the real world
He knew he had only one shot at it so he sat up all night waiting for the tiny fissure in space/time to appear. When it did he would be ready.
The night was cold but he decided not to light a fire. If his calculations were correct even the slight amount of heat from a campfire might alter things. And he couldn’t have things altered. Not when he was this close.
Neil Glavin had wrestled with the decision to alter the timeline, having had countless “Would you go back in time and kill Hitler if you could?” debates with friends growing up, but this opportunity seemed too good to pass up. The American viewer deserved another chance to avoid the moral morass that reality TV had brought into its living rooms. Everything had been fine until that fateful night… May 21, 1992. Then everything changed, for the worse.
He was going to correct things.
He paced back and forth and clapped his hands together to try and stay warm. Soon a mile-long crack would appear, only a few inches high and only a few feet above the ground. If he touched this glowing blue/green tear in our reality at exactly the right place he would be transported back to a college town in Missouri in 1977.
He wasn’t sure if he’d arrive naked or if his clothes, and more importantly his handgun, would arrive with him but he was going to bring them just the same. Things would just be simpler if they arrived intact. Either way, it was a one-way trip. He’d already said his goodbyes.
He hadn’t decided whether he would go after the co-creator of the show just to be safe, he’d always been a little squeamish about killing women. He’d decide that after his primary target was dead. He believed that he’d just somehow know after the deed was done if more violence was required.
Part of him thought it might be best to just live as an ordinary citizen, blend in, until MTV was up and running, to make sure that nobody else came up with the idea that ruined television.
It was almost time. The portal would be arriving any minute now.
Jonathan Murray would be a senior at the University of Missouri when Neil arrived. He didn’t know where he lived, only that he was a journalism major. It should be easy to track him down though. Once he was dead hopefully he’d take The Real World to the grave with him. Neil would make sure his death wasn’t too quick though. He wanted Jonathan to suffer, like millions of viewers had done watching that steaming pile of shit. The show that started broadcasting spiraling down the drain.
The co-creator, Mary Ellis-Bunham, ended up dying of breast cancer in 2004. She got off light. Neil hoped it had been painful. It had been the only time he could remember when he actively rooted for cancer (typically this is where a “The views of this character do not reflect those of the writer” is inserted but I’m afraid that in this case they absolutely do reflect the views of the writer).
In his pocket was a list of other names, Mark Itkin of the William Morris Agency being at the top. Other people who had been responsible for The Real World ending up on the airwaves. He felt that nobody was ever held accountable for their actions. And, more importantly, the unintended consequences of those actions.
He was going to make them pay for what they did to his beloved television and his beloved country.
Jonathan Murray had to die.
Except the wormhole wasn’t showing up. It should have been there by now. He read and reread his notebook. Was he in the wrong spot? Were his numbers off?
More time passed and Neil got increasingly agitated. He paced and he swore curses up at the night sky. The rift between the here-and-now and 1977 never materialized.
The problem was that time travel isn’t possible. Some mistakes can’t be undone.
Neil simply wasn’t living in the real world.