“Speeds, I need out.” Reset told his friend.
“They are weirding me out. I know the old man is going to move on me soon, no matter which path I take. I don’t want to get raped.”
“We could kill him. You know I could do it, no one would even see.”
Reset looked at his buddy and knew that murder was within his capabilities, but every future from there saw Reset visiting him at a grave or in prison. The prison path looked very bad for Speedy too, he would be tested and labeled a Shiner and transferred to a federal containment center. His future devolved into gang involvement, the gangs were even more active in Shiner Containment Centers than regular prisons. Gangs, fights and death, those were all that awaited Speedy.
“Nah, you can’t do that; it won’t end well.” Reset said with a shake of his head.
“What about just, an injury? You know, something he has to recover from, would that buy you enough time to get out?” Speedy asked.
Reset hadn’t thought about that. He leaned back against the tree at the park and Speedy grew bored, recognizing the look Reset got when he was off in the future. Other people assumed Reset was ‘slow’ or ‘dumb’ or if it was their first time meeting him they might think he was mentally disabled. Anyone who spent timje around the kid knew better, his teachers all thought Reset was brilliant, like a slow moving, deep river. Not very quick to talk, but when he spoke he was wiser than his years. Speedy thought this was an insanely unfair advantage; he knew Reset wasn’t as brilliant as everyone thought and he knew why.
“An accident would work. You know what would be perfect? A rock out at the road construction. I know just the one, it might kill him, but if it doesn’t, he sues the state and is so occupied with that the next few years that he mostly leaves me alone.”
“I can do a rock, like throw it at his car?”
Reset shook his head, “Nothing like that, just drop it under the front of one of his tires, he hits it, goes off into the ditch and crashes. The state gets blamed, he wins the lawsuit in about four years, too late to send me off to college, but I’m leaving before that anyway.”
“Under his tire is boring.”
“But it does what I need it to do. Can you do it?”
An apple dropped onto Reset’s head. He looked around irritated and Speedy burst out laughing.
“Yeah, I can do a rock.”
“This was you?” Reset picked up the apple, a large Macintosh.
“Yeah, Ralph’s has the on sale right now.”
Ralph’s was over two miles away and Reset knew Speedy hadn’t brought the apple with him, he smiled, took a bite of the apple and nodded, “Yeah, I guess you can move a rock.”
Speedy’s shine slowed other people down so far that as far as Speedy was concerned they were not moving at all while increasing his speed to move around them. Because he was moving faster there were times he hurt himself. The first time he hit a bug while moving along at two hundred kilometers an hour had hurt badly and made him far more cautious. His shine didn’t include any super healing or toughness; he got hurt just like everyone else. So, as usual, on this hot California day when everyone else was wearing flip flops, shorts and t-shirts, he was dressed in running shoes and jeans. He was still wearing a t-shirt, but carried a heavy black leather jacket with him everywhere he went. The first thing Speedy did when speeding up was put on the jacket and pull a padded mask and tinted safety glasses out of the pockets to wear. If he knew he was going on a ‘mission’, as he and Reset called them, he had a heavy helmet and a suit made of Kevlar that he had got using money stolen from their first bank job proceeds.
In fact, unbeknownst to Reset, Speedy’s first stop when using his gift was often to go home to gear up. Bugs hitting your fact hurt. He had a bullet proof mask, bought (in person) from an army/navy surplus store in Alabama, but it was insanely heavy, he only wore it if he knew things were going to get extreme.
Monday morning Speedy left his house at 7:30, for a few seconds of real time. He moved along the highway carrying the head sized rock, looking for Reset’s foster father’s blue focus. There it was, moving millimeters to every one of his strides, in the center lane of the highway. Carefully, Speedy placed the rock the pavement in front of the moving vehicle. I want to see this. He was barely more than a boy, after all and Reset had assured him that his stepfather would probably survive. Picking a place slightly behind the Focus, Speedy stood on the shoulder and slowed himself down. The focus hit the rock, the front tire exploded and the vehicle popped up for an instant before coming down hard on the shredded tire, the rim dug in and the vehicle began to flip corner to corner, assisted into the air when the rear tire diagonal from the front hit the rock and lifted the back corner of the car into the air.
“Oh shit.” Speedy said, watching the accident happen in slow motion. “I put it under the wrong tire.” Sure enough, he had put the rock under the passenger side tire, not the driver’s side like Reset had told him.
The car vaulted into the fast lane, causing a cascading accident before flipping over the barricade into oncome traffic. Speedy didn’t wait around to see what happened after that; he fled home.
Later the two met at the small park half a block from both of their houses. Reset had been taken out of class, summoned to the counselor’s office. Speedy had avoided his friend all day; he knew he didn’t need to tell him what happened; he was sure Reset already future saw it.
“I’m sorry.” Speedy mumbled.
“I know. Me too. I should have told you to be sure. I didn’t I don’t know why I didn’t.” They stood there staring at each other for a moment, then fell in step as they walked to the edge of the park to their favorite spot.
“This is my fault, Speedy.” Reset said.
“No, I should have listened better. I never listen close enough and you told me! I could have…all those people died, Reset!”
“Yeah. My fault.”
“No, mine.” Speedy said, hanging his head and crying.
Reset put an arm around his friend’s shoulders, “Maybe it’s both of us, okay? You can’t see the future, but I can and I didn’t look close enough.”
“I still did it.”
“Only you and I know that. No one else ever will.” Reset said.
“Unless I tell them.”
“You don’t want to do that.” Reset told him, navigating the conversation carefully. He had already had it a dozen times and knew what he had to say to keep his friend from turning himself in and from committing suicide via a drug addiction as well.
In the end Speedy agreed to keep quiet and to share the blame with Reset. The concession was that they had to plan things better, no more ‘on the fly’ antics; neither of them was a bad person or wanted to hurt anyone. They discovered it was far different thing to actually kill someone than it was to say you would kill someone.
Back at the diner, eating the last of the delicious biscuits and gravy, Reset nodded and smiled at the waitress. She was a big woman in her late thirties and had two kids. A quick future scan revealed her full name, that she was separated from her husband and wasn’t on birth control. He smiled more broadly, “Can I get a refill Miss Baker?”