get there in time.

“There’s no question, it’s real.” He pointed to the Planner on the table. “I can prove it.” He opened the planner.

“Finally, some physical evidence! You know, all you had to do was tell me you had evidence.”

“Really?” He looked up at her, hopeful.

“Just show me this ridiculous evidence,” she said.

He flipped through the Planner to Wednesday, showed her the appointment at noon, twenty minutes away. She shook her head. “So?”

“So, I didn’t write that! It’s not my handwriting, not my appointment.”

“Then you’re going because…”

“Because it’s for me, like the rest of them.”

“So it is your appointment?”

“Exactly!”

“Make sense, Todd, or I swear I’ll leave without another word.”

He stopped her by placing his hand on hers. They’d broken up four months prior, but the small touch was still thrilling for him, and her hesitation told him that she was still feeling something as well. He let his hand linger a moment longer before pulling back. “I told you already. I picked this book up two weeks ago, and started going to all of the appointments in there. It’s just, I can’t describe it. Every one of them is a thrill, something new, different, but seemingly built for me.”

“The appointments, are they with other people?”

“Some of them, yes.”

“And these other people, they don’t realize they’re not talking to whoever this book belongs to?”

“They do, but the thing is, they’re more curious about me than her, or him, or whoever.”

“Sounds suspect.”

“Tell me about it.”

She waited for more, but he said nothing else, just kept studying the book. So she stood to leave. “I don’t know what you’re getting at, Todd, but seek help — outside that book if you can.”

“It’s weird, don’t you think?”

“Very. Just, get rid of the book and make your own life, you’ll be at appointments you’re meant to be at. And you’ll get a job.”

“Erin, wait!”

But she was already out the door.

Todd sifted through the planner, wondering the exact nature of the next appointment: Observatory, 12:03pm. He knew it was the Griffith Park Observatory, but the day was cloudy, and rather chilly. Should he go, as planned, or take Erin’s advice and start to think about getting his crap together? The appointments so far had been good, great, even. He’d had three job interviews and the most recent felt the most promising.

Still, he wanted more, to see what else there was, or could be. He decided to experiment and show up at 12:00. Perhaps he’d be able to see, from afar, a little bit of what could happen if he arrived early.

When he pulled into the parking lot at the Observatory, it was 12:01. He waiting, looking around at the few visitors. No one stood out, and the planner hadn’t listed list a singular location. “Great,” he said to himself. “This is just silly, Todd.”

Yet he got out of his car, carrying the planner to the front door of the Observatory, which turned out to be locked. When he turned from the door, there was a CRACK of thunder and the immediate zap of a thin lightning bolt from the sky — which fried the body of his car. The seats caught fire, and he watched the car burn. He looked, and his watch read 12:03, but then that would mean…

Todd wandered close to his car, getting a closer look. Rain had begun to pour, hard and fast, and soon the smoke forced Todd back. Other visitors nearby had pulled out phones to snap photos before running to their own cars, glancing at Todd with mouths agape.

He tossed his car key in through the broken window, and on top of that he threw the Planner before walking down the hill.

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